MARAUDER “DIXIE” AT
STOCKROUTE AIRSTRIP GARBUTT
On the afternoon of March 28, 1942, B-26 Marauders of the 19th
Squadron of the American 22nd light Bombardment group parked on the
northern side of the Stockroute airstrip (now Dalrymple Rd, Garbutt,
Townsville). This was outside the front fence of the home that nine
year old Rod Cardell lived in with his mother, sister, uncle and
grandmother. So began some of the greatest years of Rods life. Their
home was in middle of the American Fifth Air Force Service Command
Base. A greater playground a young lad could never find. This Diorama
depicts the first afternoon the aircraft arrived.
The story of Rod Cardell has been one that has always
intrigued me if you ever get a chance read Rods Book “Wings around
is a good read.
The little old Queenslander “badly in need of a repaint” was
scratch built from Plastic card. Unfortunately I had to guess sizes
based on the one photo and sketch available. I am sure it is not exact
but it certainly passes for a Miners Cottage. I first drew the plans
in Autocad, then broke it down into the different components. I then
printed the bits out and glued them to plastic card. Cut and assembled.
Sounds a lot easier then it really was.
The figures come mostly from Revel/Monogram kits. The mother
and grandmother figure came from the ICM RAAF personnel kit. They have
been extensively modified to suit.
Rod himself was a modified 1/72 Japanese figure, probably a bit small
to represent a nine year old, but it is very hard to find figures of nine
year old Australian kids.
kit - 1/48 B-26 MARAUDER "DIXIE"
This kit was the 1/48 Monogram B-26C kit backdated to just a B-26.
The modifications where extensive just some are listed below.
1) Repositioning of the fuselage gun openings.
2) Remodelling of the tail gun area and glazing.
Remodeled thre times before I was happy
3) Removal of armour plate from the fuselage.
4) All wheel bay covers where modified to remove unnecessary lumps
5) The Engine Cowlings where also extensively modified one side
alone took eight hours.
6) The propellers where a bit of a stumbling block and many test
cases where made until I realised the Monogram Black widow had the
right type of Prop.
7) The biggest job was modifying the wings and tail unit. These
had to considerably shortened and reshaped. It was easier then it sounded
just a bit of work and planing.
8) Once all the modifications where completed the whole kit had
to be rescribed.
Once the kit was finished and all the work
was done, after many many hours it was put away for a while and I moved
on to do another kit. One day I was searching for a kit and I moved a
box on the top shelf of my modelling desk and doom struck. Forgotten
by me was that on top of the box was a B-29 I was also modifying to be
a RAAF Washington and DIXIE my modified B-26 kit. I had a choice of only
catching one. I grab the B-29 and Dixie plummeted 2.1 metres to the ground.
pretty, she hit the tiled floor so hard it absolutely shattered. All
my work was just a pile of scattered plastic. Parts went every where.
“Gooly gee whiz, that was unfortunate” I
thought to myself or words alone those lines but probably unfit for truckies
and wharfies to hear.
I picked it up and started with the superglue. This time I was determined
to finish. So I glued, and I filled and I sanded and I rescribed until
the kit was ready for repainting.
I remasked the kit and repainted it again
for the second time. Then
as according to Murphy law I then found another reference that showed
some more of a similar aircraft and I had to do some more modifications.
So once again I sanded and I filled etc etc etc. This was a little
fortunate because I was not 100% happy with the last paint job so I
got redo it more to my liking.
I have never had a lot of luck with Marauders, I always have trouble
with the star decals on an earlier kit I managed to put a star on upside
down and this kit I managed to put both stars on the same wing under
and over. Fortunately these are problems that are easily fixed.
At the time of starting the modification
no photos existed of Dixie that I was aware of that showed the Nose art.
Request on the net drew no responses so I was going to have to
guess, which I hate doing.
One Anzac day I was watching Whispering Death
on SBS and it showed a scene of Marauders getting ready fora
mission. I could not believe it, there was Dixie in all here glory with
her nose art for all the world to see. My wife was asleep on the couch
and though I gone mad when I let out an exclamation or two. I could
finally finish the kit. I ordered the DVD and I was ready to go. I have
since found more info on Dixie and her nose art.
The Base is just 25 mm blue insulation board. This board is impossible
to obtain in North Queensland but we managed to get a hold of some
thru the help of people on the Aussie Modeller web Site.
I just placed the items on the base, drew
a rough outline to suit and cut it out with a coping saw, then sanded
the edges. The dirt is actually dirt from the real site at Garbutt. I
just sieved it thru a fine sieve. I then painted diluted white glue onto
the base, sprinkled the dirt over the top. I then placed the house
into the base, not as easy as it sounds with all those stumps. I then
dry brushed the dirt with pastels to break up the texture a bit. I find
it much easier to use real dirt then plaster etc to make a base, for
a start it is usually the right colour and much easier to work with.
The grass is just you normal static grass. I used the grey first
because the grass is most like that in the area and sprinkled some
greener grass in area to provide a contrast. The grass was stuck down
by painting diluted white glue over the dirt and sprinkling the grass
over the top.
Fence posts are just round tooth picks weathered with Tamiya smoke
and Gunze oil. The posts in the area where usually dipped in Creosote
a timber preservative which made them go dark. The wire is
just easy line from Red Roo, it was a bit too fine so I thickened
it with a bit of diluted black paint.
The Trees were easy. Unfortunately the day I took the photo it was
very windy and they suffered a bit. They are made from tee tree twigs
and railway scenery material superglued to the timber. Takes about 5
min to make and when they stand up straight look OK. Tee tree are great
if you get the right type they look like miniature gum trees.
This modified kit and diorama may never win any prizes but I treasure
it above all others. Its times like this I really enjoy modelling. Now
for the next one.