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‘A Higher Call’ – the very best of humanity in the very worst of times.

I think most people on iModeler will know of the story of Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler.

On the return journey home from a bombing raid on Germany in December 1943, 20 year old pilot Charlie Brown nursed his critically injured B-17 toward the North Sea at under 2,000 ft and only just above stalling speed at 135 mph. He had refused to order a bail out, mainly as one of his crew was unconscious and would undoubtedly die.

Seeing the stricken plane fly over his airfield at Jever (Northern German base for JG 27), Franz Stigler jumped in his Me109 and flew to finish off the fortress. However, on his approach to attack, Stigler saw what a sorry a state the B-17 was in; the rear gunner dead, other crew injured and clearly visible through the shredded and bloodied fuselage of the B-17.

Instead of applying the coup-de-grace, Stigler made a bold and honourable decision; he escorted the American bomber past the Nazi anti aircraft sea defences on the Northern German coast until they were over the English Channel, where he saluted the crew, said to himself, “you’re in God’s hands now”, and turned for home. This mercy, a crime in the eyes of the Nazi party punishable by firing squad, was a great gamble on his own values by the young German pilot.

Unbelievably, both pilots not only survived the war but found each other in 1985, going on to become lifelong friends until they both died within a few months of each other in 2008. The story is beautifully written in the book, ‘A Higher Call’. Although inspired by the story, it was the artwork of Nicholas Trudgian and John Shaw that spoke to me as a modeler.

The build log (of several, several, several posts, some of which were even about the model) can be seen here https://imodeler.com/groups/work-in-progress-aircraft/forum/topic/franz-stigler-and-charlie-brown-a-story-for-the-generations/?topic_page=1&num=15

It’s not the most serious of build logs but there’s some great contributions (Louis’ B17 photos – cheers, @lgardner – are a must see).

The build was helped considerably by two wonderful iModeler friends who supplied the PropBlur effects for both aircraft and the 109’s spinner (thanks to David Thomas @davidathomas and Pedro Rocha @holzhamer). Proof of both the international and altruistic nature of this great forum.

The photos are bit rubbish (as usual) and as anyone who followed the WiP will know I had a hiccup with the final coat of varnish which fogged the canopies and obscured all the cockpit work. I’ll replace the canopies, at some point. Maybe. ‘When-I-have-the-time’. The base also needs finishing (I have an OS map of Northern Germany on order which I’ll embed in the topside of the wood.

It’s been a lot of fun building this and the contributions of the iModeler fraternity have made it hugely enjoyable. I have dedicated this build to the memory of Bernie E Hackett Jr who’s final karma count on iModeler was 19,666. A true gentleman.

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.


134 responses to ‘A Higher Call’ – the very best of humanity in the very worst of times.

  1. AWESOME, David. It brought tears to my eyes as well as a chuckle. Good on you mate!

  2. Blimey, that was quick! Thanks, Peter. Your comments all the way through this build were a big reason this was so much fun.

  3. As I had expected, truly spectacular David! Very well done. Truly enjoyed following the WIP as well.

  4. Thanks, James. Greatly appreciated your support and encouragement!

  5. David, Well done indeed. The B-17 gives a great impression of flight as well as the damage she sustained.
    It is such a great story. I am fortunate enough to have a copy of A Higher Call signed by the author, Adam Makos, while he was visiting a few years back here in Williamsport.

  6. Beautifully done David! The realism is impressive! I just love this dio! (With two of my favorite WWII aircraft, it couldn’t get better 🙂 )

    Cheers!

    Dolf

    • Thank you, Dolf – given the artistry of your B17 crew figure, I’ll take that compliment with great appreciation…

      • Thanks David, I really like that fellow 🙂
        But I’m one of those who may have watched “Memphis Belle” (the film) a significant number of times, have the “official” book, by Menno Duerksen, was a honorary member of the fans club for a time, have (and have played it a number of times) the solitary boardgame “B-17” from the legendary Avalon Hill…
        Yes, those teams of ten young men, risking their lives each time they flew on those machines, have all my respect and admiration!
        Even thought that should have never happened, as with any other war, but that is another story…

        Cheers!

        Dolf

        • I think a lot of people like that little guy, Dolf.

          Maybe Tom (@tcinla) could give us some insider info on the ‘Mighty Eighth’ Spielberg/Hanks follow up to Band of Brothers and Pacific. I’ve been checking on the internet at regular intervals but can only find assurances that the project is still a ‘goer’ but no clue as to definite filming. I’m sure it’ll be outstanding (if maybe a little overly sentimental at times).

          • Hi David,

            I do have the original “Band of Brothers” on DVD, and watched the whole thing quite a few times.
            Have never watched “The Pacific”. I wasn’t even aware of its existance I must admit. Maybe because the Pacific theatre of war, as far as WWII is concerned, is the one I’m less familiar with. (Other reasons as well, such as much less attracted to war-like stuff for quite a few years now…)

            Have known about this new “The Mighty Eighth” here on the Forum recently. Since then I’ve been looking for updates, but apparently nothing new on that front.
            Produced by Spielberg & Hanks, that should be something not to miss…

            Cheers!

            Dolf

          • You haven’t missed a thing not watching “The Pacific.” How the same crew that made “Band of Brothers” could have screwed the pooch that bad is beyond me. I could go into the specific charges of their crimes against storytelling, but it would take more bandwidth than this site has. We’ll just limit it to the fact it is considered a Failure on all counts.

            As to Mighty Eighth, the only thing I know is that it tells the story of Robert Rosenthal, a 35-year old New York corporate lawyer who fought his way into the USAAF, fought his way to a combat assignment (being considered “too old”), arrived with his B-17 “Rosie’s Riveters” in the “Bloody Hundredth” bomb group the week of Second Schweinfurt, flew two complete tours, rose to Deputy Group Commander, and after the war was the Deputy American Prosecutor under Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson at the Nuremberg Trials. That’s a pretty good story line to hang everything else on. I have hopes they learned their lesson from “The Pacific.”

  7. Gary, I really appreciate that comment as I spent a while trying various painting techniques on the PropBlurs and different positions for the Fortress to get a sense of dynamism.
    That book must be a treasure; I’m a real bookaholic and a s****r for signed editions.

  8. It really is a great diorama, full of action and realistic details. It’s a great homage to both fliers and especially to the B-17 crews.
    Sad to hear, and see, the mishap with the canopies. David I can recommend a product from AK that turns any scratch or foggie clear part back to its original shape. It’s called Gauzy agent. Check it out in case you never saw it before
    https://www.google.pt/search?q=ak+clear+parts+product&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=pt-pt&client=safari#imgrc=G87199eI2t_ibM:

    • Pedro,

      Apparently there are a few AK Interactive products called “Gauzy Agent”. Apparently with different purposes.
      I assume the one you’re talking about is this one:
      https://ak-interactive.com/product/gauzy-agent-glass-coat/

      Btw, here is an interesting video on YT showing how this product works, and proving it indeed works!

      As on the case of David, the cannopies and “glasses” are already fixed/glued into the models, I don’t think he can apply the method shown on the video (unless it would be easy to unglue all those pieces), where the entire “glasses” are immersed into the Gauzy Agent, but maybe, without taking them out, if it was with me I’d try to clean those pieces by brushing them for instance, or even using cotton buds, or swabs, with as much of the liquid as possible, even if I had to repeat the same process a few times, each time removing all excess that would probably slide down and try to accumulate in every little corner.

      Anyway, thanks for the tip on this product, as it may be useful more often than not, for many of us…

      Cheers!

      Dolf

      • He can get those canopies off pretty easily if he used white glue (Elmer’s, etc.) to fix the “glass” on.

        • The canopies were fixed using white wood glue, so will come off easily. The 109 I can take as collateral damage, but the B17 canopy was largely scratch built so the scars will have to heal a little before tackling it.

          This was the last shot I had before the last ill-fated spray of lacquer…

        • Hi Jeff,

          Apparently that is exactly how David glued those canopies, with white wood glue 😉

          So he can quite easily unglue them, and use the method suggested by Pedro Rocha.

          At least on the video that works perfectly! I’d give it a try.

          Cheers!

          Dolf

  9. Simply Great! To Bernie,and the Higher call. I think I’ll add it to my reading list. I don’t know about the fog but toothpaste might take care of scratches.

    • Thanks, Robert. Really appreciate you having a look and paying tribute to Bernie.

      I’d really recommend the book, it’s interesting on lots of levels.

      I’ve used toothpaste to good effect on canopies before but I think this is on the level of some malevolent chemical reaction that has changed the very structure of the ‘glass’. Great to hear from you.

  10. Wonderful, David! You really hit the nail square on the head with this one. These are miniatures, not models. Franz & Charlie would have felt honoured to have this made of their famous mission.

    Gorgeous!

  11. Well done David. Following your odyssey was inspiring, truly a build worthy of your subjects. Looking forward to your next project.

  12. That’s amazing, David. Replicating battle damage is difficult. Yours excels.

  13. David my friend…………….. I don’t know where to start.

    This turned out excellent !!!! I was picturing this outcome in my “minds eye” before you posted the photos,………………. and it looks even better than I anticipated. They say that all things must come to an end. But with the end of this build journal, it is bitter sweet.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the usual updates, shenanigans and what have you. It always made my day reading the newest postings. For that I thank you…………..and I am happy that you enjoyed the B-17 photos I posted along the way. I hope they were of some use to you.

    The remarkable story behind the men (and the machines they flew) is told in this way. You have recreated a historical event, and now this has been captured like a freeze frame or time capsule of sorts.

    Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that the windows fogged over. It leaves ones imagination to do the dirty work of guessing how the inside of the bomber and crew must have looked after such a pummeling. It is also respectful of the dead in this manner, and is not overly gruesome as war (and mankind) can be.

    Those of us who are unfortunate enough to have seen the horrors of mankind, know all too well what it was like inside the plane. We see it every night. The sights, the smells………… you get the drift.

    I hate to see the journey over with this one, but I will be looking forward to your next great adventure…………………. If it will be anything like this one or the “Big E”, it will also be a masterpiece.

    Two thumbs up Sir !!!!!!!!!!!

    I like it ………… a LOT . 🙂

    Franz, Charlie and Bernie would all be proud……………..

    • Louis, the WiP was a great ride, I enjoyed it even more than the Big E and had a lot more fun. I take your point about the windows fogging, maybe keeping a veil over the guys is more respectful. Besides, one great thing about a build log is that other people CAN actually see what’s inside after you button the whole build up (‘can’ being the appropriate word since there’s a toilet in that B17).

      Thanks for the comment about Bernie.

      • So you’re saying that you “can” see the “Can” ??? 🙂
        Later (when time permits, and you get the urge), you may want to give it a go will restoring the clarity of the clear plastic parts. I know that being respectful to the dead is one thing, and I agree it should be considered, but it almost seems a shame not to be able to peek inside “Ye Olde Pub” to see all of the hard work you put into it.

        Well done Amigo !!!! I really enjoyed the ride…………….

        • Louis @lgardner

          “it almost seems a shame not to be able to peek inside “Ye Olde Pub” to see all of the hard work you put into it.”

          Couldn’t agree more!

          And for the story it is important, to see both pilots signaling each other, after all it’s one of those very unique moments among “enemies” during war time…

          I’d give that Gauzy Glass Coat a try, but if not mistaken I believe David says somewhere on this thread that he intends to fully replace both canopies, which is a more “radical” move, but which will obviously restore the full transparency for anyone to see inside those cockpits 😉

          Cheers!

          Dolf

  14. Outstanding work David, and indeed good things do come to an end. And I know that Bernie has a smile looking down on a wonderful dio and dedication to what true sportsmanship and honor when two sworn enemies take up the side of human kindness and moral decency. Like Peter mentioned it does have an emotional side about it. Thanks so much for an amazing project, story and sharing a story that not a lot of people know about. Well done David well done.

  15. David: It’s HARD to “mess up” a model. You did a great job. This is really good. I’m totally impressed.

  16. David, Having read the book I recognized this scene right away, and have to add my “Well done” comment with the rest of the group. Your damage work looks very good, and very convincing. Over all build looks great.
    As for your clear part hazing. I’ve had really great results repairing my canopies ! If you can, remove the clear parts from the model, then remove the material (dull coat or varnish) that caused the hazing, your off to a good start. This usually wont clear it up, but gets you back to plastic. I then start with 2000 grit sand paper (I like 3m the best), then work my up to about 8000 grit. I then use a plastic polish called “Meguiars Mirror glaze”. I get it at most auto parts stores. This will get it close. using Q-tips helps. I then finish it off with a nice dip in the pool of Future (now pledge).
    If you can’t remove the hazing coating initially with alcohol or light grade of mineral spirits (I use Klean strip / low odor mineral spirits). then I’d go right to the sanding, then Mirror Glaze.
    This can be time consuming (especially around those battle damaged pieces) but it works for me almost every time.
    You’ll probably get a lot of suggestions, just remember, theirs no wrong way if it works !
    Good luck !

  17. What a great finale David, for many months, we’ve been waiting for this reveal. Splendid work my friend. Damaged vehicles or planes always pose a challenge. This is fantastic!

  18. A really stunning snapshot of history. This model speaks volumes. Those fleeting moments when enlisted men realized they were engaged in an insane fratricidal war.

    • Thank you. Your comments are at the very heart of why I wanted to build this. In Franz Stigler’s own words, to shot that B17 down “would have been murder”. For a man to see that in the heat of battle and not take the easy kill is one thing, to escort the bomber across enemy lines is another level of bravery.

  19. Great effort, David. Clearly, a story worth recalling in detail.

  20. David, your diorama & the story leave me spellbound. What a wonderful snapshot of history you have chosen to represent; and so beautifully! Heartfelt congratulations to you.

  21. The more I look at the B-17 the more I realize how much desire and effort went into building it.

    If our models, especially the scratch built ones, represented some part of who we are, this model sure shows resiliance and perserverance. The underdog rises again and the nemisis steps back with respect. Thanks for sharing that part of you, which I am sure most of us can relate to.

  22. David, Congratulations, I think that you captured the very essence of the encounter and the story behind it – an epic story – and build! well done.

    • Thanks, David, really appreciate the comment. Still hoping to get to the Harrow IPMS club at some point, but truth told (ironic given my profession) I’m not much of a ‘mixer’.

      • David@dirtylittlefokker it would be great to see you if you can make it ( first meeting at new venue this Thursday), otherwise if you are at Telford this year pop over to our stand and say Hi. I won’t be far away, I have heard they sell beer there. You’ll be most welcome.
        (And that goes for any other iModelers that happen to be there)

        • Thanks @davem
          I’d love to meet up and I’ll look into the Harrow possibility a bit more (I have a private practice on Thursdays and it’s hard to turn down good -or even bad- money). I’m only around the corner in Bushey so I’m sure it’ll happen some time.

          Telford is a funny one. I really don’t enjoy the big events as I’m not good in crowds, not very comfortable with small talk, and find the whole competition element a little too serious (really selling myself here…)

  23. David a true masterpiece my friend. It was fun reading your build log and noting how they often divert into uncharted areas but then come back on track. Damn shame the canopies fogged up but she looks great none the less. I think Bernie would be really pleased with the end result. Nicely done.

  24. It’s fantastically atmospheric, David. Great attention to detail. I particularly like the prop blur effects which accentuate the dicky left inner. Really well done! Awesome to use current lingo.
    Paul

    • @white4freak Thanks for checking in, Paul. I have to doff my hat here to Louis @lgardner who pointed out the mechanics of feathering a prop;

      Feathering is only possible with variable pitch propellers and means that the blades are turned such that their mid-to-outer section is aligned with airflow and they create minimal air resistance. This is done when the engine is shut down and the propeller should create minimal drag…

      I had to cut off the original blades and rotate them through 90 degrees before cementing then back on.

      I’m really glad you caught some of the “atmosphere” as that was a large goal of the project.

  25. as John said that battle damage is extraordinary…a pleasure to look at…very sad to here about Bernie…loved him

  26. Thanks for the tribute to Bernie, Bob. I know WW2 aviation is right in the sweet spot of your interest so I really appreciate the compliment. I’d take my hat off to anyone who’d make a Creature from the Black Lagoon. @p38j

  27. Thanks a lot for all the info, Tom @tcinla .

    Yes, lets hope the lessons were learned and they produce something worthy watching.

    Cheers!

    Dolf

  28. What a scene!
    Despite knowing the story, it still seems impossible for me to believe that this twisted metal defied gravity and kept on flyin’. Your ambitious attempt to freeze this dramatic moment in scale worked completely and I congratulate you for it. It takes a lot of rigour to finish something like this – very well done indeed!
    Cheers,
    Aleks

  29. I was really looking forward to the reveal, and was not disappointed! What a beautiful diorama, and each individual model is excellently executed. (there’s a new alliteration I’d not had opportunity to use before!) Love the battle damage – looks very realistic. And the tension in the pose is just perfect. Well done!

  30. @asekular
    Thank you very much, Aleks. I really appreciate the comments and the ‘like’ – As an admirer of your intricate and beautifully detailed work, this is a great testament and encouragement. You are right about the Fortresses, they managed to take a hell of a beating and still get home, somehow. I like to think it was a combination of the men and the machine being greater than their parts.

  31. Been following you progress and knew from the start it’s gonna look great when finished. Now that I see it finally, it’s even better! Hats off!

    And a good song to go along 😉

    • @inflames – Sebastijan you ARE the man. I was raised on Zeppelin, went to school on Metallica, and in my ‘middle age’ found Rammstein. This video is just brilliant. Keep rockin, Seb.

      Oh, and thanks for the support during the build!

      • Zeppelin, Jimmi Hendrix, the Stones, the Who, Lynyrnd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, (gotta get my Southern Rock) AC / DC, Boston, Def Leppard, Metallica, Scorpions, man………… the list goes on. and on…………… sounds like we share more in common than just building plastic.

        • Louis @lgardner

          I think many of us here, despite from all around the world, are born somewhere between the late 40’s and the late 50’s.
          So we all probably got the same musical background 🙂

          Born in Western Africa, later on my late teens having to flee to Europe because of the war, I still grew up listening to most of those bands you mention. Some after Africa, such as AC/DC, Def Leppard, Scorpions, and Saxon, and Thin Lizzy to add to the list of that kind of sound, but Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Joplin, The Stones, The Who, etc, those were some of my favorite rock groups from my early teenage years untill my young adult age…
          Well, my favorite of all, all types of rock music included, is not listed here, maybe because they were not that much heavy metal as most in your list, but for me they have always been, still are nowadays, the best rock group ever, and of course I’m talking about The Doors (with Jim Morrison; the rest of the group still exists, still plays, but they never did anything not even close to what they used to do from the days Jim led the group) .

          Cheers!

          Dolf

        • Louis – don’t forget one of MY favourite bands; Deep Purple (in all its’ various memberships) !

          I also got into some more lesser-known groups like Bloodrock & SRC (the 1st band I saw live). Great music!

    • Hi Sebastijan @inflames

      Thank you very much for that link!

      Being mainly a visual person, and loving that kind of music, that video brought a couple of tears to my eyes!

      You’d know where the images are taken from? I mean, from a film? A TV series? I don’t remember seing them before!

      Thanks.

      Cheers!

      Dolf

      • Good to see so many rockers and metalheads among us 😀 I have to admit, I am more of a metalhead these days, but I’ve discovered rock music as a kid in the ’80s, progressed in teenage years in the ’90s and in the late ’90s fell in love with heavier rythms of metal music. That, I guess, is part of the reason, my musical scope is really vast from old rock bands like Zeps, Stones, Hendrix and such, to Queen, Bowie, Mötorhead to the extremities of heavy metal sub-genres from heavy and power to doom, gothic, death and black. Luckily, as I was lucky to combine my passion for aviation with my profession I managed to do the same with the love for music and combined it with photography, so I shoot quite a lot of concerts each year.

        @dolfdylan If I’m not mistaken, the footage in this fan made video is from the Memphis Belle movie. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100133/?ref_=nv_sr_1

        • Sebastijan @inflames

          No, not from the “Memphis Belle” film. That one I know it well, the actors on this clip are not the same 😉

          Yes, Heavy Metal is a particular type of rock that not everyone appreciates (I do, but I don’t necessarily like/enjoy every single band, and some I like more than others), the sub-genres you mention, are I believe even more selective concerning the type of audience they reach and enjoys those sub-genres 😉

          Cheers!

          Dolf

          • Ok, I’ll bite on this one…

            What other genre of music has as many WW2 references?

            ‘Hail of Bullets’, a Dutch band even call themselves a ‘WW2 Metal’ Band. They have an entire album of songs inspired by the ‘Desert Fox’ – ‘The Rommel Chonicles’.

            Sabaton, the band that Sebastijan highlights, have many WW2 inspired songs, including ‘ Primo Victoria’ , a song about D-Day. ‘Rush’ – one of my favourite bands as an adolescent, wrote ‘Manhattan Project’.

            On the slightly off-track subject of ‘mash ups’ – how about horror and WW2; I eagerly await the making and release of ‘Panzer 88’ – a story about a King Tiger crew being stalked by a supernatural being across Eastern Russia.

            @inflames
            @dolfdylan

          • Now that you mentioned the combination of horror and WW2 – have you watched Dead Snow (Død snø) movies? They are Norwegian comedy horror movies – nazi zombies and stuff, really funny 🙂

  32. Love it,
    Just st love it

  33. Thanks, Malcolm. I’m going to try and swap over some better photos later in the week, hopefully have a more finished base by then.

  34. I’ve no idea what the protocol in this situation is, but I just want to offer a quick apology for ‘hogging’ the site today. I really didn’t think my post would get as many responses – sorry if it feels this thread has taken over a bit.

  35. “…You are right about the Fortresses, they managed to take a hell of a beating and still get home, somehow. I like to think it was a combination of the men and the machine being greater than their parts.”
    One of the greatest cause of WW2 aircraft losses is loss of control via broken control cables. With so much flak and bullet holes, one is apt to point at a miracle. If so, that miracle is still active today, even in this model, for we look at the image and wonder how she ever got back and land.

  36. Peter, I had grave concerns at times about this B17 landing on the Headlines page. Between a house move, setting up a new bench, attempted suicides via falls and electrocution, crucial lost model parts, and loss of mojo, it is a minor miracle we brought her home.

  37. I’ve been lost for words over all of this, David. Been thinking about what could possibly be said for a couple of days or more. I’m still not sure! It’s an astonishing piece of art and the engagement in your work by so many others talks to how beloved you and your wonderful, ambitious projects have become here. I can only guess at how hard it must be being a great modeller and the composer of so many social forum symphonies! It’s not life and death but it must still be more than a little draining. Whatever happens don’t change! You aren’t hogging anything – you can hardly help it if so many people become immersed in your mesmerising journeys in plastic and philosophy!

    I’m looking forward to the base. It sounds like a great touch. And I’ll be honest, I AM holding my breath on the canopy. Essentially none of my business but it is such a stellar build and paint job, such an amazing story so beautifully envisaged and told, that I think it deserves it. Now, mojo-wise you’ve been through the wringer for all the reasons you just said. It’s amazing you are still in one piece! You may never want to pick her up again, and nobody would think or feel one iota differently about you or your huge achievement. For me though you are very close to perfect. Really, really just my two penn’orth. And to be taken with a suitably large enough pinch of salt!

    Whatever route this takes the response it has received is a deserved and fitting testament to your standing on here, a brilliant build and something Bernie would certainly have loved as much as the rest of us. It is magnificent!

  38. Paul, your words here are outrageously complimentary and I feel most of them refelect on iModeler as a community rather than me as a modeler or a person. The ‘culture’ here allows expression and experimentation with modeling in a way that feels encouraging and has definitely increased my skill set. Having used other forums, there’s a different feel here that emphasises a love of the hobby rather than just the models.

    I’ll get around to the canopies for sure. When I do I’ll post you a photo or two. Thanks also for the words about Bernard, I feel sure he’d have liked this build as some small tribute.

  39. Fantastic work David. I’ve been so busy that I only occasionally get to lurk any more. What a treat for me this morning to see this. I’ll have to make some time and go back and read the build log. I’m sure it will be full of treats as well. Again, Great Job!!

  40. Caught lurking in iModeler…well, it doesn’t matter how you get here – it’s great to hear form you. Sorry you are so busy – if you don’t mind me doing this can I just show people what they are missing…

    Don’t know about “full of treats” if you read the build log for the Higher Call project, but you’ll find plenty of nuts…

    @wiley2770

  41. Hi David @dirtylittlefokker

    “(hope that worked)”

    Yes this time it worked! I saw it here first, but just for confirming went to check on the email account I use here, and there was a notification about this thread indeed.

    “I just ordered some AK Glass Coat and will let you know by the weekend how it goes. Cheers!”

    I must say I was impressed by their video! If not “photoshoped” (and I believe it’s legit!) it’s almost one of those mandatory new products for having on our hobby room/shelves.

    I assume you’re not attending the Euro 2018, at Folkestone, which will happen exactly this week-end. As you are located in the UK…

    https://www.eurominiatureexpo.co.uk/

    Cheers!

    Dolf

  42. Great job on a rarely seen display of humanity during a war. And you rocked it (pun intended) on the build blog!

  43. All the superlatives have been previously used regarding your outstanding model(s). I can but only concur with the masses and congratulate you on a spectacular build. GREAT JOB!

  44. Mein Freund, I personally find this work of yours one of the more gripping I have witnessed, none diminished by everyone’s familiarity with the story. Au contraire, our knowledge of the story only serves to further draw us in. Your technique is masterful and the “dance” between the airplanes—now “frenemies”—is remarkable.

    May I have the temerity to encourage you to take the necessary steps to rectify the “oops” moment (we all have ‘em) with the windscreens? Do what it takes—buy a new BF 109 kit and steal the canopy, then make a diorama of a crashed Hun bottoms up if that’ll make you feel better—but do let your gem take that “collateral damage” (other than that which you artfully inflicted in homage to the brave men who flew). I also encourage you to brush paint a bit of stain and varnish on the base. You did a great job mounting the thing low—really effective—and you want to show it off.

    Proud to call myself your friend.

  45. David. First, thank you and I appreciate the reference to the ‘dance’ between the two ‘planes; it’s very much what I was going for. In the book it’s clear that Stigler in particular ‘danced’ around the B17 to try and communicate to Charlie and his crew in an effort to guide them to safety.

    Next, yes – I’ll varnish the base (and I appreciate you suggesting this) and I have the thought of engraving on the side Stigler’s last thought before turning away, “You are in God’s hands now”.

    Lastly, I will for sure change the canopies. I’ve had so many messages now suggesting this that I fear an iModeler riot if I don’t.

    I am indebted to your support and mirror your thought, “I’m proud to call you a friend”.

    @davidathomas

    • Wow. Didn’t know Stigler thought that. When I think of the German for that phrase it smites my heart. Such a prayer demonstrates true wisdom–the perspective that the young men in that plane, like him, were souls caught in a conflict not of their own design or desire. Though they had been bombing his homeland, he knew they’d much rather be doing something else, just as he did. Amazing. The darkness of war is ugliness itself, but in it sometimes a light shines.

      On the repairs, brother, you simply must. Your WIPs are always epic and do what this site intends–the project, in a way, becomes the property of all. You are not your own in that sense. Cheering you on!!

      • Given how many came along for the company in the WiP I kind of think of this build as ‘property of iModeler’, especially with yours and Pedro’s contributions (literally) to the build. Now, if anyone feels like adding a 109G6 canopy to that list…

        As well as Stigler’s parting thought, it’s well documented that Charlie (unbelievably this was his first sortie) kept his bible in his flying jacket and kept touching it throughout the encounter. Whatever you believe spiritually it’s clear both men not only took strength from their beliefs, but that belief changed their decision making and made this amazing story the inspiration that it is.

        @davidathomas

        • “Now, if anyone feels like adding a 109G6 canopy to that list.”

          Brilliant! Friend, I actually think I might have one, or equivalent! Let me unpack before you buy anything. I’ll need your new address, though.

          His first sortie. Amazing. And I’m a believer in this sort of thing, of course, so that’s even more incredible.

          • A true gentleman. I have ordered some of the Gauzy Glass Coat suggested by Dolf (@dolfdylan) and if that doesn’t work I’ll send a private message with the address. I’m resigned to rebuilding a new scratch made canopy for the Fortress (which is a real pain as I even made thin skirts from lead foil for the window surrounds. But hey, we’ve come this far…

            Thank you for your generosity and support, David. The world would be a far better place with some more men like you.

        • David @dirtylittlefokker

          As a matter fact it’s Pedro (@holzhamer) who has the credit for this, as he is the one who suggested the Gauzy Glass Coat in the 1st place 😉
          As I didn’t know what it was, I then just did some research, found it and added some more info 🙂

          I see on a recent post in the WIP thread for this dio that you tested it but apparently didn’t do the “miracle” you were expecting. Sad to hear about that 🙁

          But as after all you found a solution for that issue. all is well that ends well I guess 😉

          Looking forward to see the next set of pics with that issue solved, and the new base you’re planning.

          Cheers!

          Dolf

  46. Darn, I was kind of hoping the comments would stop at 109 – for obvious reasons.

  47. Nicely done! I’ve always fancied doing a build of this subject with both aircraft.

    I love displays representing a story behind them, particularly real stories.

  48. Thanks, Michael. I really appreciate you dropping a line (thanks for the ‘like’, too). How is that French Sub of yours coming along? Any progress to report?

    @smrjpaqu899

    • Embarassingly slow. I have to admit my overgrown child within has been pre-occupied with World of Warships and needs to get back to The Man’s hobby of modeling. I’ve got fiddily bits made for detailing the open missile hatches section but need to buckle down and start gluing.

  49. Well, all I can say is keep posting updates on the Work in Progress, it’s a great motivator to see your work on the forum and get encouraging feedback. We really don’t see enough submarines here so it’d be great to add to the ‘armada’.

    @smrjpaqu899

  50. This is one of the best builds I’ve seen. True craftsmanship and art. Bravo my friend.

  51. There’s synchronicity for you – I just sent you a private message, Matt. Thanks for those words, they mean a lot to me given the regard I hold your work in. Appreciated.

    @coondog

  52. I should have commented on this one earlier mate, apologies… been full of busy!
    Congratulations on the project! It would be very easy to make a crippled bomber look somewhat unconvincing in scale, but you’ve nailed it here! You can almost picture every burst of bullets fired at it…
    I really like the paint work as well mate, really impressive skills.
    In all, a memorable article here at imodeler!

  53. Richard, thanks for leaving such a flattering post. As a fellow metal head and biker we’re in a special little sub-tribe. And having such a compliment from ‘the guy who built THE Flanker’…

    …well, I take it a a huge endorsement.

    Cheers, Richard.

    @richardmcstay48gmail-com

  54. I am at a loss for words. Having followed this build closely I can only say that this is a MASTERCLASS build that belongs in a museum. A finer dedication to Bernie and the gallantry of those brave aircrews that fought each other in the skies over Europe would be hard to find anywhere!!! Well done David I am in AWE!!!

  55. I like the idea that Bernie would approve of this as a dedication, Morne. I remember you saying that you had a soft spot for this story and for a teacher in history (such as yourself) there’s a moral in here that man is not necessarily doomed to repeat the same mistakes and tragedies time and again.

    Thanks for the lovely comments, Morne. Keep in touch.

    @mornem

  56. David, not sure if you saw this in the past. Just found in on Facebook and made me think about your efforts. https://youtu.be/_lp9-cN_Oog

    @dirtylittlefokker

  57. I’d never seen this video, James. It is enthralling in every aspect and I’m so glad you found and shared it. A perfect way to start off a Monday. Thank you.

    @jamesb

  58. Impressive job, congratulations David.

  59. Thanks Christian, appreciate you taking the time to look and leave such nice comments. Makes all that time on the bench even more worthwhile.

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