Thursday, October 27, 2011

365th Fighter Group book progress report.

A sneak peak of the final cover art of the book. The Red, Yellow and Blue segments represent the colors of the 3 squadrons that make up the 365th FG.

Its been a while since I have updated you on the progress of this book, and some of you may have thought the project had died on the vine. Far from it. In fact, VERY far from it!

First off, the book now has a title. The previous working title lacked a little in the sexiness department. Thunderbolts of the Hell Hawks has a lot more punch to it, don't you think?

Don Barnes, the man who's baby this project is, has dug deeply over the last 2 years, and has come up with a vast treasure trove of never before seen photos and personal stories. He has tracked down over 20 pilots that are still with us, and has become good friends with almost all of them. He has collected a staggering 800 unpublished photos from the personal photo albums of the pilots and crew members.

The book contains about 600 photos, of which about 20 have been published in other books. The rest have languished unseen in photo albums for the past 66 years. Many of the images will be printed full page. The range of subjects is quite varied, showing life in the Hell Hawks in great detail, with many images of the Thunderbolt's they flew, the pilots and ground crews, quarters, airfields and support equipment, even a selection of captured aircraft and destroyed targets. The vast majority of men in the photographs are identified by name.

To make this even more impressive, Don has fully documented and illustrated ninety two P-47s that were attached to the unit in detailed color profiles. Before this, the only documented aircraft from the unit was "Coffey's Pot".

John Crump has spent hundreds of hours researching and writing the history of the unit. I wrote the first few chapters, but I had to back out, as I did not have enough time to devote to the project. John stepped in and did a terrific job of bringing the story to life. I am very proud to be a part of this project, but my contribution is small compared to what Don and John have done.

This book is in the very final stages of layout. Some last minute photos and stories have slightly delayed the process, but it will result in a better and more comprehensive book. We expect it to go off to the printers in the next week.

What started life as a book with about 140-150 pages has grown with each passing month into an impressive 320 pages. If you have read Jones' and Dorr's book Hell Hawks, you will find that Thunderbolts of the Hell Hawks has very little overlap, and it will add a lot of depth and background to what is a fascinating book and a great read. They are complimentary. Reading both will give you a very detailed and rich understanding of what life was like for these brave men. Its a story that has been largely overlooked up til now.

More news on the book will be coming in the next few days.

Happy modelling! Roy

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mustang Madness 2: The gathering storm!

Here's an image showing the port sidewall of the new Tamiya P-51D, tricked out with our new Mustang cockpit stencils. Click on the above image to see it in more detail.

I know I promised to post a new blog entry a few days ago, but a family situation took me away from my blogging duties. Its been an extremely weird year for me; its certainly had its ups and downs. I'm back and here to make good on my promise.

Again, most of you may already be aware of this, but BarracudaCals has released a new decal sheet for the Tamiya Mustang;
BC32010 P-51D Mustang Cockpit Stencils and Placards in 1/32 Scale.

This sheet is comprised of over 100 separate decals that replicate nearly every stencil or placard in the cockpit of the P-51D. Yes, this will take a bit of time and care to install, but the results, as you can see in the image above, will be well worth it.

As with the P-51D Part 1 decals announced in the previous entry, these stencils are well researched, fit to the actual kit parts, and beautifully printed by Cartograf. Clear carrier film is kept to a bare minimum, and they really suck down over detail very well, as they are commendably thin.

Once you see a 1/32 Mustang cockpit with these little babies installed, you will find it hard to build yours without! All part of my little plan. World domination? Noooo! Don't be silly! Not at first... Now, I've been asked more than once if these cockpit stencils will be made available in 1/48th scale. To which, I reply "Hey! No fair peeking!"

Once you see a 1/32 Mustang cockpit with these little babies installed, you will find it hard to build yours without! All part of my little plan. World domination? Noooo! Don't be silly! Not at first... Now, I've been asked more than once if these cockpit stencils will be made available in 1/48th scale. To which, I reply "Hey! No fair peeking!"

Now, I promised you an announcement about the forthcoming resin sets for the Mustang in 32nd scale. Here is a breakdown of the sets to be released. They are still in the works, but they should be released in about two weeks. Once they are finished , I will post images of the parts and the sets will become available for preorder.

BR32012 P-51D Mustang Cockpit Sidewalls
Super detailed, accurate cockpit sidewalls directly replace the Tamiya
kit parts. Much extra detail such as wiring, refined switches, and separate parts add to the realism. Resin castings supplimented with photoetched parts, including perforated canopy rails and uplocks for the gearbays.

BR32013 P-51D Mustang Instrument Panel
A super detailed resin instrument panel, with high quality etched parts and super crisp and petite film dials, directly replaces the Tamiya kit panel. This will yield a much more authentic look. May be adapted to fit other 1/32 Mustang kits.

BR32014 P-51D Mustang Cockpit Upgrade
Super detailed resin cast radio, battery, stick, gunsight and throttle quadrant for the Tamiya P-51D. All parts are highly visible in the finished model, and will add that extra touch of realism to your masterpiece. May be adapted to fit other 1/32 Mustang kits.

BR32015 P-51D Mustang Mainwheel Tires
Resin cast tires directly replace the soft rubber Tamiya kit tires. The advantage being that the mold parting seam on the kit tires is very difficult to remove and the tires are dust and dirt magnets. While they can be painted, the paint adhesion is not good. Resin tires have none of these drawbacks. Clean, seamless castings need little work to be ready to install.

BR32016 P-51D Mustang Paper Droptanks
Resin cast nose and tailcones for the 108 gallon paper tanks replace the kit parts, which are smooth and scribed. The real tanks were made of paper mache, and the nose and tailcones were scalloped and slightly irregular. Just saw off the front and rear of the kit tanks and attach these new resin parts. The saves on weight, as well as allowing plastic cement to be used to hang the tanks.

Now, please read this part carefully! These sets ARE NOT available yet. They are coming soon. I have not added them to the website, and will not be accepting pre-orders yet. I just want to be sure that everyone understands this to avoid disappointment. I will post pictures later this week. I will also be sure to get the press release about the release dates to all the major sites as soon as I am convinced they will be ready to ship on time. They will also be announced here and on the Barracuda Studios website as well.

The second half of 2011 is certainly a great time to be a Mustang mad modeller!

Off to bed now, its super late again.