Thursday, April 18, 2019

We visit Mosquitocon 2019

Once again the boys at IPMS New Jersey did a great job putting on the first show of the season here in the Northeast. Here are some of my favorite entries in the contest.

My favorite entry in the show was this 1/350 Pegasus Models Moon Lander, a concept vehicle from Wernher von Braun. Perfectly constructed and painted.


This 1/48 Wingsy Kits A5M4 Claude has an impeccable finish using decanted Tamiya AS-12 spray lacquer.


No one is better with an airbrush on 1/72 aircraft than Dario Guiliano. This Tamiya Corsair and Tamiya Fw-190 were amazing to see in person.



Amodel models are not the easiest to build much less turn into a masterpiece, but the modeler of this M-50 is to be commended not just for his effort but for the outstanding result.


I have the utmost of respect for ship modelers and their ability to manage such fine, detailed parts. This 1/350 USS Lake Erie, converted from Dragon's USS Mobile Bay, was beautifully assembled.


Incredible conversion of a '25 Ford chop top coup built from spare parts.


Here’s a 1/25 AMT 1970 Chevy Camaro with tons of details — scratchbuilt fender flares and rear suspension, detailed engine, custom food and scoop, and a finish to die for.



This B-24D shared the category my AC-119K was in and deservedly took first place.


An excellent Airfix 1/48 P-51D with Eduard cockpit, wheels, prop, and spinner.


This eye-catching vignette of a Dragon 1/72 M4 Sherman was incredibly well done. The groundwork even included sand the modeler gathered from Utah Beach.


I’ve always enjoyed the Miscellaneous categories in contests, and this year’s Mosquitocon contest was no different. I really liked this scratchbuilt 1/8 scale Hurst Jaws of Life.


See you next year!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

More base ideas from The Container Store

A few years ago I gave you some creative ideas for bases and mentioned The Container Store as a potential source of items you can re-purpose as bases. I recently visited my local store and noted several items that are currently available. Many of them can be used exactly as purchased, or you can paint them to make them more suitable for your latest model.

Stackable bamboo drawer organizers come in a variety of sizes, and when flipped over and a suitable surface applied (such as sheet plastic or a mirror cut to size), provide a 1-2 inch high base for any model. A bargain at between $3 to $8.



These display cubes come in only two sizes, 6” x 3 1/2” x 6” and 9” x 3 1/2” x 9”, but they’re perfect for armor, vignettes, and small dioramas. They come in brown, white, and black finishes.



These lacquered storage boxes come in four sizes and seven colors, and you can use the box itself for a base (think of the pedestal-like bases popular in European contests) as well as the lid; just flip them over! These cost between $8 and $20.



These accessory trays are similar to the lacquered storage boxes but are more shallow and without lids. Available in three sizes, they’re probably most suitable to small aircraft and armor.



While you’re in the store, keep an eye out for Novus’s polishing products, which you'll need for polishing aircraft canopies. They’re available individually in 8 oz. bottles and as a 2 oz. set.



Remember, the base you use can either complement or detract from a great looking model!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

F-16 nose art of the 56th TTW

Nose art has been seen on many aircraft types over the years, but less so on the F-16 for some reason. True, there was the flurry of art we saw during the Gulf War on Vipers from the 17th TFS, and a decade later a few Vipers of the 389th FS sported some very elaborate art upon their deployment to the war in Afghanistan. But compared to other aircraft types, the F-16 hasn’t been a canvas for much art.

Thanks to my membership in a Facebook group, I discovered nose art on an F-16 from the 56th TTW in 1990. These drawings were added to F-16C 87-0256 when it was assigned to the 61st TFTS during a TDY deployment to Tyndall AFB. (This particular airframe served at the 56th’s “Wing King,” which you can see in this image on Flikr.) What I find interesting is this artwork was added literally to the nose of the aircraft; the artwork added to the 17th and 389th aircraft was added below and behind the canopy.

I reached out to JC Berlan, the aircraft’s assistant crew chief during the deployment, and he told me that this first version of the artwork — depicting a rooster doing something terribly inappropriate to a dog — was allegedly drawn by someone from the 19th TFS. The F-16s from MacDill shared the flightline with the 19th just long enough for someone to add the risqué artwork when no one was looking.


Aviation enthusiasts and patch collectors will recall that a rooster is seen on the emblem of the 19th TFS. The dog represents the iconic bulldog on the 61st TFTS emblem, an image that goes back to the 56th FG during World War Two.


After the artwork was discovered, JC modified it by erasing everything except the eyes of the dog and replacing it with image of the shark about to consume an F-15, an aircraft in service at the time with Tyndall’s 325th TTW. By this point, he said, the 19th had returned to Shaw AFB, so presumably there was no reason to throw shade back in their direction. “Panama City 1990” commemorates the team’s brief deployment to Tyndall, and "Shark Bite" was a term the crew got from Club La Vela on Panama City Beach.


JC said the commander allowed the aircraft to return to MacDill with the artwork. It was quickly removed when they landed, because the aircraft was nominated for, and won, Proud Falcon, a program that recognized the Crew Chief of the Month.

Leave it to pilots and their maintainers to have a good time taking jabs at each other!

My thanks to JC Berlan for the information and to Rob Seibert for the photos. The 19th and 61st squadron patches are from my own collection.