Really sad news about HG. Enjoyed his builds, enthusiasm and inventive solutions to any problems encountered. Enormously patient and skillful too particularly when rigging aircraft. Always had a good word for any builders on the site. RIP HG.
Moving Logistics and the March of Time
I have had a number of conversations with Frank, H.G.'s roommate, about getting the model here. He’s happy to send me photos of the assembled build and various loose assemblies (ball turret, cockpit roof, nose plexiglass, bomb bay doors, decals, and many other things!) so that we don’t miss anything. With luck, we will find it all. This will save me a flight to Edmonton, which would take time away from my demanding day job–and also be depressing as hell, TBH.
Just as important, with Dr. Google’s help, I have located a specialty packager and shipper only twenty minutes from Frank and H.G.'s apartment. They package and ship artwork and delicate items and tell me they have done large models in the past.
I am especially pleased that they will do the measuring and custom crating in situ to minimize the risk of breakage and lost parts from the get-go.
In the meantime, H.G.'s passing has been much on my mind. It is hard not to think of The Fates
when a talented man’s life is cut short like H.G.'s was. There were times when I joked with him that, being eighteen years his senior, the actuarial factor would finish me before he finished Luscious Lady but I always hastened to add that he should take his time regardless. What will happen will happen, and maybe the fun is in the journey rather than the finish line. “Little did I know” and all that, but more on this subject when I write my eulogy for him.
If you are wondering what the post-delivery step will be, let me just say for now that there is someone in Brooklyn I know who will be perfect for bringing this project home. He understands what’s gone into it thus far and will finish it in a way that will please both H.G. and me.
I like to imagine HG is up there, he’ll be monitoring the packing & hopefully whispering “Noooo not like that, like THIS!” loud enough to be heard. Hopefully his successor will closely study this thread & derive all the right clues – hard act to follow.
Yes, thanks for the update, Brian!
Picking up the Pieces
Here it sits, in Edmonton.
Most of the essential unattached components are missing as of this writing, squirreled away somewhere in the apartment. Unaccounted for are (1) the ball turret (which is irreplicable); (2) the top turret (of my own construction) but “pretty good” nonetheless; (3) the cut-apart cowling for No. 4 engine; (4) the bomb bay doors and (5) the plexiglass nose and forward gun, which I know H.G. was finding a challenge to complete.
There are many other small loose parts that are also MIA.
One thing Frank, H.G.'s roommate, was able to find are the custom nose art decals, so there’s that.
Frank has informed me that he will conduct a second search for the missing items, which I greatly appreciate. I am not calling the packaging & shipping company until the search has been exhausted.
I temper my disappointment with the present knowledge that H.G. was experiencing declining health (of which more later) and that the pace of work had slowed considerably as a result. I know the last thing in the world he wanted was this model to be incomplete in this way (of which, more, also later).
I find myself back in crazed “Fitzcarraldo” territory
or perhaps, as the “director” of this mad undertaking, a man beset by the “Burden of Dreams,” albeit in 1/48th scale.
Unfortunately our elusive carpet creature friend is always hungry for the most precious items! Best of luck with the quest
The modeler’s carpet itself does an amazing job of making tiny pieces disappear down its own black hole. Unfortunately, the whole subject has been sadly neglected by physicists,
as well as how and why the same pieces months or years later sometimes get expelled from the singularity into plain sight.
Why don’t you vaccum the floor
Vacuum? That is only a way to make this strange creature more angry! Using the wife’s nylons over the end of the vacuum hose, painting the smooth concrete floor a very solid white, and deploying very bright WWII anti aircraft lighting in my experience drives carpet monster with the missing item further into the land of the lost! I know.
On a more serious note. However in this situation, I assume a bit more tact and subtle approach is desired. HG has just now moved on to his victory. Many other things must be attended to first to properly put things to rest. From what little I read here, his roommate seems to appreciate the history and effort that is invested in this 1/48 scale B-17 model. This small reminder of human history must be completed and displayed to share with others what went on during the Eighth Air Force missions. My hope is that Redhand (with help) will overcome this moment to show my little 6 year old neighbor what a B-17F looked like in 1943. As the man said “Never, never, never give up.” All the best
Casualty Assessments, Moving Logistics, and the March of Time
Waiting for your bomber to return is hard. What are the onboard casualties, and will it land in one piece?
I spoke with H.G.'s roommate, Frank, earlier this week about H.G. (and LL). He tells me he has not heard back from the coroner, so is not sure if the government was able to locate H.G.'s next of kin. If no one turns up, what exactly happens to H.G.'s remains is a very open question. See This is What Happens to Unclaimed Bodies in Canada. We will have to await developments.
Let me move from that sad subject to one somewhat less dolorous, though also pregnant with the risk of loss. To date, Frank has been unable to locate any of the subassemblies that reflect some of H.G.'s best work, in particular, the ball turret.
Anyone who has seen the thing knows just how much of a loss its permanent disappearance will be.
Frank, who has watched H.G.'s work on the model from the beginning, fully appreciates how much skill and passion he put into the build, and he wants to see it in the finished model. So, he is venturing into H.G.'s room this Sunday to conduct a (final?) search in the one area that remains unsorted.
Now, I’m not saying that the room rivals the home of The Collyer brothers, but we all know how many projects H.G. had going on, and there was only so much room to store it all. I am reliably informed that Frank has had quite an inventory to sort, and that this is the last area he needs to look through.
With luck, after a lot of digging, he’ll find the missing parts like a hidden vein of gold.
If he doesn’t, I’m going to “press on regardless” to use a phrase popular among ETO bomber crews.
Like H.G., the builder in Brooklyn whom I’ve asked to help finish this qualifies as an artisan. Unlike H.G., he uses modern technology, including computer design and 3-D printers. He’s looking forward to the challenge and will, I think, put his own stamp on the finished model while honoring H.G.'s work – much as H.G. sought to preserve the best elements of my work on the model’s interior. As a teaser, here is a view of the new builder’s effort on the 1.48 Wings Vac BT-1:
So, stick around!
Or maybe this:
Ahab, illustration by Rockwell Kent, for the 1930 edition of Moby Dick.
From Edmonton, I received word of a possible (no, really!) ball turret sighting in a box on a shelf high above Frank’s reach from his wheelchair. Awaiting further developments.
It might be better to dress Gregory Peck up as Capt. Ahab, though I’m not quite there yet.
Its fair to say that with everything he told us and what I was lucky enough hear when he called me that one time, was that HG certainly went through it and I am sure he didnt relay all his issues but he never let any of them hold him back… and this I wont forget, was that he was probably one of the most positive people I have been fortunate to know and encounter … really hope all these missing parts are found … fingers crossed
When I do the obit I certainly intend to do him justice. I know there were some dark chapters in his life, and I certainly never expected to be the one chronicling his life, but when fate puts a task in your lap, you can’t just stand up and walk away from it. I’ll be cross-posting the obit both here and in the other memorial part of the site.
As to the missing parts, see the next post when it goes up.
It could be. I received a call from Frank this evening, and the packages he thought contained the ball turret (and other parts?) * * * did not. So far, not a single loose part specifically identified as part of the build has been recovered. This includes, for certain or possibly:
- the ball turret
- the top turret
- all machine guns
- all exterior access doors
- the nose plexiglass
- the Norden bombsight
- one, maybe both bomb bay doors
- and a myriad of other things, such as pitot tubes, radio antennas, #4 engine cowling, and heaven knows what else.
Frank will continue searching through the weekend, but there is an enormous amount of material in the room he still has to go through, and I’ve made a “Command Decision”
that if he hasn’t located the missing items by this Sunday, it’s time to salvage what there is and ship it back to New Jersey so that I can hand deliver it to the new builder in Brooklyn and we can assess what we need to finish this.
The plan will include delaying certain work as long as possible to give Frank the maximum time to find the missing parts (and save additional work here). With any luck, we will have an executable path to get this done by the end of the year.
Assuming this does get done, I’ll save for another time what that means. Since two friends who have also worked on the project over the years have now died before its completion, willy-nilly it’s enough to say for now that it will be more than “A thing of beauty [that] is a joy for ever” for me.
It has baggage.
Ouch that’s bad news. I just scanned through this thread from the top looking for any clues as to how he might have packed all those small items. All I could see were these;
Post #16 – ball turret in dark foam square
Post # 182 – cowlings (?) in small styrofoam block
Post # 208 – props in a larger styrofoam block
I guess each block or blocks would then go into the equivalent of a shoebox? Interesting he did label the two styro blocks, makes me wonder if he also labeled the box(es) too? Could they be under his bed?
looking for any clues as to how he might have packed all those small items.
Hard to say where they are. However, a few months back, he did mail me the props. So, they are not on the list. Three of the engine cowlings are already attached to the model. #4 was going to lie on the ground with the engine exposed. We can get a replacement for that, and I have a spare plexiglass nose with LL’s configuration.
My biggest concerns are the missing turrets and doors. We’ll just have to wait and see.