Living in the Past?

I am not living in the past. I am just remembering the past.

Remembering is something I just can’t over with just like writing about the past.

This is an update about my P-61 Black Widow I built which someone will always remember.

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It all started when I asked my readers to choose the next project. The Black Widow won hands down.

It was GP’s favorite plane…

Then I had this plan about GP’s favorite plane.

Packing the Black Widow and shipping it to GP in a box within a box.

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I did not have time to take pictures on how I packed it so I asked GP to take pictures.

This is the end result.

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The box

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The box within the box

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The Black Widow arrived safety except for a broken strut which GP repaired gingerly.

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Next time on this blog…

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Where to put the figurines?

Everything has been completed except…

Where to put the figurines?

That’s the question I have been asking myself for two whole days.

To glue or not to glue, and if I glue the figurines where do I put them?

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Nope, too dangerous…

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Likewise…

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They say not to spin the propellers…

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Darn! The top turrret is glued…

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Why is it glued?

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How about this set-up?

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Or this one?

Maybe glueing the figurines on the base instead and not on the model.

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Looks good here!

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Looks good here also!

Maybe I will let GP think about it and let her decide…

Next time…?

Packaging the whole thing!

Painting the figurines

Time to paint!

What I like the most is painting.

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Even painting the figurines.

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While painting the figurines I had a thirsty visitor…

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But I did manage to paint a few coats.

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While the cat was taking a nap I had time for a glueing session…

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And more coats of paint.

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All this attracted my little visitor…

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So I decided to call it a day.

See you in the morning.

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Last pieces… The radar antennae

The radar antennae will be the last pieces to be glued on the Black Widow. They will have to wait before the P-61 is firmly glued to its wooden base with the figurines.

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I have decided to glue the radome even if I had painted the radar. The P-61 was built to be displayed and not to be handled. This is also why everything has been glued on, propellers and all. In most of my 50 year experience with model kits I found out that people tend to spin the propellers…

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And when people start spinning the propellers they start touching everything like some people we see do in museums… 

Which reminds me of an anecdote while I was visiting the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 1976.

Lo and behold! There was a man sitting in the cockpit of a P-47 D Razorback!

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 Source http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Home.aspx

I told an unsuspecting guide about it and he went to see the man in the cockpit. I did not stay around to view the scene.

Getting back to the antennae, here are a few pictures I took from the Internet Saturday morning.

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Nice radar…

About the museum…

They have this gem!

Northrop P-61C

Northrop P-61C

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Source
http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/MuseumExhibits/FactSheets/Display/tabid/509/Article/196248/northrop-p-61c-black-widow.aspx

The heavily-armed Black Widow was the United States’ first aircraft specifically designed as a night-fighter. The P-61 carried radar equipment in its nose that enabled its crew of two or three to locate enemy aircraft in total darkness and fly into proper position to attack.

The XP-61 was flight-tested in 1942 and the delivery of production aircraft began in late 1943. The P-61 flew its first operational intercept mission as a night fighter in Europe on July 3, 1944, and later was also used as a night intruder over enemy territory. In the Pacific, a Black Widow claimed its first “kill” on the night of July 6, 1944. As P-61s became available, they replaced interim Douglas P-70s and Bristol Beaufighters in all USAAF night fighter squadrons.

During World War II, Northrop built approximately 700 P-61s; 41 of these were C models manufactured in the summer of 1945 offering greater speed and capable of operating at higher altitude. The Black Widow on display was presented to the museum by the Tecumseh Council, Boy Scouts of America, Springfield, Ohio, in 1958. It is painted and marked as a P-61B assigned to the 550th Night Fighter Squadron serving in the Pacific in 1945.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Armament: Four .50-cal. machine guns in upper turret and four 20mm cannons in belly; 6,400 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800s of 2,100 hp each
Maximum speed: 425 mph
Cruising speed: 275 mph
Range: 1,200 miles
Ceiling: 46,200 ft.
Span: 66 ft.
Length: 49 ft. 7 in.
Height: 14 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 35,855 lbs. loaded
Serial number: 43-8353

See You in the Morning

That’s what the crews of RCAF 425 Alouettes Squadron would say after the briefing before an operation or a sortie.

They would never say Good Luck!

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I have learned a lot about that squadron and many more squadrons since I started writing blogs about World War Two in 2009.

I have met so many wonderful virtual friends one of whom will receive the Black Widow as a gift.

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If you have been following the comments, you know who that person is. That person’s father was a Pacific paratrooper in the Philippines during WWII.

418 Squadron was actually flying the P-61 Black Widow at Leyte, arriving there on November 14, 1944.

Time’s A’ Wastin’ will be a perfect tribute.

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WORLD WAR II (source internet)

The squadron was activated on 1 April 1943 at theArmy Air Force School of Applied TacticsOrlando AAFFlorida. After several months of training, the unit was deployed to the Pacific Theater, moving first toCamp Patrick Henry, near Newport News Virginiawhere they boarded the USS General John Pope, sailing through the Panama Canal to Milne Bay, New Guinea.

In New Guinea, the squadron was assigned to Fifth Air Force and initially stationed at Dobodura airfield in November 1943. Flying P-70 Havocs and P-38 Lightnings, the unit conducted night fighter defensive operations against intruding Japanese aircraft over New Guinea, moving to several advance airfields on the island throughout 1943 and 1944. In September 1944, the squadron was re-equipped with P-61 Black Widows and moved to Morotai Island in the Dutch East Indies where they engaged enemy aircraft. In the East Indies, additional B-25 Mitchells and P-38s were assigned, using the B-25s for night intruder operations, P-61s for night fighter operations and the P-38s for searchlight cooperation operations. In November the squadron moved to the Philippines, arriving on Leyte on 14 November.

The unit was attached frequently to different units throughout the war, and remained in the Philippines until July 1945 when it moved to Okinawa. From Kadena Airfield, the unit attacked a wide range of enemy targets on Hainan IslandHong Kong, and along the east China coast. Its first mission against targets on the Japanese Home Islands took place on 28 July when it attacked targets on Kyūshū and also in the Shanghai area of enemy controlled China.

After V-J Day, the 418th NFS moved briefly to Atsugi Airfield, Japan during October 1945 where it was part of the occupying forces. It returned to Okinawa on 15 June 1946, conducting training operations until 20 February 1947 when the unit was inactivated. Its assigned personnel, aircraft and equipment were transferred to the 4th Fighter Squadron (All Weather).

Activated by Pacific Air Forces as an F-100 Fighter-Day squadron at Clark AB, Philippines in late 1957. Never received aircraft or personnel; inactivated 1 July 1958.

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I had the same problem with these decals as I had with the others. But the nose art was the most important part of this build so I am quite pleased everything turned alright.

Murphy’s Law

I could not wait.

I had a late night session and one decal caused me some headache.

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The decal was torn off the backing paper even after a lot of soaking in warm water.

Learning curve they say…

I then applied the other insignia and the serial numbers more carefully.

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That was enough emotions for a late night session.

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See you tomorrow morning…

Applying 20 year-old decals

The only missing parts on the Black Widow are the radar antennae. They will be glued last to avoid breakage.

Enjoy these before the decals are applied.

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Decals add a finishing touch to a build. Using 20 year-old decals might be a problem.

The first decal was soaked for a minute and nothing happened. I had to use my neuro surgeon skills to work it out.

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With this experience I decided to wait and see the final result before proceeding with the other decals and studying closely the instructions sheet.

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Progress Report- Dry fitting

I have used ordinary green masking tape which I painted gloss black to frame the canopies.

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I am glad I fought the urge of glueing the wings to the fuselage. It’s much easier to handle the P-61.

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Glueing the rear canopy did not pose any problem except for the small side windows that I should have glued before joining the fuselage a few weeks ago.

Live and learn they say…

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I will have to be careful to glue the front canopy minimising the gap. All touch-ups will come later.

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Everything will be glued on the Black Widow including the top turret, the wheels, and the propellers to prevent any breakage.

Progress should be at a minimum tomorrow because the weatherperson is calling for 15 to 25 cm of snow in most parts of Quebec.