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gary sausmikat
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December 5, 2020 · in Aviation · · 14 · 15.7K


75 years ago:
Dec 5th, 1945, two Martin PBM-5 Mariners, took off from Naval Air Station Banana River, Florida at 19:27 to search for five lost Avengers, of training Flight 19, over the Atlantic Ocean. One of the Mariners, BuNo 59225, radioed in several minutes later and was never heard from again.
That same night the tanker SS Gaines Mills reported seeing fire on the water after an apparent mid-air explosion. The ship searched the area but reported finding only an oily sea but no wreckage or survivors.
The escort carrier USS Solomon's also reported losing radar contact with an aircraft at the same time and position.

75 years later:
To date any sign of Flight 19 and PBM-5, BuNo. 59225 have yet to be found and have become stories of legend in the lore of the Bermuda Triangle disappearances.
While knowing the story of Flight 19 and its ill-fated Avengers, the story of PBM-5, 59225 was unknown to me. So when asked to join a group build to honor Flight 19 I chose to build Mariner, BuNo 59225 for two reasons. I didn't know anything about Martin Mariner PBM's and it looked like such an interesting subject but mostly because it was the "odd" build, not just one of the Avengers. Something different always gets my modeling mojo moving.

The Build:
Minicraft Models, 1:72, Lockheed Martin PBM-5A Mariner (graciously donated by fellow FL-19 member, Tom Bebout...Thanks Tom! I haven't forgotten about you)

Eliminated the PBM-5A's fuselage and bow/hull retractable land based gear.

Reconfigured two fuselage windows.

Fuselage windows were created by applying clear tape to the outside of the fuselage at each window and filled from the inside with clear resin. Remove the tape after drying. This made the small windows to have a gap-less fit and smooth contour with the fuselage.

Before the fuselage halves were closed up I added the display base mounting screw, completed the crew stations and added scratch built pilot and co-pilot.

Non-Specular, three color paint scheme was used on BuNo. 59225. This decision was based on the attached picture of 59225 and Specification SR-2e – June 1944.
AK Real Colors: Dark Sea Blue, Intermediate Blue and Insignia White were used.

For the specific markings used on Bu.No. 59225 I used the kit supplied stars & bars, various spare left over decals for the fin numbers and my own custom made decals for the fuselage/hull markings. (RP's and 49's)

Weathering was accomplished with thinned artisit oil overall and pin washes, AK weathering pencils for some coloring variations and stains and artisit oil drybrsuhing to bring out the highlight details.

Other scratch built items I added: windscreen rain wipers, made from bits of photo-etch that looked like wipers. Fuselage radar antennas, made from wire, brass strips and 2-part epoxy. And framed retractable pilot canopy windows, created from styrene strips and clear acetate (shown in the open positions).

The kit props were replaced with Quickboost props. Though a bit smaller than they should be they still look much better than the supplied kit props.

I made the display from wood, plastic structural shapes, clear acrylic and painted Navy Blue and Gold. The Florida coastline map is an old navigational chart I found online, photo-shopped for what I wanted, printed out and cut to fit the base. I am pleased with the Bermuda Triangle look and feel.

I hope you enjoy my representation of BuNo. 59225 as much as I enjoyed researching the story and building the model. But more importantly I hope my build does justice and respect to the 13 crew members of BuNo. 59225 who gave their all while serving my country.

Many thanks go out to my Flight 19 comrades, Chuck, Tom, Louis, Paul and David (miss you much Mate) Being apart of this group has taken my modeling to new destinations and my modeling mojo to a new level. Thanks Guys, I'm honored to be a part of this great group.

Thank you all who honored Louis's “Hold Postings” request say that our group could post together.
To all fellow iModlers...KEEP IT FUN!

Mariner Out...

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

20 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. Fine built, like your Bermuda-triangle-support very much.
    I didn't know that lost Mariner too.

  2. Nicely done, and display!

  3. Great job Gary, the base is outstanding!

  4. An outstanding diorama, Gary.
    This fantastic build has a great base.

  5. Great looking tribute PBM, Gary! @gwskat

  6. Nicely done Gary, well presented.

  7. Great model, Gary. I think this is the first of these that I’ve seen built.

  8. Hey Gary, I just read through all the Flt-19 posts. This is the cherry on top. The amount of detailing and scratch building that has gone on makes it very special, and the base was a stroke of genius. Well done my friend! Sensational work!

  9. An amazing result of a challenging build, Gary!
    Great base and "diorama style" presentation too!
    I also had no knowledge of that lost Mariner!

  10. Many thanks to Everyone.
    First let me say, Thank you to all those who held off on posting articles so that our group was grouped together.

    In my +/- 50 years of modeling this has to be my most rewarding build to date.
    I am honored to be a part of Fl-19, who are ALL such talented builders. Special thanks to Tom for the invitation phone call and then supplying the kit and David who was the initiator of the group and welcomed me in to the group. David, hope to see you back know we are all thinking about you.
    So to all Fl-19...we did it! This was our FIRST...hopefully not our...LAST.


  11. Gary, your build of the Mariner, the triangle base and displaying the model in flight shows some incredible passion to the whole project. I agree with Paul this just put the whole story in perspective, as 5 aircraft lost 14 aircrew members, the Mariner alone had 13 men aboard, tragic for a total of 27 aircrew missing and presumed dead. And to date, someone correct me, no trace of the 6 aircraft have been found in a swamp, desert or otherwise.

  12. Beautiful model and display, Gary. Very cleanly built and subtly painted and weathered. The Mariner is a really interesting looking design. I like the look of the gull wings, which I understand were meant to keep the engines as far as possible from seawater spray. It certainly gives this sub killer a predatory look.

  13. Love it! I almost threw my Mariner into the build, but ended up liquidating some of my larger aircraft from my stash due to display space issues. I'm so glad someone else took up the challenge. You've built a beautiful model, and the base is fantastic - very creative, and fits perfectly. Nicely done!

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