Arma Hobby North American P-51B of Capt. Forrest “Jeep” Parham in 1/72 Scale

Forrest Parham enlisted in the Army and rose to rank of Colonel.  He scored three victories over Japanese aircraft while flying the P-40N before transitioning to the P-51B and adding two more to make ace with five.  He was shot down over Shanghai in April 1945, but evaded capture and returning to his unit a month later.

“Little Jeep” of Capt. Forrest “Jeep” Parham 75 FS 23 FG, Aeromaster 72-177 decals

Construction posts Part I here:

North American AT-6 / SNJ Texan / Harvard Color Photographs Part II

A beautiful aerial photograph of two USAAF Texans from Luke Field in early 1943. The two Texans are immaculate, even at this early period they are in an overall natural metal finish.
A US Navy SNJ in an interesting paint scheme. Some modelers look for photographs of WWII-era SNJs in the elusive “Three Color” graded scheme, but this is not one of those. This SNJ appears to be in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme with a Light Gray vertical tail, and a replacement port wing in Non-Specular Sea Blue, likely with White undersurfaces.
A Navy Lieutenant in front of an SNJ-2 in a Yellow Wings scheme. Again, note the immaculate condition of the aircraft and paint job with a high-gloss finish.
Two Navy WAVES washing down an SNJ at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1944. At their peak over 83,000 women were serving in the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. (80-G-K-15001)
Another Navy SNJ warms up its engine. It wears an overall Natural Metal Finish with Orange Yellow wing bands and a white rudder. Many Navy trainers were given Orange Yellow markings or overall paint schemes to make them more visible in the air and warn other aviators of their pilots’ trainee status, resulting in the nickname “Yellow Peril” being applied to the trainers. (80-G-K-13381)
USAAF pilot trainees posing with an AT-6 for the camera. Literally hundreds of thousands of pilots earned their qualifications on the Texan in more than three decades of service. This photograph offers an excellent view of one of the many canopy framing configurations carried by the Texan.
In Commonwealth service the type was known as the Harvard. The Canada Car and Foundry built a total of 555 Harvard 4s under the designation NA-186, many of which trained pilots for the RCAF.
A USAAF Texan displaying markings typical after May 1942, when the red center of the national insignia was removed to prevent confusion with the Japanese Hinomaru. The “U.S. ARMY” lettering under the wings was dropped to speed up production, but was generally not removed from aircraft if already applied.
Texans soldiered on in the trainer role for many years after the war, and even performed combat roles in Korea and Vietnam. The type proved to have all the capabilities necessary for the Forward Air Control mission, directing strike aircraft to their targets. These Korean War LT-6G Texans of the 6147th Tactical Air Control Group in their sandbagged revetment would make a good diorama.
Another Texan from the 6147th TACG over Korea. Note the replacement cowling – the different sheen of the natural metal panels and anti-glare panel in black vs. the Olive Drab on the forward fuselage. The racks under the wings are for white phosphorous rockets, used to mark targets.

Part I here:

Arma Hobby North American F-6C of Major Eduard O. McComas in 1/72 Scale

Eduard McComas was the commander of the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group based in China.  He was shot down behind Japanese lines in September 1944, but evaded capture and returned to his unit with the help of Chinese guerrillas.  After his return he scored his first aerial victory and added steadily to his score.  On 23DEC44 he was photographing a Japanese airfield when the aircraft based there began taking off to intercept him.  McComas downed five Japanese fighters, becoming the only pilot in the CBI to score five in a single mission. 

“Miss Revenge” F-6C MAJ Eduard O. McComas 118 TRS 23 FG, Aeromaster 72-177 decals

118th TFS color photographs here:

Dog Company Audio Book Review

Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc – the Rangers Who Landed at D-Day and Fought Across Europe

Authored by Patrick K. O’Donnell, Narrated by John Pruden

Audiobook, 8 hours and 11 minutes

Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Language: English


Company D of the U.S. Army’s Second Ranger Battalion was one of the Allied units which landed at Normandy, but unlike most units it was tasked with a very specific and difficult mission; scale the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc, and destroy the German guns emplaced there.  If the guns were not destroyed, they could target any troops landing on either Omaha or Utah beach and jeopardize the entire invasion of Europe.

The book follows “Dog” Company (Dog being the phonetic pronunciation of the letter D) from recruitment and training Stateside to its deployment to England.  In preparation for the D-Day landings, the Rangers practiced the technics of amphibious landings and scaling cliffs along the English coast.

Despite all the training, the actual landings at Pointe Du Hoc were chaotic.  Several Rangers were put ashore on Omaha beach, those that were landed at their intended locations fought largely on their own for two days.  They moved to their objectives in small groups, and in remarkable displays of personal initiative managed to accomplish their missions and defend their positions until they could link up with the rest of the American forces.

After being rebuilt and re-equipped, the Rangers went on to fight in the Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge.  The Ranger Battalions were repeatedly thrust into the thick of the fighting, and by the end of the war eleven months after D-Day few of the original men remained.

The author tells the story of the Rangers from the soldiers’ personal perspectives, relying largely on interviews with the survivors.  There are a number of parallels with the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division as told in Band of Brothers and this book compares well to that work.  Recommended.

Women Warriors 172

Kurdish YPJ
USMC Sgt. Kirstie Ennis aboard CH-53 helicopter
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Kelsey Casey stands in front of an AV-8B Harrier at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, March 27, 2019.
USN WAVES with Devastator
ww485g_Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School
Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School, Russia
Kurdish YPJ
ww488_Soviet pilot Mariya Dolina_HSU_72missions_PetlyakovPe2
Soviet pilot Mariya Dolina HSU with Petlyakov Pe-2
US Air Force
US Army
USMC Sea Cobra pilot
WAC officers rescued after their ship was torpedoed off North Africa
Ukrainian sniper Olena Bilozerska
ATA pilot Maureen Dunlop

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Dragon Jagdpanzer IV L/70 Build in 1/72 Scale

Dragon’s kit number 7307 Jagdpanzer IV was originally released in 2005. There have been several re-boxings to account for different versions, and you can even buy assembled and painted models under their Dragon Armor line.
The lower hull is slide molded. The box contains several small sprues, many only containing a few parts. It must be a real trick to ensure all the need parts make it into the box! Molding is crisp and many of the parts are quite small and delicate, so care must be used to get everything off the sprue without damage.
A big plus for the Dragon kits is their tracks. They react well to standard modeling glues and can be stretched to get the desired length. The kit also included a turned metal gun barrel which is a nice touch. There is also a small PE fret for those who want to mess with it.
Fit of the parts is excellent. The road wheels come with the hubs molded separately for those who would rather paint before assembly to save some delicate painting.
The majority of the tools are molded separately which makes them much easier to paint. Most of these wind up on the engine deck and will be added after the main camo is applied.
Camouflage is Mr. Color Field Green over Dark Yellow.
Here is the finished product. The camo pattern is from Kagero Top Colors 32, Pz.Kpfw. IV family. The book includes Cartograph decals in the three major armor modeling scales, 1/72 and those other two. The radio antenna is Nitenol wire.

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of LCOL David “Tex” Hill in 1/72 Scale

Tex Hill was recruited from the U.S. Navy to fly with the American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers”, rising to command the 2nd Pursuit “Panda Bears”.  He was credited with 12.25 kills with the AVG.  When the Flying Tigers were officially disbanded on 04JUL42 Hill was one of five AVG veterans who stayed on to form the nucleus of the USAAF’s 23rd Fighter Group.  The group eventually traded in its P-40s for P-51 Mustangs, and Hill rose to the rank of Colonel and command of the 23rd.  Hill destroyed another 6 Japanese aircraft while flying the Mustang, bringing his final score to 18.25, but did not display his kill markings as he thought they would draw attention.  He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General in 1968.

Serial Number 43-12405 “Bull Frog” P-51B-1-NA 23FG LCOL David “Tex” Hill, Aeromaster 72-176 decals

Construction posts here:

The First Captured Zero – Mitsubishi A6M2 V-172 of the Tainan Kokutai

The first A6M2 Zero to be captured intact was not Koga’s Zero from the Aleutians, as is generally believed. The First captured Zero was serial number 3372, manufactured by Mitsubishi on 21OCT41. It was assigned to the Tainan Kokutai and given tail code V-172. On 26NOV41 it was flown by PO1C Shimezoh Inoue, who became lost on a transfer flight and landed his fighter on a beach near Teitsan, China. A second aircraft, V-174, was damaged landing on the beach at the same time.
V-172 was disassembled and carted off into the mountains by the local Chinese, while the damaged V-174 was destroyed. After several months the components were eventually transported to Liuchow, where Chinese and American mechanics began reassembling the Zero and restoring it to flight-worthy condition.
Notice in these three photographs from Liuchow the aircraft is missing the panels covering the engine accessory area aft of the engine. These had become lost during the journey. The tires were also missing, the originals were said to have been used by local Chinese to fashion shoes. Markings are blue tail stripes and a diagonal fuselage band in yellow.
By the end of Summer 1942 the restoration was complete, and the Zero emerged in Chinese camouflage colors wearing the new serial number P-5016 on her tail. By this time the Americans had become interested in flight testing the aircraft, and General Claire Chennault ordered it transferred to Kweilin in October 1942. Note the 23rd Fighter Group P-40E in the background. The distinctive shark’s mouth marking has led to the erroneous interpretation that the Zero was captured by the American Volunteer Group, the Flying Tigers.
P-5016 seen from a slightly different angle. At this time, the Zero only carried the Chinese national insignia on the underwing positions.
A later photograph which shows P-5016 still in Chinese camouflage but with American insignia under the wings. The engine accessory panels were replaced during the restoration, the new panels featuring distinctive non-standard cooling louvers. Note that the louver pattern differs slightly port and starboard.
This close-up shows the details of the port replacement panel to good advantage.
Several of the more experienced pilots from the 23rd FG were given the opportunity to fly the Zero. Here a group of American pilots familiarize themselves with the aircraft.
Details of the landing gear from the same series of photographs. The tires were replaced with American substitutes. Note the signs of stress visible on the drop tank, which has certainly suffered more punishment than it was designed to take. The undersides are stained and the load markings on the landing gear covers are retained, it is possible that the undersides retained their original Japanese camouflage.
A view of the cockpit shows several of the instruments have been replaced with American counterparts. The 7.7 mm cowl guns are still in place, visible in the upper part of the photograph. These guns were charged manually by the pilot using the handles mounted to the side.
In early 1943 the Zero was flown to Karachi, Pakistan, where it was loaded on a freighter and shipped to the United States for further testing. During transit it was damaged, repairs were made by Curtiss Aircraft employees and the Zero re-emerged in USAAF markings with the tail code EB-2 on 13JUL43. The landing gear cover has been repainted, it is possible that EB-2 also now wears U.S. camouflage colors. It was tested at Wright Field in these markings, then was transferred to Eglin Field, Florida for further testing, then returned again to Wright Field in April 1944. The tail code was changed to EB-200. It survived until March 1946 when it was listed as available for release, but its ultimate fate is unknown.

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of 1Lt Ralph “Kid” Hofer in 1/72 Scale

On an impulse, Ralph Hofer joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941.  He was shipped out to England and flew Hurricanes, but saw no combat until he transferred to the 4th Fighter Group at Debden, then equipped with the P-47 Thunderbolt.  Hofer was undisciplined and reckless in the air, preferring to attack enemy aircraft on his own without regard for the mission.  His luck held until 02JUL44, when he was shot down by flak while single-handedly strafing a German airfield in Yugoslavia.  Hofer was credited with destroying 30.5 German aircraft, including ground victories.

Serial Number 42-106924 “Salem Representative” P-51B-15-NA Ralph “Kid” Hofer, 334 FS 4 FG, Kits-World KW172002 decals

Construction posts here: