This is a trip down memory lane. It is a time which may easily be forgotten. In the mid-fifties, a teenage aviation enthusiast with an interest in world war two military planes could find plenty of literature and news pictures dealing with that subject. But they were all, and I do mean all, in "black and white." Fifty years later historians are still digging up new sources of color pictures and films (Wings and Airpower magazines, noteably) from the war years. But in the mid-fifties such a thing was extremely rare. And to make an accurate model of a warplane, which is what we were very interested in doing, you needed color pictures. That rarity and the recollection of scrounging for any color representation is what makes this set of pictures significant to me. My uncle's attic contained a repository of forties magazines. While poring over these, I discovered a treasure. A feature of the leading planes of the 1944 Army and Navy, in large inflight pictures and in glorious color! This would make my aviation pals envious, if only I could get my hands on it. I'm still grateful to my uncle and aunt for giving me this treasured artifact. Many years later, I even got a second copy. Even with the advent of many later color pictures of the warplanes now available, these hold a sentimental value, and perhaps you haven't seen them.
Here they are:

Just about everyone's favorite - block numbers before 25 had no fillet on the vertical fin
The retoucher made the pilot look jaundiced and possibly radioactive
The aluminum has already oxidized quite a bit

Like round engines? Robert Johnson did! Here the retoucher enhanced the pilot,
and it looks like the insignia were once the old style with red borders. It's a razorback, that's for sure

An impressive view of the "Flying Tiger", with a somewhat larger-than-normal shark's mouth

Lockheed's awesome entry in the Pursuit field, ancestor to the SR-71! What a dynasty.

Revell's irresistable 1/48th model in the fifties almost erased this fighter's poor wartime reputation

The scrappy little hero of the Pacific; you cranked up the gear by hand!

And its younger but bigger brother from the Grumman "iron works", the grim reaper of the
"Marianas turkey shoot." Rear quarter windows make it the early "dash three."

Pappy's famous mount came earliest and lasted longest, the first 400 mph fighter, "Semper Fi!"

Too early for revealing the Black Widow, but how about a Black Havoc?
Look out, "washing machine charley!"

How about a 75mm cannon to get their attention?
Mitchell, Doolittle, "Shangri La"; names carved deeply in aviation history

Rugged and fast, with a great combat record. But don't get low and slow
or you might join "one a day in Tampa Bay."

At altitude with Sanford Moss's turbosuperchargers pumping the big Cyclones
"Queens Die Proudly", "Twelve O'clock High", "Schweinfort"
We heard Luftwaffe ace Gunther Rall say, at Oshkosh in 2007,
"I've never been in one, but I've been" (pause) "around them!"

Fifty years after the attic days, I got to know a man who rode in that tail turret during the "big one".
It was an honor; he always remembers the plane as the "whistling sjut-hus" (Danish).

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