avatar_The Rat

The Flunker

Started by The Rat, November 29, 2008, 11:56:45 AM

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The Rat



On the 5th of July 1956 Carmine Vito, an employee of the CIA, made aviation history on what was the second overflight of Russian territory by the U2 when he overflew Moscow for the only time in the history of the program. Entering Warsaw Pact airspace over Poland, he then flew across the Ukraine and continued toward the Russian capital. Over the Fili Airframe Plant where construction of Myasischev Bison bombers was underway he photographed a smaller aircraft which seemed very out of place. Analysis of the photos revealed that this previously unknown aircraft was most definitely a fighter, but the Myasischev Design Bureau was strictly in the bomber business.



The conclusion drawn by the CIA was that these new fighters were designed as point defence interceptors to defend the airspace above aircraft production plants, but their total inaction when the U2 appeared was puzzling. It was known that the flight had been tracked and that some MiG-17s were scrambled in a futile attempt at interception, but the sequence of photos showed that the new aircraft did not even appear to start up. If this was an interceptor it seemed relatively ineffective in the role, so the Air Standards Coordinating Committee gave it the code name 'Flunker', presaging a slightly more successful fighter which emerged much later.



It wasn't until the fall of the Soviet Union that the truth was revealed – the 'aircraft' were actually decoys fabricated to confuse western intelligence. They had been constructed by airframe maintenance students as a means of practising their skills, and were sturdy enough to be self-supporting, albeit without the weight of engines or cockpits. They were certainly good enough to fool some of the best photo analysts in NATO, and when the facts were finally revealed at a reunion dinner in 1994 the laughter was deafening, if only to disguise the reason for the sea of very red faces.




The Model

When I found this model at Northstar Hobbies in what had obviously been a dumped collection it grabbed my attention like few others do. In an incredibly cheap looking box with artwork like you might see on a kindergarten wall there no doubt resided a really interesting kit, something which gives me the sorts of feelings normally relieved by a cold shower or a good... I was obviously off my meds again. Paying the princely sum of about $5 secured this wonderkit for a future bout of whiffery, the results of which I now shamelessly inflict upon the innocent. Grandiose plans of actually turning this into something with aspirations of reality fought with the rivalling ideas of doing it OOB or melting it down to make fake dog faeces. Since I felt too lazy for option 1 and didn't want to research the exact shade of brown for option 3, OOB won out in a landslide vote of 1 – 0.

Some of the older members of the hobby may remember this as Lindberg's rather sorry attempt at producing a Soviet aircraft which they called, at various times, a "Russian Jet Fighter" or a MiG-19 (to which it bears about as much resemblance as a Ford Edsel does to a Corvette Stingray). This offering was a Russian produced copy marketed as a MiG-19, which must have caused some laughter among any pilots of the real thing. If scaled up the rivets would cause enough drag to bring Vmax to within about 3 knots of Vstall. The pilot figure, which I chose not to use, has one leg that descends from the middle of his hips – how he relieves himself is beyond me. The blue tint of the canopy makes one think that you are looking into a large aquarium... AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGH! Now I know what I should have done! Put a sleeping guppy in the cockpit and call the plane a Fishbed!

There were no decals so the stars were nicked from a Frog Tupolev SB-2.

Is there a model in here? I think so, and if I ever happen across another I would have a serious go at it. (won't go out of my way and I definitely wouldn't pay the price this is going for among some collectors sites) It can never be anything other than a 'what if' as it doesn't closely match anything ever used by any air force, but all the bits are there. I would probably try a bicycle style gear arrangement with outriggers, like a Harrier, and a better canopy.
"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles
Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr

GTX

Damn nice finish!!!

Regards,

Greg
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Brian da Basher

Outstanding model and backstory, Ratty!!!
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Brian da Basher

Jeffry Fontaine

The opening statement for the paternity suit hearings began with "The night was young, the lights were dim, the drinks were cheap and plentiful, it was a business trip and nobody would ever know..." Just the thing to start of a fling between the F-86D and the MiG-15.  The resulting love-child is what you now see in the preceding images provided by Senor' Rat.  

Wow, had no idea how homely that thing looks but you have certainly done a wonderful job of making it look better, kind of like one of those "ambush makeovers" that the talk shows fund on occasion to make the ordinary looking into the extraordinary looking and attractive.  The only thing missing from your build is some suitable air to air missiles or rocket armament under the wings.
Unaffiliated Independent Subversive
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"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

puddingwrestler

Ah! The infamous russian rip-off version! I've seen a detailed kit history of the various incarnations of the 'MiG 19' somewhere online, now if I could only remember where...
There are no good kits, bad kits or grail kits, just kitbash fodder.

The Rat

Quote from: puddingwrestler on November 29, 2008, 01:56:45 PM
Ah! The infamous russian rip-off version! I've seen a detailed kit history of the various incarnations of the 'MiG 19' somewhere online, now if I could only remember where...


Is this the one? One glaring error in that article is that the author identifies my Flunker base as a copy of the Aurora model - not even close, it's definitely the Lindberg one.
"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles
Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr

B777LR

That would make a nice VTOL fighter with just a little modification :thumbsup:

Sauragnmon

Oh, that story had me laughing the entire time, Rat.  Great job, and it actually looks somewhat believable, even if part of me went "where do the landing gears fold into?"  Great job, man, excellent work.  I agree with B777LR, could always bash it a little harder and come up with the Yak-36, the original Russian VTOL, not the 38 Forger, the 36.  That it would make for an interesting workup on.
Putty-fu, Scratch-jutsu and Bash-chi, the sacred martial arts of the What-If. Mastering them, is Ancient Chinese Secret.

Just your friendly neighbourhood Mad Scientist and Ship-whiffer.

Overkill? Nah, it's Insurance.  So are the 20" guns.

Rafael

Great model, no matter what, Rat.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Rafa
Understood only by fellow Whiffers....
1/72 Scale Maniac
UUUuuumm, I love cardboard (Cardboard, Yum!!!)
OK, I know I can't stop scratchbuilding. Someday, I will build something OOB....

YOU - ME- EVERYONE.
WE MAY THINK DIFFERENTLY
BUT WE CAN LIVE TOGETHER

The Rat

Thanks guys! It wasn't until I was posting the pictures that I noticed the paint glitch at the base of the port wing, must be one of those things that only shows up in a flash, oh well...

The Yak-36 was actually what I had in mind when I was trying to figure out how to rework the gear on any future one. The wings are simply too thin to get anyone to believe that gear will fit into them. VTOL is a good idea and another one I tinkered with. The trouble would be getting another one, oldmodelkits.com has two listed in the original Lindberg boxes, one priced at $125 and the other $145! No bloody way I'm paying that amount for a kit unless it flies and I can fit in it!
"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles
Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr

Weaver

LOL - nice one Ratty!  ;D ;D ;D :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

The concept for the plane is actually quite logical: if they knew that the MiG-19 had two small engines then they might logically assume that it was like a scaled-up, swept-wing MiG-9, and there were Soviet prototypes with roughly that nose/intake shape too.

Scary how much like a Migina (1 or 2) it looks, isn't it?
"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 '

The Rat

Did any of you hit the link to the story of Carmine Vito? Fascinating only begins to describe it. Makes me appreciate Eisenhower even more than I did already [/politics]
"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles
Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr

noxioux

Great looking build, but mahona, she's not a pretty girl, is she? :thumbsup:

cthulhu77

Rat,  first round is on me. I have never had such a big grin on my face as when I saw this one !  Thanks for cheering up an injured yank !  Great backstory, and and excellent model and finish.  :wub:

NARSES2

Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.