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Sound the Alarm! Sound the Alarm!!!—California Steve Built an Aeroplane!

This is the very old Williams F9C Sparrowhawk. I just had to go back and redo the glue bomb
I put together in about 1965. Now legend has it while the glue was still drying in 65 it managed to shoot down one hundred and sixty six bad guys with only one probable. But that is another story.
Great fun with a simple kit. We did have airborne aircraft carriers in the 30s.
This paint follows the aircraft that were assigned to the USS Macon Airship.
They were launched and recovered with a retractable trapeze that the aircraft would
latch on to in flight. Here is a link.

Enjoy..
California Steve

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.


35 responses to Sound the Alarm! Sound the Alarm!!!—California Steve Built an Aeroplane!

  1. Beautiful, Steve! I also like the video. I’ve seen it before at the USAF Museum but it’s so interesting, I don’t mind seeing it again.

    Well done, amigo!

  2. Lovely. I like the pilot figure too

  3. Thank you very much Jeff. It was a fun build.
    I would like to share a story with you about my son and taking him to the
    shooting range for the first time. We brought along our trusty 22 Marlin
    squirrel rifle. Before we left we reviewed the proper way to respect and treat a weapon and the rules and regulations of a proper shooting range. Well we had a great time but he was very reserved and quiet the whole time. Until we drove about about a quarter mile away on the way home. He was still very cool.. Then I asked him “Did you have any fun?” Then he just erupted with joy. He said Dad that was the most fun I have ever had. And I asked him why he didn’t let me know this at the range. And he said.. “Dad I didn’t want the other guys there know that that was my first time shooting” I was looking at your profile and thought you would get a kick out of this story..
    Thanks again for your kind words.
    California Steve

  4. Great looking model Steve. it was great being an ace back in the 60s. I would make a model in the afternoon, by tea time I lost count of the missions I’d flown. A nice father son story as well.

  5. Just love this one Steve. You did a stellar job on this historic aircraft. Now I know Cal Steve as a creative Modeler so the question is when are we seeing the Sparrowhawk in a diorama hooked up to the Macon?

    • Morne, How you doing? You know I thought about displaying the aircraft hanging from the trapeze. A bit of a complicated scratch building. But their are plenty of reference photos.
      Hummm. Now where did I put the coat hangers?
      Thanks for the nice words Morne.
      California Steve

  6. I’m shocked, shocked I say to see California Steve has built an airplane! And a historical one, from an ancient kit, none the less. Nicely done Steve, really like that pilot,he has the look of an ace.

  7. Wouldn’t this one fall into the category of a “way-back” machine…? Nice build, my friend.

    • Hello Craig. Way back machine is correct. It sure brought back a lot of memories about the battle of Glendale California in 1965. A lot of plastic army men gave their best. It was a proud moment for us all but we won the battle.
      Now see, don’t get me going.
      I’m glad you like her.
      California Steve

  8. Nice job on that Steve. I like biplanes but not sure I have the patience for rigging them.

  9. Really nice Steve! For some odd reason I just thinking if there was a kit of the Sparrowhawk. AMT recently re-released their Akron/Macon kit. The actual US airships didn’t fair to well.

  10. Nice to see that kit built, Steve. Very unusual.

  11. Thanks John. Some of these aircraft, as you can see in the video were constructed without landing gear! Also in the kit is the option for adding a tail hook for carrier landings.
    Thanks again.
    California Steve

  12. I built up a kit of the Williams brothers Gnome Rhone rotary and the Pratt and Whitney radial engine kits they produced. With a little TLC they look really nice……..

    Now this is a cool looking plane Steve………….. and very well done I might add. Not your typical VW bug…………….. I like it . A lot !!!!

    I have a Williams Brothers Gee Bee racer and a Seversky P-35 in the stash. Maybe someday……….. maybe.

    • Thank you very much Louis. I would say dive in and start building those kits. Both are great fun.
      My great old boss used to say. “Nothing happens until somebody sells something”.. I say, Nothing happens until somebody glues something. Good to hear from you Louis.
      California Steve

  13. Steve, great work on a not so easy kit, probably the only one of the aircraft we’ll ever see. Later on, the USAF tried the concept with the RF84K/RB-36 with the downturned horizontal stab.on the Thunderflash, and the F-85 Goblin. Mixed results, particularly the latter. Hit the trapeze, broke the canopy, and had to crashland. There were 2 of them, and flew a total of 2 hours and a bit.
    The RF-84K was used somewhat more, dunno figures.
    Fascinating little historical tidbit, glad I didn’t have to pilot any of them.
    The landing gear on the Sparrowhawk could be removed, I think to save weight and clean up the airframe somewhat. Shades of the 30s comic strips, Smilin’ Jack stuff!

  14. And if somebody did a 1/48th Sparrowhawk or F-85, I’d be all over it.

    • How are you doing Bernard. I can’t imagine piloting a F-85.
      There were sure a lot of parasite aircraft if you follow the development of the concept. I think most were frightening.
      But then I think of landing a aircraft on a rolling and pitching carrier deck at night? These guys are incredible.
      I’ll stick with building models.
      Thanks for your nice comments.
      California Steve

  15. Great posting, Steve, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and the comments, too. Oh, yeah, nearly forgot, what a nice looking model, a good splash of yellow always brightens things up.

    • Hello George, How are you doing? I have to say that posting here is great fun but the exchange with all you guys is what I treasure the most. And the yellow wings. I couldn’t wait to paint this part of the build. There are sure a lot of great models to behold on this website. What a great forum to share our interests.
      Thanks again George.
      California Steve

  16. Pretty darn good for a car guy!

  17. California Steve; the only person I know who could use ‘Frankenstein’ as a verb.
    Lovely build, Steve. Have to say I’d love to see what you’d do with a 1/32 Mitchell.

  18. Thanks David. The Mitchell is in the stash. I have the masks ready. and also a pilot,co-pilot and bombardier, (bomb aimer ) From Masterdetails to add. My pilots head on the Sparrowhawk is a masterdetails product
    Frakensteined. Or is that pronounced Frankensteened?
    Thanks again
    California Steve

  19. The HK B25 is a dream build; I gave myself a meltdown choosing between that and the Tamiya 1/32 Mossie (which I eventually went for). Every review says the Mitchell is a pile of fun to build. I know you’re not a ‘conventional’ modeller (well, you are a bass player) but boy, would I sign up to follow a work in progress for that bird.

    Again, congrats on the Sparrowhawk, she’s a beauty.

  20. Thanks again David. Did you ever have a model you were almost afraid to start because of the “what if I screw it up syndrome”. It is a beautiful model but so many variations. It is a glass nose. But what color scheme etc. Oh the decisions.
    California Steve

  21. I know exactly what you mean. But there’s a metaphor in there; you can sit back, knowing you have the kit in your stash (“I coulda been a contendah”), or you can make it happen.
    This, and other motivational gems brought to you by ‘London Dave’.

    Hope you’re well, California Steve!

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