Models keep coming up aces…

Last weekend was the P-47 Fighter Aces Symposium at the Hiller Aviation Museum, featuring four aces – Richard Fleischer of the 348th FG, Frank McCauley and Les Smith of the 56th FG, and David Thwaites of the 356th FG. It was an entertaining afternoon, and perhaps this nugget was the most interesting to come out of it: McCauley and Smith had been assigned the same flight and had flown many missions together, but this even was the first time they’d seen each other since 1944!

Unfortunately, we didn’t stage a model display at this symposium; I didn’t hear back from anyone about it, and so I decided to take this one off and go simply as a spectator. However, a couple people at the event asked me about the model display, since they’d enjoyed seeing it in the past, which is nifty incentive to work up a display for the next event, featuring Navy and Marine aces, on July 19 at the Hiller Museum (I’ll have names when they become available to me). I’d try to knock out a Corsair between now and then, but that would probably result in an extra-bent bent-winged bird, so I’ll fall back on my Alex Vraciu Hellcat instead!

That got me to thinking about the ace machines I have in my collection of built-ups. I’ve always tried to shy away from the over-done aircraft and leaned toward the “rank and file,” but I do have a big splash of aces in the case. To wit:

It’s pretty obvious why the aces command so much attention from modelers – they grabbed fame while flying and still command attention today, so people want to build their aircraft. Decal manufacturers respond to demand, so the aces are disproportionately represented in decal form. So that cycle continues. And, of course, a single-engine plane’s a quicker build than a multi-engine bomber or even a multi-place attack plane, so more fighters get built than any other type.
Here’s what the build queue at the workshop looks like right now:

  • Martin 167 Maryland (this week’s subject for work)
  • P-40E Warhawk
  • P-51D-5 Mustang
  • P-47D Thunderbolt
  • Fairey Firefly V

Of those, two are ace machines – the P-40E of Jim Morehead and (oddly enough) the Maryland of Adrian Warburton. So the pattern continues!

What proportion of aces ends up in your collection? And is it because the decals available happen to be aces, or do you seek out ace subjects for your models? I’d be interested to know.


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