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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mom! Dad! Can I buy the model russian jet all shot up with the smoke and fire coming out and dead pilot inside? Please! Please? Please!

Whatd'ya think honey?....maybe if it's all shot up already...he'll leave this one alone?

I once watched a festival gathering of the "Society of the Creative Anachronism". This is an organization of like-minded folks that enjoy dressing in the garb and acting the matching persona for people as the might have lived in Medieval and Renaissance times. This particular celebration was the slaying of the ice dragon or another reason to get together and party because spring is here. There were crafts people selling their wares, knights jousting and fighting to protect either the king's honor, or some damsel in distress. This all took place at my college campus, in the rather modern student union building - anachronism indeed!

What entertains me the most about my discoveries is the anachronism that is revealed in each. What seemed so poignant and so timely when manufactured, designed, and sold now looks comical in today's world. The fortunate fact is, that as a society we haven't found a way to permanently dispose of our creations. In the physical world matter can neither be created nor destroyed. In my universe good junk can neither be destroyed nor thrown out. I can always find a way to dig a little deeper, find it, fix it, frame it, and blog about it. There must be someone looking down on the things I dig up only to moan for the rest of eternity "Hey! That wasn't supposed to last through the ages! Crap!" But it has and that is what I enjoy.

One morning on my way to work, I stopped at an estate sale in Brookfield. I wasn't planning to be late for work, but this could have been a good reason. This was a dig, better yet a dig inside an old farm. After getting a sense of the 2 buildings and the different floors to explore I finally felt as though I could relax and begin the hunt. Part of the challenge is to quickly acclimate yourself to the new surroundings trying not to miss anything. I eventually ran out of time, but not before finding the empty box of the YAK-25. The box art alone spoke volumes to me and I knew I had to have it. I couldn’t get over the name. "Psst! Comrade! The YAK is a long-haired bovine from the Himalayan region in South Central Asia!". I am sure it is named for the glorious designer who likely built it and the other 24 YAK's before it (and the ones that came after). It could be me, but it just didn’t have the same ring to it as F-16, or maybe I am just buying into the propaganda on the cover.
In my research on this piece I had been looking for a picture of the “real” Yak-25. I found several pictures but I started to smell something rotten in Denmark (or Leningrad in this case) when I noticed the difference between the real one and the model.
This looks nothing like the plane on the box cover (smoke and fire aside)! What gives? Turns out that there are numerous critical remarks against Aurora Plastics for how they mishandled the accuracy of some of their designs.

The following comes from Moving Targets - Aviation and Motor sports Imagery owner/webmaster Don was kind enough to let me paraphrase his comments from a post on his forum which refers to the "Yak" model.

I've turned up some new info on the origins of the Aurora MiG-19 kit. I had a chance to talk (via email) with an officer that I worked with at NSA …He maintains that he knows how Aurora came up with the design for their Yak-25/Mig-19, but is still reluctant to give up all the details. According to him they did the design of their kit solely on the evidence of 1 Soviet propaganda poster that was done to encourage workers to meet or exceed their production "norms" (something that didn't happen often back then). They rushed into production so as to "scoop" their competitors. The plane was called the Yak-25 at first as a smokescreen to hide the fact that they had gotten hold of the poster, which was classified. When Lindberg stole the kit's design and produced their own version, Aurora chose to change the name back to MiG-19.

Don was nice enough to include that the US fighter successfully takin' on the Ruskies is a US Navy Grumman F9F Panther. USA! USA! USA!

Well, there you have it. Not a "YAK-25" at all, but the MIG-19! I never would have guessed.

The alternate title for this post was to be an homage to WKRP in Cincinnati:
"As God as my witness..I thought Yak's could fly."

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