A pair of 1/48 Tamiya Corsairs: VMF-214 Greg "Pappy" Boyington F4U-1 numbers #883 and #740

Started by Louis Gardner · 22 ≡ · ↻ 3 days ago · 1/48, Blacksheep, Corsair, Tamiya, VMF-214
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    Louis Gardner said 2 weeks ago:

    Tom Bebout is sending me some decals to make these two planes...

    and since I have copied Erik's "kindergarten" style of building Bf-109's, only I am building Corsairs not 109's.

    I have around 8 of these Tamiya Corsairs started.

    The basics are done.

    I have painted the wheels,

    painted the propellers... and

    assembled the cockpit parts.

    and assembled the wings too. The flaps are done and I filled in the step that Tamiya has incorrectly left open.

    Please follow along with me as I carry on with finishing up two of these Corsairs, as flown by Pappy.

    Who knows ? In time I might get to build another VMF-214 Corsair... This time as a tribute build to one of our local hometown heroes who flew with the Blacksheep.

    His name is John Bolt and he was originally from New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Now the local airport there is named after him. Bolt has the distinction of being an "Ace" in World War Two and Korea.

    During WW2, the New Smyrna airport was actually used by the US navy as a training field. Many TBF / TBM Avenger and F4F Wildcat crews were trained there as it was an advanced training base during the War.

    As always, comments are encouraged.

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    Spiros Pendedekas said 2 weeks ago:

    An amazing Kindergarten, my friend @lgardner!
    Looking forward to your builds!

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    Tom Cleaver said 2 weeks ago:

    @lgardner - Interestingly, General Bolt was a dedicated enemy of Pappy Boyington. When the TV show came out, he wrote an article for TV Guide in which he said everything Boyington ever said about VMF-214 was a lie (his story of how the squadron was formed was in fact completely mythological - the only "black sheep" was him; the accurate story is in my book "Under The Southern Cross"). I remember Charles Older from the AVG saying that Boyington would get lost trying to navigate around the breakfast table. The first time I met him at the Fresno Warbirds Fly-in back in 1976, I thought he was some homeless person (it turned out, I was close).

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    John vd Biggelaar said 2 weeks ago:

    Wow, this is an impressive parallel build, Louis @lgardner
    Looking forward to see all of them progressing.

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    Anna-Elizabeth said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    I grew up watching "Black Sheep Squadron" on TV, which is why the Corsair is my favorite of WW2 airplanes. I first read Boyington's "Baa Baa Black Sheep" when I was a teen, but over the years and learning more of the history of -214 I am more interested in John Bolt.

    We have an aviation museum where I live, and they have an A-4E Skyhawk in VMA-214 "Blacksheep" markings.

    I will be watching your -214 builds with great interest!

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    Tom Bebout said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    I see the Iron Werks is back in business Louis. Keep it up.

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    Eric Berg said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    Not only is the Iron Works up and running once again, but that's a serious production line you've got going here, Louis, @lgardner.

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    Louis Gardner said 1 week, 2 days ago:

    Spiros Pendedekas (@fiveten)
    Thanks for the kind words. Yes sir, the Kindergarten class is graduating to the next grade. Please stay tuned for the next installments.

    Tom Cleaver (@tcinla)
    Hey Tom. I'm not trying to argue with you about this stuff, especially when you and I have become friends again. I don't want to go down that road again, and I hope you don't either.

    I actually met and talked with John Bolt once. However, he never talked badly about "Pappy" in my presence, and I don't remember the TV Guide article you mentioned. Instead, I remember Lt. Col. Bolt as a quiet gentleman, and not your typical "Fighter jock" as they are sometimes called. He was "only" a Lieutenant Colonel, rank O-5, and not a General.
    This is still an accomplishment though, and I'm not trying to downgrade this by any means.

    The only thing he told me that could possibly be considered negative about Boyington, was when he mentioned about how he disobeyed one of Boyington's direct orders, and he went after some Japanese ships they had seen on the return from a B-24 escort mission that was scrubbed due to bad weather. Bolt tried to get some fellow pilots to go back out after the Japanese ships with him, but none would join him. He told me that Boyington chewed him out pretty hard afterwards. This is what I found online about this incident.

    "Once, in defiance of orders, he single-handedly launched an attack on a Japanese convoy of barges and troop ships, sinking several vessels. Though he earned the wrath of Boyington, Lt. Bolt was praised by Adm. William F. Halsey Jr., commander of the Pacific Fleet, for his "one-man war on Japanese shipping."


    Here's a link showing his life and military career. Lt. Col. Bolt made a toast honoring Boyington at one of the last Blacksheep reunions.

    I have seen several TV programs on the Blacksheep, one of which I recently watched was War Stories with Oliver North, where he interview several of the surviving 'Sheep'. A former member of the 214 Squadron, 1st Lt. Henry "Hank" McCartney put it this way about the TV show. He said "They got three things right on the TV show. The Squadron designation was 214, the Commanding Officer was Greg Boyington, and the airplane was the Corsair.".

    Pappy Boyington actually made a special appearance on the "Baa Baa Black Sheep" TV show as a visiting General. He was also hired as a "consultant" on the movie set, but as we all know most of it was indeed made up exactly as you mentioned. I think it was done because he needed money and had fallen on hard times. Hollywood has a way of distorting the truth, even back then.

    It was known even back when Pappy was in the Marine Corps, that he had trouble with the bottle. He was known to fly hung over on occasions. His drinking likely became even harder to control after he had been held as a POW in Japanese camps. The Japanese were known to abuse, torture, and kill Allied prisoners, and I'm sure that Boyington saw things like this happen. He likely personally experienced some of it. I'm sure it haunted him for the rest of his life.

    I think that since he was so well known by the American public, and the fact he worked in the kitchen as a prisoner, (and was able to steal food), is part of why he survived the ordeal in captivity. From what I have read, he was also occasionally given food by one of his Japanese guards. When he was repatriated after the War ended, he was not nearly as emaciated as most of the POW's were. and this is likely why. The only good thing that came out of this was he remained sober during this time... we think.

    Approximately 4 out of 10 Allied POW's would die in Japanese captivity.

    I also met Dick Rossi once, and we talked briefly about Pappy's time with Rossi in the AVG. But here again, Rossi too was a gentleman, and didn't talk negatively at all about Boyington. He did tell me how Boyington had wrecked a P-40 once though. Was he drinking at the time? I don't know.

    I wasn't there when you met Boyington. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I really wanted to. He was one of my childhood heroes, and still is, despite of his past troubles. This is likely due to the TV show and my building models as a kid. He is still one of my favorites to this very day, as is the Corsair, which is my favorite plane. Not too many people have earned the Medal of Honor and lived to talk about it, yet Pappy did despite his shortcomings.

    John vd Biggelaar (@johnb)
    Thank John ! I actually did most of this work back in January when my wife and I were sick. I worked on these, but only when I felt I was up to it. I now jokingly call these my "Covid Corsairs". But it wasn't much fun back then.

    Anna-Elizabeth (@tankgrrl)
    Hello and thanks for the comments. It sounds like we grew up doing a lot of the same stuff. I really enjoyed watching the TV show with my Dad, who would tell me things like "That never happened" and so on. I was a kid and it was my favorite show. The Corsair is still my favorite plane. Once I met with John Bolt. He lived in a nearby town. He was a quiet man, a true gentleman. I have plans to build up a Corsair, wearing markings as one of the planes he flew. Bolt made a lot of contributions to the war effort, like how he tested using more incendiary rounds in the ammo belts for the .050's in the wings. This led to a temporary shortage of the ammunition in the area, and an increased number of "flamed" Japanese planes.

    He also held a record for the longest flight endurance in a Corsair. He was an incredible man, and I was honored to have talked with him. Now I wish I had done it more often. Hindsight... So please stay tuned for yet another Corsair in the future. This next one will be a John Bolt Corsair. Thanks for following along.

    Tom Bebout (@tom-bebout)
    Hey Tom ! Thanks buddy for the kind words. These pictures were actually taken from back in January when I was building the Covid Corsairs. I built up the Mayberry and George Ashmun Corsairs then, but I only posted the Mayberry F4U.

    I hope to get cracking on these two Boyington planes ASAP. I'm almost done with Sandy's Dakota R/T restoration, so it will soon be full speed ahead on these two. I'll let you know when the decals show up you sent me.

    Thanks again ! The Iron Werke is back.

    Eric Berg (@eb801)
    Thanks Eric. I appreciate the kind words. Please stay tuned for more updates. I have some more Corsairs planned, and I think you just might like what I have picked out.

    Take care my friend.

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    Anna-Elizabeth said 1 week, 2 days ago:

    "Black Sheep Squadron" was in near-constant rotation when I was a teen, Denver's Channel 2 showed it 5 nights a week at 10:30PM. I loved it, I never got tired of it. Remember the episode where the gorgeous Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet, Honey West) played a Navy nurse?

    When History Channel or A&E showed "Black Sheep Squadron" in the late 90s, they had interviews with actual VMF-214 pilots. I don't remember which one said it, but one intimated how dumb the "Pappy's Lambs" bit was by saying "If there had been nurses on our base, I'd still be out there!"

    In "Baa Baa Black Sheep" Boyington said that his career in the Marine Corps was essentially derailed by his drinking and that he was encouraged to join the AVG as it simplified things for everyone. Boyington also talks about being beaten with baseball bats by Japanese guards. Boyington describes stealing sake that he was supposed to be warming for the guards, truly taking his life in his own hands if he did so.

    I will certainly follow your Corsair builds with great interest!

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    Morne Meyer said 1 week, 1 day ago:

    Here is a link you might find interesting. Your Corsairs are going to be an AWESOME sight Louis!

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    George R Blair Jr said 1 week, 1 day ago:

    Your bench is way too organized, Louis (@lgardner). Looking forward to having all of these parts come together.

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    Louis Gardner said 1 week, 1 day ago:

    Morne Meyer (@mornem)
    Thank you VERY much for this YouTube video. I started watching it partway, but I did not get to watch it in the entirety. I will try my best to finish it up soon. I do remember John Bolt looking very similar to when this was filmed, and he was just as you see him here in the video. However Dick Rossi didn't tell me about how "Pappy" had placed his fist next to his mouth and said that to him. But then again, we were both sitting down at a lunch table in a restaurant with the local Police Chief, who was also my boss at the time. This might explain why he didn't talk negatively about Pappy, other than the time he wrecked a P-40. Had we been in a more private setting, it's possible Rossi would have said more.

    This is awesome, and I sincerely appreciate this. I'll let you know when I finish watching it, and I hope it's soon. I don't want to let your expectations down with these two. They are planes I have wanted to build for quite some time now.

    They should look right at home sitting next to this Corsair. It's the one that Pappy was shot down in on January 3d, 1944.

    I know that this next one has been done hundreds of times, but I still want to build up a #86 "Lucybelle" Corsair, even though it's said that Pappy actually never flew it in combat. It was only a "photo op" plane for him at the time, when they reportedly slapped on the Japanese kill markings on the fuselage side and started snapping pictures.

    Thanks again my friend ! Take care.

    Anna-Elizabeth (@tankgrrl)
    I never realized that Pappy had access to Saki, while in captivity. But it does make perfect sense that he would. Alcoholics often go to the extreme to get their drink on. I could tell you some horror stories of what I have seen over the years with this kind of behavior, and all too often the bad outcomes of making poor decisions. Way too many people have been severely injured or even killed because of this. I worked for many years in public service. Close to 3.5 as a Police Officer, triple trained as a firefighter / EMT, and then another 14.5 years as a paid full time fire fighter, where I rose to the rank of Lieutenant and occasionally worked as a Battalion Chief. I have seen way too many bad things happen to good people over some really stupid stuff.

    I do remember reading where he was beaten with a baseball bat, and I have that episode you mentioned of the Blacksheep Squadron taped on our DVR, (along with all of the rest of the series that have been aired so far by our cable provider). I can still watch these shows today, just as I did as a kid, even though I know the story is fictional.

    Once I had read where they decided to introduce Pappy's Lambs because they were in competition with another TV show called "Charlie's Angels" with Farah Faucett at the time. They figured it would help the TV ratings, and it very well may have.

    I also remember one of the Blacksheep, possibly even Lt Col. Bolt, stating there were no females on the islands where he was, with one exception. There was an elderly native woman who did the laundry for them, and her legs were ulcerated with open sores. This is a nasty condition caused by insect bites, poor diet, and lack of medicine, but also fairly common in the islands of the South Pacific. Even something as simple as getting a tiny scratch could lead to ulcerations.

    Many Allied POW's ended up with ulcerated legs, which were often amputated by the other prisoners without anesthesia in order to save their lives. I saw an interview once, with a survivor of the forced labor groups building the railroads for the Japanese in SE Asia, who mentioned how they would ask the Japanese if they could "borrow" one of their Samurai swords to do this.

    The typical response would be to hand the sword over, with firm instructions to make sure it was "cleaned off very well" before they returned it. Sad but very true.

    Thanks for following along with these builds. I'm watching yours too.

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    Louis Gardner said 1 week, 1 day ago:

    George R Blair Jr (@gblair)
    Hey George ! Thanks for the kind words. My bench is actually quite a mess right now... 😉 These pictures were taken back in January when we were sick with the stupid virus. I only worked on the Corsair Kindergarten a little at a time then. I wasn't feeling good enough to do too much at one sitting.

    I will try to post up some more pictures soon. I use my cell phone to take pictures and post them here. As luck would have it, the screen messed up last night and I couldn't use my phone for anything. Luckily today we were able to take it to an electronics repair shop, and they installed a new screen while we waited for it. Now I'm back in business.

    Take care buddy. Your B-25 was outstanding, and I'm looking forward to seeing what your next project will be.

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    Brian Mennenoh said 1 week, 1 day ago:

    @lgardner - The Black Sheep Squadron build looks to be an amazing bit of history. Seems like Pappy had his good and bad days as we all do... seems like he may have had a few more bad than most. Still, based on everything you've said, it seems a worthy subject for a fantastic build!

    I also grew up watching the show with my Dad. I also plan to do a Corsair for this group but I'm going to base mine on the show, not the reality that the show came from. I enjoy historic fiction.

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    Eric Berg said 1 week ago:

    I never watched one episode of “Ba Ba Black Sheep” but I guess I need to get with the program and watch a few episodes on YouTube.