Midway Mission

While working on the upper wing seams of Special Hobby’s Firefly V – a task more akin to woodworking than scale modeling – I started daydreaming of other projects that I could use as a form of distraction. I couldn’t justify any of them until I got an e-mail from the U.S.S. Hornet Museum, located not 1000 yards from my front door. They asked for help on two projects: a tribute to Steven Jurika, which would entail a B-25 and a TBD in 1:48 scale, and a Midway collection.

Midway, eh?

The ship asked for a representative collection of Hornet-based planes, but I already have two Midway models – Tom Cheek’s F4F-4 from VF-3/42 and, nearly finished, Iyozoh Fujita’s A6M2b from Soryu. I sounded the alarm and I now have volunteers in Laramie Wright, John Carr, Jim Priete, Randy Ray, Bill Ferrante, John Ferdico, and Mark Schynert, who are building Midway models, and Mike Burton and Domenic Ortiz, who have the needed models for the Jurika display.

I’ll be building Clayton Fisher’s SBD from VB-8. Fisher was the wingman of Stanhope Ring, who led the Hornet bombers out on a course that resulted in none of them finding the Japanese fleet. There’s no telling what the Horned SBDs could have done – might they have caught Hiryu and knocked out all four carriers, thus possibly sparing the Yorktown? Who knows. Instead, most of them ended up landing on Midway, then heading back to the Hornet.

Clayton Fisher is still around – I’ll be in contact with him this week to double check the side number of his SBD-3. In the meantime, I discovered I have a True Details interior, Moskit exhausts and some Tom’s Modelworks brass that will help jazz up the Hasegawa kit. Of course, I discovered this only after I ordered Eduard cockpit and dive brakes parts, Quickboost exhausts and wheels and a host of other goodies. All I know is that this will be a fully-outfitted Dauntless.

The aim is to have all these models in hand on June 1 for installation in the display – a temporary one, so the modelers all get their models back!

At this stage, we’ll have examples of the F4F, SBD, TBD, F2A-3, A6M2b “Zero,” B5N2, D3A1 and possible an E13A. Hopefully, we can use these models to illustrate the battle and to refute some of the myths.

There are some really great references for a display like this that do a lot to help the modeler. First off is John Lundstrom’s epic book The First Team, which documents U.S. Navy fighter operations up through Midway. It gives complete information for important sorties (including side numbers) and some markings drawings, but it’s really a great read and an exceptionally detailed history of the fighter side of things. Next is A Glorious Page in Our History, a gang effort by four great historians that provides an in-depth blow-by-blow of the battle. Again, it includes aircraft numbers and crews, making it very useful for picking out important aircraft and replicating their markings on models. Finally, there’s Jon Parshall’s Shattered Sword, which provides the first modern account of the battle that includes realistic assessments of the motives and objectives of the leaders in the battle and is comprehensive in its explanation of the battle from the Japanese side.


1 Comment

  1. […] I started it two years ago, finished it today, and its next destination is the USS Hornet for our Midway display. I think it may be the best model I’ve built. Now, on to the SBD! On the PopPressed Radar […]

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