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Respectful suggestion (long post)

June 2 2012 at 11:18 PM
Jeff Nelson  (Login JeffCC)
HyperScale Forums
from IP address

I would like to respectfully suggest something to modelers in general. Ive read many threads on many sites about paint schemes, colors, patterns, markings, etc. It seems that some of us feel they are authorities on aircraft restorations and accurate modeling. Just for reference, go back to Jan 2011 and look at the comments regarding the FHC Fw-190 A-5 and D-13. I read that thread again today and felt I must comment, primarily because I was so pissed when I read it the first time over a year ago I quit posting on any modeling sites.
Let me say first, that I am a modeler. My father belonged to the IPMS and built models for numerous people, including Jimmy Doolittle. I was in the Air Force and worked on F-105s and F-5s, with a little time on A7s, F-111s, and F-4s. I have also participated in many actual aircraft restorations, due to my close working relationship with GossHawk Unlimited.
Regarding modeling, a little history might be useful here so that you know where I am coming from.. I was stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War and worked daily on many F-105Gs. Being a modeler, I took note of all the little details on the aircraft and was amazed at all the little differences there actually were between aircraft, mostly internal but much on the external side as well. There where many things you would never see until all the aircraft were parked along side each other. Then it was obvious that camo patterns, colors, and details were not necessarily consistent from one plane to another. Colors faded a little, rattle can touch-ups altered patterns, tail code positions and colors changed slightly, and so on. In fact, when I returned to the world, I was invited to my Dads IPMS chapter to discuss F-105 wheel well colors. Three different groups were arguing over whether wheel wells on F-105s were silver, white, or zinc chromate (or various shades of green.). I mentioned that on my group of aircraft, I saw all three colors. In fact one aircraft had one of each. I explained that as these aircraft went through the IRAN facility, the intent was to get them back in service quickly and that the planes were stripped for inspection and repainted as they were being put back together. Depending upon the urgency, sometimes just having paint had priority over color. In addition, once on station, any repairs might have included a color change. After a bit of silence from the group, I was as much as told I was lying by a few of the more vocal types. Mind you, in the entire group, only a few had been in the military, and few of them had actually worked on aircraft. Apparently, my active daily involvement with the aircraft in question did not carry as much weight as an old photo. My active participation with modelers took a left turn right there.
All this being said, please understand that when you criticize another modelers work or that of a restoration shop, or in this case, Paul Allens two 190s, you may not have all (or the same) information that we did when we restored the aircraft. I know the painters of both airplanes, and I can assure you they did NOT haphazardly throw paint at the aircraft. There was much discussion and as much proof as could be found presented before the paint went on. As a side note, on one site I belong to, a modeler had derogatory comments about the way the word Commodore was painted on the nose of the Fw 190 D-13. He said something about some American interpretation of the way it would have been done. The fact that the painter, Steve Baber, had a very obscure photo of the nose, and spent days duplicating the word exactly, was evidently not enough for the commenter In addition, when you quote colors, they are not always exactly what they seem to be. The Fw 190s are a good example of that. There might 5 or 6 different shades of black on an airplane. We called them engine black, insignia black, cockpit black, radio black, etc. They were all different, but it wasnt obvious at all until they were next to each other.
In short, this is not intended to be a flame at anyone or modelers in general. I totally understand that we all strive for accuracy in our modeling. But please note that when you see a photo of an aircraft, it really only represents that aircraft on that day. When you see a camo pattern drawing, it was usually at best a suggested standard. In the fog of war, nobody paid attention to whether a fuselage band was 3 inches too far aft or if a pattern matched the standard. Accuracy is indeed a moving target. Its just that, having been involved with various scales over the last 50 years (including 1:1) I get a bit miffed at experts. Even they do not always get it right, so a little latitude and friendly discussion might be in order here and there. wink.gif

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