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/

Grumman JRF / G-21 / OA-9 Goose Color Photographs

The idea for the Grumman Goose begam with a request from several New York businessmen for a commuter aircraft. Grumman’s design was for a twin-engine amphibian which could seat up to eight passengers. It could also be appointed as a “flying yacht”, complete with luxury accommodations and a bar. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
The potential utility of the design was not lost on the U.S. Coast Guard, who soon placed orders for the Goose outfitted for the Search And Rescuer (SAR) role. Pictured at Floyd Bennet Field in 1940 are two JRF and a Hall PH flying boat in the Yellow Wings scheme.
The U.S. Army Air Corps designated the aircraft the OA-9 and ordered 26 examples in 1938. These were used as light transports in addition to SAR duties. Another attractive scheme.
The British Fleet Air Arm also adopted the type, and the Goose was also operated by Canada. Here is FB486 in the Temperate Sea Scheme on a delivery flight in 1942.
A fine study of a Goose over the inhospitable Alaskan landscape.
After America’s entry into the war, the USCG used the Goose for anti-submarine patrol. At least two kills were claimed, but post-war analysis reduced this to one damaged. Here Coast Guard personnel load depth charges. Modelers should note the color and condition of the ordinance. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
The Goose was well-suited for rescue work, here is a posed shot demonstrating casualty evacuation. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
The red surround to the national insignia dates this photograph to the Summer of 1943. An interesting detail is the retractable wheel, which was apparently painted without the benefit of masking the tire! (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)

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: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/05/hasegawa-curtiss-soc-seagull-aboard-uss-honolulu-in-1-72-scale/

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: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/01/hasegawa-curtiss-soc-seagull-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iii/

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

Hasegawa first released their SOC-3 Seagull kit all the way back in 1969. It has been periodically re-released since then with new decals, most recently again this year. Both of my boxings are from the early 1970’s, so I have no idea how the tool is holding up. While many modelers will only build newer kits (and for good reasons in many cases), the Hasegawa kit is the only game in town for 1/72 scale modelers and looks to remain so for the immediate future.
U.S. Navy observation aircraft of the era could be fitted with either floats or wheels as needed. In the case of the SOC, they could also be fitted with arresting gear and flown from aircraft carriers. Hasegawa has kits with either wheels or floats. For this project I will be building one of each.
Parts breakdown is what you would expect for the time. There is some molded-on detail which should be replaced to be more accurate, and several small details which have been omitted. Lots of areas which will need improvement but nothing fatal.
You get one sprue of “feet” for your SOC which determines the configuration of the build, but unfortunately not both. My floatplane kit was molded in white which doesn’t show up as well in the photographs.
Fortunately for modelers the aftermarket has not neglected these kits. Radial Engines & Wheels makes a beautiful Pratt & Whitney R-1340 which goes a long way towards dressing up the front. Mark comes through yet again with a cockpit set and several decal sheets. While I will be modeling the canopies closed using the kit parts, the interior is still quite visible and needs improvement.
What difference does half a century make? The kit supplied engine is on the left, the RE&W resin engine is on the right.
Here is the Starfighter interior built up and ready for paint. Installation was drama free, you just need to sand the instrument panel piece a little to get a tight fit.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/03/25/hasegawa-curtiss-soc-seagull-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

Curtiss SOC Seagull Color Photographs

A fine study of two SOC-3 Seagulls in flight. These aircraft are from Observation Squadron One embarked on the ships of Battleship Division One (VO-1 on BATDIV ONE). These aircraft are from the second section assigned to USS Nevada (BB-36).
Another photograph from the same series, the occasion is a group formation of VO-1 aircraft during a fleet exercise in 1940. The red tail designates VO-1, the side number 1-O-4 indicates the squadron (1 for VO-1), the aircraft type (O for Observation), and the individual aircraft number 4, which is the lead aircraft of the third section of three.
A view of an aircraft of VO-3’s third section, indicated by the blue wing chevron and cowling. Section three was embarked aboard the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38). In the distance the fleet can be seen steaming in line.
Another of Nevada’s Seagulls. Although difficult to see due to the glare from the aluminum dope finish, the upper part of the cowl is in white, as is the upper wing chevron.
The third section carried blue on their cowls. The section leader’s aircraft had the entire cowl painted blue along with a blue fuselage stripe, the second aircraft of each section painted the upper section of the cowling, while the third aircraft painted the lower.
A beautiful view of the formation approaching the battle line.
The SOC’s pass over the battleships with a line of destroyers in the distance.
A series of photos taken by LIFE photographer Carl Mydans aboard the battleship USS Idaho BB-42 during the summer of 1940. The Seagull is seen preparing to launch from the catapult on top of Idaho’s Turret Three. The blue tail surfaces indicate assignment to Observation Squadron Three (VO-3).
A useful view of Idaho’s Seagull showing many interesting details. The yellow paint on the upper wing wraps around the leading edge to improve the airflow across the wing surface. The squadron insignia on the forward fuselage depicts Mickey Mouse looking through binoculars while riding a gun projectile.
Another view of the same aircraft reveals an interesting detail. The aircraft type designation was carried on the vertical tail surfaces along with the Bureau Number. In this case we can see this Seagull is not an SOC-3, but instead is an SON-1. The Naval Aircraft Factory produced forty-four Seagulls which were designated SON-1, the SON-1 was equivalent to the SOC-3 with a few minor modifications.
Idaho’s Marine Detachment in formation next to Turret Four. The battleships embarked three Observation aircraft, typically stowing one on top of the catapult mounted to Turret Three and two on the fantail as seen here.
A nice shot of a mechanic polishing the propeller of an SOC reveals details of the float and engine.