Flight 19 Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary Group Build A pair of Airfix 1/48 P-40’s and a 1/48 Hasegawa A6M-2
I have been extremely busy with all sorts of full scale life lately, and I have not had much free time available at the work bench. Because of this, I was not able to fully complete these models before the December 7th deadline. Sorry. I did my very best to complete this mission, please believe me.
Pearl Harbor... "December 7th, 1941, a date that will live in infamy."
I want to thank my dear Imodeler friends for participating in this "mini" Flight 19 group build. Without your assistance, this project of ours would not have happened.
I sincerely appreciate this team effort, and again I thank you all for your help.
Having a family with a long tradition of military service, (since 1776) and having an ancestor who was present here at Pearl Harbor during the attack, are the main reasons why I wanted to do this.
Never forget. Freedom is not free. These are all words we have heard on television, read in magazines or newspapers, or have overheard someone saying this... and it is very true. I wanted to do these builds for several personal reasons.
My paternal grandmother had a brother who was serving in the US Army, and he was stationed at Hickham Field during the attack.
He survived the events that occurred on that fateful morning, only to get killed several years later when he came home on leave. He was killed in a car crash before the War ended. My Grandma said that he was not the same when he came home, and how he was a "wild man"... After what he saw and what he went through that morning 80 years ago, I don't doubt that one bit.
The other main reason was because of a chance encounter.
I had stopped by to see some friends of mine who restore aircraft, exactly five years ago on December 7th, 2016. Please keep in mind this was a random visit, and not planned.
When I walked inside the hangar, I was greeted not only by my friends, but also by this absolutely drop dead gorgeous and beautiful P-40. They told me the story about how it was actually there during the attack, and I knew that right then and there I would someday build a model of this very plane... The rest they say is history. I have been very blessed to have had access to some of the worlds most rare aviation treasures. These next pictures were taken on December 7th, 2016. The fat guy standing next to the plane is yours truly. 🙂
This P-40 was involved in a landing accident a month or two before December 7th. It was undergoing repairs and was stored inside Hangar number 4 during the attack that morning. This is a picture showing the actual hangar where it was undergoing repairs, and another P-40 that was destroyed while parked outside on that morning, a day or so after the attack.
Only by chance did the hangar survive the attack. The P-40 was repaired later in December of 1941, and became airworthy again. It was then completely destroyed a few months later (early 1942), sadly in a fatal flying accident, when the plane was flown into the upper hillside near the top of a Hawaiian mountain. I'm going from memory here, the pilot was killed, while flying in a fog bank and he didn't see the mountain top. The US Army retrieved the pilots remains, removed the weapons, and left what remained of the P-40 right there at the crash site, because it was very remote location and was not easily accessible.
It was rediscovered in the mid 1980's, then it was removed from the mountain, and the restoration process started.
So when I found a set of decals that were for this very aircraft I jumped at the opportunity to get a set. Using the 1/48 Airfix P-40B, I got busy and this is what I have done so far.
The P-40's are lacking all of the clear parts. They came with the kit, I just need to get them done and added. I simply ran out of time.
The kit supplied cockpit is good enough for me. If I can scratch a seat harness, the cockpit would benefit from that. I was crunched for time.
None of the canopy sections have been painted or installed.
On the Lt. Taylor plane, #155, it needs the "U.S. ARMY" lettering painted on under the wings.
The decals on this particular model had silvered horribly, and as I was cutting away the clear film after the decals had dried, I found out this particular decal didn't adhere to the model very well, and it started flaking off. So I will make a mask and spray it on soon. This is how it should look.
None of the small stencil decals have been installed yet on these two Airfix kits.
You can also see how the lighting affects the color. This should be OD-41 Green. I have previously built this Airfix P-40.
P-40 number 160 was flown by Lt. Taylor's friend, who rode in the Buick convertible at high speed along with Lt. George Welch to get to the airfield as quickly as possible. This is one of the decal options in the Airfix P-40 kit. Now as soon as I finish up the 1/48 Academy P-36, wearing the markings of Lt. Rasmussen, (the pajama pilot), I will have my Pearl Harbor P-36 / P-40 collection complete.
I picked out this next aircraft, "AI-154" because it was one of the very first, (if not THE very first) A6M-2 Zero that was lost during the attack. It is from the Japanese carrier Akagi, and was flown by a pilot, PO1C Takeshi Hirano.
These aircraft from the Akagi all had the tail code letters "AI", which was followed by a three digit number. Hasegawa gives you a lot of numbers and tail codes, where you can build almost any Zero from the Pearl Harbor attack you want.
This Zero was strafing a B-17 and it's crew as they were running away from the burning bomber. I think that Hirano was fixated on his target, when he flew so low that the Zero struck the ground, damaging the fuel tank and bending the propeller blades. A few seconds later it bounced off a street, crashed into a palm tree, and then skidded into a building, killing several US Army personnel. The engine was ripped off in the process.
The late Jim Lansdale at Jaircraft.com wrote this excellent article on the actual events.
Here is another version of the same story. This one is located over at History net, and some of the events are different.
I have always wanted to build a Zero with the outer wing tips folded upwards. I picked up a resin wingtip set. This is the end result.
The Hirano Zero was built in my usual "Iron Werke" assembly line fashion, just as the P-40's were.
I custom mixed the "Ame-Iro paint. It looks like a very light green in some light conditions. Yet it looks a brownish shade of light tan or gray in others. Now I know why this color is so hard to describe.
I used Model Master enamels, FS 34201 SAC (Strategic Air Command) Bomber Tan, and added in Gloss White until I was happy with how it looked. This color was closely matched to surviving relics from various Zeros. The white was used simply to get the so called "Scale Effect".
I covered the front faces of the propeller using Bare Metal Foil. The back side was painted using a German Armor color, "1943 Chocolate Brown".
The canopy is crystal clear.
The Hasegawa Zero is very close to being completed. I still have to paint the tail wheel, install the propeller tip decals and add a radio antennae lead cable. I'm also going to paint the red fuselage stripe, and remove the decal since it doesn't match at all. The original decal shattered. This should have been avoided, since I knew the decals were close to 25 years old.
When I do complete these builds entirely, I will be sure to come back and post a more detailed article on each aircraft.
I'll end this story with these two pictures of the opposing forces from that awful morning, 80 years ago today.
Freedom isn't free. It can disappear at the blink of an eye, and it should be safeguarded. If not, all of the pain and suffering that was endured by our ancestors will be for nothing.
As always, comments are encouraged.