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Louis Gardner
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1/48 Monogram PBY-5A Catalina, VP-44 Ensign Jack Reid, “44-P-4” Midway Group build

Almost exactly to the minute. Around 9AM, Midway time, which happens to be 4PM here on the Eastern coast of the US.

75 years ago today... this plane spotted the Japanese invasion forces, consisting of mainly transports. These forces were located around 700 miles due West of Midway Island.

Later on during the day of June 3rd, 1942, the US Army launched a flight of six B-17 "Flying Fortress" planes from Midway to bomb the Japanese invasion Forces. None of the bombs dropped by the B-17's hit their mark. The Battle of Midway has started... and the transports kept coming.

Tonight marks the Anniversary of a flight of 4 -5A's that made a night time torpedo attack. One of the torpedo's dropped by these slow flying PBY's hit the oiler Akebono Maru early on the morning of June 4th.

Tomorrow is the 75th Anniversary of when the Japanese Aircraft Carriers were spotted, also by a PBY crew. The PBY is an unsung hero and often gets overlooked.

Here's a picture of the crew that spotted the Japanese first.

(Standing, left to right): Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class R.J. Derouin; Chief Aviation Radioman Francis Musser; Ensign Hardeman (Copilot); Ensign J.H. Reid (Pilot) and R.A. Swan (Navigator).
(Kneeling, left to right): Aviation Machinist Mate 1st Class J.F. Gammell (NAP); Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class, J. Goovers and Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class P.A. Fitzpatrick.

Here's a picture of a "VP-23" PBY-5 at Midway Island. If you look closely, you will see that this is the older non amphibian version of the PBY-5. It uses beaching gear, instead of having a retractable landing gear as on the PBY-5A. The beaching gear was a set of main wheels that were placed alongside the fuselage, and a steerable tail support mechanism.

VP-23 flew the non amphibian PBY, while VP-44 had the newer PBY-5A's with retractable landing gear. Both units were hurriedly assigned to Midway Island during the middle of May, 1942.

I built my PBY almost completely out of the box. The only alterations were made to the landing lights.

Here's a link to the build thread:

and a link that shows more information about the opening phases of the Battle of Midway:

This was an enjoyable build, and the kit is pretty big once completed. I am really surprised that more of them have not been built. This is really a nice kit. If you're like me and like the older / Revell kits, you will really like this one. It is a great place to start for someone who has scratch building skills. If I had more time I may have added some details. But for me, it's good enough as is.

It was painted using Model Master enamels, and the decals were from my spares collection, along with some "Yellow -Wings" decals for the fuselage side numbers. All of these details are spelled out in the build log.

I would like to personally thank Martin, and the crew from Imodeler, for the opportunity to conduct this Midway Group Build. I also want to thank Chuck Villanueva for his fanstastic opening for the Group Build Reveal.

This build would not have been as easy for me, had not Tom Bebout sent me some photos he took of the OV-10A (US Army slang for PBY-5A) in the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson.

I also want to thank each and every one of you who posted builds, posted information and / or photos to use as reference, and those who simply made comments along the way.

It was a team effort...

Take care. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed building it.

As usual, comments are encouraged.

22 additional images. Click to enlarge.

24 responses

  1. What a beautiful looking build, Louis...a terrific addition to this (or any) collection.

  2. Big model even in 1/48 - the parasol wing is huge. Nice result, Louis.,

    • Thanks Rob. I didn't have enough room to properly photograph this one due to it's size. I had to "improvise" a little in order to take these pictures. You don't realize just how big it is until you look at a picture I took during the build log with a pair of F4F Wildcats sitting next to it...

  3. Real nice! love the blister guns.

    • Thank you Bob. It's a very prominent feature of the Catalina. It's one of my favorite sections of this model too, since there's some details that you can actually see inside of the plane.

  4. Much appreciated, impressive model !

  5. Nice work all around.

  6. Good job Louis,nice to see you completed the big cat. It's size is the probable reason you rarely see a completed one at shows.

    • Thanks Tom. Seriously, your photographs really helped out big time. Especially the landing gear shots. The kit instructions were a little vague and your photos made life a whole lot easier. Yes this bad boy takes up some real estate in the old display case... You're probably right about the size affecting the appearances at shows... It's an impressive sight to see it parked next to a tiny little F4F... 🙂 😉 🙂

  7. Nice Louis! Some good weathering, oil staining, etc. And thanks for coordinating the group build!

    • Thank you for the compliments Greg. And you're welcome Sir ! It was a team effort, not all my work. I'm glad that you participated. You SBD really turned out very nice.

  8. Ausgezeichnet ! That means "Excellent," in German, mi amigo Louis! It has been worth the wait. I love PBYs anyway & yours ROCKS!

  9. Ya done good Louis, really like the weathering.

    • Thanks Rick. I really didn't want to go too far with the weathering, as there's a fine line between just right and over doing it. So I restrained myself some. I did try something new with this one, and that was the salt water staining marks that I left on the sides of the hull and pontoon floats. If you look closely at these areas, you will see some small white looking stuff... this is supposed to resemble dried salt water spray.

  10. Hello Louis,
    I just took the time to study your WIP. What struck me especially, was the masking of the windows. "Master Masker"
    Very impressed with the end result. Prize winner.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

    • I sincerely appreciate the compliments my friend. There are a lot of window panels to mask in this one... It took some time to do it, that's for sure. I'm overall pleased with how this one turned out.
      Thanks again !

  11. Nicely done Louis

  12. Damn you, Louis, I've now had to buy myself one of these. "162 parts" I said to myself - pressed 'click' then realised I'm never going to just build this beauty straight out the box.
    You have to love this site. Great, great build Louis - and terrific backstory as usual!

    • Ha ha 🙂 🙂 I guess we are even then... I just press the "click" button myself and bought a few more 1/48 scale F6F Hellcats after looking at your builds... Thanks buddy. I appreciate the compliments. I'm glad you enjoyed this one...

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