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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sketching, "Up On The Roof"... Just Me And The Drifters!

A DeHavilland trainer?
Developed just after World War II, the was the first aircraft designed by de Havilland of Canada to replace the de Havilland Tiger Moth as a single-engine basic trainer. The Chipmunk first flew on 22 May 1946. Initially, 218 Chipmunks were built for the Royal Canadian Air Force, followed, after a change to the Gipsy Major 8 engine, by 735 planes for the RAF’s primary pilot training bases.

Well, that's what "Wikipedia" and "PilotFriend Aircraft DataBase" have to say about this aircraft that I sketched from the vantage point of a storage loft at the Allen Airways Museum in El Cajon, CA. Before I even looked for the info on this chromed beauty, I knew it was a DeHavilland product from the vertical stabilizer design. They all look alike at DeHavilland. 

Consider the plywood versatility of the "Mosquito," for example. The "rudder" is almost exactly the same! Someone once told me that rudders ( vertical stabilizers ) on an aircraft is more about a company's logo, than it is about aerodynamics. I wonder...

I probably shouldn't have been up there, but in my career as an artist, I found that you do what you have to to get the best angle that helps sell the product... Whatever that product might be. 

Oh, the stories I could tell... "When this old world starts getting me down,
And people are just too much for me to face.
I climb way up to the top of the stairs,
And all my cares just drift right into space.
Up On The Roof!"

I wonder if that's how pilots sometimes feel!

Unfortunately, the price I had to pay was the heat. It wasn't horrible, but it was clear I wasn't gonna spend too much time high above everyone else... sketching for fun. This took me about forty minutes to complete, I guess.

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Sketching At The Chino, "Planes To Fame" Airshow"...

The Seversky P-35... I think!
It was hot, and I was wasted after three hours of being outdoors in the Santa Ana heat of Chino, CA. A friend said it was around 97 degrees around noon, but out on the tarmac, it was more like 105. For
me, too Swedish for my own good, it didn't take much to send me back into a cool of a aircraft

I love the Chino Air Show, and I miss it "big time" now that I'm living in 'da Bayou. I enjoyed it so much that I used to have a membership. The same climate that affects me so negatively, is the same climate that is so perfect for protecting anything metal. Anyway, I had to make the best use of my time, so after polishing off a bottle or two of "Planes of Fame" water, I decided to stay inside and draw until I gained my strength back, or the growl of P-51's and '47's extract me from my cool seat.

I managed to sketch a Boeing P-12 (F-4B) and this Seversky P-35. The P-35 was basically a precursor of the P-47 Thunderbolt of WWII fame. It's competitor for top spot in pre-WWII aircraft  competition was the Curtiss P-36, which basically was the big brother of the Curtiss P-40.

I did have to move from my cool seat up against stacks of water bottles to sketch this piece. A friend, NASA test pilot, and drone fanatic, stole my identity, by taking this picture of me while sketching the F4B.

Eventually, I did hear the growl of the Rolls Royce engines which compelled me to hastily boogie out to the flight line to take in some great fly byes. Later,  in the comfort of a patio chair around the Crowne Plaza hotel pool, I faked in the "tone" of the P-35.

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"Sketching From The Model!"

A Pan Am Clipper...
And, you thought you were gonna see sketches. Aw, screw the sketches, you were hoping you were gonna see some really nice nude models, huh?

Well, this model is a bit on the hefty side, but she is still a classic.

In the back lobby of the Allen Airways museum are many original posters and artwork from the deco days of flying, and among those framed beauties were three all metal models of aircraft from that period. Atop a three glass cabinets, featuring badges, ads, coasters and all kinds of flight memorabilia were models of the Pan Am Clipper, the still flying DC-3, and the Ford Trimotor. Having fought the SoCal freeways to find the museum, I thought sitting, catching my breath and perusing was a nice way to ease into a sketching mindset.

This clipper seemed an appropriate start to my visit...

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Passing A Good Time At A Tractor Festival"… Number One!

A Ferguson Tractor?

I must admit, though it is hard to agree from my sketch, this medium sized tractor actually has really gorgeous lines… for a tractor. I learned a lot about tractors at this fund raising tractor ( Second Annual, I think! ) festival. It is amazing what you can learn if you are willing to exhibit some ignorance about a subject and show a little curiosity.

And, I got a whole lot of that!

There were so many friendly people there who were willing to share their love for tractors, it was truly refreshing. But, with so many tractors and owners with their stories, I couldn't remember all the details of each machine. I learned that there is a specific design for whatever need you had. Tractors are so basic and hard working that one wonders why there are so many variants. At first glance, a tractor is a tractor is a tractor! But, there are. I learned that if you're growing corn, you better not be also growing cotton.

Otherwise, you'll need another tractor… or borrow one from a neighbor.

Anyway, I found this wonderfully and, I think, beautifully designed tractor to be an award winner. Not only was it beautifully restored, but it had some really nice lines and appeared to be a real show boat with creature comforts for the back forty. There were many makes and models represented at this festival, from companies like International Harvester, John Deere, Case, Ford, Massey-Harris and this standout from Ferguson.

A Ferguson… who knew?

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III

Saturday, May 3, 2014

"Wasted, I Decided To Lie On The Hangar Floor And Sketch!"

A Boeing P-12 fighter...
I haven't done as many sketches on this trip to Southern California, as maybe I should have, but this one was saved by my crosshatching. By one pm, yesterday, I was wasted. The Santa Ana sun and wind wasted most of us aircraft enthusiasts, and I had to sit on the cool concrete floor and sketch in hopes of saving the rest of the day. There were many horrible false starts for me which really is frustrating for someone who is supposed to be an aviation illustrator. It's such a waste of paper... This is one of two completed sketches.

I'll save the other one, for later!

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III