Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 of Oberleutnant Günther Rall in 1/72 Scale

Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 of Oberleutnant Günther Rall of 8. / JG52, Russia, SEP42.  Fine Molds kit.

Günther Rall flew this aircraft upon returning to 8. / JG52 after recovering from a broken back sustained when he was shot down on 28NOV41 after his 36th victory.  By the end of the month he had brought his score to 90.  The aircraft shows signs of overpainting on the fuselage sides.  Rall was superstitious about the number thirteen and preferred that number on his assigned aircraft.

Rall was promoted to Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 52 in July 1943 and in September was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.  In April 1944 he was transferred to the Western Front and command of II./JG 11.  Like so many Experten transferred from the Eastern Front, he found combat against the Americans and British to be a much different thing than fighting the Russians.  On 12MAY44 Major Rall found himself facing the P-47 Thunderbolts of Colonel Hubert Zemke and his “Wolfpack”.  Unable to evade or outrun the powerful Thunderbolts, Rall bailed out of his damaged Messerschmitt with a severed thumb.  He survived the war as the third-highest scoring fighter pilot with 275 victories.  Post-war he served in the German Bundesluftwaffe, retiring with the rank of the rank of Generalleutnant.

Günther Rall passed away on 04OCT09 at the age of 91.

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2020 Year in Review

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

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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!

The 79th Fighter Group Book Review

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The 79th Fighter Group: Over Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy in World War II

By Dan Woerpel

Hardcover in dustjacket, 264 pages, illustrated, appendixes, indexed, twelve color profiles

Published by Schiffer Publishing July 2001

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0764313223

ISBN-13: 978-0764313226

Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.0 x 11.1 inches

The 79th Fighter Group first saw combat over North Africa in early 1943 equipped with Curtis P-40 Warhawks.  After the Axis armies were defeated in North Africa the Group moved on to Sicily, and then the Italian mainland where it was re-equipped with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, which it flew until the end of the war.  The Group was mainly engaged in ground attack and interdiction missions as the Luftwaffe presence was reduced while the Italian Campaign progressed.  138 Axis aircraft were claimed destroyed in the air; the list of ground targets destroyed is also impressive and includes damaging the Italian aircraft carrier Aquilla.

The Group was comprised of three squadrons; the 85th Fighter Squadron “Flying Skulls”; 86th FS “Comanches”; and 87th FS “Skeeters”.  For a time the 99th FS was also attached while the Group was in Sicily.

Being a unit history, the book follows the 79th Fighter Group from its formation to the end of occupation duty in Germany.  The account is quite detailed and covers each mission the squadrons flew with an accounting of claims and losses from each.  While this can get somewhat repetitive, there are enough personal accounts from the pilots to keep things interesting.  The author has done an outstanding job of describing the overall strategic progress of the war which provides vital context for the Group’s movements and assignments.  There is also an entire chapter devoted to the experiences of pilots shot down behind enemy lines and their successful evasion or ultimate captivity.

Many Schiffer publications consist almost entirely of photographs with a small portion of the book devoted to text.  This is not one of those books.  Although there are a number of photographs the focus of this work is on the history.  While I would always prefer more pictures there are enough here to help tell the story.  These are augmented by twelve nicely done color illustrations by artist S. W. Ferguson which are rendered in perspective.

The 79th Fighter Group was unique in the number and variety of Axis aircraft which its personnel rebuilt and returned to flightworthy condition.  While other units would also occasionally refurbish a few captured aircraft, it was almost an obsession with the 79th.  There is mention of some of these aircraft but I would have liked to have seen much more material included on this as it was a defining peculiarity of the unit.

This is a large book, definitely not just an evening’s read.  I did find it interesting and informative.  It is well-written and I enjoyed the author’s style.  If you’re interested in the Italian Campaign or the daily operations of a Fighter Group then I would not hesitate to recommend this book.

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Tamiya Republic P-47D Thunderbolt of Major Glenn Eagleston in 1/72 Scale

This the P-47D-30-RE Thunderbolt serial 44-20473 of Major Glenn T. Eagleston of the 353rd Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group.  Major Eagleston was the top scorer in the 9th Air Force with 18.5 victories.  The kit is Tamiya’s excellent P-47D bubbletop.  The kit is a real pleasure to build and goes together with no problems at all.  I used a Yahu instrument panel in the cockpit and added seatbelts.  Decals are from Super Scale sheet 72-762 and performed flawlessly in spite of being in the stash for a number of years.  Antenna wire is 0.004” Nitenol.

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Tamiya Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Bubbletop Build Part II

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The particular Thunderbolt I’m modeling is the P-47D-30-RE of Major Glenn Eagleston of the 355th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, a rather well-known aircraft.  For an overall NMF aircraft there sure are a lot of colors to mask off and here are the first two, yellow on the cowl and the beginnings of invasion stripes under the fuselage.

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The masking tape is just regular household tape from the hardware store.  I have not had any issues pulling off the Alclad as long as the surfaces were properly prepared and the paint was allowed to dry overnight.

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The prop had a yellow hub, the easiest way to paint this is to punch an appropriate hole in plastic card and use that as a mask.

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All the panels have been masked and painted in this view.  The black invasion stripes are more faded than the other black markings.

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Here the landing gear has been installed and the model has been shot with a coat of Future (Klear) in preparation for decals.  The wheels are a natural place for the model to rest while drying, and the Future adds just a little bit more of adhesive to keep all the fiddly bits in place.

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Markings are from an old Super Scale sheet, 72-762, and performed perfectly.  I almost always have good luck with Super Scale.  You do need to double check their profiles though, this one missed the invasion stripes completely.

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After the decals dried overnight I sealed them with a second coat of Future and washed the panel lines.  I didn’t remove all the excess wash, but used it to dirty up the finish with faint streaking.  The model was then shot with a mix of Dullcoat and Glosscoat to make it look a bit more grimy.  The NMF still manages to shine through all the “dirt” which adds interest, at least to my eye.  The antenna wire is 0.004” Nitenol wire.

Tamiya Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Bubbletop Build Part I

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This is Tamiya’s excellent P-47D Thunderbolt kit, a rare single-kit build for me (well, sort of anyway).  I pulled this one out of the stash looking for a relatively simple project while waiting for the world’s postal systems to get back to normal and deliver up some insignia masks from our friends at Maketar for another project, which is currently stalled at the painting stage.

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This one had been in the stash for a bit and the box offered up a few pleasant surprises.  The first was a Yahu instrument panel.  These are little gems and relatively inexpensive, well worth picking up if you’re doing an open cockpit build.  The other surprise was past me did present me solid favor by painting up the propellers and wiring the engine.  Much of the work on those components are masking and drying time so it takes little additional effort to work ahead and knock off these types of details while working on other kits, which is apparently what I have done here.

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A shot of the general mess on the bench after the end of the first day.  The interior colors are on and the major pieces have been prepped.  Landing gear doors are cleaned up, taped to a card, and painted.  I have assembled all the hangy bits and masked the canopy, which was relatively simple for this subject.  Somewhere the cockpit components are also taped to a card and painted.

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Here is the cockpit all ready to go.  Paint, drybrush silver, pick out the detail colors, and wash with black.  The belts are printed on photographic paper.  This gives a good impression of just how good the Yahu instrument panels are.

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The kit goes together well with no surprises.  Nice to have a kit like that every once in a while!  My regular routine is to check the finish with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and then prime with Alclad black primer.  The shinier you can make the model at this stage, the shinier the natural metal finish will be in the end.

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Here is the Thunderbolt under two coats of Alclad Candy Base.  There was a little pebbling on the upper wing surfaces after the first coat, so I buffed out the affected areas and shot a second coat.  Shiney!

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Also available in convenient 2 Liter bottle. 

Tamiya Republic P-47D Razorback in 1/72 Scale

This is Tamiya’s Republic P-47D Razorback.  If you want a kit with no surprises, this is a good one to pick.  Everything fits and everything looks right.  I built this one OOB, I just added tape seatbelts and Nitenol antenna wires.  The markings are for the P-47D of Major Bill Dunham, CO of the 460th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, Leyte, Philippines, December 1944.  Microscale decals were used for the markings, the black ID stripes were painted on.  This is an older sheet, patterned from Don Greer’s artwork on the cover of the first Squadron P-47 In Action book.  More recent research indicates several subtle differences in the paint and markings. Kill markings were overlaid with flags from the Eduard Hellcat decal sheet as these were much sharper.

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