This is an FG-1D Corsair of VBF-83, USS Essex (CV-9), May 1945. Markings are from Starfighter Decals sheet 72-143. The geometric shapes on the wings and tail were known as “G markings” and were used to identify the air groups of the parent carrier. They were used during the first half on 1945. However, these proved difficult to describe over the radio, and were soon replaced with letters.
John “Tommy” Blackburn was an Annapolis graduate and was serving as a flight instructor when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He commanded VGF-29 aboard USS Santee (CVE-29) during the Torch landings. Most of their Wildcats got lost in bad weather, Blackburn himself spending three days in the water before he was rescued. He was then reassigned to command VF-17 “jolly Rogers” on the new F4U Corsair. At the time the Navy decided that the Corsair was unsuited for carrier operations and VF-17 deployed to an airfield on Ondonga, New Georgia in October 1943.
The deployment produced thirteen aces, including Blackburn with 11 victories. His best day was on 06FEB44 when he claimed four A6M Zeros. He survived the war and eventually rose to command the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CVB-41) in 1958. He retired from the Navy as a Captain in 1962.
This is the F4U-1A Corsair of LCDR Tommy Blackburn, Commanding Officer VF-17, operating from Ondonga, New Georgia, November 1943.
Kenneth Walsh enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1933 at the age of 17. He was trained as a Naval Aviator in 1937, earning his pilot’s wings while still a private. By February 1943 Walsh was a 1LT, serving with VMF-124 on Guadalcanal. He opened his account on 01APR43 with a triple, scoring another three on 13MAY43 which made him the first pilot to make ace on the Corsair. He continued to add to his score, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for 20 victories. He returned to combat in 1945, serving in the Philippines and scoring his last victory off Okinawa on 22JUN45. Walsh flew transports with VMR-152 during the Korean War, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1958.
The model represents the F4U-1 Corsair of Lt. Kenneth Walsh USMC, VMF-124, as it appeared while operating from Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, May 1943.
Adolf Galland was posted as Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 “Schlageter” in June 1940, just prior to the beginning of the Battle of Britain. He would hold this position until the end of August, when he was given command of the entire Geschwader. While with III./JG 26 he increased his personal score to 22 and was awarded the Knight’s Cross.
The model depicts the Bf 109E-3 of Major Adolf Galland while Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 in June, 1940.
Egon Mayer fought entirely in the West. He was credited with his first victory, an MS 406, during the Battle of France. His JG 2 “Richthofen” fought in the Battle of Britain and remained on the Channel Front. Mayer scored steadily against the RAF, and was awarded the Knight’s Cross in August 1941 after his 21st victory.
As the American presence grew, Mayer was promoted to Hauptman and commanded III./JG 2 as Gruppenkommandeur. He identified the nose armament of the American heavies as a defensive weak point, and developed the head-on attack which became the preferred Luftwaffe interception tactic. On 23NOV42 he was credited with two B-17’s and a B-24 using these tactics.
On 01JUL43 Meyer was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of JG 2. He continued to lead his pilots on interceptions of American heavy bomber raids and was able to score consistently. On 02MAR44 he was leading an attack on a B-17 formation when he was shot down and killed by an escorting P-47. His final tally reached a total of 102, and included 51 Spitfires and 26 heavy bombers.
The model represents the Fw 190A-2 of Oberleutnant Egon Mayer of 7./ JG 2, at Theville France, June 1942.
Friedrich-Karl “Tutti” Müller claimed his first victory, a French Curtiss Hawk during the Dunkirk evacuation in May, 1940. His score improved to ten during the Battle of Britain, but he was forced down into the English Channel due to fuel exhaustion.
Müller served in all the major theaters where the Luftwaffe was engaged. He claimed 89 victories against the Soviets and 51 against the Western Allies, including 24 heavy bombers, for a total of 140. He was killed on 29MAY44 when his Bf 109G stalled while coming in for a landing.
The model represents Müller’s Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 in the markings of Stab III./JG 53 in October 1940.
Adolf Galland flew ground attack missions in He 51’s with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War, and in Hs 123’s during the invasion of Poland. Both of these were biplane types, but Galland repeatedly made requests to be assigned to fighters. He was able to arrange a transfer to JG 27, then flying the Bf 109E, and was seconded for a time to JG 53 where he was tutored in fighter tactics by Werner Mölders. Galland claimed his first aerial victories, a pair of RAF Hurricanes on 12MAY40, and added a third on a later sortie that day.
Galland’s success continued, and he was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 in June, rising to command the entire Geschwader in August. In September, he was awarded the Oak Leaves after achieving his 40th victory. During October he claimed a further eight victories, all fighters, which brought his total to 50.
The model depicts the Bf 109E-4 of Major Adolf Galland while Geschwaderkommandeur of JG 26 at Audembert, France, in October, 1940.
2021 saw a return to some degree of normalcy, but as with any great disruption there have been some re-definitions of just what that means. There was a return to live in-person shows which was sorely missed. What has changed with the shows is now they are bigger and better attended, with more vendors, more model entries, and an overall increase in quality of the builds. Fewer group activities have translated into additional modeling time for many people, and for socially introverted types this appears to have been a good thing. It has certainly resulted in more and better models on display at the shows!
I was able to go to three shows this year, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Cincinnati. All three were held in new venues, and all three were very successful and saw half again as many entries above what was normal for the club, if not more. Many inspiring and innovative builds, and fellow modelers are always happy to share new techniques and tips to try out. The guys at Plastic Model Mojo have taken their show on the road, and I was able to sit down with them and catch up in person, in addition to listening to their podcasts while I model. Plastic Model Mojo here: https://www.plasticmodelmojo.com/
For bibliophiles the news is still not good. Publication dates on many new books have slipped. The secondary and overstock markets have fared little better, with fewer selections and higher prices all around. After two years the Half Price Books traveling blow-out sale is still nowhere on the horizon, and I’m starting to wonder if it will ever return. Hopefully soon!
Blog Statistics and News
The Inch High Guy blog has completed year three! A big thanks to all who visit on a regular basis, whether new or old. I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, although there were a couple of near misses. The blog received 139,675 views and 55,483 visitors, up from 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors last year. The most popular post again this year was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 3,267 views:
Models Built in 2021
34 completions, 24 aircraft and 10 vehicles. In addition I painted 42 figures, 14 horses, and constructed 8 diorama / vignette bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference. The mosaic has a picture of each build, construction posts and additional finished pictures can be found by searching the blog.
Arma Hobby FM-2 Wildcat x 3
Azur Martin B-10
Takom MAZ-537 Tank Transporter
Airfix Spitfire Vc x 4
Vickers Mk. VI light tank resin print
Cunningham T1 light tank resin print x 2
Arma Hobby Yak-1b x 3
Dakoplast Yak-7 x 2
Hasegawa Fw 190D (old tool)
Hasegawa Fw 190D
Tamiya Fw 190D
Dragon Messerschmitt P.1011 x2
Revell Fw Fitzer
Revell Ho 229 (repaint)
First to Fight Polish TKS Tankette
ICM Sd.Kfz. 222
First to Fight Sd.Kfz. 247
Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz. 70
Italeri sK 18 10.5 cm Field Gun
What’s Ahead in 2022
This has been a year of exciting announcements for 1/72 scale modelers. The new Focke Wulf Fw 190D series from ICB looks spectacular, and it even includes an accurate wheelwell for the first time in the scale. The family will cover all the Dora subtypes. Flyhawk released a new tool SBD Dauntless which will fix the dive brake issues with Hasegawa’s kit, and will hopefully continue to be available – something which can’t be said for several Hasegawa kits. To top it off ICM and Special Hobby have both just announced a new-tool Ki-21 “Sally” for late 2022, a subject which has long been on the list of several modelers. The Sally was strangely missing from Hasegawa’s new-ish series of Japanese twins, modelers who had to have one searched for the MPM or 1976 Revell kits.
The big news for many modelers is that Arma is now shipping their P-51B/C kits. The previous attempts from Academy and Hasegawa both suffered from fatal, difficult to correct shape issues. Finally, for the first time, an accurate P-51B/C is on the way! This kit should prove to be a license to print money for Arma, here’s hoping it is a windfall for them! I have long agitated for this subject, so to put my money where my mouth is I have placed an order through my Local Hobby Store (support your LCS!) for one. Case. For starters.
Now Arma, if you’re listening, we could sure use an accurate Ki-43-II Hayabusa “Oscar” in 1/72 scale.
The second big release (for me) has a much more personal connection. Takom has announced a U.S. Navy 16”/50 caliber triple turret in 1/72 scale, packaged as Turret One from USS Missouri (BB 63). This kit has parts for the rangefinder which was later removed from the first turrets, but with a few modifications could represent any of the main battery turrets on the Iowa class battleships. Now for the connection part – I served in the Navy, Missouri was my ship, Turret One was my turret. 1/72 scale Missouri’s in both the WWII and 1980’s configurations are on my bucket list, and this kit makes that project one step closer. If the appropriate 5”/38 Mark 28 mount is ever kitted that would cinch the deal (the 1/72 scale 5”/38 Mark 38 mount included in Takom’s 1/700 Gearing class kit has an unarmored gun house, appropriate for destroyers but not battleships).
Lastly, we have purchased a wooded plot of land along the scenic White River, where we intend to build an energy efficient (net zero) home. This is obviously a time-consuming project, and will inevitably impact time available for modeling and blogging. In fact, the effects have already begun to be felt as I have been busy on the property cutting down the invasive Asian Bush Honeysuckle which is crowding out the native trees. Hopefully there will still be opportunities for modeling, but the pace may slow a bit. If I miss the daily posting on the blog in the coming months this will likely be the reason.
May you each live long enough to build every model in your stash!
Werknummer 3714 was the Bf 109 E-3 of Heinz “Pritzl” Bär while at Saint Ingevert airfield in France, September 1941. He was assigned to 1./JG 51 at the time. Bär was one of the “Old Hares” of the Luftwaffe, flying from the beginning of the war through the end. He amassed more than 1,000 combat sorties, and survive being shot down himself 18 times. Various authors differ slightly in the number of victories credited to him, Toliver and Constable put his total at 220, including 16 on the Me 262.
This is Hermann Graf’s Bf 109 E-7 of 9. / JG 52 at Byelaya Tserkov, Ukraine, August 1941. JG 52 would go on to become the most successful fighter wing in history with over 10,000 victories, and produced the top three highest scoring aces of all time – Erich Hartmann (352), Gerhard Barkhorn (302), and Günther Rall (275). Graf was the first pilot to achieve a total of 200 victories, his final tally was 212.