PBY-5A Catalina – Black Cats VP-81 ‘Nite Life’ – New Georgia 1944
This is the 1/48 Monogram kit, purchased as the -10A post-WWII Rescue version. I thought a colourful scheme of internediate blue-over-white finishes, with bright red and yellow bands, would make a big impression as a scheme.
When I opened the box I found it had all the parts for the wartime -5A - choice of nose blister turret between the -10A and -5A, gunned-up fuselage blisters, etc. It was only the kit's decals that restricted it to the Rescue version.
On reflection, I thought the only sensible thing to do was to build a Black Cat. I found a (rare) set of Yellowhammer decals which provided 2 BC choices, and I decided on CDR Eugene Rankin's "Nite Life." The national insignias are printed with a pinkish, faded look, in keeping with the Black Cat's familiar worn appearance, where harsh Pacific conditions soon wore away the matte black to reveal some of the original camo.
This is a big model, with a wingspan just over 60cm (two feet), probably comparable to a B-17 in the scale. It was front-weighted to keep it upright, and I decided early-on that the kit undercarriage was unsuitable for the weight long-term. I replaced it with a Scale Aircraft Conversions set, and futher detailed the u/c bays, cockpit and gun blisters with Eduard etch and minor miscellaneous scratchbuild.
The Monogram tail unit is known for being too wide a chord, which gives it a clumsy look when viewed flowing out of the graceful narrow section of rear fuselage. I replaced this with the resin correction offered by Belcher Bits (After waiting five months for its production availability from BB in Canada, I sourced it same-day at Aviation Megastore in Holland.).
The black finish is in fact three different blacks - Humbrol matte black, Tamiya Nato black, and a Games workshop shade. A light touch of Intermediate blue was dusted in to replicate wear, and the rope section moulded into the nose was removed and a section of fibre 'rope' set in its place, and then extended to rest coiled on the display base. Rust powders were applied in appropriate areas