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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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