Tamiya Lancaster B.III Dambuster back from the Box of Doom

  • 15 posts
  • Last reply 2 months, 1 week ago
  • 617 Squadron, Dambusters, David Maltby, Lancaster B.III, Tamiya
Viewing 1 - 15 of 15 posts
  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    OK, Chuck’s gone and done it now. Created that great dambuster Lancaster.

    I was down in the Stash Dungeon the other day searching for a kit, and ran across two boxes for which I could not remember the contents. Opened them up and what do you know? Inside was my Tamiya dambuster, a project from 2012 that was going to be presented in May 2013 for the 70th anniversary.

    Brought the boxes in and checked them One had the wings – I had finished sanding all the putty on those #$%!! engines, and was ready for Mr. Surfacer; no wonder it went in the box. The fuselage is ready to go with everything masked. And there is the Xtradecal 70th Anniversary of 617 Squadron decal sheet with David Maltby’s airplane, the one in which he breached the Mohne Dam. Soo…. back from the dead.

    In the meantime, I have read more about the raid, and about Gibson in particular, in Sir Max Hastings’ “Warriors.” The real Gibson was 180 degrees out from the RAF Official Propaganda image that Paul Brickhill put into his book and Richard Todd cemented into every airplane nut’s consciousness 63 years ago in the movie. His crew didn’t come with him to 617 – they couldn’t get away fast enough! And nearly everyone who ever dealt with him detested him. This fits with the comments by the 617 survivor in “Secrets of the Dead” and the less-than-glowing portrait in Johnny Johnson’s “Wing Leader” regarding an unpleasant encounter at an RAF officer’s club.

    To me as a writer and historian, this is far more interesting. A guy like Richard Todd is easy to like, respect, and follow. But a guy people can’t stand? What was it that brought along all those Bomber Command aces, guys who had nothing left to prove? This may be why Sir Peter Jackson’s movie is on hold, since he hired Stephen Fry to write the screenplay and went out of his way to proclaim it would be “100% historically accurate.” Would an audience raised on the first movie buy Gibson as “a right little English schoolboy sod”, as he was described in “Secrets of the Dead”?

    Anyway, cleaning up to get back at it. Posting here is a good guarantee that there won’t be any more backsliding. Photos to come.

  • Paul Barber said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Well Tom, this is indeed a surprising and very welcome turn of events. I am one of those guys brought up on the film with Gibson the hero and Barnes Wallis the tortured genius. I’m also reading around Dunkirk. Comparing the recent film to the 1958 version is interesting. A friend of mine, whose father crewed a small boat hated the recent film as he thought it focussed on selected cowardly actions of men from the beach rather than heroics, and of course included the highly debated ‘spitfire glide’.

    The older films were generally made about 10-15 years after the war – so I guess the question remains as to whether they are more accurate because events were informed by greater numbers of living war veterans, or whether any mythologising was stronger then due to the historical nearness of the events. I guess you’d say whoever went up in those Lancs had to be a hero on some level. The research on Gibson you mention does go against the film. Despite their extraordinary existences for those years of service, in the end these were all human beings with all their faults.

    I love the fact that we now have two Dambusters in the group build. Each with their unique stories. Interesting how this kit has been a shelf of doom candidate for two such prolific builders! I also know both will be great articles in the final reckoning – so thanks – this will bring a huge amount of interest!

    I need to sort out the inventory sections now my internet has returned to life. 5 days is a long time here on iModeler! I will enter J-Johnny to complement Chuck’s L-Leather!

  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Pretty much the story of the mission is as it’s been told. To me, as a writer of drama who creates characters, a character who is otherwise someone one would cross the street to avoid, who is able to get others to follow him on a dangerous mission (50% casualties!) is an interesting person. If any screenwriter could figure that out, I’m Stephen Fry would be the guy.

  • Paul Barber said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    I read that Fry was having an interesting time combining Gibson’s ’emotional side’ with his strong leadership, and that the families of crews were not enamoured of the way things were being portrayed – you would know much more about that side of the job, Tom, especially when dealing with non-fiction. My day job is teaching, and training teachers – the one thing I always impress upon the new recruits is that when there is a difficult or troubled kid there is always a back story. It is not rocket science – but in the moment that someone is ‘misbehaving’ that usually gets forgotten. Gibson’s father is said to have been abusive to his children. Without that tough start his ability to lead his crews with fearlessness might never have materialised. Not a silver lining particularly – but almost certainly a factor.

  • Paul Barber said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    As an aside, I listen to a lot of podcasts and talking books as I build (not quite Glenn Miller) – here is the dramatised version, as broadcast in Aus in 1954 – Brickhill introduces it.


  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    I have to say, as someone whose first two “serious” aviation books were “the Dambusters” and “Reach For The Sky”, that as an historian I think Brickhill was a hack. A hack of the level of lying that we over here ascribe to Martin Caidin.

    He did no research and “bought the line” abut Gibson, and did the same thing about Bader. Most people who knew Bader only managed to stand to be in his presence because they gave him “props” for what he had overcome. One can give him lots of props for that, he used his fame to push for the developments in prostheses that changed the lives of amputees in Vietnam, and later. The only figher pilot I ever saw “kowtow” to Bader was Johnny Johnson in the shows they did in the 70s. Seeing the two of them together at Virgina Bader’s shop here in Long Beach the year before Bader died, I walked out after talking to both with no love whatsoever for the two British aces I had first read of (I swept the floor at the one and only local book shop for a month to “pay” for my First Edition of “Wing Leader”). Both of them were the kind of condescending Tory scum I’ve been ever so thankful to my six-times-great grandfather for booting the hell out of America back in 1783.

    The fact is, Paul Brickhill is the British version of Martin Caidin. You can’t believe either of them if they tell you tomorrow is Monday. Sorry, every one of my fellow aviation historians will back me up on this fact.

  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Interesting, your “day gig”, Paul. Certainly true what you say about “difficult” kids (said as someone who was “difficult.”) I finally found out exactly what it was Mr. Field did for me – the only good teacher I ever had – when I had lunch with his daughter and son-in-law, the parents of my screenwriting writing partner on the project we are doing. As they were leaving the lunch we had, she (his daughter) told me she had asked Mr. Field if he really remembered me and he said “Yes, he was this great kid.” I realized that was what he had done for me – treated me as a “great kid” – a term no one else ever used with me, and an attitude no one else, family or otherwise, ever showed, and words no one ever used to describe me.

    Yes, is it karmically very cool that I would get in touch with Mr. Field 60 years later, and when he found out I was a screenwriter, he asked me to meet his beloved grandson, who had given up a “good job” in finance (that he hated) to come to Hollywood and try to become a screenwriter. Would I meet with him and find out if he was “wasting his life”? No one can determine that; the closest is that perhaps he didn’t have the talent. It took me about halfway through lunch to realize I was talking to one of the most talented screenwriters I’d ever met (just not noticed yet) and that if I was still the Supervising Producer at Hope Street Productions I would be offering him an assignment. We’re now working together on a project I can’t reveal (when I do, if I do, you will all be overjoyed), that wouldn’t be working if Mr. Field’s grandson wasn’t working with Mr. Field’s best student. It’s totally “karmic.”

  • Paul Barber said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    I don’t know much about him to be honest so these are interesting insights – although I did watch the ‘6 Million Dollar Man’ as a kid! Didn’t much like it but had the action figure like all my friends. As a dramatisation I suppose the truth is less important in the radio version. When I listened to this I laughed at the ‘plummy’ English accents. People will choose to entertain themselves with it or not I guess. Even as a form of propaganda it remains interesting. In 2018 – 65 or so years on from this radio version few can agree what’s true and what isn’t in the world. Fake news – who’d have thought it!

  • Paul Barber said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Teachers can be a fairly paranoid bunch, Tom! I have stood in front of some pretty tough classes in South East London, and copping flak and still treating those serving it up as developing and complex humans is sometimes tough. Especially at the start of a career. Knowing the issues generally reduces the animosity towards the kids in all but those people who shouldn’t really be in the job. It is (normally) not a matter of life and death, and you get plenty of ‘goes’ at making a difference. When kids remember you years later for the right reasons it is one of the most rewarding elements of the job. My three most enjoyable roles involved guiding teachers in an autism unit (although my guidance was where possible to get the kids ready to go back into mainstream classes pronto), in a pupil referral unit (last chance saloon for the disruptive, or haven for the disturbed) and as a teacher myself working with the Gypsy/Roma/Traveller community and getting them engaged in schooling to prepare them for ‘modern’ life while hanging on to their culture. I’ve taught high achievers too, but I like the ‘difficult’ and worldly ones – who are mostly ‘great kids’, just different or disadvantaged. In the overwhelming majority of cases the kids are never the problem – it’s the parents or the teachers….!

    Your version of events is fantastic – we are always trying to bring back ‘success stories’ into schools to show the kids that change and learning are life-long – but your connection is heart warming – you must be very content for it to have worked out that way. We will all look forward to the fruits for sure!

  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    So, here’s what I am starting with – the wings and fuselage given a coat of Mr. Surfacer and sanded smooth. I used the cowlings from the later release (from which I ultimately did the Grand Slam bomber). Next up: paint wings, tail and fuselage gloss black, then mask off and “marble” the upper surfaces before applying the Dark Earth/Dark Green camo.

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Chuck A. Villanueva said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Deja vu, that looks so familiar

  • Louis Gardner said 2 months, 2 weeks ago:

    You guys and your Lancs……… 🙂

    Someday I’ll drag mine out. But for now it’s the Spitfires.

    Looks like a lot of sanding and filling done there. Sort of reminds me of the recent Monogram He-111 in that aspect.

    Looking forward to seeing your next installment.

  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Well, after 18 hours with no internet (something must have popped at my ISP in the power outages, it was all over S. California) until just now, I ended up proceeding on the model. Painting was done yesterday, decaling today. It’s still in sub-assemblies so I’ll get some photos and get them up.

  • Craig Abrahamson said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    18 hours w/o internet, I could live with…18 hours w/o cable and I’d go nuts! 🙁

  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    ROFLMAO! Yeah, the ethernet was still working. So we had cable. But I worked on the model and finished a great book: “The Invisible Bridge” by my friend Rick Perlstein. Having been involved in politics 40+ years ago, having a guy really bring back 70s politics was “educational.” As bad as things are right now, they’re just as bad as they were back then, except one party to the conversation didn’t understand what was going on then and doesn’t now. And was as awful then as now.

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