I’ve always been fascinated with UFOs. My elementary school library had a book that had quite a few stories about them – sightings, reported abductions, speculation on what they were. Looking back, I’m not sure if it was written as an entertainment book, or presented as fact.
For a kid who grew up watching the amazing feats of space exploration in the late 60’s and early 70s, it seemed real enough.
I think at the time many people expected there to be aliens out there somewhere. Though it was a number of years before my time, the whole Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” radio drama of 1938 was not too far distant to be forgotten. That, and later fiction and pseudoscience, scared a lot of people – and made them look to the skies.
Movies contributed to it also. A steady stream of black and white “B flicks” fed the notion that there were people out there. So it was really no surprise that my assumptions as a kid saw UFOs as a possibility.
A Dose Of Reality
At the same time, I had a pretty good grasp on observation and identification of things in the air. My dad was a private pilot, and every time a plane flew over, he’d look up, and mention what it was. He’d plainly state “Cessna 172” or “Piper Cherokee”, or whatever the airplane was. And I learned to do so also.
And when it came to military aircraft, I could pick them out with the best of them. Sharp eyesight and a good eye for detail meant I only needed a glimpse of an airplane to make an ID. And it was only on rare occasion I missed on my call of the type.
Dad had also taught me how to estimate altitude and airspeed, pay attention to direction of travel, and make note of sound. And as we lived near an active Air Force base, I had plenty of chance to apply my skills.
What In The World
One evening, my mom and I were returning from church. It was in the winter, so by the time we pulled in the driveway, the sun had long set. Dad had stayed behind for a meeting. Mom was busy getting my brother and sisters out of the car.
As I often did, I looked up to the sky. It was a clear night – not a cloud in sight. The moon was just a slice up in the sky. The stars shone bright and clear, and I went through a mental exercise of picking out constellations.
Then I saw it.
Coming in from the southwest was a large orb of light. I didn’t see any of the normal lights that would be on an airplane, and the light was too big to be landing lights. it was hard to determine the altitude also. While it was relatively the size of the full moon, I could not tell if it was flying low, or high. Not knowing the altitude made a speed estimation difficult. However, it was moving what I’d call slowly, traversing the sky at about the rate of a light aircraft would at 5000 feet.
Without taking my eyes off of it, I said “Mom, take a look at that.” She turned and gasped.
How About That Nazi UFO?
When Squadron released their Haunebu II kit a few years ago, I will admit I made a bit of fun of it. I’ve never been a fan of Axis stuff in general, and Nazi stuff in particular. The whole Luft ’46 idea seems a bit odd to me too. A fellow I know who is really into that stuff was arguing with another modeler along the lines of “what if”… what if the Me-262 had bee ready earlier? What if the Nazis had nuclear bombs? It was almost as if he wished it had come to pass.
Still… modelers like the stuff. And it sells. To each his own, I suppose.
When the Nazi UFO came out, though, it made me shake my head. “What a goofy kit” I thought.
Always The Bargain Hunter
After it’s release, I saw several example online of the kit built up. It actually looked pretty cool, and more than a few were done as “what ifs” of a non-Nazi type. The sheer size of the kit was impressive, and the detail looked good. While still a bit leery of the whole concept, I did concede it looked different.
The trouble was, they were selling for around $65-$70. Even if I thought it was the coolest kit in the world, there was no way I’d pay that much for something like that. Still, the more I looked at them, the more i wanted to build one. It was just so odd, so different, it began to reel me in.
A few weeks back, a friend texted me. The Nazi UFO was on sale at Squadron – with shipping it was $24. Figuring there would likely never be a time when the kit would be priced that low, I snagged it. I’d worry about alternative markings later.
The kit comes in a huge box, required to hold what builds into a 14″ diameter model. The parts are all a bit thick, with over exaggerated surface detail. Still, a test fit showed it all to fit together fairly nicely. I was impressed enough that it was slotted into my build calendar very quickly.
The model can be generally broken down into three sub-assemblies. The lower hull part consists of a large disc with four gun turrets and four landing gear bays, as well as an entry ramp. The upper hull is a bit of a sombrero shape, with a large rotating gun turret on the top. Nestled between the two is a reasonably detailed interior.
As defined by intergalactic treaty, I started on the interior.
The UFO Innards
For such a large model, the interior is fairly sparse. However, it actually resembles a lot of movie flying saucer interiors from those B movies of the 50s. Lots of space, and a few large consoles with loads of dials on them. Several swivel chairs are placed in front of the consoles, all sitting on top of what almost looks like a tiled floor.
Though I’m sure a scratch builder could really make things look over the top good, I stuck with an out-of-box build. Giving a nod to its “Nazi” lineage, I started by painting the interior parts RLM02, using AK Interactive Real Color lacquer paint. Instrument panels were picked out in black, and seat cushions in Vallejo Model Color Leather. The center “nuclear containment chamber” was given a coat of black primer, and a heavy drybrush of Citadel’s Leabelcher.
Weathering A UFO
Working from the premise “how would this have looked if real?”, I decided to do some light weathering. A drybrush of an RLM02 and white mix helped bring out the edges and details, while at the same time suggested light scuffs and wear. Vallejo Sky Gray was used to drybrush the instrument consoles. The seat cushions were highlighted with a mix of the Leather color and Vallejo Model Color Beige.
The lightened RLM02 color was also used for drybrushing the floor. In some areas I went heavy, in others light, all in an attempt to replicate where foot traffic would scuff and lighten the floor. I also did a bit of sponge chipping, though very sparingly.
The floor, console edges, seats, containment chamber, and any other recessed or raised detail was given a thinned wash of Citadel’s Nuln Oil. After that dried, a few areas were given a second coat to bring out the shadows. Ammo of Mig Warhead Metallic Blue was used to fill in all the instrument dials, as I thought this gave them a cool glowing effect.
The Answer Is Out there
The light continued moving – slow and steady – from southwest to northeast. No sound at all came from it. It was a glowing orb shape. There seemed to be a more distinct glowing area, and then a dim glow around it. The light was yellowish-white. It didn’t pulse, blink, or have any other lights.
I was frightened, yet fascinated. Yes, it was truly a UFO. It was a flying object, and it was unidentified.
It continued to travel in a straight line, straight across the sky. Just after it had crossed about 2/3 of the field of my vision, it changed direction about 90 degrees toward the southeast, and accelerated.
Now, when I say it changed directions, I don’t mean it made an arc like you’d see in a normal aircraft. One second it was headed one way, the next it was going 90 degrees in a different direction. And its acceleration was not gradual. Rather, it simply changed speeds. it was as if it went from slow to fast, all in the instant it shifted directions.
Moving at that rapid rate, it quickly exited my field of view. Not 30 seconds later, the familiar sound of F-4 Phantoms, coming from Moody AFB just about 12 miles northeast of us, roared by.
And I Still Have No Idea
It was all over in a very short time… probably less than 90 seconds in all. Mom hurried me inside, dragging my siblings along the way. Dad arrived home a few minutes later, and I excitedly described to him all the details. He was a bit skeptical, but the look on mom’s face – and her affirmation of the details, made his brow furrow.
He later told me that he’d contacted a friend from church who was in the Air Force. The friend affirmed that their phones were ringing, but aside from the reports, he knew nothing. Further questions later offered were met with only head shakes and silence.
What it was, I have no idea. It did excite my young mind into all sorts of speculation. For several weeks, I’d spend time each evening outside, with binoculars, looking for “my” UFO. It never did come back – at least not on my scheduled watch – which greatly disappointed me.
To this day I have no idea what I saw. But I know I saw it.
On To The Next Steps
The interior of the Haunebu II is quite cool, and I was happy with the results, simple as the finish is. The model can be built with the top section left removable, so the detail will be visible. There are quite a few clear pieces to mount from the inside in small portholes around the walls. I decided to wait and add those until the end, so I won’t have to mask anything off.
A test fit of the “fuselage” shows it will go together well. And all of that surface area and rivet detail is going to be quite fun to weather.
I suppose the biggest challenge will simply be to keep it grounded on this planet. 😉
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