Author Topic: Zero and Wildcat  (Read 2432 times)

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Offline Greif

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Zero and Wildcat
« on: 17 Dec , 2011, 03:31 »
Hi guys, I have recently decided to embark on a series of builds showcasing naval aircraft that took part in the air fighting during the Guadalcanal campaign in 1942.  I plan to build a fighter, dive bomber and torpedo bomber representing the USN and IJN.  I like to think of this as my "Aggressors Series".  The first plane built was Tamiya's F4F-4 Wildcat, which I actually completed this past March.  Yesterday, I finished a Hasegawa A6m2b Zero so the first pair of "aggressors" is finished.  In common with most of us, I like to research my builds to link the model to an actual event/people; and that was the case with these two.  Following is the short story of both.

The F4F-4 represents Wildcat F-12 from VF-5, part of the USS Saratoga's air group in August 1942.  This aircraft was piloted by Lt. James Southerland II on August 7, 1942, the day Guadalcanal was invaded.  Leading a division of four Wildcats, callsign Scarlet Two, Southerland made contact with 27 Betty bombers over "Ironbottom Sound" and immediately engaged.  Executing a skilled firing run Southerland shot down a Betty, the first Japanese aircraft to fall during the campaign.  He then maneuvered to shoot a second bomber which began smoking but did not fall though its damage would lead to it being shot down later.  Southerland's Wildcat was hit and damaged by bomber return fire and he decided to dive out.  The rest of his division did not have their leader's good fortune.  As the were turning with him to attack the bombers, they were set upon by Zeros, losing two fighters with the third damaged and out of the fight.  While departing the airspace above Guadalcanal  Southerland was attacked by 3 Zeros of the famed Tainan Air Group holding his own for a few minutes until he ran out of ammo - and famed ace Saburu Sakai joined the fight.  Sakai pumped the Wildcat full of holes until the engine finally flamed at low altitude.  Southerland managed to bail out wounded in several places, coming to earth on Guadalcanal, behind Japanese lines.  He evaded and finally made it back to American lines near Henderson Field on 20 August.  Southerland would be credited with two victories on this day and a further three later in the war.  Sadly, he would be killed in a training accident in 1949.  The remains of Wildcat F-12 were discovered in the Jungle in 1998.

The A6M2b Zero represents aircraft X-157, of the 3rd Naval Flying Group stationed on Rabaul during much of the campaign. This aircraft was flown by Lt. Takahide Aioi, hikotaicho group leader of the fighters during air operations.  Aioi flew this plane during most of the campaign, but I have not been able to find out if he scored any victories during that time, though he engaged in several combats with American fighters operating from Henderson Field.  He finished the war with 10 confirmed victories as the XO of the 343rd Air Group in Japan; the fact that he survived the war shows he had better then average luck and skills.  Aioi rose to command Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, the equivilent of the USN's Chief of Naval Operations.

I built both planes out of box.  I wanted to give them a somewhat worn look, without making them seem ready for the bone yard.  The pilot figures are from PJ Productions and the base is an Eduard USN Carrier Deck.  I may return to weather the deck at a later date, but it displays the models nicely, so maybe not.  Overall, I am pleased with how they planes turned out.

Enjoy the pictures,













« Last Edit: 17 Dec , 2011, 03:34 by Greif »

Offline Rokket

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Re: Zero and Wildcat
« Reply #1 on: 19 Dec , 2011, 01:43 »
Very nice builds and display. The painting is excellent, real with wear and grit, but not over done. Pilot figure look great. Looking fwd to the rest of the "series" and love the history in there!
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Offline Greif

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Re: Zero and Wildcat
« Reply #2 on: 20 Dec , 2011, 02:32 »
Thank you Wink!  I plan to build either the Dauntless dive bomber or the Val dive bomber next; either before or after I work on my uboot command section interior.  Currently I am working on a project that is well outside what I normally do.  One of the guys I bowl with was a RIO in F4 Phantoms in the 70s and 80s.  He does a lot for our bowling leagues and I decided to build a 1/48 scale model of one of the aircraft assigned to VF-151, one of the squadrons he flew in, in the USN, as a gift.  I am learning some new things with this project; one of which is how busy the cockpit of a jet is - Yikes!  I should be finished in a couple of weeks as I have two weeks vacation which gives me plenty of time at the bench.

Ernest

Offline Rokket

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Re: Zero and Wildcat
« Reply #3 on: 21 Dec , 2011, 04:38 »
That is the perfect type of project: something outside your norm, and something new. Keep us posted, on this and the rest of the series!

Cheers,
WG
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Offline SG

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Re: Zero and Wildcat
« Reply #4 on: 21 Dec , 2011, 12:42 »
Ernest, your building rate is frightening!  ;D
excellent work with both planes, i like the subtlety of the weathering .. and those pilots!!
also, excellent idea to throw yourself into the dive bomber project and to challenge yourself with the F4
Will stay tuned to see the results!
Cheers, and keep it up!
SG

Offline Greif

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Re: Zero and Wildcat
« Reply #5 on: 22 Dec , 2011, 02:48 »
Thank you SG, I normally only build between mid October and the end of March.  Lately I have had a lot of time at the bench so my output has been pretty high.  Also, I am not an absolute slave to super-detailing, how much I do depends on the project, so that makes for some fairly rapid builds.  Many WWII aircraft models are pretty simple to construct, compared to a super-detailing project on one of the 1/72 Revell uboots at least.  I will be sure to display some photos from the F-4J Phantom II I am building when I finish it.

Cheers,
Ernest

Ernest, your building rate is frightening!  ;D
excellent work with both planes, i like the subtlety of the weathering .. and those pilots!!
also, excellent idea to throw yourself into the dive bomber project and to challenge yourself with the F4
Will stay tuned to see the results!
Cheers, and keep it up!
SG