Monday, February 28, 2011


The P-38J Lightning is the Ultimate Fighter Champion of WWII. The historical significance of this stunning-looking plane cannot be understated. It was one of the few planes to see action on both fronts of the war. In the Pacific theater, Major Richard Bong not only scored the best last name ever, but also shot down the most enemy aircraft of any other fighter pilot of the war. He shot down 40 Japanese aircraft in his P-38, which he named "Marge" as a tribute to his wife.

The Revell 1/48 model of the p-38J has proven itself every bit the tough customer as the plane herself. Not only does it come with 3 build options (Bong's fighter bomber, the "night fighter" version, and the "Pathfinder" photo recon version.) I've opted to build Major Bong's fighter bomber. And my problems have been numerous.

But first, the joys.

This is the first cockpit I'm actually kind of proud of. While not spectacular, I think my dry-brushing technique has come a long way. No one would ever mistake it for the real thing, but hopefully, the skilled eye could tell it wasn't painted by an 8-year old.

The wings and fuselage came together with few problems, but I noticed a few gaps that I filled with putty. The real problems began when I decided I wanted to hang her from the ceiling, like she was flying. This model was definitely built to have the landing gear down. While it is a plus to not have to paint the landing gear, closing the landing gear bay doors proved problematic.

I shoved some paper towels up inside for support and hope to be able to pull them out with tweezers after the glue dries. We'll see.

Assembling and masking the canopy was a bit of a hassle as it is 5 pieces which don't seem to fit together all that well. I'll have to shove more paper towels into the cockpit so as not to ruin my awesome paint job. In this picture, you can see the putty I used to fill in the cracks. I still need to file it down.

Stay tuned for painting and decals.

Model Citizen

This is a Suparmarine Spitfire MKII. In my opinion, it's the most beautiful airplane ever built. Aesthetically speaking, the Spitfire has everything going for it-- gorgeous, sweeping lines, sophisticated British styling, those exquisite elliptical wings. This is the plane that won the Battle of Britain. Had she not come along, the world today may be very different indeed.

As my first attempt at building a model however...well, let's just say it could have been worse. My history with building plastic models is the age old story of desire meeting frustration. I seem to recall trying to assemble a Corvette Stingray when I was about 10, only to smash the thing when I cracked the window as I attempted to glue it into place.

I've come a long way in 30 years. My patience has been tempered by life's incessant and cruel winds. I've earned my old fart badge the hard way and I wear it with defiant ineptitude.

I was originally inspired to get back into model making by James May and his Toy Stories episode about Airfix. Me being me, and me being fed up with all things internet, this plunged me into a crash course in WWII aviation history. I'm happy to report the distraction has been most welcome.

Not only do I have a newfound appreciation for the skill and art of model making, but I have a profound interest in and affection for the men who flew these amazing machines. I've reached the non-scientific conclusion that these boys had balls of steel. I'll be posting more on that later.

In the meantime:

This is a Messerschmitt BF109G, mortal enemy of the Spitfire. It's not as purty as the Spitfire, but with its ragged gray camouflage, asymmetrical exhausts and air intake, and spirally spinnaker prop, it must have been an intimidating sight to behold.

Long story short: The Spitfire was the RAF's response to the superior Messerschmitt BF 109E. The 109G (the Gustav) was the Luftwaffe's response to the Spitfire. It had a more powerful, supercharged engine, but by the time it came into service in 1944, it was too late. Not only was Messerschmitt turning its attention to developing the first jet fighter, but the war itself was drawing to its inevitable conclusion.

Lucky for us in the 21st Century, we can built these little planes, admire the amazing technological achievements of both the good guys and the bad guys, and marvel at the sheer size of the balls it must have taken to actually fly them.

Me! I Disconnect From You

I've put myself on a sort of at-home internet quarantine. I realize that sentence is loaded with nonsensical qualifiers, so let me explain.

First the "sort of." I say sort of because I do have a few things at home I need to take care of, like processing orders for Furthermore and looking for a new job. I also don't have a television, so I use my computer as a television, so, yeah, sort of.

Second, I say at home because at my current job I sit in front of a computer all day and I've reached the conclusion that sitting in front of the computer when I get home is not mentally or physically very healthy.

Because I try to limit my surfing and only do what is necessary, I haven't made much of an effort at sweeping out the cobwebs here. For the three of you who may actually look forward to what I have to say, I apologize. For what it's worth, this dropping out has given me a hearty +5 happiness.

That said, I do have some things I'd like to share. Mostly things that my time away from internetland have allowed me to do. In the meantime, please do enjoy some Gary Numan.

Snow on the Mountain

Record cold temperatures and rain in L.A. have brought the snow almost within reach. This is the view from my apartment. The last two days have been amazingly beautiful. I'm torn about the phone lines.