|Box Cover Art Hasegawa Corporation's (Shizuoka, Japan) 1/72 scale B-26B/C Marauder Model Kit|
Imagine my surprise upon checking the overnight mail and finding an e-mail wanting to know where I had found that painting above.
Well, having run afoul of the copyright monsters once before, I did have a moment's panic. That's when I noticed the return address, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Seems they want to get permission from the original artist to make a reproduction of that painting.
Wow! I have to say that I was pretty excited.
Now back in November, Murphy's Law and Your Humble Scribe visited the Smithsonian Institution's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center out at Dulles and got to see Flak Bait undergoing restoration in the back room. (The "back room" as I so blithely call it, is formally known as the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar. You can see the name up on the wall in the background in the next photo.)
The next four photos were all taken by me back in November.
|Another view of some of the parts of Flak Bait.|
|The nose of the aircraft, sans the glass forward of the bombardier's position.|
|A closer look at the nose. This used to be on display at the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall.|
Well, I responded to the nice lady from the Smithsonian and let her know where I had found the painting. Wouldn't that be cool if Hasegawa re-released that kit in conjunction with the Smithsonian rolling out the refurbished Flak Bait?
Pretty heady stuff, I can tell you, for this old backwoods blogger.
Here's a link to a great article at the Smithsonian's website regarding the restoration (some great photos of the aircraft as well). Here's another link to a great Smithsonian blog article on Flak Bait.
Here's a blurb from Wikipedia:
"Flak Bait" is a Martin B-26 Marauder aircraft that holds the record within the United States Army Air Forces for the number of bombing missions survived during World War II. Manufactured in Baltimore, Maryland as a B-26B-25-MA, by Martin, it was completed in April, 1943 and christened Flak Bait by one of the pilots, James J. Farrell, who adapted the nickname of a family dog, "Flea Bait". Flak Bait was assigned to the 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group stationed in eastern England.The B-26 is one of my favorite WWII bombers. It just looks sporty. There's an old saying, if it looks fast, it is fast. (Not sure how true that is, but I still like the saying.) To me the Marauder looks fast.
During the course of its 202 (some sources say 207) bombing missions over Germany as well as the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, Flak Bait lived up to its name by being shot with over 1000 holes, returned twice on one engine and once with an engine on fire, lost its electrical system once and its hydraulic system twice, and participated in bombing missions in support of Normandy Landings and the Battle of the Bulge.
I can't wait to see the job the museum does on this proud old warbird. To have given even the tiniest bit of assistance to this project is pretty neat. At least to me.
As things progress, I'll be keeping an eye on this project. I'm sure Murph will too.
After all, he lives a heck of a lot closer to Dulles.