Encouraged – or should I say “emboldened” – by my recent successful completion of a Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 model I have decided I need to build more 109s. That means that the projects on my “shelf of doom” will have to wait a bit longer, and instead I will launch what I tentatively now call “The Grand Messerschmitt Project of 2021”. It entails me building as many as five models in a row, or possibly even partially in parallel. A “production line” exercise, that is. Some of you will now say this is insane and you might not be wrong…
Over the years I have collected a lot of reference material about the Messerschmitt Bf 109, as well as kits, decal sheets, and other “aftermarket” modeling items. It is time to put those in use!
But, before I explain what I will include in the project, let me tell you a story about my own history when it comes to modeling the 109: When I was kid, back in Finland in the 1970s, there were not many options available if you wanted to build a Bf 109G (and given that this was Finland, every aircraft modeler wants to build one of those, since the Bf 109G is arguably the most significant aircraft in the history of the Finnish Air Force). One kit that was easy to acquire was the old Airfix 1/72nd scale Bf 109G-6, but it was so horrible that it barely even looked like the real thing. Even today, I would not know how to fix that kit. Then, at some point, we received some of the (at the time new) Jo-Han kits that could be built either as a Bf 109F or as a G-6. Compared to Airfix, this was fantastic kit. A bit later, Hasegawa released their 1/72nd scale Bf 109G-6, and it was so good it was like from another planet.
All this resulted in my lifelong quest for better and better 109 kits (the reader should understand that I build exclusively 1/72nd scale models, so I will not discuss other scales).
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am starting to focus more on scale model building. This was the original goal of So Many Aircraft anyway. To that end, I will start blogging about ongoing model projects, of which I have many (my so-called “shelf of doom” is full of projects many of which are close to being finished). Some of the ongoing ones, very close to completion, are:
Focke-Wulf Fw 190F-8 (“Q9+AB”, W.Nr. 931666) – Hasegawa 1/72nd scale kit with a new (earlier style) canopy from Squadron, decals from Authentic Decals. The particular aircraft served with I/SG 5 and was seen at Utti in Finland in August 1944.
Göppingen Gö 9 (“D-EBYW”) – AML 1/72nd scale kit. This was a testbed for trying out new aerodynamics for the Dornier Do 335 -fighter.
You will start seeing more blog posts about my ongoing projects.
Last year ended up being very slow as far as aviation photography goes. I took practically no photographs (approx. 1,500 compared to about 10,000 on a “normal” year). The highlights ended up being the re-opening of the Aviation Museum of NH (with a fly-by and visit of a DC-3) and the runway work at Pease (which forced the KC-46s to be parked at KMHT for a while). I also managed to work on a book about Dauphin helicopters, that should be read soon (I hope). But, unlike four years ago, I did not catch all that many aircraft carrying presidential candidates.
The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire decided this spring to organize a virtual flight around the world, using their flight simulator. When the museum had to close due to the coronavirus pandemic it was decided that an online resource such as the virtual flight would nicely fulfill the museum’s educational mission. So Many Aircraft assisted the museum in producing the Web site for this program, using our own site generation tools.
The aircraft chosen for this mission was a Douglas C-47, the military version of the classic DC-3 airliner. As the mission progressed, the museum was able to attract more and more sponsors, the logos of which then adorned the aircraft.
Last week I did — I hope — my last photo shoot for the upcoming book on Dauphin helicopters. Many thanks to Jarrett Lunn of Talon Helicopters (in CYVR) for facilitating this. This (C-GTLW, below) was the first Dauphin equipped with a hoist I have photographed, so I got some good new details to be added to the book.
I am now nearing the completion of the book. The photograph selection is done; the book will have both overview photos as well as detail pictures. In addition, the book will have 1/72nd scale plans as well as color profiles, and I am (more or less) done with those as well. The only thing still missing is the completion of my own scale model project, as the book will have a chapter discussing modeling aspects of the Dauphin.
Lockheed WP-3D Orion (N42RC; c/n 285A-5622) of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and
Lockheed WC-130J Hercules (97-5304, c/n 382-5474) of 53rd WRS, 403rd Wing, AF Reserve.
The aircraft were part of NOAA’s “Hurricane Awareness Tour” aiming to “raise awareness of the impacts from tropical cyclones threats and the danger of being caught without a personal hurricane plan.” The Orion is one of two such aircraft operated by NOAA, based in Lakeland, Florida and equipped to do data collection to supplant data from ground-based radars as well as from satellites. Similarly, the Hercules collects weather data from storms and other adverse weather phenomena; this aircraft is based in Keesler AFB, Mississippi.
I am generally very much opposed to deceptive image manipulation and consider it “altering history”. On So Many Aircraft, photographs are considered a historical record, thus editing has to be limited to minimal corrections of the original photograph (straightening the horizon, fixing exposure, etc.). See this blog post on more information about the importance of accurate captioning of photographs.
That said, I recently decided to see if I could learn some more advanced editing techniques. Since I use the Adobe Creative Cloud tools, it was time take my skills with Adobe Photoshop CC to the next level. I actually fairly seldom use Photoshop, since I find that the kind of editing I need can all be done with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.
Together with some other spotters I witnessed the arrival and departure of Hawaiian Airlines’ new Honolulu-Boston-Honolulu route on 2019-04-05. The flight arrived 5:38 am, before sunrise, and pushed back from the gate at 8:09 am. In between, representatives of the airline gave us nice leis and some Hawaiian Airline swag.