F3F-2 encore – F3F-2 of VF-6
Since everyone liked the Marine F3F-2, here’s a Navy F3F-2 of Fighting 6 aboard USS Enterprise.
This is a model of the airplane that Fred MacMurray’s character “crashed” during the high altitude test in “Dive Bomber.” Again, done OOB with kit decals – the kit provides all the decals you need to be able to do any F3F-2 used by any squadron that flew it. One of the first “serious” airplane books I ever read as a kid (in the school library, remember when they used to have those?) was “Dive Bomber,” a pre-WW2 memoir by Robert Winston, a well-known author of the time who later returned to active service in WW2 and commanded VF-31 aboard USS Cowpens, the most successful VF CVL squadron of the war (Conny Nooy, the Ace of Aces of CVL F6F pilots, was his wingman). He wrote “Fighter Squadron,” one of the best first-person accounts of naval aviation during the war. “Dive Bomber” was later purchased by Hollywood to be adapted into the movie (which had nothing to do with anything in the book other than the airplanes). The book gave a full account of going through Navy training, flying all the airplanes he flew, etc. The end painting was a beautiful picture from the POV of someone in a small boat of a F3F-2 pulling out low over the ocean with the USS Saratoga off on the horizon. That picture – and his account of how much fun the F3F was to fly – were where I first fell in love with this airplane.
Interestingly enough, if you watch “Dive Bomber,” you will see some formation shots of F3F-2s – the very last airplane in the formation is flown by future AVG ace and Medal of Honor awardee ENS James O. Howard. In the formation shot of SB2U-2s, in the middle of the formation, the third section leader is Lt (jg) Tex Hill, also a future AVG ace.
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.