What happens when you have a partial pre-production kit with no decals
and no back-up support? You build a "What-If" model! The
uncertainty that has surrounded the Snowbirds prompted me to do a
humorous follow-on to the Snowbirds' Tutors using the Airshowmodels
Extra 300L kit. There were numerous issues with the fit of the
components in the kit and after a lot of filing, sanding, inserting
wedges of plastic card followed by plenty of putty, I was able to
get the fuselage to fit together.
The instrument panels were
finished using Mike Grant's 1:32 scale instrument decals. The
rest of the markings came from my spares box including the 1:48
scale Snowbird decals by Mike Belcher.
The 1972 Snowbird sticker was one of the few that I have left from
those terrific days at Moose Jaw when the Snowbirds were first
beginning to show their true capabilities.
There was a lot of
funny comments by the modelers that haunt Aircraftresourcecenter.com
web site which helped with the story line. With the age of the
Tutors and the increasing operating costs, it was decided that if
the Snowbirds wished to continue as a Demonstration Squadron, the
crews would have to buy their own aircraft and find sponsors.
The makers of a certain bathroom cleansing product won the
sponsorship contract until the pilots decided that the "Downward
Spiral Flush" maneuver was too hairy...
The next contract was let to the company behind a certain theme park
in California but we could not find an appropriate mouse to put on
the tail. During the first few shows, it became obvious that
the 300L did not have the range to make it from Vancouver to Calgary
without a refueling stop. Cpl Smedley, RCAF Retired, was able
to find the spare Golden Hawks drop tanks that were specially used
for flights into the USA where the ground crews would fill them up
with that amber medicinal fluid known as Jack Daniels. When
the tanks were inspected they were found to be in great shape thanks
to having been "pickled" so many years ago.
The aircraft were suitably modified with the Sabre drop tanks and by
2010, Canada's pride and joy was ready to show off their new aircraft to
the world starting on the soggy we(s)t coast where a team of float plane
specialists were standing by in case they were required to teach the
crews how to fly seaplanes.
This story was passed on to Col. George Miller, a former Snowbird Lead who
got a big chuckle out of it. There was more to the story but I've left
that part out in case someone takes offence to it.
The above is all in fun as I have a lot of admiration for the job done by one
of the best air demonstration teams in the world.