Slipping the Bonds
by George Paterson



Back in January 2017, I presented an image of a Navy FJ-3 of VF-154, and in the accompanying text I bemoaned at some length the scarcity of satisfactory model reviews of the type. After all, though the FJ-3 was a stopgap pending development of the next generation of Navy fighter designs, some 600 examples were delivered, and gave the Navy several years of front line service.

I recently revisited the coverage of the FJ-3 on line, and found a big improvement. Now I can tackle an in-flight image that is free of excessive distortion, and can chose one of several promising starting photos.

The Initial Image

This is the image I chose to work on first, an aircraft of VF-91/CVG-9 with an unusual red décor on its mid fuselage; the unit was embarked on USS Ticonderoga in 1957/58.

Treatment of the Image

At 640 pixels wide, the image is not as sharp as I would have wished, but otherwise it's good. I'll need to sharpen most of the details and get the canopy closed. I also felt I needed to make the rear fuselage and the fin a bit brighter, as the lighting of the model falls off towards the rear.

There are many décor items to be sharpened, so a lot of time was spent on them.

The next task was to find a Ticonderoga image to serve as a background, and that proved to be difficult. I found pictures from earlier periods, with all the aircraft on the deck in navy blue finish, and from later ones, with aircraft types from the 1960's, but nothing from the 57/58 slot. Finally I chose a photo of another Essex class carrier, USS Bon Homme Richard, CV-31; this carrier was one of the short-hulled ships, which look a bit different from the long-hull ships like the Ticonderoga.


Looking back to my earlier FJ-3 image, I am aware of the more subtle rendering of tones that the much higher pixel count gives; but the sharp perspective of that image made it more difficult to match it to a background. The present image allows a wider choice.

Besides, I was keen to make a picture of an FJ-3 in the more modern gull-grey finish.