Corsair chasing a shadow… or a zero… or… in the clouds
Mid 1943 – a lone Corsair pilot has chased an unidentified aircraft into a cloud, and is now frantically searching for it. It is a fellow Naval Aviator? Is it an enemy aircraft? Or maybe just his own shadow?
“I Can’t Identify that Aircraft!” was a common comment of US aviators in the early- to mid-war years. Realizing this, the US (and other nations) developed a program to train aircrew in the identification of all aircraft – friend and foe. Part of this program was the creation and distribution of ID models, all to a constant scale, to help visualize all types of aircraft. Interestingly, these models were all made to 1/72nd scale, and became the forerunners of one of the most popular modern-day modeling scales.
This vignette depicts an all too-common theme that played out across the skies of the world during World War 2. In this case, a Tamiya 1/72nd scale Corsair is (ironically) in pursuit of an authentic WW2 ID model of a Mitsubishi “00” (Zero) fighter.
The Tamiya model was built mostly out of the box, with the addition of a pilot (comprised of the pieces of 4 different figures). Ailerons were deflected slightly to show the angle of flight, and landing gear modified to be shown in the retracted position. Decals are from the Revell of Germany 1/72nd scale Corsair kit, and paints are a combination of Tamiya and Gunze Aqueous. The propeller effect was achieved by cutting a clear piece of acetate, scoring it with sandpaper to give the effect of motion, and shadowing in propeller blades with pastels.
The Zero ID model is from my personal collection, and is an authentic item from the time period.
The clouds were created using micro fiber fill, and held in place with hairspray. The ‘ocean’ base is a piece of silk mat board, and the frame was a custom-ordered design.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.