Azure FRROM Martin B-10 Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

B10_21
Yellow Wings schemes use a lot of yellow! I primed everything with Mr. Surfacer 1000 to check for flaws and then shot three thin coats of yellow and broke out the masking tape.

B10_22
This is the scheme described in USAAC Specification 98-2113, Yellow No. 4 and Light Blue No. 23. The Light Blue was matched to the chip in Archer’s Monogram Guide by mixing two parts Mr. Color 115 with one part Mr. Color 34 and a touch of Black.

B10_23
A subtle detail which is easily overlooked is the color of the back sides of the propeller blades, which is Maroon.

B10_24
The kit decals are a tricky combination of brittle and sticky which requires care and a bit of luck to apply correctly. I managed to create a couple of chips in mine but was able to touch them up with paint.

B10_25
The walkways and exhaust panels were provided as decals but there was just no way they were going to work, plus they were printed in a gray which was pretty light. The walkways next to the fuselage should be dark, a “scale black”. In looking at photos of B-10s there are a wide variety of paint patterns behind and around the engines, including none at all in a few cases.

B10_26
I used the Kabuki canopy masks from Special Mask, a must-have for the complex transparencies on this kit. The masks performed well and the kit canopies are quite clear, allowing some of the interior detail to be seen.

B10_28
The finished model is a bit of work but looks great.  Antenna wires are 0.004” Nitenol.  I kept track of the time spent on this one, 19.5 hours in all.  I could see building another, maybe in Royal Thai Air Force markings.

Azure FRROM Martin B-10 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

B10_01
This is the new tool Azure FRROM Martin B-10B kit, one of three boxings they released in 2020. The B-10 was considered to be quite innovative when it first flew in 1932, featuring an internal bomb bay, enclosed crew positions, and retractable landing gear. For a time it was faster than the fighters which might oppose it. I ordered one in U.S. markings as soon as it became available and it went straight to the bench when the good people at Hannants delivered it to my door.

B10_02
The kit is a limited run effort and has all that implies, both plusses and minuses. The panel lines are fine and recessed. Locating pins and tabs are missing for the most part. Personally I think too big a deal is made over this, most parts can be aligned perfectly well without pins and sometimes the pins can cause sinkmarks which require filling.

B10_03
The fuselage halves reflect a bit of clever engineering, they are split along the sides instead of along the top and bottom. The B-10 had corrugations along the top and bottom which would be at risk of being sanded off while eliminating the fuselage seam, provided the mold angle would allow them to be formed at all. The cowlings and nacelle parts are separate to allow Azure to provide for the different versions they are kitting.

B10_04
The engines are crisp and nicely molded. There are mold seams and a bit of flash on some parts to clean up, a consequence of the limited run technology. A little extra work in parts preparation, but that is why we practice isn’t it?  Back to chorin’, pitter patter.

B10_05
No surprises in the cockpit, and one benefit of the horizontal fuselage split is the angles on the cockpit components are relatively easy to get right. The bulkhead pieces all fit into locating slots inside the upper fuselage, so take care that they are all square to avoid fit problems later. One thing to watch for is the back side of the instrument panel has what looks like a thick ejector pin stub. Be sure to file this off as it will interfere with the fit later.

B10_06
Another area which needs attention is the wheel recess inside the wing. The part is too thick to allow the wing halves to come together. The best solution is to thin the inside of the part until the plastic is just starting to become translucent, then the wings should come together. You can see where the parts are touching by looking through the wing root opening. I have also thinned the wing trailing edges with a file.

B10_07
The wing mating joint leaves something to be desired, but is not difficult to fill. The round inlet on the wing leading edge inboard of the engine can be drilled out.

B10_08
Here is the cockpit interior under a coat of Alclad and a wash. I’m building this one OOB so everything you see here is what is provided in the kit.

B10_09
The fuselage joint is a bad seam but in a good place. The relatively flat smooth sides mean little detail will be lost here in sanding.

B10_10
I cleaned up the wing and fuselage seams as separate assemblies before joining them together.  The wings just would not fit!  It turned out the alignment tabs which protrude from the fuselage sides into the wingroots are meant to fit into slots on the inner surfaces of the wings but are too thick.  I recommend leaving the wing support (part H16) off and just butt-jointing the wings in place.  I cut the tabs off and was then able to get the wings on, but there were seams to fill.

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.

B-17E Color Photographs Part II

41-2578_Bovington
This is one of the first B-17Es assigned to the Eighth Air Force, 41-2578 “Butcher Shop”, seen at Bovington. Lead bomber of the first 8th AF B-17 bombing mission on 17 August 1942, she was flown by Paul Tibbits. She was the oldest Boeing B-17 in the 8th AF at the end of the war. Note the subdued national insignia on the fuselage.

41-2599_RudyArnold(1)
This Fortress was later named “Tugboat Annie” and fought in the Pacific assigned to the 19th Bomb Group. She was hit by flak over Rabaul on the night of 16JAN43, ditching off Buna. All of the crew survived and was rescued. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)

41-2599-mount-rainier
Another view of 41-2599 with Mount Rainier in the background.

41-2600(3)
A fine study of 41-2600, “Esmerelda”. She served in the continental United States throughout the war.

41-9055MissNippon_41-2567_41-2543Snoozy_RudyArnold(1)
Three Fortresses in a V formation, the basic building block of the box formation used over Europe. These Forts are 41-9055 “Miss Nippon”, 41-2567, and 41-2543 “Snoozy”.

41-9131_41-9141_RudyArnold(1)
41-9131 wears the standard U.S. camouflage Olive Drab over Neutral Gray, but the nearer Fortress 41-9141 wears Royal Air Force colors and fin flash. The RAF was programmed to receive forty-five B-17Es but many, including this one, were delivered to the USAAC after completion. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)

41-9141
Another view of the same pair of Fortresses, but this time with less color shift in the negative.

Boeing B-17E
A rather tattered photograph of a B-17E at Wright Field. Note the wear to the paint on the propeller blades.

Panama_B17E
Mechanics service an engine on a B-17E in Panama. The B-17s assigned to protect the canal saw no combat, but carried a unique white mottling on their undersides and edges of the tail surfaces and wings.

New York City Vintage Photographs Part II

NYC_11_Lockheed-Super-Electra-Howard-Hughes-1938
Pilot Howard Hughes and navigator Thomas Thurlow in their Lockheed Model 14-N2 Super Electra over New York City in 1938. They were in the process of setting the world’s record for circumnavigating the globe with a time of 91 hours. Thurlow was a USAAC officer on loan to operate a “robot navigator”, an experimental device used to plot the aircraft’s position.

NYC_12_SikorskyS-40_HudsonRiver1931
The Pan American Airways “American Clipper” over New York in 1931. She was one of three Sikorsky S-40 amphibians and could carry a total of thirty-eight passengers.

NYC_13_USS_Santa_Ana
The USS Santa Ana was a passenger ship taken over by the US Navy and used as a troop transport in the First World War. Here she is seen entering port in NYC in 1919, one of four trips she completed bringing US Army troops home from France at the end of the war.

NYC_14
October 27, 1945 was Navy Day in New York City. Forty-seven US Navy ships anchored in the Hudson River while over 1,200 Naval aircraft passed overhead. The fleet was reviewed by President Truman, and included the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) where the Japanese had signed the instrument of surrender almost two months before. At the bottom of the photograph is the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), the only carrier to fight through the entire Pacific War and survive.

NYC_15
US Army Air Corps Keystone bombers pass over the passenger liner piers in an impressive display of airpower for the early 1930’s. The Keystones were ultimately replaced by the Martin B-10 but were the largest US Army Air Corps bombers for their time.

NYC_16_american-dc-6
After World War Two the era of safe and reliable commercial air travel had arrived. One of the mainstays was the Douglas DC-6, 704 were built between 1946 and 1958. Here an American Airlines DC-6 is seen over Manhattan.

NYC_17
The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) was a Midway-class aircraft carrier. Commissioned on Navy Day, 27OCT45 at the New York Naval Shipyard she was too late to see service in WWII. Here she is seen moving down the East River.

Historisk bilde av Manhattan sett fra lufta
A Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro poses for the camera over Manhattan. Autogyros generate lift with a rotating wing. While they cannot take off vertically like a helicopter, they are capable of taking off in very short distances.

NYC_19_USS_Akron_ZRS-4_Manhattan
The US Navy rigid airship USS Akron (ZRS-4) over Manhattan in the early 1930s. The Akron was designed to act as a scout for the battlefleet and could carry up to three F9C Sparrowhawk fighters in internal hanger bays. She would be lost in a storm off the coast of New Jersey on 04APR33.

NYC_20_Macon
The Akron’s sistership USS Macon (ZRS-5) has her turn at a publicity photo over Manhattan in 1933. She was lost off the coast of California on 12FEB35, the result of structural failure. Macon had a slightly different structure and could carry up to five Sparrowhawks, four internally.

B-17E Color Photographs Part I

Boeing B-17E
This is the first B-17E which was delivered to Wright Field on 03OCT41. It is wearing the Olive Drab over Neutral Gray camouflage scheme and the prescribed set of USAAC markings for the time. Her serial number, 41-2393 has not yet been applied to the vertical tail. The first 112 aircraft carried the Sperry remote turret in the belly position, which is just visible below the fuselage insignia in this photograph. This aircraft did not see combat, it was lost in Newfoundland on 09JAN42.

41-2397_(5)_Ford_Midway
This is B-17E 41-2397, seen just prior to the Battle of Midway in this screen grab from John Ford’s film. This Fortress is one of only nineteen B-17Es repainted in the Hawaiian Air Depot camouflage scheme. She survived combat and was written off at the end of October 1944.

41-2405_HansGroenhoff
Here is 41-2405 seen warming up her engines in the pre-dawn twilight on 25JUN42. This Fortress was assigned to various fields in the continental United States for the duration of the war. (NASM Archive, Hans Groenhoff collection)

41-2405_BombLoading_RudyArnold25JUN42
Another photograph of 41-2405, with armorers loading bombs.

41-2407(2)
41-2407 was one of two aircraft (along with 41-2399) named “Nemesis of Aeroembolism”. Armament was removed from these aircraft.  Each carried different nose art designs.  She was assigned to the Air Material Command at Wright Field.

41-2407_Nemesis_of_Aeroembolism
Another view of 41-2407. Aeroembolism is commonly known as decompression sickness, where changes in pressure can form bubbles in the blood.

41-2437_(3)_FordMidwayB17E
Here is another B-17E in the Hawaiian Air Depot scheme as captured by Ford on Midway Island immediately prior to the battle. This is 41-2437, her red and white tail strips having been painted over the month before. Visible under the fuselage is the Sperry remote turret and sighting dome. She survived her combat tour.

41-2509
A fine study of 41-2509 and one of the best B-17E color portraits. A crew member can be seen observing the photographer’s aircraft through the fuselage window in the radio compartment.

41-2509(3)
Another excellent photograph of 41-2509. Modelers should note the black wing walkway stripes and that the wear to the paint indicates that these have been ignored by the ground crew, along with the differences in the Olive Drab finish seen on the canvas control surfaces.

41-2567_RudyArnold
Details of the underside can be seen in this picture of 41-2567, including the large “U.S. ARMY” lettering carried under the wings. The Sperry ball turret was a vast improvement over the remote turret but was cramped, the gunner generally being the shortest member of the crew. (NASM, Rudy Arnold Collection)