Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

Another group is another excuse to revisit this favorite type.

Let’s take a quick look at a 9th Air Force ground pounder.

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Posted in Fighter, USA | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Theme Build 4


What happens when an aircraft is captured by an opposing combatant? No surprise the best answer may be “it depends”. The vast majority of captured aircraft will be wreckage. Either brought down in combat or captured in a damaged or disabled state. So often in these cases the wreck is simply parted out and melted down.

But occasionally an aircraft in flyable, or at least repairable condition is captured. At the most obvious level such aircraft are thoroughly examined by air intelligence people. Especially if the type is new or rarely seen, a captured (mostly) intact aircraft will be treated as a major source of valuable information. Everything from how does the aircraft perform, what are its strengths and weaknesses, what does the enemy’s technological and industrial ability look like and a whole host of similar findings.
Most major combatants had whole departments that specialized in gathering as much of this sort of information as they could. Smaller militaries might consider re-using the aircraft for themselves, especially if they acquire a type in enough quantity to equip a squadron (Finland comes to mind as doing a lot of this against the Soviets).

The Germans, uniquely as far as I know, captured hardware in such quantities they even reconditioned and resold much of it. They ultimately re-tasked whole captured industries.

For this theme build we’ll look at four examples of aircraft flown by “the other side”. These are all fairly simple kits and the theme could go quickly, but with the caveat I brought up a few weeks back: I am still busy with some family business and a lot of travel is involved, so some simple three week builds may get drawn out over several months. We’ll see!
Our four subjects will be a Messerschmitt Bf 109, a Dewoitine D.520, a Mitsubishi A6M, and a Dornier Do 335.

Posted in Theme Build | 10 Comments

Nashorn – Sd.Kfz 164

Another of Germany’s fearsome tank destroyers, the Nashorn served from mid-1943 to the end of the War.

We’ll take a quick look at this well known hunter.

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Posted in Armor, Germany | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Programming Note

Just a quick FYI for everyone, due to a family health crisis my time for modeling has been impacted. My wife and I are fine, but traveling a lot and dealing with some family business stuff (not the fun sort!). I’m not sure how long this will continue, but for the time being don’t expect the 3-4 completed models a month like I’d been doing. I will still post when I can, and seriously I look forward to moments at the model table or writing posts here. But they won’t be as frequent as they were for a while.

Posted in Administrative | 17 Comments

M2 High Speed Tractor


This heavy duty tug was designed for use at under prepared airports. With 122 hp and full tracks it could pull even heavily loaded aircraft on almost any surface. It also mounts a winch rated at 10000 lbs, a 3 kw DC generator and an air compressor. No doubt, its more versatile than oxen.

The M2 tractor was accepted for production in February 1941 and entered service a year later. It was produced by Cleveland Tractor Company, which was widely known in agriculture as “Cletrac”. The company was acquired by Oliver Farm Equipment in 1944, but their full-tracked designs continued to be better known by the Cletrac name. The company was later acquired by White Motors and from there Volvo and General Motors.

This is the Monogram kit. Which may be misleading. As far as I know it has never been available separately, but as a free add-in to Monogram’s well known B-24 Liberator. Mostly. Some early issues of the B-24D do not include it, but every boxing (as far as I know) of the B-24J and later boxings of the B-24D do.
It is almost comically basic. I think ten pieces, with plenty of hollow voids. I filled what looked most visible (like behind the bench seats) but mostly just built it as is. Its getting more of a close-up here than I think the kit would ever wish for itself! This is the definition of set dressing, a background prop.

What the Cletrac was built to do.
Posted in USA, Vehicle | 13 Comments

Yakovlev Yak-9D

This most numerous and important Soviet fighter of the War is perhaps the best known Soviet fighter as well.

Let’s take a look at an important fighter from a unit that really emphasized the World at War.

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Posted in Fighter, France, Soviet Union | Tagged , , | 8 Comments


This Soviet mechanized artillery is somewhat like the German Stug III because it was directly inspired by it.

Let’s take a quick look at an idea that worked well for both combatants.

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Posted in Armor, Soviet Union | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Theme Build 3 – Complete


We looked at a wide variety of prototypes, from the first of a long and famous line to highly experimental. For me this was also an opportunity to dip my toe into “limited run” model kits. I’m pretty happy with how all of this came off.

Mitsubishi A6M1 Zero

Grumman F4F-3S Wildcatfish

Blohm und Voss Bv 141B-0

Curtiss XP-55 Ascender

Perhaps the most normal with the most unusual of this theme!
Two prototypes of important types. The Zero is the first of many, while the Wildcatfish is an odd branch of the family tree.
I find it amusing that the Bv 141 was praised for stable flight characteristics while the more balanced looking XP-55 was considered a bit of a terror.

This is a theme I expect to revisit several more times, maybe even in sub-themes with more closely related types.
For now, I’ll switch over to build a couple tank destroyers. I’ll be back with a new theme in a month or so.
Coming soon… Captured!

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Curtiss XP-55 Ascender

A prototype that was never really considered for a production order, Let’s look at a design meant to tackle difficult aerodynamic issues as new areas of speed and performance were dealt with at the end of the piston-engine fighter era.

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Posted in Fighter, prototype, USA | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Supply Chain Drama

I’ve had a bit of minor drama in my life recently. It does not relate to the main them of this website, and in fact building models and writing Plane Dave has been a great source of relief for me through it all. But I do want to go a ways off topic to share a personal tale of the state our malfunctioning supply chain is in.

Back in June of this year, 2021, my car went into the shop for a brake job. No big deal right? The car was barely two years old, but a warped rotor meant the rotor and pads needed to be replaced. The rotor was immediately available, but pads for my model of Challenger were a little backed up. So it sat at the dealership for a couple nights. No problem, my wife’s a teacher and has summers off so one car is fine for a while.
After a few days I got the call saying the pads were in and the car would be ready by lunchtime. Cool! Not 15 minutes later I got a text saying to please call the Service Manager. That didn’t sound good!
It wasn’t. When they went to get my car from the service lot they discovered it had been broken in to. Apparently a theft attempt failed and the frustrated thieves took out their frustrations on my car with a crowbar (and the Squad Car parked next to it!). They had entered through the sunroof that they shattered then tore into the electrical system. It also rained that night and there was an inch of water standing in the cup holders (did I mention my car has a suede interior). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised the thieves couldn’t defeat the car’s security system; at a new car dealership they chose to steal from the service lot. Some of those cars were likely towed in! We’re not talking about our best and brightest here.

This is a whole headache. Michigan is a “no fault” insurance State, that just means my insurance pays for my damage regardless. (I have no doubt my insurance company will collect from the dealership’s insurance company, but none of that is my concern). But it means estimates and negotiations between the body shop and insurance company, with me as a frustrated bystander trying to get things moving. It took about a month to finally get work actually done.

Things seemed to move pretty quick in late July/early August (!). I was pushing to get the car fixed before Jodie went back to work. It was satisfying to see the dents removed, the body sanded smooth, a whole new paint job (so maybe this is about modeling! Just 1:1 scale, and not me). The interior was removed and sent off to a detailer for complete cleaning.
But then everything came to a halt. No sunroof. There wasn’t one anywhere in the dealer network. Apparently not a new one anywhere in the States. In early September they reported the sunroof had arrived! But not all the mounting/trim parts. So we waited. They were probably on a ship from China…(maybe that’s a bad theory? The settlement clearly requires OEM parts. But I don’t know where the sunroof comes from) The interior could not be reinstalled without all the sunroof parts.

I got a rental car when Jodie went back to work. The Dealership paid and was quite agreeable to the whole thing. Perhaps they were amazed I hadn’t taken them to court yet? So Wednesday, October 20, I finally got the call that they had all the parts! The car should be back to me Friday. Its been four months. I’ve made four car payments and two insurance payments. I’m driving a Nissan. It could be worse, at least its a Maxima. And it uses less gas.
Friday comes along and I get a phone call. An embarrassed service rep says “I have good news and bad news…” sigh… “The good news is the repairs are finished, everything is detailed and clean and looks great. But when going over the checklist we realized no one had ever fixed the brakes…”
I couldn’t make this up.
After the brakes were finally done (!) a final interior detailing revealed a broken piece of trim where the windshield was replaced. It took a couple days to get the parts and right specialist together to get that fixed.

Finally, October 28, my car is home. I do have a small squawk list, it will be going back (3 non-critical items). But it looks great and is completely drivable in the meantime. Future visits won’t involve any waiting on parts.

The situation really is bad on several levels. I’m sure many readers have heard stories about how a chip shortage is impacting production. But that has a real impact. This dealership I was dealing with normally has close to a hundred cars on the lot, this summer they were down to 16 at one point. Due to parts shortages many cars have been stuck for weeks, at one point the dealership claimed they had 150 (used) cars out as loaners or rentals. It is truly nuts!

Just to tie the story back into this website…
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