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?



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.



Post 315 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Get Over It!


I know what went wrong.

7 engine assembly 8 wing tip float assembly


The left engine was not fully inserted into the engine cowling causing a missed alignment which led to this.


So I will have to get over it and it will stay that way forever.

I have learned a lot since I reunited with my forgotten hobby back in December 2013 with one exception: forgetting to always dry fit parts before glueing them.

Double-checking and even quadruple-checking are sometimes not enough.

I will try my luck next with the pontoons, but then maybe it’s not a good idea to install them right away.



I sure hope Plane Dave is reading all this.

Post 314 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Next Step?


I am sure a state-of-the-art 1/48 scale Handley-Page Halifax III would be most welcomed by modelers. At least I know two modelers who have commented yesterday share the same opinion.


I agree completely the Halifax is one of the more important types not to be kitted yet! There has been a surge in larger kits the last few years, let’s hope it continues for a while.

Looks like pretty good fit on the Catalina, I look forward to giving it a try.


I’m also waiting for a reasonable Halifax in 1/48 (preferably a Mk I), but I still have 3 unbuilt Tamiya Lancs to deal with!

(I’d also someday like to find a 1/72 HMS Hotspur or Campbeltown, but I digress.)

Revell could easily do it since they already have a 1/72 scale Handley-Page Halifax III.


Here are the instructions.


This 1/72 scale model kit is now out of stock which in a sense is great news since it was probably selling well.

Moving along I have little to add to the PBY before starting painting this huge RCAF Catalina. The engine nacelles were installed and the props were used as props for this photo.


I am certainly not going to mate the wings right now with the fuselage. I have glued the stabilizers. and I will see if I can glue something more, like the pontoons may


I will see if I can glue something more, like the pontoons maybe?

7 engine assembly 8 wing tip float assembly


Looking back at the engine nacelles I wanted to check them.

Lo and behold…



I hope no one will notice another case of a missed dry fitting.