This is Tamiya’s P-51-D kit, neither the subject nor the kit require any introduction here. The panel lines are recessed and nicely engraved, although many of the panel lines on the wings should be filled. The molding is sharp. If you want dropped flaps with this kit they must be cut loose, but they are molded as one piece with the upper wing panels and can be filled out with a few lengths of half round. The wheelwells are deep and have some really nice detail, but only go back to the well opening, not all the way back to the spar as they should. In the end I replaced them, but I’m sure many modelers won’t see that as being worth the extra effort.
This kit surprised me with a couple of fit issues. The fit of the main wing can be fixed with some careful trimming at the center of the rear edge, above the radiator scoop where it will be hidden. Of more concern is the fit of the forward windscreen – it’s about a millimeter wider than the fuselage. On any future builds I will try shimming the upper cowl out enough to improve the fit. The main canopy is in two pieces, and I think a vacuform piece would improve the appearance here as well.
“Honey Bee” was piloted by Capt. Barrie S. Davis, 317 FS, 325 FG.
This is the old Hasegawa GMC CCKW-353 fuel truck. I’ve replaced all the wheels with castings from the Deuce and a Half Academy trucks. The winch was cut off the front and a standard bumper substituted. The cab interior is completely rebuilt. These kits show their age but the fuel truck is useful to provide a sense of size when displayed alongside aircraft models.
U-boat War Patrol: The Hidden Photographic Diary of U-564
by Lawrence Patterson
Paperback, 208 pages, illustrated
Published by Chatham Publishing May 2006
Dimensions: 7.9 x 10.1 inches
This is a book that almost wasn’t. A shoebox of unwanted photographs was presented to the Postmaster of the small English town of Staintondale in April 2000. Fortunately the postmaster was interested in history, and recognized the photographs were of a German U-boat crew. Further inquiries lead to more pictures, 361 in all. They had been “liberated” from the wreckage of the U-boat pens at Brest by a British serviceman, and had survived the passage of time.
The pictures were taken by an official photographer sent along with the U-564 on an Atlantic war patrol from July through September 1942. U-564 was commanded by Reinhard “Teddy” Suhren, already a U-boat ace. During this patrol she was to sink five Allied merchant ships, and was almost lost herself due to fire and a broken depth gauge.
The photographs offer a unique glimpse into the life aboard a U-boat, a little less than half the total are reproduced here. All crew members are seen at their duties and going about their daily routines. U-564’s logs survived the war, as did her commander who wrote an autobiography entitled Nasses Eichenlaub (Wet Oakleaves). Coupled with the photographs, this information provides a detailed insight into a war patrol aboard a German U-boat.
My one criticism of the book is that as the number and quality of photographs are what makes this book unique, the publishers should have reproduced them in larger format on better paper. Having said that, this is an excellent book and a good read. I found it as a close out at Ollie’s for $1.99, money well spent.