Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed

 This book was written the 1990's and remains the best one on the Skunkworks.  The Skunkworks was of course the nick name given to the special devision of Lockheed that developed some of the most important military aircrafts in the world.  Often leap frogging any other nation with new advanced technology and design.  This book is full of storeis from Ben Rich whio ran the Skunk works for over 15 years. 

This books is satisfying on multiple levels:

1. Aircraft design and history - details of the F-117, the U2, and the SR-71 blackbird are fully described here.  Leading the user on the initial design, failures, and eventual success of these remarkable planes.

2. History - the design goals of these aircrafts can be placed directly in the context of the cold war and in the case of the F-117, the need to secure US air superiority after major gains in Soviet technology in the 1970's and 80s.

3. Business Management - the descripton of how the skunkworks operated within lockheed, eliminatin bureaucracy, small effective teams, communication, and managment not just managing but giving cover to team members to concentrate on the task at hand. These are all great lessons that gets repeated but not often successfully implemented in business advice books.

If any or all of these three topics is of interest, don't pass this one by.

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Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX - Hasegawa

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This is the Hasegawa Spitfire - I took this on after realizing I have never built a spitfire. Time to rectify this oversight with a Spitfire in the colors of the Polish squadron.

Read more: Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX - Hasegawa

A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II

This book is a wonderfully well-written book by authors Lynne Olson and Stanely Cloud. For cursory readers of WW2 history, the narrative of the German conquest of Poland immediately after the 'phony war' was one where the mighty German war machine steamrolled over Poland. Polishcavalryy making brave but ultimately useless charges against tanks. The polish airforce wiped from the skyp by the Luftwaffe in a matter of days. 
Read more: A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II

Martin B-57 Canberra - Vietnam


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Col. Mason in his dress blues holding the model of his B57

As modelers, we all have our reasons for being in the hobby. For myself and I suspect for many others, the chance to model and relive history is a major factor. So I when I had the opportunity to build an aircraft for a veteran, I was honored to do so. T.E. Bell, the author of “B-57 Canberra Units of the Vietnam War”, who happens to be a fellow modeler and friend had made many contacts in the B-57 community and asked whether I wanted to build the B-57 flown by Col (retired) Larry B. Mason.

Read more: Martin B-57 Canberra - Vietnam

Welcome to the new site

modelsgeneralWelcome to a total refresh of my website.  It's been an on going project for a few years now, not that it was that much effort. Between real life and yet another item to add, the site seems never finished.  At some point, we'll just have to call it done.  So here it is, updated with stuff that's been happening for the last years.  Some changes are:

The look and feel of the site has been completely revamped, it's currently running on Content Management System with a mobile responsive UI (meaning you can see it on the phone easily).

  • Added book review section - as many of us modelers are as interested in history as in modeling
  • Tools sections - which has yet to be filled in
  • History section - articles that accomplied my modeling articles that had been published and usually edited down.  I've included them here with the original content.  I've also added 2 more articles in my series of Text Hill and the aircrafts he flew, part 1 appearing in Scaled Aircraft Modeling.  So it's now a total of 10 articles (5 history - 5 aircraft) that covers his life from entering the US Navy until the end of WW2.  I still have a stearman to do to cover his life as a Naval cadet, then I will call it complete.
  • Comments - I've allowed comments on all the articles, please feel free to share your thoughts.
  • Finally, I'm hoping to update this site at a minimum of once every 2 to 4 weeks.  Let's see if I can keept that pace up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tex Hill - Ichi-Go and Jet Age (Part 6)

p59 historical 1April, 1944. Tex Hill has been back in China now for 6 months, leading the 23rd Fighter Squadron. As part of the 14th Air Force, he help carry out Gen. Chennault’s air campaign against Japanese supply lines. While constantly lacking in material and manpower, the 14th Air Force was having a major impact on the Japanese ability to move materials overland in China and along the Chinese coast. The Japanese empire had also suffered a series of defeats in the Pacific, putting them on a strategic defensive.

Read more: Tex Hill - Ichi-Go and Jet Age (Part 6)

Tex Hill - 23rd Fighter Squadron (part 5)

P51B historical 2After the entry of the US into war, plans were made to disband the AVG and incorporate them into the Army Air Force. Since the AVG were technically civilians, the USAAF attempted to use strong arm tatics to force the men to join the USAAF voluntarily. This went off badly and resulted in most of the men leaving to return to the United States or joining up with the CNAC to fly supplies in C-47s from India to China. A handful choose to remain in China, only five pilots choose to stay and Tex Hill was among them he was personally asked to do so by Chennault.

Read more: Tex Hill - 23rd Fighter Squadron (part 5)