Boeing RB-47 Stratojet Walk Around Part II

Photographs taken at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (NMUSAF) at Dayton, Ohio.

Part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/08/14/boeing-rb-47-stratojet-walk-around-part-iii/

Boeing Model 307 Stratoliner Color Photographs

The Model 307 Stratoliner was an attempt by Boeing to re-engineer their successful B-17 design into a civilian airliner. This was done by marrying the engines, wings, and tail surfaces of the B-17C with an all- new fuselage optimized to carry passengers. The design first flew on 31DEC38. Three months later the aircraft crashed killing all ten people aboard; analysis of the crash led Boeing to increase the vertical tail surfaces by extending the fin along the top of the fuselage. This feature was introduced into B-17 production starting with the E model Fortress.
Despite the crash the Stratoliner entered production, Pan Am receiving their first aircraft in July 1940. TWA ordered five, on this example the B-17 heritage is obvious in the shape of the wings and tail.
Ten Model 307s were produced before America’s entry into the war curtailed all commercial aircraft production. TWA’s five Stratoliners were purchased by the Army for use as trans-Atlantic transports as the C-75. They were modified to carry additional fuel and served shuttling VIPs between America and England until replaced by the Douglas C-54 Skymaster in 1944, when they were returned to TWA. (LIFE Magazine photograph)
Flight crew consisted of a Pilot, Co-Pilot, and Flight Engineer. Passenger capacity was 33, which was increased to 38 after the aircraft were converted back to civilian airliners.
Both Pan Am and TWA sold off their Stratoliners in 1947 to other airlines, replacing them with faster types which could carry more passengers. Airnautic operated its Stratoliner in commercial service until 1974, flying routes out of Corsica.
Millionaire Howard Hughes purchased NC-19904 for an attempt at breaking his own speed record for an around-the-world flight. His attempt was abandoned with the start of the Second World War. He christened his Stratoliner “The Flying Penthouse”.
In an unusual twist, the fuselage of Hughes’ Stratoliner was ultimately sold and converted into a boat and named the “Cosmic Muffin”. She operated out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The last surviving Model 307 is NC-19903. On its flight to the Smithsonian on 28MAR02 it was ditched at Seattle, Washington. The aircraft was successfully recovered, restored to flight-worthy condition, and the second time the donation flight was successful. The aircraft is currently on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Pan Am markings.

B-17 color photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/05/29/color-b-17g-flying-fortress-nose-art-of-the-490-bomb-group/

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Foreign Service Book Review

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Foreign Service

By Jan Forsgren, illustrated by Artur Juszczak

Series:  MMP White Series

Softcover in dustjacket, 112 pages, photographs, 18 color profiles

Published by MMPBooks, July 2019

Language: English

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-8365958-21-1

Dimensions: ‎ 8.2 x 0.4 x 11.7 inches

Much has been written about the B-17 Flying Fortress.  The stories of B-17s in USAAF and RAF service fill many bookcases, and readers could be forgiven for thinking these were the only users of the B-17.  The U.S. Navy also flew the Fortress as the PB-1 in the Seach and Rescue and Airborne Early Warning roles, but this is not as well known.  The focus of this book is even more obscure, the use of the B-17 by other nations.

The book is arranged alphabetically by nations which operated B-17s; Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Taiwan, USSR, and Yugoslavia.  Some of these countries captured their examples like Japan and Germany – both Axis nations evaluated the Fortress and Germany even used theirs operationally for special missions with KG 200.  The Soviets, denied American bombers through Lend-Lease, flew interred examples and repaired any they found as they pushed West into Europe.  The stories of B-17s in Israeli and Taiwanese service are worthy of spy novels.

Each chapter contains numerous photographs and catalogs what is known about each aircraft by serial number.  Artur Juszczak has rendered eighteen full color profiles which illustrate the colors and markings applied by the different nations.

This book is a boon to modelers looking to model a Fortress with a little something different.  There were numerous anecdotes and photographs which were new to me, and if additional details were available, several of the chapters could be made into very interesting books in their own right.  Highly recommended for modelers and enthusiasts looking for something new on the B-17 Flying Fortress.

Boeing XB-39 Superfortress

The Boeing XB-39 was an experimental project to evaluate the substitution of the Allison V-3420-17 inline engine for the Wright R-3350 radials on a B-29 airframe, should the R-3350 run into insurmountable engineering or supply issues.
The airframe selected was the first YB-29 developmental aircraft, 41-36954. The aircraft was camouflaged in the standard USAAF Olive Drab over Neutral Gray scheme. Note the forward turret is equipped with only two .50 caliber machine guns instead of the later four-gun turret.
The Allison V-3420-17 was a 24-cylinder inline, basically made by joining two Allison V-1710 engines to a common crankcase. It was a successful design with a 1:1 power to weight ratio.
The Fisher Body division of General Motors was selected for the work due to their experience in developing the XP-75 Eagle long-range fighter, a design which also was to use the Allison V-3420. 41-36954 was christened “The Spirit of Lincoln” and conversion work began at Fisher’s Detroit plant.
Technicians are seen at work on the engine nacelle in this page from a Fisher’s brochure. Modelers should note that the Olive Drab paint has been worn off the wings around the new nacelles, which have been left in natural aluminum and that the leading edge fairings on the wings have been removed.
The result was an attractive aircraft with a hybrid finish of new natural aluminum components added to a camouflaged airframe.
The planned General Electric superchargers were not ready when the first flight was made on 09DEC44. In spite of the lack of superchargers, the XB-39 was able to surpass 400 mph, demonstrating the validity of the concept.
An interesting photograph of the undersides of the XB-39 in flight. The horizontal tail surfaces and rudder have been replaced, and the starboard aileron has had its outer surfaces removed revealing the internal structure. This was sometimes done to solve aerodynamic flutter but it is not clear if that was the reason in this case.
This photograph shows off the engine nacelles to good advantage.
Despite the success of the conversion, the decision was made to continue B-29 production using the R-3350 radials, as the issues with the radial engines were being rectified and supply chain issues did not materialize. The Spirit of Lincoln would remain the only B-39 ever constructed.

Boeing Stearman N2S PT-17 Primary Trainer Color Photographs

Stearman_01_N2S-2
Commonly called the Stearman, this aircraft was known by several names and designations depending on the contract, country, and engine type fitted. It was one of the major primary trainer types used by the United States and its Allies before and during the Second World War.

Stearman_02_Group_RA
This beautiful 1942 photograph from the NASM Rudy Arnold collection illustrates some of the major designations. Furthest from the camera is a Royal Canadian Air Force PT-27, the Canadians called them Kaydets. Next is a USAAC PT-17, which is almost touching wingtips with a Navy N2S-3. Nearest is a PT-17 in Chinese Air Force markings.

Stearman_03_NAS, Corpus Christi, Texas
The American pilot training program was a massive undertaking and utilized almost 10,000 Stearmans along with several other types. Here a group of Navy instructors and trainees walks along the apron at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.

Stearman_04_N2S Yellow Perils, 1942-43
Pilots of the Morning Wing get their flying assignments by class. The leather flight jackets were a status symbol. Undoubtedly hot in the Texas sun, they would be needed in the Stearman’s open cockpits.

Stearman_05_Rodd Field, Corpus Christi, Texas
Sailors wait atop the upper wings to fuel the aircraft in turn. The Stearman was a rugged design, fully aerobatic and simple to produce and maintain.

Stearman_06_N2S and N3N NAS Corpus Christi
One of the more derisive nicknames for the aircraft was the “Yellow Peril”. This swarm of N2S and similar N3N trainers taxiing for take-off at NAS Corpus Christi would certainly represent a significant hazard to air navigation once aloft!

Stearman_07_HG
This early 1943 photo shows USAAF PT-17s in overall aluminum dope. U.S. aircraft had previously carried the national insignia in six positions, but the insignia under the port and over the starboard upper wing were removed at the start of 1943. The removal job was perhaps a little overzealous on the higher aircraft, the “ARMY” lettering has also been painted over leaving only the “U.S.”. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)

Stearman_08_HG
A clear view of the undersides as this Army Stearman banks away. The single-strut landing gear is shown to good advantage. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)

Stearman_09_HG
The Stearman found its way into the civilian market, and they were sold off by the hundreds as surplus after the war. Their robust construction and simplicity make them very popular, often with the same pilots who had earlier learned to fly at their controls. Here a Stearman is being used for crop dusting, the forward pilot position having been converted into a hopper for the payload. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)

Stearman_10_HG
An atmospheric scene and an excellent diorama subject. Several Stearmans are still flying today, with many more preserved in museums. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)

Shigetoshi Kudo, the First Nightfighter Ace of the Pacific War

Shigetoshi Kudo was trained as a reconnaissance pilot and was assigned to the famous Tainan Kokutai in October 1941.  When the Pacific War began he supported the Kokutai by performing reconnaissance and navigation duties over the Philippines and Dutch East Indies.  The unit eventually moved to Rabaul, where Kudo was credited with his first aerial victories using air-to-air bombs.  Kudo returned to Japan in the fall of 1942 where he trained to fly the Nakajima J1N1 Gekko (“Irving”) nightfighter.

The Tainan Kokutai was redesignated the 251st Kokutai in November 1942, Kudo rejoining the unit in May 1943.  On strength were two J1N1 nightfighters which had been modified with the addition of oblique-firing 20mm cannon on the orders of the squadron commander, CDR Yasuna Kozono.  These guns were angled to fire 30 degrees above and below the line of flight, similar to the Schräge Musik installation on German nightfighters.  Kudo flew the J1N1 defending Rabaul against American B-17s, eventually claiming six plus an Australian Hudson and becoming the first nightfighter ace of the Pacific War.  Japanese sources credited him with nine victories.

Kudo returned to Japan in February 1944 and was assigned to the Yokosuka Air Group.  He was injured in a landing accident in May 1945.  He survived the war but died in 1960.

Kudo_01_c5m-4
Chief Petty Officer Shigetoshi Kudo poses with his Mitsubishi C5M “Babs” reconnaissance plane. On August 29, 1942 Kudo intercepted a formation of eight B-17s attacking Rabaul. He flew above the formation and dropped air-to-air bombs, reporting claims for one destroyed and one probable. American records did not show any losses.

 

Kudo_02_Kozono_at_Rabaul
251 NAG commanding officer CDR Yasuna Kozono on the left, CPO Shigetoshi Kudo on the right at Rabaul. Kudo holds a presentation sword inscribed “For Conspicuous Military Valor”, Kozono ordered the modification of the J1N1 Gekko to carry the oblique cannons.

 

Kudo_03
A J1N1 Gekko “Irving” nightfighter showing the 20mm cannon installations above and below the fuselage. This aircraft carries an overall black or dark green finish and the tail codes of the Yokosuka Naval Air Group. The Gekko flown by Kudo over Rabaul was camouflaged in dark green over light gray-green and carried the tail codes UI-13.

 

Kudo_04_41-9224HoniKuuOkole
On May 21, 1943 Kudo claimed his first night victories in the J1N1, both B-17Es. The first was 41-9244 “Honi Kuu Okole”, the second an unnamed Fortress, 41-9011. Neither aircraft was seen to go down, the Americans attributing their losses to a mid-air collision. Only seven crewmen of the twenty carried by the two aircraft survived the crashes. Six were executed by the Japanese at Rabaul, bombardier Gordon Manual evaded capture with the help of natives and was eventually rescued by the submarine USS Gato (SS-212) eight months later. Honi Kuu Okole was originally requisitioned from a Royal Air Force order and was one of four Fortresses in the Pacific camouflaged in the RAF Temperate Sea scheme. Model of Honi Kuu Okole here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/10/08/airfix-boeing-b-17e-conversion-honi-kuu-okole-in-1-72-scale/

 

Kudo_05_41-24454_GeorgiaPeach
B-17F “Georgia Peach” 41-24454 was downed by Kudo on June 13, 1943. One of eighteen B17s attacking the airfield at Vunakanau, her loss was attributed to anti-aircraft fire by the Americans. Two of her crew survived the crash, Navigator Philip Bek was executed at Rabaul, Bombardier Jack Wisener survived the war as a POW.

 

Kudo_06_41-2430_Townsville(2)
Seen here taking off from Townville, Australia is B-17E “Naughty But Nice” serial number 41-2430. Kudo shot her down on June 26, 1943, her loss again being attributed by the Americans to flak. 41-2430 was finished in the Hawaiian Air Depot camouflage scheme.

 

Kudo_07_41-2430_KokopoWM_Rabaul
The nose art of “Naughty But Nice” is currently on display at the Kokopo War Museum at Rabaul, New Britain. The remains of the Fortress and her crew were discovered in 1982 by a team including the sole survivor of her crash, Navigator Jose Holguin, who returned the remains of his crewmates to the United States.

 

Kudo_08_41-24448
Kudo’s second victim on the night of June 26, 1943 was B-17F “Taxpayers Pride”, serial number 41-24448. Waist gunner Joel Griffin was the sole survivor from the crew of ten, he survived the war as a POW. (Australian War Memorial photograph)

 

Kudo_09_B-17_Pluto
B-17F “Pluto II” serial number 41-24543 was claimed by Kudo on June 30, 1943, his sixth Flying Fortress. All ten members of her crew were lost, including Australian William MacKay who was sent to operate a new radar set. Kudo also put in claims for a B-24 but American records only show one B-24 loss on that date, B-24D 42-40254 which was sent on a weather reconnaissance mission and never checked in. Other sources credit another J1N1 nightfighter pilot, LTJG Satoru Ono, with her destruction.
Kudo_10_Lockheed_Hudson_NZ2035
Kudo’s final victory was a Lockheed Hudson of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No. 3 Squadron, NZ 2033 serial number 3856 operating from Guadalcanal. She was lost with all four of her crew on 13 July 1943 on flare dropping mission. Pictured is another No. 3 Squadron Hudson, NZ 2035.

New York City Vintage Photographs Part IV

NYC_31
A Douglas DC-3 of The Great Silver Fleet over Manhattan before the war. The DC-3 is a classic design, adapted as the primary air transport type of the U.S. and Allied services under a wide variety of designations. Many still fly today.
NYC_32_submarine-USS-Nautilus-New-York-Harbor-1958
A fireboat welcomes the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) to New York Harbor in 1958. Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, and the first submarine to travel submerged to the North Pole under the arctic ice sheet.
NYC_33_uss_plunger
Another submarine from a different era, USS Plunger (SS-2) underway off the Brooklyn Naval Yard. In September 1905 Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to submerge in a submarine aboard Plunger. In 1909 she was commanded by Ensign Chester Nimitz, who would rise to the rank of Fleet Admiral in the Second World War.
NYC_34_Y1B17_06_RA
A Y1B-17 flies over New York with Manhattan in the background. The US Army Air Corps almost did not order Boeing’s B-17 into production, some officers favoring the less expensive and less radical Douglas B-18 Bolo instead.
NYC_35_SS-Normandie-ca.-1935-1941-One-of-the-most-beautiful-Ocean-Liners-ever-built-in-Art-Deco-Style.-Renamed-to-USS-Lafayette-in-WWII
A beautiful photograph of the ill-fated French liner SS Normandy entering New York Harbor with the Manhattan skyline in the background. This view would be seen by thousands of U.S. soldiers and sailors leaving for and returning from the war in Europe.
NYC_36_M7_Priest
A NYC police officer directs traffic as a US Army M-7 Priest self-propelled howitzer navigates an intersection. The M-7 received its nickname because of the round “pulpit” with machine gun for the vehicle commander.
NYC_37_new-york-city-1950s
The USS Saratoga (CV-60) seen leaving New York Harbor. The automobiles on the flight deck indicate she is transiting to a new home port, the crew being allowed to take their cars with them as deck cargo.
NYC_38_
The crew musters on the deck of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) for her commissioning ceremony on Navy Day, 27OCT45. She was the second of three Midway class aircraft carriers, which were half again as big as the previous Essex class carriers but too late to see action in WWII.
NYC_39
The Iowa class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) silhouetted against the Manhattan skyline. Missouri was the site of the formal Japanese surrender which ended the Second World War on 02SEP45.
NYC_40_DC4
The Douglas DC-4E prototype over Manhattan. This aircraft was evaluated by United Airlines during 1938-39. The design was later refined with a shorter wingspan and more conventional tail as the DC-4, and was adopted by the USAAF as the C-54 transport. Japanese Airways bought the DC-4E prototype, which was reverse-engineered by Nakajima as the unsuccessful G5N “Liz” bomber.

Part V here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/new-york-city-vintage-photographs-part-v-color-photos/

2020 Year in Review

“May you live in interesting times.” – ancient Chinese curse

Gingerbread
2020 in the form of a gingerbread house.

Oddly for a method of telling time, the positioning of our new year is arbitrary from a physical perspective and should have no actual bearing on earthly events, but here’s hoping for a better 2021 anyway!

I’ll look for the “win” here even if it is minor: We modelers are fortunate to have an inherently solitary hobby in these times.  Overall modeling appears to have picked up, Hornsby (parent company of Airfix) is reporting profits for the first time in years.  Modeling podcasts have come into their own and make bench time even more enjoyable.

The biggest void from a modeling perspective in my opinion is the cancellation of the shows.  I usually attend half a dozen per year and they are always a fine day out, with friends, new kits, and getting to see the work of hundreds of fellow modelers.  Also missing was the Half Price Books annual clearance sale where literally semi-truck loads of books are sold at ridiculously low prices at the state fairgrounds.

On a different note, perhaps the most interesting story of the year received very little attention – the U.S. government admitted that it was studying materials retrieved from vehicles of extraterrestrial origin.  Another commentary on the year 2020.

Blog Statistics and News

2020 was the second complete year for the Inch High Guy blog.  I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, so 366 posts due to the leap year.  The blog received 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors, up from 27,174 views and 7,303 visitors last year.  The most popular post was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 1,857 views, followed by “The B-17E and the Myth of the Bendix Ventral Turret” with 1,116 views.  Forts appear to be popular around here!

Link:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/b-17-flying-fortress-interior-colors-part-i/

Link: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/the-b-17e-and-the-myth-of-the-bendix-ventral-turret/

I am still struggling with the counter-intuitive Word Press editor, and that was only made worse with the introduction of the Word Press “Block Editor” in September.  This eliminated some useful functions while re-naming and moving others, with no apparent improvements on the user end.  On a more positive note, I did finally locate the tagging function and busied myself adding tags to all posts old and new.

I have linked several posts on ScaleMates, where the walk-around posts of museum aircraft have proved to be the most popular.  The Women Warriors posts have found a following with wargamers over on The Miniatures Page, among others.  I had intended for these pictures to tell their own stories, but there have been a few requests for captions.  Easier said than done with the modern-era photos as information ranges from obvious to impossible-to-determine, but there may be hope for the historical pictures.

Models Built in 2020

Forty-seven completions, twenty-nine aircraft and eighteen vehicles.  In addition I painted fifteen figures (plus one dog) and constructed three diorama bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference.  The mosaic has a picture of each build, if you want to see more finished pictures or the construction posts just follow the tags at the bottom of this post or enter the descriptions in the search bar in the upper right column.

Hasegawa Kawanishi Kyofu (Rex) x 2

Tamiya Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

Aoshima Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

MPM Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

Hasegawa Kawanishi Shiden Kai (George) x 2

Hasegawa Mitsubishi Raiden (Jack)

Fujimi Aichi B7A1 Ryusei (Grace)

LS Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)

AZ Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)

Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk x 5

Tamiya Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

Airfix Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress conversion to B-17E x 2

RPM Hotchkiss H35 French Light Tank

RAF Bomber Supply Set x 2 (6 vehicles)

IBG Chevrolet C15A Personnel Lorry

Monogram Boeing F4B-4 x 2

Rare Bits Boeing F4B-1 Conversion

Monogram Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk

Matchbox Boeing P-12E x 2

Czech Master Resin Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk

Plastic Soldier StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun x 3

Trumpeter StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun

Revell Heinkel He 177A-5 Greif

Revell Junkers Ju 88P-1 Conversion

Hasegawa Heinkel He 111H-20

Italeri 15 cm Field Howitzer sFH 18

Trumpeter Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter

Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H

Planet Models Resin Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Revell Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Trumpeter Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Forward

Arma hobby has just announced a P-51 B/C Mustang in 1/72. The computer renders look good and show areas such as the wing leading edge and wheel well openings which have given other manufacturers problems appear to have been rendered properly. Here’s hoping! Every previous B/C in 1/72 scale has had some major shape issue so an accurate new tool kit has been at the top of many modeler’s wish lists for many years now. The early Mustangs, if done well, are sure to be a hit and a license to print money for Arma so here’s wishing for a successful release!

In more local news Ms. Inch High put a Creality LD-002R 3-D resin printer under the Christmas tree this year. These are very useful if you know what you’re doing, which I don’t at this point. Hopefully I will soon though, and I look forward to printing something useful. It is an amazing technology to have sitting on the bench. For all the talk of “Death of the Hobby” in some circles, I have yet to see any hint of it from here.

I have enjoyed putting this together, and have enjoyed hearing from other modelers and discovering other blogs.  A big thank you to all who have visited here, commented, followed, and especially those who have posted links.  

May you all live long enough to build every model in your stash!