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Frank Cronin
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Hasagawa P-3 Orion of VP-19.Flown out of Moffet Field , CA during 1977-78.

February 16, 2015 · in Aviation · · 24 · 2.7K

This is the very old Hasagawa kit. That was done in the late 70's. It was attached to VP-19 and was stationed at NAS Moffet Field in Sunnyvale, CA. The kit shows it's age but was still a very good kit for the time. I believe this kit is still available from Hasagawa in other makings. Aside from it's age it was a decent kit to build and if one was to super detail it the basics are there. Prior to using the kits decals I over sprayed them just to be sure that they held together. I did this for a gentleman that is having me do a number of West Coast Navy jet aircraft in 1/72. This was built out of the box using the decals from the kit. I wanted to use the decals for a particular reason.
The nickname of the squadron was “Big Red” and the bird of prey design on the tail was designed by iModelers own, Robert Bausch. I asked Bob how it came to pass that he was commissioned to do the tail design. This is what he told me:

"As far as I can remember the red bird tail marking for VP-19 was the result of a direct request from Andy Jampoler, who originally got in touch with me after having seen one of my aircraft art exhibitions at the Nut Tree. Or I guess it could have been at the Graf Zeppelin in SF. He was the XO of the squadron at the time (he occupied both XO and CO positions in VP-19 in succession). He then eventually was the base Commander of Moffett Field.

The squadron's nickname was “Big Red”, and I took off with that, and the “bird of prey” idea, then came up with the distinctive marking, which caused quite a stir in the land based antisub community at the time. The markings were applied in VP-19's hangar at Moffett Field, by their maintenance crews. I signed the port side marking on one of the actual aircraft, I believe it was PE-1. That was fun, as I remember they hoisted me up there on a kind of “cherry picker”, and I reached out and signed my name with a felt tipped pen.

Andy also commissioned a couple of paintings from me. The first (and this predated the Red Bird design, also when he was XO) was given to the outgoing CO as a going away present. The second was done for Andy when he was CO, with the red bird marking, and he still has it hanging in his office."

Included with the photos is Bob's painting that he did for Commander Jampoler. You can see more of Bob's art work at his web site,

It was always a pleasure to see these aircraft fly and knowing the person responsible for the squadron design.

Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

24 responses

  1. Very nice Frank, we don't see this subject to often.


  2. Nice build, and a great old kit. I've built two of them.

  3. Nicely finished and photographed, Frank...good work.

  4. Fantastic! You did a stellar job on this piece of vintage plastic. Awesome!

  5. Great job, Frank. A really eye-catching model.

  6. I remember back in the fall of 1964, when VP-1 brought the first P-3s to WestPac. Everybody in the P-2 and P-5 communities thought they were Disneyland castles, with the soundproofing and air conditioning and the fact you could walk upright through the whole thing. It was just great till...

    They proceeded to loose three of them in three weeks, all on night flare dropping exercises that resulted in airplanes turning into fireballs until they were extinguished when they hit the sea. Turned out the release mechanism in the bomb bay was hinky, and the flares were hanging up and burning through there in the bomb bay. Fortunately that got fixed and the P-3 went on to a 50 year career that still isn't over.

    Nice model of a great airplane.

  7. fine job frank...looks like a lot of work

  8. Very nice! I've got an old Revell kit I want to put up on my bench soon. Might use yours as a reference...

  9. excellent piece of work

  10. I had the opportunity to tour the P-3A's of VP-8 when they came on station at Argentia in the early 60's. VP-8 was the first P-3 squadron to go trans-atlantic. always loved these aircraft and the CP-140's that are still in service here in Canada.

  11. Great build, Frank. You and Bausch make quite a duo. Well done!

  12. Nice build! Thanx for the back-story on the tail art, too. My brother flew for VP-19 c.1988-92. Is there a way to get a litho of that painting for him?

  13. Yeah very nice build, of one of the longest serving military aircraft in history? When I was in Sultanate of Oman I heard of a P3 that lost all four and had to ditch off Masirah Island. Story was they had a prop overspeed on the number one engine I think it was, this caused the reduction gearbox to disintegrate, the prop came off the aeroplane, it then "walked" back under the centre section of the belly, the blades slashing the belly, severing all the fuel lines and so putting out the other 3 engines. I saw the photo of her floating in the water. taken by the RAFO Bell 205 SAR chopper. All the crew got out no problem, but not often you loose all four!

  14. Thank you all for the very nice comments on my model. Check out Bob's web site. He is an excellent artist.

  15. Very clean build and interesting story on the paint scheme.

  16. As usual, Great build Frank, I'm look forward to seeing the rest of the PAC Coast Navy builds you have going.

  17. Great model, Frank, very neatly built and finished, and the stories are very interesting, too.

  18. Frank, excellent job, as usual for you, on this old kit of a very important aircraft. It doesn't look old to me! And thanks for doing it in my VP-19 markings, giving me credit, and including my notes on how it came about. Forgot to mention, but I had a several hour training flight in PE-6 out over the Pacific, as a result of designing the red bird markings.

  19. Hello Frank...Thanks for sharing photos of your beautiful P-3 build. Very nicely done for sure. I also appreciate you including the history of those colorful markings. That old Hasegawa kit can yield a beautiful model as you have so well demonstrated.

  20. Great build, the living proof, that a good modeller don t need a "Wunderkit"
    Great story as well.

  21. Love US Navy models and the P-3 especially. Great finish on this VP-19 Orion

  22. Hello Frank,

    Excellent job on this mighty sub-hunter.

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