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: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/13/north-american-at-6-snj-texan-harvard-color-photographs-part-i/

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: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/06/15/north-american-at-6-snj-texan-harvard-color-photographs-part-ii/

Pavla Curtiss AT-9 Jeep in 1/72 Scale

This is the Curtiss AT-9 Fledgling trainer, better known as the “Jeep” assigned to Mather Field near Sacramento, California in May 1942.  The model is built from the Pavla kit which is a limited run offering.  It requires some extra effort to assemble but the subject is unusual and has a pleasing shape.

Construction posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/02/04/pavla-curtiss-at-9-jeep-build-part-i/

Pavla Curtiss AT-9 Jeep Build Part I

This is a relatively obscure subject, the Curtiss AT-9 Fledgling, better known as the Jeep. This is a limited run kit from Pavla, first released in 1999. Building this kit turned out to be a sacrifice to the modeling gods, as Dora Wings has just announced a new tool offering. I first saw this aircraft at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, and was attracted by its smooth aerodynamic lines.
There is a single injected sprue. All things are as one would expect for a limited run tool. There are flash, ejector pins, and seam lines, along with wide sprue gates. Detail is soft and there are no mounting pins. Actually, I don’t mind the lack of alignment pins in general, IMHO we modelers make too big a deal of this “limitation” of the limited run kits.
Pavla also supplies prop blades and engines in resin and a PE fret. The canopy is a provided as a vacuform part, and Pavla even includes a spare, which is a very considerate and welcome addition.
The best way to think of this kit is as a craftsman kit, the starter parts are there to provide the framework and the modeler has to take responsibility for the accuracy and details. The first example of this I ran in to was the wheel wells on the wing undersides. The slots for the landing gear are molded closed and need to be cut out if the landing gear legs are to be mounted.
One issue is the mounting of the scoop under the engine nacelles, which also doubles as a faring for the exhaust stubs, which are not provided. The scoop has a sink mark which I filled with superglue. The bigger challenge here is the scoop will drop right through the opening with no real way to mount it. I used plastic card to cover the opening from the inside and provide a way to mount the scoop.
The cockpit parts were relatively crude so I raided the spares box for replacements. The rear bulkhead and center console are kit parts and the instrument panel is from the PE fret. Seats and control yokes are from the spares box, the rest is from evergreen sheet. The throttles are from 1/700 scale ship railings which allows them to be mounted as a group.
Here is the cockpit and the engines painted up and ready to go. The yellow cushions are actually photographs of actual cushions reduced to the proper size and printed out on the home printer. The belts are from the kit PE fret. The engines have been given ignition wires.
The wheels were really thick and distorted, the mold has suffered a bit in this area and there would be a lot of clean up required. I substituted better wheels from the land-based option of the AZ Model Kingfisher kit which I did not intend to use.

Part II here: inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/02/11/pavla-curtiss-at-9-jeep-build-part-ii/

Grumman F2F / F3F Color Photographs

The Grumman F2F was a single seat fighter operated by the U.S. Navy from 1935 through 1939. It was a refinement of Grumman’s successful twin-seat FF-1 design, being both faster and more maneuverable. Here are three F2F-1s from VF-2B’s second section in an impressive display of precision flying. The Lemon Yellow tail surfaces indicate aircraft assigned to USS Lexington (CV-2).
The F2F had a 700 hp Twin Wasp Junior radial and a two-bladed prop. The wheels retracted flush with the fuselage sides and the fuselage was bulged aft of the cowling to accommodate them. This aircraft is from VF-7 assigned to USS Wasp (CV-7).
Grumman enlarged the design to improve stability and changed the designation to F3F-1. The -2 model incorporated a 950 hp Wright Cyclone engine and a three-bladed prop. The golden-colored varnish on the propeller blades was seen on several pre-war USN aircraft types.
The U.S. Marines also flew the type, these aircraft are assigned to VMF-1 at Quantico.
Here is a section of F3Fs flying along the California coast. The red tails indicate they are assigned to VF-5 from the USS Yorktown (VF-5). The F3Fs were the last biplane fighters operated by the U.S. Navy, being replaced by the Brewster F2A Buffalo in Fleet service.
The F3F was featured prominently in the Hollywood film “Dive Bomber” starring Errol Flynn and Fred MacMurray. Here is a screenshot from the film showing the Squadron Commander’s aircraft from VF-6, the True Blue tail designating assignment to the USS Enterprise (CV-6).
A beautiful aerial shot of VF-6s Second Section leader’s aircraft in flight. The unusual flight gear seen on the pilot is a movie prop pressure suit for the filming of “Dive Bomber”.
The surviving F2F and F3F biplanes were retained as advanced trainers until the end of 1943, based at NAS Miami and NAS Corpus Christi. Not the best quality photograph but it does show trainer markings on this F2F at NAS Miami.
A crop of a larger view of the ramp at NAS Miami in 1942 reveals several F2F and F3F trainers.  I found this photograph fascinating not only for the variety of obsolescent aircraft types but the odd mixture of paint schemes and markings.  Most of the Grumman fighters are wearing trainer schemes similar to Yellow Wing specifications, but overall Light Gray as well as Blue Gray over Light Gray camouflage schemes are present as well.  In addition, some aircraft display national insignia with or without red centers, and with or without tail stripes.  (80-G-K-13386 crop)