About This Blog

Xenophon's Ghost covers military history and wargaming from the ancient period to modern times.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Reformed Jonah

After four years of frustration and procrastination, I have finished the plastic model that drove me to seek a new hobby, leading to wargaming.  I think it is fitting to give some credit to this "Jonah," a jinxed model that continued to be a challenge until the end.   While this F-86E Sabre didn't kill an albatross like the sailor of yore, the model did kill my enthusiasm for military modeling for awhile.

F-86-E-10 "Jolley Roger" 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing, Korea, 1952

During my last assignment in Korea, I started a collection of military models from the Korean War.  This F-86E represents one flown by Captain Clifford Jolley, 335th FIS/4th FIW.  The F-86 Sabre was the first swept-wing airplane in the U.S and proved very effective against the Russian MiGs in Korea.  The F-86E was armed with six .50 caliber machine guns and could carry 16 five-inch rockets or 2,000 pounds of bombs.

The model gave me fits from the starts.  I had problems with the fuselage assembly, requiring a lot of noxious putty work on the seams, and the tail had an ornery gap. The wings needed to be drilled for the fuel tanks, and I could never get one tank to align correctly.  You can see it drooping in the foreground. One landing gear was problematic, too.  I put the model away for awhile...

The real trouble began with the decals.  After completing the wing decals, the large yellow strips began peeling away!  They wouldn't adhere for some reason.  I first tried to use Dullcote as an adhesive, finally resorting to superglue for the stripes on the bottom of the wing....not the best looking result.  At this point, I stored the model away for several months and reflected on what I liked and disliked about plastic models.  I enjoyed brush painting, but I didn't care for airbrushing, particularly the clean-up.  I had also developed a definite hatred for decals...

When visiting a game store to purchase Pokemon cards, I found a Flames of War (FoW) display and gaming table.  I picked up a single Sherman tank as a test run and checked out the FoW website.  A search on other wargaming sites revealed tremendous variety in the hobby.  Even though I'm interested in WWII history, I decided against FoW for cost reasons and my interest in the American War of Independence (AWI).  I chose AWI as gaming era, partially because of concerns that Napoleonic gaming would be too expensive.  I now find myself with a decent AWI collection, five DBA armies, and a few Napoleonic units (with plans for many more).  I sometimes wonder if FoW would not have been a less expensive option! (I doubt that I would have limited myself to FoW, though.)

Determined not to carry a half-finished model back to Korea four years later, I tried to reform my Jonah F-86E.  During the first session, I applied all of the decals for the left side of the aircraft.  This model has a lot of marking-related small decals.  About 30 percent peeled off as did the large unit marking (FU-834) on the rear half of the fuselage.  For the right side, shown in the photos, I primarily used the large decals.  True to form, the yellow stripes on the tail peeled off.  Tempted to throw it in the trash, I decided to make peace with the Jolley Roger and continued to complete the model as best I could. 

The jinx remained when I applied Dullcote.  In my rush to finish this model within a day of our move, I didn't notice the dust that had accumulated on the wings.  Dullcote does a great job of adhering dust to a model, even a model that rejects decals.  I did my best to rub it off, rubbing off another decal in the process.

 I might run into a few people that notice the plane's faults when I display this in my office soon, but I'll accept that. This model led me to historical wargaming, for which I am grateful.

P.S.  I haven't turned my back on plastic models completely.  I built an M41 Walker Bulldog with Korean War markings during a wargaming hiatus.  The decals went on smoothly!

M-41 Tank rail-loaded in Korea
Photo Source: Wikipedia, originally from US Army Center for Military History

No comments:

Post a Comment