AZmodel Vought OS2U Kingfisher Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

The paintjob always begins with a surface primer and check for seems and other flaws. Any panel lines which have been sanded away and not properly restored can also be fixed at this point.
My particular Kingfisher carried an unusual set of markings, which were also quite faded so normal decals would not be accurate. I sent away for a custom-sized set of painting masks from Maketar which is my go-to product for painting insignia (Maketar here: The masked lines on the tail surfaces are for the Aleutian theater markings which were white stripes.
Photographs show the Insignia Blue was faded so a lighter mix of blue was sprayed on. In between each color, the seams of the masks were filled with Micro Mask to prevent any bleed through.
The camouflage was also faded and worn, in some areas the Blue Gray was worn away revealing the overall Light Gray finish underneath. I simulated this with a combination of tonal variations using the airbrush and sponge chipping until I was happy with the effect.
Many aircraft in the Aleutian Theater carried non-standard insignia, and this Kingfisher was a prime example. Early in the war the size of the national insignia was increased to reduce friendly-fire incidents. Subsequent directives added the bars and red surround, but on this Kingfisher the enlarged stars left insufficient room for the normal proportions so the size of the bars is smaller than specification. In addition, the insignia on the starboard upper and port lower wings should have been removed, but this was not done on this aircraft.
Here the panel lines have been given a wash and the major components are ready for assembly.
The finished model after a flat coat. I liked this subject for the weathered finish and unusual insignia. The kit needs a little TLC but builds up into a decent Kingfisher. If I build this kit again I will use a vacuform canopy set and side-step the problems I had with the kit parts. Overall though, I have always had a fondness for the Kingfisher and am glad to finally have one in my display case.

More finished pictures here:

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

The North American AT-6 was designed as a single-engine trainer for the USAAC. While performance figures are modest compared to contemporary fighter designs, the AT-6 was rugged, easy to maintain, and a joy to fly. Produced under license in several countries, the AT-6 and related variations served in several capacities with multiple air forces around the world and is still a popular Warbird today.
Even in its primary role as a trainer, the Texan could be armed. There was provision for a cowl-mounted Browning .30 caliber machine gun for gunnery training, with some versions mounting an additional Browning in the starboard wing. Here armorers load the cowl guns in preparation for a training mission, the photograph providing an excellent view of engine and propeller details.
The rear crew position could also be fitted with a .30 caliber Browning on a flexible mount for training aerial gunners, as seen here.
North American’s trainer spawned a bewildering variety of sub-types and related designs, many with additional modifications. In the U.S. Navy the type was called the SNJ, in Britain and the Commonwealth it was known as the Harvard. Figures vary depending on what exactly is being counted, but one estimate places total production at 15,495. Seen here are U.S. Navy SNJs at Naval Air Station Miami.
Navy training aircraft often carried yellow wings to increase visibility. While efforts were made to keep the aircraft clean, worn paint was generally not touched up and former front-line aircraft used as trainers were not generally repainted which resulted in some interesting color and marking combinations on the flight lines of training facilities. This SNJ at NAS Miami appears to have a worn application of Blue Gray on her fuselage.
Here a sailor performs brake maintenance on an SNJ, the angle of the photograph providing a view of the wheelwell interior.
Here a team of WAVE mechanics have removed the cowling of this SNJ, allowing the engine and accessory bay detail to be seen. The engine is a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp.
Many Texans in the training role were kept exceptionally clean, as can be seen in the mirror-like polish on the fuselage of this example.
“Bridget SQDN Baby” was used as a hack by a fighter squadron, and is seen at Mount Farm, England. Whether her acquisition by the unit was official or otherwise is not known.
Texans found their way into front-line service with several air forces over the years, this T-6 is serving as a Forward Air Controller with the USAF in Korea. Under the wings are white phosphorus rockets, used to mark targets for strike aircraft.

Part II here:

A Visual Tour of Battleship USS New Jersey Book Review

A Visual Tour of Battleship USS New Jersey, The Design of Iowa-Class Battleships Vol. 1

By John M. Miano

Hardcover, 302 pages, appendices, bibliography

Self-Published, copyright 2021 by John M. Miano

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎098998043X

ISBN-13: ‎978-0989980432

Dimensions: ‎11.0 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

Author John Miano has rare, perhaps even unique, access to the USS New Jersey (BB-62) as a museum ship as well as the drawings and blueprints of her which are archived there.  He has used this access to enter and photograph a vast number of her interior spaces, many of which are not open to the public.  In fact, several of the spaces he has photographed were not routinely entered by the crew when the ship was active so there are some really unusual and out-of-the-way areas shown in this book.

The book is organized by deck and each chapter begins with a labeled line drawing identifying each space by name.  Then the author proceeds through the deck, photographing representative spaces.  Captions are extensive, detailing what is shown in the photographs along with any interesting history and technical descriptions of the equipment shown so the reader knows exactly what they are looking at.  These are supplemented with pictures taken when the ship was active which helps explain how the equipment was used operationally or shows a previous configuration.  The Main Battery turrets, Engine Room #2 and Fire Room #2 are handled as separate chapters.  The topside views will be of most interest to modelers, and many are viewed from unusual perspectives.

Being self-published, the paper quality could be improved, and there are some captions which would benefit from the attentions of an editor.  However, these are minor points given the extensive coverage and amount of technical detail in the captions.

As a young Ensign I cross-decked to the New Jersey for a month in October 1985, and served aboard USS Missouri (BB-63) until 1989.  There are many photographs of areas I knew well, even accounting for the inevitable differences between sister ships.  Many other photographs are of spaces I never entered, being outside of my responsibilities.  Several are spaces which were only entered for inspection purposes while the ships were in service, but show some interesting detail of the ship’s construction or armor layout.  A must-have book for the battleship enthusiast, recommended.

AZmodel Vought OS2U Kingfisher Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

The newest Kingfisher on the shelf is this 2019 offering from AZmodel from the Czech Republic. The Kingfisher was the most common shipboard observation aircraft fielded by the U.S. Navy during the Second World War and has been well-represented in 1/72 scale.
The main sprue displays both raised and engraved surface detail. Fabric areas are perhaps a little exaggerated but look the part under a coat of paint. Beaching gear is included which is a welcome addition.
Parts are included to model the Kingfisher on either floats or wheels, which is appropriate as the actual aircraft could be converted easily as the need arose. A choice of single or twin guns is given for the observer’s position, and there is a set of bomb racks and 100-pound bombs for underwing stores.
Basic cockpit detail is provided. The mounts for the observer’s machine gun need to be trimmed back for the gun to fit properly.
Here the interior has been painted and weathered up a bit. I used the kit engine and added ignition wires. I was not clear on the position of the forward portion of the observer’s “shelf” and mounted mine too far forward.
Major assembly is complete in this photo. By this time I had realized my mistake with the cockpit part. I made adjustments to the kit with an exacto knife and made adjustments to my attitude with some modeling fluid from a little brown bottle. The seams were also smoothed out with some Perfect Plastic Putty.
More filling work was needed on the underside. The cockpit parts had spread the fuselage which left a gap on the underside. This was filled with superglue, and more PPP was needed along the wingroots.
Fit of the clear parts was not great, and I didn’t help matters by trying a new technique I had read about online and using Gorilla glue. The advantage to using Gorilla glue is that it does not fog and excess can be wiped away with a wet swab. The problem I encountered is the setting time is long and the bond is initially quite weak, which resulted in the canopy shifting slightly overnight. My next Kingfisher will feature vacuformed canopy sections. Here the canopy is in the process of being masked with little rectangles of masking tape.
The floats got some extra detail. Circular access ports were added to the top, there is no way they could have been molded on due to the mold release angle. Test fitting revealed there would be a gap at the rear support so this was built up with plastic card. The front of the float has an open cleat, while the underside has the hook for the towing sled and catapult attachment point added. The rudder linkage was added to the rear support, and the wing floats got wire handholds.
The beaching gear was missing several small details, but these were easily added with Evergreen and wire. The propeller hub looked odd, but then I noticed that it was just missing the counterweight assemblies and that was soon fixed.

Part II here:

Royal Canadian Navy Coastal Forces Colour Photographs

During the Second World War the British Commonwealth operated a large number of small combatants of several types. These vessels were quite versatile, common fittings allowing for rapid changes in armament to adapt them to various roles. Here is Q050, an RCN Fairmile B on patrol off Newfoundland in 1944.
Taken from the same series, Q094 passes a small iceberg. The boats typically operated in groups of six, and could augment or replace larger escorts or patrol ships in coastal waters.
Armament could vary considerably over time and be configured to fit various roles. This is the bow 20mm Oerlikon cannon aboard Q094. The Oerlikon was a reliable and hard-hitting weapon and was used in a variety of mounts.
A closeup of the conning station showing details of interest to modelers. The rating is operating a signal lamp. Note the side light with the darkened trough.
A fine study of MTB-460, a Canadian G Type torpedo boat of the 29th Motor Torped Boat Flotilla. She participated in the D-Day landings on 06JUN44, but was mined and sunk with the loss of ten crew on 01JUL44.
A bows-on shot of MTB-460 at speed. Her main mast is offset to the starboard side, an unusual feature.
A large group of Fairmile D Motor Torpedo Boats seen moored at Great Yarmouth in 1945. The group includes the Canadian 65th MTB Flotilla. The gun mounted forward is a 6-pounder (57mm) with a Molins autoloader, a heavy and potent weapon for a small craft.
A detail view of the previous photograph which allows a comparison of the equipment fit and stowage variations between individual vessels. A close study reveals no two are quite the same.

Hasegawa Curtiss SOC Seagull Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

This is the underside of the float version after checking seams with a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1500. The lower wing part is thick near the fuselage. This one had some sink marks, but the other one didn’t.
Here is the float resting on the cart. I have added several circular inspection covers which were missing from the mold. The kit parts include a flat raised portion along the upper surface of the float which actually had a corrugated appearance. I filed off the flat surface and replaced if with lengths of 0.030” Evergreen rod to better represent the actual appearance.
This is what “negative modeling” looks like. I attempted to paint the section markings on the upper wing, but the red paint infiltrated under my masking. Either the masking was not burnished down well enough or the thinner reacted with the adhesive, or maybe a little of both. In any case, I sanded off the offending red, repainted the Orange Yellow, and used decals instead.
The floatplane will be in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme, seen here under a layer of Glosscoat ready for decals.
Decals are from Starfighter sheet 72-135 USN at Midway and went on without any problems. These are the major components ready for assembly. The paint is still glossy at this point, I will apply the final flat finish after the rigging is done.
These are the major components for the wheeled version. Decals are from Yellow Wing Decals with the green tail stripes painted on. The red on the cowling was darkened a bit to match the red on the decals.
Rigging was done with 0.005” Nitinol wire, measured with dividers and secured in place with Micro Liquitape. The Liquitape never totally dries out but remains tacky which allows any wires which come loose to be simply re-applied. The radio antenna wires are 0.004” Nitinol.
The finished models. They need some extra added details but build up reasonably well for 53-year-old kits. They will have to do as they are the only 1/72 scale SOCs in town and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

List of improvements:

Landing light drilled out.

Elevator hinges replaced.

Molded-on streamed antenna on port side replaced.

Aileron linkages replaced with Evergreen rod.

Gun trough drilled out, gun from tubing.

Float access ports added, top surfaces replaced.

Hand grabs added on wingtip floats.

Cockpits replaced with Starfighter resin.

Engines replaced with RE&W resin, engine wired.

Pilot’s grab holes cut into upper wing.

Rigged with Nitinol wire.

Cart built for floatplane.

Mass balances added for ailerons.

Exhausts drilled out.

Propeller shaft is off center, replaced with rod. Steps added on float struts.

More finished photographs here:

Hasegawa Curtiss SOC Seagull Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

Hasegawa molds the struts with a “cap” on each end which is designed to fit into slots in the wings. Unfortunately this leaves seams between the struts which are difficult to fill, because the seams are between the struts. Duh. One imperfect solution is to cut out the “cap” portion and eliminate the seams, which is what I chose to do in this case.
These are the Starfighter resin interior bits painted and ready to go. The engine has been given ignition wires. Seatbelts are masking tape, which looks good through the canopy.
Here are the major components together, joined with MEK from the hardware store. Seams were visible around the tail planes and wing to fuselage joint. These were filled with Perfect Plastic Putty.
Joints on the underside fit somewhat better. This one will be the wheeled version, so attachment points for the floats have been filled with Evergreen stock and Mr. Surfacer.
No masking set for this kit, so masking was done the old-fashioned way. The canopy needed a little PPP to fill in the gaps. Sharp-eyed readers will notice the gun trough added to the forward fuselage.
Here the center struts have been added after the seams in the wings are sanded smooth. The wing was missing the pilot’s hand-holds, so these were drilled out. Also the attachment points for the rigging have been drilled.
Hasegawa provides a display stand for the floatplane but it is not intended to represent anything prototypical. I whipped this stand up from Evergreen stock based upon one of the photographs of a cart used on a Cruiser in the Ginter SOC book.

Part III here:

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale Book Review

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale

By Bert Kinzey, illustrated by Rock Roszak

Softcover, 108 pages, heavily illustrated with photographs, drawings, and color profiles

Independently published, printed on demand

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎ 1729119751

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1729119754

Dimensions: ‎ 8.5 x 0.3 x 11.0 inches

The Detail & Scale series needs no introduction to modelers.  This is volume 7 of the new series which is intended to be purchased electronically as an e-book, but can also be printed on demand for those who prefer a physical copy.  Luddite that I am, I prefer a hard copy for a number of reasons but know there are those who would rather see history through a glowing rectangle.

The new series paradigm is to re-work a title from the original D&S series and expand upon it with additional photographs and information.  D&S previously published two print volumes on the Wildcat, Volumes 30 and 65 in the original series.  This volume expands on the content of the previous works, with 108 pages as compared to 80 pages in volume 65.  The two sections which have benefitted most from the expansion are the Modeler’s Section which as gone from 2 to 11 pages, and a new 9-page section on Paint Schemes & Colors which gives a succinct overview of the changes made to U.S. Navy camouflage and markings as they evolved throughout the war.

The ”walk around” and historical sections have also been expanded.  Much of the material is new, with only a small percentage being re-used from the previous volumes.  The evolution of the Wildcat is more complex and convoluted than a casual observer may realize, and the major strength of this book as a modeling reference is the explanation of the detail differences between the various sub-types and foreign orders.

One weak point is the quality of the print on demand copy.  The paper is inferior to the original series.  There is not as much contrast in the black & white photo reproduction, and the color pictures appear too bright and “loud”.

For quality of content on the Wildcat family this book sets the standard as a modeling reference.  This is not a simple reprint of the original work, the older volumes still retain their value as much of the content in this book is new, not simply augmented.  The new Arma Wildcats are not reviewed in the Modeler’s Section as this book pre-dates their release, but just about every other kit is included.  Highly recommended as a modeling reference.