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1/72 "Able Yankee" from an Eduard SPAD XIII

Started by Brian da Basher, September 19, 2008, 12:14:52 PM

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Brian da Basher

In the spring of 1922, Canadian ire over being mistaken for Americans while travelling abroad finally boiled over and the Canadian Parliament declared war on their southern neighbor. Prime Minister Sir Robert "Lizzie" Borden immediately ordered the Canadian General Staff to implement Defence Scheme 1/3 which was an invasion of the northeastern United States, with Albany, New York as the main objective. Defence Scheme 1/3's initial phase was called Woozy Eagle and involved smuggling enormous quantities of Canadian Club whiskey into the U.S. which was dry due to Prohibition.

Soon American G.I.s were snockered to the gills and the Canadians were able to take over all of New York state, essentially splitting the northeastern U.S. in two. Only the more sober Pennsylvanians could halt the onslaught outside of Erie, Bradford, and Lackawaxen. All of New England declared itself an independent neutral country and resurrected the famous Revolutionary War "Don't Tread On Me" flag in a bid to keep the Canadian menace at bay. This was the birth of the short-lived New England Confederation.

The New Englanders didn't take kindly to the Canadian invaders and secretly re-armed themselves so they could eventually help bring New York back into the U.S. and out from under the dark cloud of pea-meal bacon, beer with far too much alcohol and enforced attendance at hockey games and curling matches.

In Acton, Massachusetts, the small firm of Able Aero, led by Izzy Able developed a new fighter by re-working obsolete W.W. I era SPADs and the Able Aero "Able Yankee" pursuit was born. The Able Yankee was powered by the Worcester "Sauce" V-8 inline engine of incredible power and was armed with two .60 caliber Colt machine guns. The Able Yankee also featured an incredibly advanced, streamlined spatted undercarriage.


Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

By the late summer of 1923, the New England Air Militia was equipped with the new Able Yankee pursuit in great numbers and after secret meetings with U.S. military envoys aboard the little tramp steamer S.S. Charles Chaplin off Cape May, New Jersey, a co-ordinated plan was agreed upon.

On October 1st, 1923, the New England Air Militia rose to the skies with the dawn and attacked the Canadians at key points along the border as the Americans hit the invaders simultaneously from Pennsylvania. Able Yankee pursuits took control of the air from the Canadians who were so shocked by the swiftness and ferocity of the attack, not to mention those intimidating spats, that they fled in headlong retreat north, not stopping until they were safely back on Canadian soil. The Canadian commander, General John Shabazz, was captured while attempting to grab lunch on the go from an Automat in New York City. The New Englanders took him and his lemon merange meringue pie prisoner, eventually swapping them for the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.

The Canadians were thoroughly routed and today the only trace of them that remains are scattered National Hockey League franchises such as the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. New England soon rejoined the United States and today you can see the last surviving Able Yankee pursuit in the New England Air Militia Museum in Acton, next door to a McDonald's whose Egg McMuffins are stubbornly, yet proudly made with real bacon.

Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

Did you ever have one of those projects that fought you tooth-and-nail all the way? Well this one put up a heck of a struggle. Probably rightfully so as the base kit was the incredibly detailed (and needlessly fiddly) 1/72 Eduard SPAD XIII. I suppose it had every right to be upset with me for grafting on the nose of an enemy Albatros D.V. Here's what a SPAD XIII should look like:

Of course, there was no way mine was going to come out like that. After I realized that the nose from a German Albatros D.V was a (super) natural fit, the rest of the project was straight-forward, although the kit resisted me at every turn. I added a belly radiator from my spares box and cut a windscreen from clear acetate. The spats were made with my patented "half wheel and sheet plastic" method and the entire model was painted in acrylics. Testor's Olive Drab and Model Master's Gunship Gray were used on the uppers and cheap craft-store Gray on the lowers. The prop and struts (which still bear scars of the battle) were done with more cheap craft-store paints, but the spinner was painted with Model Master's Insignia Yellow. Rigging was done with steel wire and Gator Glue. The decals were a custom job sent to me by an anonymous donor and I liked the look of them so much that I  built this project with them in mind.

Brian da Basher


I am expressionless.  This goes beyond "love the build" for me, this is in a realm all to itself. Beautiful, awesome, perfect in every way, are just some of the descriptions I would use.

:cheers:  You have outdone yourself.


 A little overboard, wouldn't you say? Yer aircraft servicing personnel must have had bad eyesight to need all that bright yellow-and-snake stuff.

Most of the time a red line and simple "no step" in small letters suffices!!  :wacko:

Hey, **NICE** model!
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!


That is absolutely gorgeous. :wub: The Albatros nose fits perfectly!
Some of my models can be found on my Flickr album >>>HERE<<<


I amuse me.
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John Howling Mouse

Heh, heh, there's NO way I'd give up my lemon meringue pie so easily, my friend.
You make it look easy and, reading the tongue-in-cheek storyline makes the whole thing seem very light-hearted.
But, then, I look back at the model itself again and see how terrific the rigging is, how cool the overall paintjob is, the custom-made spats...the decals...not to mention that you blended a nose from another airframe so well that I would not have known had you not mentioned it (smooth, baby, smooooooth!).

And I suddenly realize just how GOOD this little model truly is.

Hats off to ya, BdaB: you definitely know what you're doing!  Another one for the Cottage CloudTM, eh?
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Ed S

 ;D ;D

Another beauty.  Well done Brian.  Good story, and the model looks pretty cool too.

We don't just embrace insanity here.  We feel it up, french kiss it and then buy it a drink.


Fantastic stuff Brian  :wub:

Looks remarkably like some of the earlier Avia's at Kleby Museum - I swear they took bits of Abatross, Roland and Rumpler and came up with a Avia  ;D
Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

Brian da Basher

You know, it does resemble some of those early Avias now that you mention it. I often wonder if I'm being subconciously influenced by other aircraft when I build my whiffs.

I'm really glad you enjoyed the Able Yankee. In a couple of days it will be making its way to the Great State of Arizona and our favorite H.P. Lovecraft fan, Mr Cthulhu. My current project is building a shipping box for it.
Brian da Basher

Jeffry Fontaine

I would hope that your Spad XIII would be much more aerodynamic with the blunted ogive shape that you have provided in place of that large flat area of the real Spad.  Looks pretty darned impressive at first glance and quite an accomplishment considering how problematic some of those kits can be. 
Unaffiliated Independent Subversive
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Another cracker Brian - well done!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I like the light-touch stories too, and not being well up on WWI stuff, I generally have to read the build post to find out what you've done: take that as a tribute to your building skills.
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Morpheus in Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

"I dunno, I'm making this up as I go."
 - Indiana Jones '


Hmm. I wonder if my French-Canadian grandfather and great aunt were part of that invasion, and decided to stay behind in the warmer climes?  :o

Great build, great story!  :thumbsup:
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They get better and better Brian, love the backstory (another gem in itself  ;D )   :thumbsup: :cheers:
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike