Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina, Revell 1/48

The Black Cat rescue mission diorama.

by Martin Jursa

Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina, Revell 1/48, Landing

The story

On 6th. November 1944 the Catalina with number 69, one of the VP-34 Squadron saved three airmen from a B-24 Liberator that crashed while returning from a mission over Truk. Three Airmen floating in the life raft were picked-up and transferred into the safety of  Thirty Four Patrol Squadron base.

Downed Airmen floating in a Life Raft, AIRES resin kit

Note: According to the Wikipedia sources, Dumbo was the code name used by the United States Navy during the 1940s and 1950s to signify search and rescue missions, conducted in conjunction with military operations, by long-range aircraft flying over the ocean. The purpose of Dumbo missions was to rescue downed American aviators as well as seamen in distress. More info concerning Dumbo operations can be found directly on Wikipedia pages.

(click on picture below to enlarge)

Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina, Revell 1/48, Rescue mission diorama

The Diorama

Inspired by this historical story, Martin Jursa created his 1/48 scale diorama with a “Dumbo” (air-sea rescue) airplane, truly life-like “water” and three downed airmen. He used the Revell kit of the famous Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina – the Black Cat in 1/48 scale and AIRES aircrew in the life raft resin kit. Illusion of reality and the whole impression is highly realistic I think…

(click on picture below to enlarge)

Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina, Revell 1/48, Landing

Black Cat Catalina

The kit has perfect patina – as I see it. Martin used this interesting technique:

  1. He had painted the kit as a bare metal finish first (on surfaces where the metal finish appears in reality of course / not the fabric covered areas).
  2. He then applied the formerly used US NAVY gray camouflage onto this metal base – as the airplane served in this colours first.
  3. And finally he applied the “black” mantle. The final black camo is made of various shades of gray colour in combination with truly black colour.
  4. After overspraying the third (Black Cat) camo he started with removing both colours using TAMIYA tape – very very carefully. The color layers (grays and blacks) have to be chemically different by the way – not to bind together well. The color goes off sometimes in one layer this way (where the gray layer can be seen) or in both layers together (where the bare metal base can be seen).
  5. The final patina were achieved by colour filters (sand and gray) and washes. The goal was to make an illusion of a heavily weathered plane with salty water dirt layers on its fuselage, well-visible exhaust stains on the wings and to distinguish the difference between metal and fabric wing sections. Well done Martin!

(click on picture below to enlarge)

Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina, Revell 1/48, Landing

The photographs were made during the Plastic Shock modelling contest in Malacky, Slovakia five years ago. The action feeling of the pictures was emphasized by adding “rotation” to the spinners in Photoshop.

Here you can find a very nice B-24 color footage from Truk Raid.

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For more finished model-kits please see the Built Kits category.
Model Copyright © by Martin Jursa.
Photography Copyright © by Marcel Meres.

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