Out of Your Reach

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atomic annie boxartIn response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Out of Your Reach.”

Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child, during the holidays or on your birthday, but never received? Tell us about it.

Lots…the early/mid 70s were a Golden Age for the plastic modeller community with household names (in our household anyway) like Airfix, FROG and Matchbox releasing new kits every month across a range of topics near and dear to every schoolboy’s heart…these were generally pretty affordable and even the larger ones were acquirable, albeit through the good intentions of aunts and uncles. The jewels in the crown though were the big kits from the USA, in 1/32 monster scale mainly, most notably Revell’s range of 1/32 scale aircraft, singles and twins, many of which remained the only games in town until the last couple of years – a competing 1/32 De Havilland Mosquito has only been released this year (at 3-4 times the price of the venerable and still respectable Revell offering.

When I was 12, Mum and Dad took me along on their annual pilgrimage to Christchurch, then, at some 150 miles away, quite an epic journey. One day, while exploring the inner city, we passed a cycle shop (back then most cycle shops carried enough plastic kits to win away a young lad’s pocket money with ease – they are somewhat less exciting now) in, I think it was Manchester Street. There is all its glory was the Atomic Cannon, at a price hopelessly beyond our means…

It’s big and cool and evocative of those days when build and see it was the prevailing engineering philosophy. I grew (temporarily) out of modelling not so long after but that’s always been a strong memory. When I got back into modelling, it was always at the back of my wish list…in the late 90s I managed to score one unbuilt off a collector in the Netherlands and another built one of eBay and few years later, just in time for a work mate to rescue a load of old models from a rubbish skip. Once he took what he wanted he, handed the survivors over to me…and there is was…an original Atomic Annie…built by a clearly schoolboy hand, it dates back to the original releases, I would say, judging by the other kit remnants in the box with it…

So now I have three, none finished…there’s a surprise!!! But one day, when I do, it’ll look something like this…

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You can see more of this build here: http://thegreatcanadianmodelbuilderswebpage.blogspot.co.nz/2011/10/atomic-cannon.html

Scale Model Expo 2014

The last Scale Model Expo in Wellington was in 2011. It’s a Biennial event i.e. once every two years, but was slipped until this year to re-align it with its traditional April time slot.Even with this extended period between shows, I still had nothing finished!! In my defence though, I would like to claim points for consistency…

I overnighted in Palmerston North and set off at zero dark thirty on the Saturday morning for Wellington. It’s only about a 90 minute drive but I was catching up with friends on the way…Even then, I still arrived in Upper Hutt (a suburb of Wellington) an easy hour before the show opened. I scored a coup here as my aimless wandering while I waited for the doors to open took me into the local Noel Leemings where they had 4 terabyte hard drives for almost half price…snapped one of them up immediately for the enhanced home theatre project!!!

This year was the first time that the show has been in Upper Hutt. In previous years it has been in either Lower Hutt or the Wellington CBD. I was impressed with the new venue. It is much larger than the old one in Upper Hutt, is right in the middle of town and has a great little cafe right beside the doors. My only minor gripe is that the Upper Hutt City Council could invest a little more in signage for parking as I was unable to find any parks for more than 120 minutes and parked a little further away in a side street. Once I got to the show, I learned that there is free parking and lots of it by the train station about two minutes walk away…still, a little walking never hurt any one…BTW, the same council could also invest a little more in rubbish bins around the CDB as it is quite a trek to find one to dump (in a legal manner) one coffee cup and sandwich wrappings…

The show was well-attended and well supported…some material was repeated from previous years (not necessarily a bad thing) but there was a lot of new build work as well…below is a random selection of images from the first day of the Show…unfortunately I was unable to stay for the second day as much as I may have wanted to. I have loaded more pictures into Photobucket for anyone who may wish to see more…

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A Kiwi take on Noah’s Ark…

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A whiffed (What-iffed) exercise in imagination…

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The Juniors section – this club has been a strong supporter of junior modellers for years…

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The Rex Crawford Collection

Rex Crawford was a long-standing and very active member of the Scale Models Wellington club. His ambition was to build one of every aircraft ever operated by the Royal Air Force – as you can see here, he came very close to it. When he passed away a couple of years ago, there was a very real risk that his collection may have been lost however a collaborative effort by the club with Rex’s family has seen this collection preserved and placed in storage in Wellington.

Personally, I would like to see this collection eventually displayed in the RNZAF Museum in Wigram. While the RNZAF may not have operated nearly as many aircraft types as the RAF, the RAF remains the air force that we most closely identify with. In addition, not only have many Kiwis over the decades operated these aircraft types while serving in the RAF but there are also now many former members of the RAF now serving in New Zealand that did fly some of the later types (and I am including the Vulcan and Victor here as ‘later types’).

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The large scale train set-up always attracts many viewers…

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Wingnut Models are Sir Peter Jackson’s very own model company and they specialise in a range of exceptionally high quality models of WW1 aircraft in 1/32 scale. The first day of this year’s show they unveiled their latest release, the Roland C.II, an aircraft type that will have bring back fond memories for many modellers of the old Airfix 1/72 Roland that dates back to some time in the 1960s…DSCF8229

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Of course, the normal purveyors of temptation were there and I felt somewhat compelled to support local businesses.

When I left Upper Hutt in 2004, it was in a state of decline. A decade later it has managed to reinvent itself: it now has a flourishing town centre and is a great little life support centre for those living and working up the top end of the Hutt Valley.

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The first book I bought | WordPress.com

This post is inspired by two if Caron Dann’s recent posts The first book I bought and The toy I always wanted…but was afraid to ask for

The first book post really got me thinking about the first book that I bought with my own money and I can not remember or even have an inkling of what it might have been…possibly I was a later starter into buying my own books because we always had lots of books at home and my mum’s parents also had a big library…Christmas and birthdays always included books so it may be that i never felt particularly compelled to buy any myself for some time. Our holiday crib at Wakouaiiti was also close to the local tip and we used to scavenge discarded books from here all through summer…loads and load of Readers Digests which offered good and very diverse reading material…

Looking through the survivors from back then, I did find…

DSCF7403…these SBS books which we used to buy through our primary school…this was the first time that I recall having a fairly unilateral decision making ability although my parents were still paying for the books…these are all well read and I hoping to introduce the twins to them soon…

DSCF7404…these which I remember sifting through the book bargain bin at Woolworths or MacKenzies in Thames Street to find…a bit of an eclectic mix but all again well read and dating from the early 70s…

DSCF7402We used to go to all the various local church and other fairs and fund-raisers and these were also a good source of ten cent books, again well-read and from that same era around 1973-74…around the same time, I also discovered book exchanges and would sift through the shelves looking for anything that looked a. interesting and b. affordable. Although I chewed through a lot of pulp fiction during this phase (from the mid-70s until the mid-80s – joining the Army seems to have killed this past-time off), this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as I found that pulp fiction is not necessarily bad fiction; and reading that which was bad fiction helped me develop a taste for that is good fiction…

It’s not that I did not have the means to buy my own books before this: while Caron was struggling to save her miserly 10 cents each week (she is correct: that IS a miserly amount for that time), I thought I was hard done by with 50 cents a week at the same time, and supplemented this by lawn mowing and other part time work. In addition to having access to a wealth of books from other sources, books also competed with other resources for my meagre resources.

At first it was Matchbox cars and the runner-up Corgi series and i think that I could buy one a week with the pocket money…

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Survivors

…and then, one day in about 1973 when I was feeling particularly flush, I bought my first Airfix model for the princely sum of 99 cents from Martyns Cycle Shop …and for the next five or so years, models were the major consumer of my income such as it was at the time…

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That first model was the Folland Gnat in the upper right above…for nostalgia sake, I bought another last year, going out of my way to ensure that it was not the new-tool release and was gutted to find that the rockets that made the original so cool had been removed from the mouldings…

The Fiat G.91 (top left) and Hs-123 (bottom right) are box Airfix classics from the 60s. Today they are considered pretty crappy but they were pretty cool in 1973…I bought and built both of these while staying with a friend in Waikouaiiti, the result of our pea-picking and possum hunting expeditions…both were painted using oils left over from his older sisters paint-by-numbers sets…DSCF7400The Supermarine S.6 was 10th birthday present; the Wildcat was a gift from my Dad after a work trip; he took me to Mr Conn’s cycle shop in Oamaru one school holiday afternoon and I walked out the proud owner of the Auster Antarctic; the Tiger Moth was a summer holiday acquisition from the little bookshop in Wakouaiiti; and the Lysander I bought while staying with my cousin in North Oamaru – we cycled into town along the railway cycle track, having to make the Friday night round trip before it got dark as we didn’t have lights on our bikes…

This scrapbook surfaced a few years back from one of my many boxes of ‘stuff’ – in it are many of the covers and instructions from those hastily assembled models, few of which were not assembled and painted by bedtime on the day of acquisition…I’m glad that it has survived the years because it holds many memories…

Back then, I was never that shy about asking for something that I wanted – not that the asking ever did much to increase my chances of getting it. In fact, the only time that I think I can definitely establish a casual effect between cause (asking) and effect (receiving) was with this really super cool water pistol that had a periscope mirror that could see round corners and a swivelling nozzle that would (allegedly) let you shoot around corners. I bugged everyone about it and my Mum’s cousin, Murray, who was staying with us at the time, bought it for me. Of course, it didn’t work as well in the flesh as it seemed to in the ads and it was soon broken and eventually disposed off…

That was a nice thing that Murray did but generally I’m not so sure that it is a good thing to succumb to much to childhood asking and bling-hunting…looking back, I was never unhappy with birthday and Christmas surprises and I think that is half the funny of both giving and receiving: that surprise when peeling back the wrapping…one of my favourite Christmas surprises was this…

Revell Ju-87B 1-32 boxartIt is a seriously sized box and I really thought that I was dreaming when I found it at the foot of my bed…my parents must have ordered it in as I had never seen anything like it in any of the model shops that I had been in…I still have parts of it that surface occasionally in my spares box (yes, I have come back to this hobby); I don’t remember what happened to the main airframe in the end but it suffered numerous indignities during its life with me, including an attempt to motorise the propeller with a (too) powerful electric motor than almost took a finger off when I connected the power…

Most definitely the best toy never asked for…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | The Daily Post

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Inside the box…these are a bit hard to find so I was a bit miffed to learn that the reason that it had been all sealed up inside a plastic bag was to conceal that one of the wings was missing…
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Hidden away inside the bush…Imperial War Museum Duxford 100 Inside the prototype Concorde…Mulcher Mess

What builds up inside the mulcher…actually this only started to happen when we shifted to a new servicer and stopped when we (finally) moved to another…Raurimu wagon wheel - Jul 04 - 3

The ‘nice’ lounge lights inside our home when we moved in

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Inside a very cool shop in Brussels…
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…a good day to be inside…

via Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | The Daily Post.

Daily Prompt: Toy Story | The Daily Post

What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MEMENTO.

The prompt above was quite timely as I was already thinking on a post along these lines after reading Caron’s post last month Odd Things I Own #1

This is the study…

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…it lives at the top of the stairs…IMG_20131022_191001

…it’s full of books so you can guess I like books…many of these books are old friends that I either read or had as a child (some were lost along the journey so I have replaced them)…

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The big ship on the top shelf has a chequered history…it started life in a  model shop opposite Far East Plaza and a mate of mine brought as he was going through a phase of wanting to own the biggest of each sort of plastic model e.g. biggest tank, biggest ship, etc. I’m not sure if he got as far as the biggest aircraft but he had the biggest tank, a 1/16 King Tiger. I remember we all sat around the barracks courtyard for a morning helping him link up the steel tracks and once it was running, he could spin it up and the tracks would chip the tiles on the floor…

The ship was only acquired as we packed to come home in 1989 and he paid some guy in Palmerston North $600 to make an (at best) average job of building it (I would have done it for the cost of materials!). This guy was also into sports cars and bought a  Corvette when we got back to New Zealand – the ’73 shape – but it needed so much maintenance so that there was no vibration that might crack the fibreglass body that he had to sell the Yamato on. One of our company commanders bought it for some hundreds of $ for his son but when his wife commented “He’s only 2, idiot!“, it feel into my hands for a lot less than either of its previous owners paid for it…

It was remote controlled – it used to terrorise the sailing boats in the Esplanade before I acquired it – but I ripped all that gear out and sold it when we moved here and my intention is still to restore it as a static model – one day – but in the meantime, it remains up high away from little fingers and performing a valuable function keeping dust off the shelf…

IMG_20131022_190919…it is also home to my funny hat collection (you can only see some of them here) – over to you whether they are funny hats or it is a funny collection…IMG_20131022_183847…and many of the figurines and models I have collected…most are not worth much except to me…I remember this Renwal Skysweeper from advertisements in magazines when I was really little but it has never been rereleased so tracking it down was a mission: I now have this built one that I found in Foxton of all places and another unbuilt in the my stash…the Batman figure was with the inaugural (and thus enticingly less expensive) issue of a super-heroes magazine…where possible and where the subject matter grabs me, I like to buy just the first issue, just for the figure or model…

IMG_20131022_183922 …in the case of these guys, I so liked the inaugural Hawker Hurricane, I subscribed to the series …I quite liked the excitement of waiting each fortnight to see what the next one would be but after a year I went off them because there were too many missed issues, the scales varied between 1/72 and 1/100, and there was consistent damage to the models at the packing end…IMG_20131022_183913

This is a Dinky USS Enterprise…I never even knew that Dinky made an Enterprise – I thought I would have as the rich kid up the road from us had most of the Dinky models – until I saw this sitting in a gaming shop in Vancouver for the princely sum of $10: the shuttle is missing (it would normally live in the at the bottom of the nacelle where you can see one of the open bay doors) and the disk missile launcher needs work (and disks) but I think it’s pretty cool. Alongside is a special piece, a Micro Machines X-Wing…it is special because my wife (who is not that into such things) bought it for me on a whim one day…IMG_20131022_183745Up here is a Hasbro Star Wars ship…what Google tells me is Dash Rendar’s Outrider…I found this in a great junk shop in Florida just down the road from Eglin AFB and barely managed to squeeze it into my bag for the long unwind home…it has lots of moving parts but no pilot – certainly no Dash Rendar whomever he might be? – but it strike as I type that I very well may have a suitable figure in one of the actions toys I bought while living in Singapore. The book that the Outrider is sitting on is a 1947 New Zealand telephone book – one country, one book! – that the kids got me for Father’s Day in 2007 or 2008…it is treasured not only for its age and rarity (who keeps old phone books?) but also because it has a listing for my grandfather’s farm at Ngapara in North Otago…sadly this book was stolen when the house was broken into during one of my periods working overseas…DSCF7198

…and, courtesy of my Mum, who has kept and stored so much of our childhood books and toys, this collection which still languishes in a wardrobe…mainly Matchbox, with a  smattering of Dinky, Britains, Tonka, and Corgi toys, all eagerly awaiting the day that they will be dusted off, repaired where necessary, and displayed in the light of day once more…

Until such time though, I think that I can offer them more dignified accommodation than this box and will rummage around to see what I can come up with…

via Daily Prompt: Toy Story | The Daily Post.

My Little Life: Five Question Friday! 7/19/13

My Little Life: Five Question Friday! 7/19/13.

1. What is one thing you have too many of in your house?

A toughy…

…my wife would probably say these…but…then again…they keep me home at nights and off the streets…

2. Did anything go not quite as planned on your wedding day?

Not really but inherent in ‘planned’ is having a plan and ours was of a fairly minimalist type…we really just took it as it came on the day…the only real potential hiccup was the late realisation that we needed two witnesses on the day…overcome by tapping a couple of other tourists on the shoulder the day before…

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3. What is your favorite summer smoothie recipe?

Easy…leftover fruit, juice and spirits, ice cream for bulk and flavour…blend and kiss use of your legs goodbye for a few hours…

4. What is the weather like where you are?

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5. What is your favorite book to read to your kids?

No favourite per se but a definite preference for older books over those published more recently that seem to have all very nice pictures but that are found somewhat lacking in the story department…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up | The Daily Post

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Looking up at the Lindberg XF-91 that I built for the Unofficial Airfix Modellers Forum (UAMF) 2008Classic American Kits Group Build…the pilot has dropped his pencil and is just leaning forward to pick it up hence the white of his helmet being so far forward in the cockpit…

Actually, I didn’t quite finish it…the reason that many of my shots of this aircraft are looking up at it is that while I was adding the markings, I reached for my trusty bottle of Mr Mark Softener (bottle with a bright green top) to assist the US national marking to settle closely over the rivets etc on the wing but picked up instead my equally trusty but in this case not appropriate bottle of Tamiya Extra Thin Cement (bottle with a bright green top) with the result that half the the star and bar marking instantly dissolved into a murky smear…UAMF xf91 014

One of these days, I’m planning on stripping it back and finishing it off properly, doing a decent paint job on, or replacing the original pilot, and adding the undercarriage…some day…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up | The Daily Post.

Attack from the Sea

attack from the seaI’ve always been interested in the ‘Let’s give it a crack’ design philosophies of the 1950s and ‘60s – long before the advent of computer-aided design took all the coolness out of aircraft prototyping (although not the cost, as the F-35 Flying Pig demonstrates every day). This was an era where, if you wanted to know how a new design might perform, you built it and flew it… Thus, the design philosophy and development saga of Martin’s P6 SeaMaster has interested me for some years. I bought the Airmodel 1/72 vacuform model of the SeaMaster in the 90s, started it in the early 2000s and plan to finish it ‘one day’ (Roger Fitch!). In the meantime, I enjoy researching about this and other aircraft of this era…

Late in 2006, I was in Norfolk (VA, not UK) for the first planning conference for the 2007 iteration of the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID). Having a spare hour or two of shopping time the day before I started to unwind the rubber band back home, I found myself in a Barnes and Noble in one of those big strip malls and stumbled across a copy of William Trimble’s Attack from the Sea. It hadn’t been released for very long and commanded a handsome price (this was also before our two dollars started to approach parity) I opted out of purchasing it.

Cut forward five years and I’m now not only regularly attending Air and Space Interoperability Council (ASIC) meetings in the US, but I have a contact in DC who was happy to receive and hold any US purchases for me until my next visit – almost a necessity for heavy and/or bulky items since the US Postal Service took it upon itself to no longer support international surface post – Hello? Just because you are the only nation that plays in the ‘World’ Series doesn’t mean that there’s not the rest of the planet out there!!!! Shortening a longer story, I finally acquired a hard copy of Attack from the Sea in March last year.

The Airmodel SeaMaster being a LONG term project, I didn’t actually get round to reading it until this year when I resolved to start reading more professionally oriented books as part of refocusing myself on the development of Air-related course work and also working towards more regular publication of such work.

So…the techo stuff…although listed as 196 pages only 142 are actually devoted to the text, the remainder being set aside for end notes and a bibliography. I’m always a bit wary of books that have been derived from a thesis as the thesis structure does not always translate into an attractively readable book format. Although both are comprehensive and possibly of use to other scholars and researchers, they are somewhat dry and add no value to the story other than listing sources used.

I especially hate those thesis-derived books that harp on and on about the research practices followed, i.e. following the research template, instead of employing this for the actual conduct of their research and then telling the story in the thesis proper. Fortunately, Attack from the Sea does not fall into this trap for young players and its narrative flows clearly and logically towards its inevitable unhappy ending – no spoiler alert needed here as the dust cover and introduction both make no effort to disguise the fate of the Seaplane Striking Force.

It is important to remember – and the text does not cover this – that the concept of a Seaplane Striking Force was independent of the infrastructure necessary to support both heavy land-based bombers AND carrier-based naval aviation. This was borne in a time space-based reconnaissance and surveillance was in the realm of Analog and Amazing Stories than practical military capability. Thus it was quite practical to consider a force of large fast seaplanes that could operate from lakes, fjords or open water, supported by ships, submarines and other seaplanes – fighters, patrol and resupply – and invisible to potential adversaries until committed to a strike. Today, modern ISR capabilities may render the original concept untenable in any conventional high-intensity symmetric conflict but then we haven’t seen many of those recently.

William Trimble details the Seaplane Striking Force from its inception between the Wars through to post-WW2 attempts to develop it into a practical part of America’s nuclear deterrent capability. Although the text on the larger programme gives the reader a good grasp of the SSF and how it could have been employed, it does not devote enough space (constrained by the limits of research templates?) to the development of each of the three main aircraft that would have been the mainstays of the SSF:

the Convair F2Y-1 Sea Dart fighter,
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the Convair R3Y-1 Tradewind patrol and logistic support aircraft, and

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the Martin P6M-1 SeaMaster heavy bomber.

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The SeaMaster receives the lion’s share of the coverage, followed by the Sea Dart with the Tradewind coming in a slow third; nor are the proposed supporting naval platforms covered in as much detail as the Seamaster. In some ways this is fair as a discussion on a seaplane striking force probably needs to cover the strike element in some detail but it does lead to a feeling that the problems with the Seamaster were the main reason that the programme was cancelled in 1959.

The actual reasons that the US Navy decided to axe the SSF (literally as none of the 14 Seamasters built survive today) were two-fold. Firstly, the programme’s costs had not been properly budgeted, nor had proper management processes been embedded in the programme to monitor and mitigate cost increases.

Secondly, by 1959, it was starting to become clear that nuclear submarines could provide an even more secure deterrent/counter-strike capability than any other platform and no role was seen for a naval heavy bomber capability.

What is surprising is that the advent of the nuclear ballistic missile submarine did not equally threaten air force nuclear heavy bomber capabilities, allowing the USAF to continue development of heavy nuclear strike options like the XB-70 in the mid-60s and the original B-1A in the 1970s. It is ironic that conventional attack has saved both the B-52 and the B-1 from the breaker’s yards. Had the B-70 gone into production, it would probably now be an expensive lemon unable to perform any roles other than nuclear stand-by and limited strategic ISR (but, then, that’s what we had the SR-71 for).

This begs the question whether the Seamaster would have been a credible and practical capability had it been introduced into service in its planned numbers of at least two strike complexes, each of 36 aircraft, one complex each for the Pacific and Atlantic theatres . The author alludes to other roles, but only as a passing thought in a brief mention of how it might have operated during the Vietnam War. This brevity is unfortunate in a book published in 2005 when numerous other employment contexts could have been examined to add contemporary context to what might have been.

“…the possibilities for such a force were virtually “unlimited”. It was easy to concentrate the numbers of aircraft needed to “saturate” the air over the landing force and protect the shore bases as they were built. The landing zone could be spread out over a wide area, complicating the enemy’s defense and decreasing the vulnerability of friendly forces to counter-attack…in the nuclear age dispersal was even more vital, because a single weapon could easily wipe out the entire force. Aircraft ranges could be enhanced by refuelling from a submarine or a surface ship, damaged aircraft could land anywhere offshore, and all-weather operations were easier because precise shipboard landings were not necessary… ”

US practical demonstrations of long range aerial force projection since 1990 remain impressive feats with flight times in excess of 24 hours. However these are only achievable at the cost of logistic support, mainly air to air refuelling, and expenditure of aircraft hours. With the last B-52 rolling out in 1962 and the last production B-1B in 1988, no matter how good the upgrade and zero hour programme, these aircraft remain finite resources. In addition, such long sorties extract a toll upon flight crews that must affect in-flight performance. Where national positions may preclude the use of regional airbases for heavy bomber forces, where such facilities are simply not available, or where they are not secure, there very well may be a greater role for a Seamaster-like capability than there ever was in the 50s. In addition, the example of Vietnam in Attack from the Sea, other regional deployment possibilities might include:

RAF Seamasters operated covertly from locations closer to the Falklands Islands operational theatre than those flown during the Black Buck missions. The Seamasters ability to base anywhere that sea or other waterway conditions permitted would have aggravated Argentina’s air defence problem by opening avenues of attack other than from the North.

Seamasters  deployed into the Mediterranean as part of ELDORADO CANYON as an alternative to the long flight around France, Italy and Spain to avoid hurting European sensibilities.

USAF Seamasters operating from secure locations in the Red Sea and Mediterranean provided more responsive heavy attack during DESERT STORM, and also easily surged into location during Saddam’s various sword rattling activities during the 90s.

Seamasters added another string to the bow of US ‘big stick’ diplomacy in the former Yugoslavia after the signing of the Dayton Accord in 1995; and again over Kosovo in 1999.

RAF Seamasters operated alongside the UK forces deployed to Sierra Leone in the lead up to the BARRAS rescue mission. Their ability to deploy both precision heavy aerial munitions up to 2000 pounds and mini-munitions weighing less than 5kg enabled the Seamaster force to provide local commanders a range of response options not available from any other strike platform in the UK armoury.

Seamasters provided a credible and more responsible heavy attack capability to ENDURING FREEDOM in 2001 and 2002, operating from secure locations much closer than the US bases from which the US heavy bomber force operated from. Ditto IRAQI FREEDOM from 2003 onwards.

While NATO forces established themselves in Poggia, Seamasters removed the requirement for RAF Tornados to sortie from UK bases to launch attacks on Libya in the early stages of ELLAMY in 2011.

In a myriad of small wars and irregular activities, the Seamaster’s ability to sea-base added a new obstacle to an insurgents ability to breach local defences and attack aircraft and crews directly as occurred at Camp Bastion in 2012, with the loss of six irreplaceable USMC Harrier attack jets.

Although aging by the early 21st Century, RNZAF Seamasters enabled ANZAC forces to deploy advanced ISR and precision attack capabilities into South Pacific theatres beyond the practical reach of ADF Super Hornets and F-35 Emus (they look like birds but don’t really fly that well!)

Yes, what never was and what might have been…

I enjoyed Attack from the Sea – it is well-researched and well-written and provides insights into operational concepts like the Seaplane Striking Force that are not well-known today; and also, and perhaps more topical, some insights into the dangers of inadequately managed development programme, with specific regard to cost overruns.

I see that someone else on WordPress also likes this book [Attack from the Sea — book review] and makes a point that I missed:

“…One thing, and probably the only thing, not explained was the USN’s decision to purposely destroy the remaining 16 SeaMaster aircraft but keep all the Sea Dart aircraft. This decision was either myopic or, maybe, shameful, but its rationale appears lost in the fog of history — especially so if Trimble could not make a determination…”

The same spiteful vandalism was also inflicted on the AVRO Canada CF-105 Arrow (leading to the RCAF’s interesting little dalliance with the Soviets) and the BAC TSR.2 – you have to ask yourself…WHY???

As they say down the hall in the Lessons Learned broom cupboard, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it….

My Little Life: Five Question Friday! 3/28/13

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Cake for Birthday #41…

1. How often should adults have birthday parties?

At least once a year i.e. birthdays should be acknowledged, not just passed over or forgotten…whether it’s a big party, or just a few friends and family is entirely a matter of choice and personal preference…

2. What was your room decorated like when you were a child?

Me in my room at home

Only room photo I could find…

Very cooly…I had loads of shelves for books and toys, had all my Matchbox cars displayed on top of the dresser, and all my model planes hanging from the ceiling…posters, mainly scifi-themed on the walls…not many photos though as this was before the era of convenience photography…

Return to modelling - Esci 1-48 F-16A

Only image of my model planes from way back then…I think this one might still be stored away somewhere…?

3. Do you have any traditions for Easter? If so, what? and do you have a why behind that?

Not really but it is usually a chance to get last-minute summer jobs done before the weather rolls in for the next few months…this year, however, we are just hanging out for that weather to roll in as it is so dry at the moment we don’t dare do any ground work for fear of extending the desert…

4. Do you get Good Friday off? If so, any plans?

R&R…I am finding the one problem with working from home on a casual/part-time basis is that work days are not as clearly defined as they are in the Monday-Friday 9-5 paradigm so this weekend so yesterday was definitely an enforced chillin’ day…

5. Did you wear hats & white shoes to church on Easter? (Or was that just in the South?)

Not here but maybe in the South…?

via My Little Life: Five Question Friday! 3/28/13.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

I’m not really that big on New Years resolutions as resolving can and should happen any time it is necessary…but anyway…

…work less, play more…

DSCF6544…turn the ‘desert’ into green…

Raurimu renovations 008

…actually finish a modelling project…

…just once…