HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Father's Day Been Beddy Beddy Good To Me!

On Father's Day, with Kim gone to Minneapolis, and one son in Brooklyn, NY, and the other in L.A., I guess you might say I pretty much had the day to myself. So I spent a lot of time browsing on the internet and made a mental note that Father's Day is, indeed, a great day to do some cyber-shopping for "old dad".

I have long been a collector of World War Two diecast aircraft, mostly from The Franklin Mint/Armour Collection in 1/48 scale; really beautifully made precise pieces, manufactured in China (where else?) but very pricey.

Some years back Aiken's Airplanes (one of my main sources) had a 50 % off sale and that was tempting enough for me to make a major purchase of a Flying Fortress B 17G . I gaze at it here every day! It is of an actual bomber "A Bit O' Lace" with precise nose art and a yellow tail. The plane weighs an incredible nine pounds and has a 28 inch wing span!

I also attempted to purchase the other major American bomber, a B-24 Liberator which was stationed out of North Africa and bombed the Ploesti oil fields of Rumania, but there was a "run" on both bombers and I didn't get my order in on time and missed getting the Liberator.

Shortly after that, I read "The Wild Blue" -- the written encounters of Senator George McGovern of South Dakota -- who piloted a Liberator in Italy, which made me want that plane even more.

Well, Sunday, I stumbled on a 50% off Father's Day special on "Flying Mule" (another one of my sites) and there she was! The Liberator I had missed out on -- along with a German Stuka bomber ("Wasser") that I had been looking for on sale for some tme -- it, too, was on half price!

The really cool part? By ordering them both, my total got me FREE shipping! And that saved a lot when one plane weighs nine pounds!!

I have a sheep skin B-3 jacket similar to the ones bomber crews wore and I remember attending a winter funeral wearing it and I was approached by an elderly gentleman who recognized the patches I had sewn on the jacket as those of a B-17 Flying Fortress Unit and he was quite vitriolic in his attack on the flying Fortress as he had been on a Liberator crew.

"Yeh", I remember him saying, " the Liberators did all the fighting and the Fortresses got all the glory!"

Later in my reading I found facts to back that opinion as there were a lot more Liberators manufactured than Forts, and they did take the brunt of combat, but because the B-17 had a reputation of taking multiple flak hits and continuing to fly, it pretty much kept the Consolidated Libs in the shadows.

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