Post 323 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Ian Nicholson Davidson


Time to pay homage to Sergeant Ian Nicholson Davidson. He was also a wireless air gunner. I found this photo on Ancestry. His sister Nina is on the left and his aunt Rachel on the right.

Ian Nicholson Davidson with sister and aunt

Sergeant Ian Nicholson Davidson was in the water when the Japanese strafed the crew that had escaped from the sinking Catalina.

His body was also never found.

I have started my search on him with this.


This is a tribute to Ian Nicholson Davidson.

Ian Nicholson Davidson

I looked for his parents Mr. and Mrs. A.C.F. Davidson, of Portree, Isle of Skye.

Ian Nicholson Davidson was born in 1920 most probably in Scotland. His father was Alexander Cook Fullarton Davidson (1876–1952) born in Longtown, Cumberland. He died  on February 7, 1952 in Portree, Inverness-shire, Scotland.

Ian Nicholson Davidson's father

His mother was Margaret Nicolson.

Ian Nicholson Davidson's mother

Margaret Nicolson (1888–1928) was born in Portree, Isle Of Skye, in Scotland. She died on September 7, 1928 in Glasgow.

Ian had two brothers and one sister. James Davidson (1919-2013), Alastair MacKenzie Davidson (1922- ) and Christina (Nina) Davidson (1924-2018). All became orphans in 1928.

I don’t know if Ian was married. What I know is that a relative had remembered him on Ancestry.

Genealogy is as addictive as building model airplanes. It’s hard to stop.

August will be a month where I will look forward to complete the He 111 which I started last November.


I am certain Wing Commander Birchall never thought that he, alone, was the Saviour of Ceylon.


Next time all about Peter Nugent Kenny, his wife Queanie and her famous paternal grandfather…

Henry Eugene Vandervell

Post 322 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Lucien Angelo Colarossi


Time to pay homage to Warrant Officer Colarossi. He was a wireless air gunner.This is the only photo I could find.


Lucien Angelo Colarossi’s body was never found.


He was married to Norah May Seed.

Lucien Angelo Colarossi was born on October 15, 1914 in England. His parents were Angelo Colarossi  and Elsie Graham. Lucien had one sister Phyllis Mary Colarossi (1910-1998). 

Lucien’s father is somewhat famous.


At the age of 15, he modelled for Gilbert’s most famous statue Anteros (1891) on the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain in Piccadilly Circus.[1] He was later employed by an English firm of aircraft manufacturers.

More about him…

Next time, my homage to Iain Nicholson Richardson another wireless air gunner.

Post 321 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Granville Charles Onyette


Decisions, decisions, decisions…

I have decided not to use paintbrushes to paint the PBY. I will wait after I use my airbrush first on the He 111 which will take a while.


Instead I will be paying homage to Granville Charles Onyette after my homage paid to his pilot Wing Commander Birchall.

PL-7405 UK-1123 17 March 1942 S/Ldr L. J. Birchall, St. Catharines, Ont., in the cockpit of a flying boat(Catalina) A/C of 413 Sqn.

Granville is seen here in the middle of the back row.


Granville Charles Onyette came back from the Japanese POW camps he was interned.


He probably never told about his ordeal to anyone except to his wife.

He is buried with his wife Jean Onyette nee Burt.


This is where I found them.

I have also learned about his uncle Granville Clifford Onyett who is buried in France.


This is how I connected the dots.

My search for Granville Charles Onyette began with this webpage.

From there, I started building his family tree.Then more information was found.


Granville Charles Onyette was born on July 18, 1917 in Huntsville, Ontario. His parents were Montague Onyette and Lizzie Keetch. Grandville had one brother and one sister. They became orphans when their mother died in 1922. Montague Onyette remarried in 1924.

I have also found this webpage where someone had documented the Onyette family.

Granville Charles Onyette is not listed but his brother and his sister are. I will probably contact this person to let him know about an unsung hero.

Grandville was the navigator who told Wing Commander Birchall to continue the search to be able to get a better fix on their position. This is why the Japanese fleet was found. 


Birchall arrived in his patrol area just as the sun rose. Hour after hour, the Catalina flew 150 mile-long east-west lines, spaced 50 miles apart, at an altitude of 2000 feet over the water. While they were flying the last assigned leg, Birchall’s navigator, Warrant Officer Onyette, the only other Canadian aboard, pointed out that if they flew an extra leg, he could confirm their actual position by using the moon, which was then rising. Since they were required to remain airborne until after dawn the next day in any case, Birchall agreed.

Two messages were sent before the radio was damaged by a swarm of Zeros. I had always thought Warrant Officer Onyette was the wireless operator who had sent those messages.

This is where I found who was the wireless operator in Wing Commander Birchall’s crew.


The wireless operator was Sergeant F.C. Phillips who I am quite sure never told anyone about his ordeal.


Building a family tree is like building a model kit, except you don’t have to use an airbrush or masked little windows.


Post 320 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Masking Canopies Take 2


Decisions, decisions, decisions…

How to go about it now? When frustration settles in, you hit the pause button...and take a deep breath. The painted masking tape didn’t not work out and I know why.

I made little progress since pausing and watching YouTube videos on the PBY.


I have used painted scotch tape and this is how it turned out.





They will need some touch-ups later but I don’t see any more problems.

Modelers always have to face big decisions.

I have to decide if I should use paintbrushes to finish this project as I don’t think I can use my airbrush in the near future.

Speaking of big decisions… this project is dormant right now waiting for me to mask all the windows.


This one has to get the airbrush treatment so it will probably be done before the PBY.

What should come next? Finishing my three helicopters while I procrastinate masking the He 111 windows?

Maybe reading about procrastination?

Procrastination: A Scientific Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating

Intermission – Rum and Coca Cola

More update…

The machine guns were Vickers .303 machine guns.


My Forgotten Hobby is all about learning. I will leave on the former update and also the comments.

Updated with the right machine guns.


I need to pause for awhile as I am trying to get everything right with my build.


I have just noticed the PBY Catalina Mk I had twin Vickers .303 machine guns and not Browning .50 calibre machine guns which adds to my frustration.

I found the proof on YouTube.



See for yourself.

You can sing along while watching…

If you ever go down Trinidad
They make you feel so very glad
Calypso sing and make up rhyme
Guarantee you one real good fine time
Drinkin’ rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter
Workin’ for the Yankee dollar
Oh, beat it man, beat it
Since Yankee come to Trinidad
They got the young girls all goin’ mad
Young girls say they treat ’em nice
Make Trinidad like paradise
Drinkin’ rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter
Workin’ for the Yankee dollar
Oh, you vex me, you vex me
From Chicachicaree to Mona’s Isle
Native girls all dance and smile
Help soldier celebrate his leave
Make every day like New Year’s Eve
Drinkin’ rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter
Workin’ for the Yankee dollar
It’s a fact, man, it’s a fact
In old Trinidad, I also fear
The situation is mighty queer
Like the Yankee girl, the native swoon
When she hears the Bingo croon
Drinkin’ rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter
Workin’ for the Yankee dollar
Out on Manzanilla Beach
G.I. romance with native peach
All night long, make tropic love
Next day, sit in hot sun and cool off
Drinkin’ rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter
Workin’ for the Yankee dollar
It’s a fact, man, it’s a fact
Rum and Coca-Cola
Rum and Coca-Cola
Workin’ for the Yankee dollar

While I am pondering the next step and taking a deep breath, let’s look at how the PBY was really built.

Very instructional.

Post 319 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Masking Canopies


How to go about it?

I can’t use the same technique for the canopies I had used because they have faintly molded frames.

I have tried using masking tape but after an hour or so I called it a day when I noticed the tape I was using was leaving glue residue and was smearing the clear parts.


I found another technique which I had used in the 70s.

…a desire for very fine edges makes adhesive-backed foil a good choice. Aluminum or gold foil is less reflective than others, which makes it easier to see. Apply a little more than you need and burnish it down.

I had Elmer’s Spray glue and lots of aluminum foil. I tried it, however the frames are still too faintly molded. My other option is using painted masking tape which I had used before with good results.

Moving along I painted a strip of masking tape with my homemade zinc chromate to see if it will hold the paint.


And let it dry…


After I will try to mix up some homemade paint using the information I found with the decals I have bought from Aviaeology.

Aviaeology documentation


I can tell you right now the painted masking tape didn’t not work.

Post 318 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Plastic Surgery


I guess the next step would be masking all the windows and start using my airbrush.



There isn’t many more parts to add now since most parts left are easily broken. However I am not in the mood to start using my airbrush right now.

Inspecting the bottom fuselage I got an idea from the Inch High Guy.


Why not use polystyrene plastic sheets I bought in the 70s…



Since mine were too thick I scraped off the excess plastic and then filled the gaps using extra-thin cement.


I cut off the excess and sanded it smooth.


Now there is nothing more to do except masking the windows and later to start spraying a base coat isn’t?



Intermission – Leonard Joseph Birchall…and his crew

Updated 28 July 2021

Granville Charles Onyette was the navigator.

He pointed out that if they flew an extra leg, he could confirm their actual position by using the moon, which was then rising.

In 2001 Leonard Joseph Birchall was inducted in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

Leonard Joseph Birchall

About the Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame (taken from their website)

Founded in 1973, Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit organization that recognizes and honours individuals and organizations for making outstanding contributions to Canadian aviation. The Hall got its start after a March 1973 gathering of aviation notables C.H ‘Punch’ Dickins, S.A. ‘Sammy’ Tomlinson, S.R. ‘Stan’ McMillan, Walter E. Gilbert, and Maxwell W. Ward. The Calgary Herald had dubbed them “Hall of Fame Aviators,” but no such Hall then existed. Efforts were soon in motion to correct this, and support for the idea quickly gathered steam.

 The first Board of Directors of the newly incorporated Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame comprised Chairman C.H. ‘Punch’ Dickins, Vice-Chairman Donald N. Watson, and Secretary H.W. ‘Harry’ Hayter. Others included Z.L. ‘Lewie’ Leigh, P.S. ‘Stan’ Turner, and L. ‘Lindy’ Rood. Raymond A. Munro, who served as the initial Managing Director, took on the bulk of the work.  

Today, Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame is governed by a National Board of Directors, an Alberta Division and an Operations Committee. The organization is supported by numerous enthusiastic volunteers who seek to uphold and share the rich history of Canadian aviation preserved through the stories of its inducted members.  

The member profiles, artefacts, and exhibits contained herein represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of Canadian aviation. These extraordinary people all made contributions to the advancement of aviation in Canada, whether as pilots, aeronautical engineers, doctors, scientists, or administrators. 


I stumbled upon this Website while I was searching for this photo…


The caption says…

Back Row (L – R): Sgt. T.C. Kelly, W/O G.C. Onyette, F/Sgt R.G. Shaw, P/O G.H. Bayly, P/O G. Vivian, P/O E.T. Loomer, S/Ldr L.J. Birchall, P/O T.A. Steckland, P/O E.H. Walsh, P/O A. Vineberg, Sgt B.A. Robertson.

Front Row (L – R): LAC G Setterfield, AC1 R.I. Haugen, Sgt B.C. Callaway, W/O W.F. Johnson, F/Sgt H. Burt-Gerrano, W/O G. Chelsey, F/Sgt G. Low, Sgt C. Kensit, Sgt P. Garroway, F/Sgt W. Robertson, Sgt F.W. Ferris, LAC L.T. Sawyer

Group photo taken at Pembroke Dock. Aircraft belongs to Birchall.
“The aircraft is my aircraft “G” for George, with the crest on the side, just below the cockpit window”

What led me to this photo was my search to learn more about W/O G.C. Onyette who was the navigator on April 4, 1942.


He also became a POW with Wing Commander Birchall.


I had to learn more about him and I have used my amateur genealogist’s skills to do so.

To be continued…maybe.





Post 317 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Sheer Terror


Taken from Wikipedia

On 4 April 1942, only two days after his arrival, Squadron Leader Birchall was flying a PBY Catalina flying boat (AJ155/QL-A) that was patrolling the ocean to the south of Ceylon. Nine hours into the mission, as the plane was about to return to base, ships were spotted on the horizon. Investigation revealed a large Japanese fleet, the Nagumo Task Force (Responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbour), including five aircraft carriers, heading for Ceylon, which at that time was the base for the Royal Navy‘s Eastern Fleet.[6] Birchall’s crew managed to send out a radio message, but the Catalina was soon shot down by six A6M2 Zero fighters from the carrier Hiryū.

The Japanese continued to strafe the wreck seriously wounding Sergeant John Henzell in the front turret. He was lost when the aircraft sank along with Warrant Officer Lucien “Louis” Colarossi. The Japanese continued their attack on those survivors in the water killing Sgt. Davidson. The remaining six crew members were eventually picked up by the Japanese destroyer Isokaze.


Source of the above image

I don’t think survivors talked about the sheer minutes of  terror they lived through during the attack. I can  imagine what Sergeant up John Henzell felt when he was in the nose of the PBY with six Zeros buzzing around.


Sergeant John Henzell is remembered here…

There is so much history behind this build.


I have glued these parts while I was waiting to find how the pontoons would stand up. 


Stand up they did… And they appear rock solid.


Being one step ahead on my progress I was somewhat shocked when I got a comment about the pontoons…

And yes, you’re right that you do not want to attach the pontoons until you have painted and decaled and finished the model. Otherwise you are guaranteed to break them off.

Sometimes you have to live forever with your decisions.


Post 316 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Fellow Modelers, Let’s Get Ready to Rummmmmmble…


Post 316 reminds me of Stone Cold Steve Austin.


One of my sons is following this project so it’s like a reminder of the time my two sons and I were watching WWE wrestling 30 years ago.

Wrestling, just like My Forgotten Hobby et all…, is all about entertainment.

I have been dry fitting with little dots on virtual paper last Tuesday.


I had to figure out a way to attach the pontoons after quadruple-checking.


The problem was with the pontoon’s beveled surface. I knew I could not glue them on squarely.

I had to assemble these parts first.


I dry fitted them one more time.


So this is what I did.

The actuating arm fitted precisely with the proper angle onto the float brace.

You learn a lot by reading My Forgotten Hobby III and I have learned a lot about the life of Stone Cold Steve Austin…

Getting back to the pontoons…

They are now holding their breath.



Was it a good idea to install them right away?

I had this comment yesterday on this mishap…


Speaking from experience, it is entirely possible to break off/pop off that engine and reseat it. You might have to do some trimming inside the part now to get it right, but it can be done and isn’t that hard.

And yes, you’re right that you do not want to attach the pontoons until you have painted and decaled and finished the model. Otherwise you are guaranteed to break them off.