Our clubs first group build project, the “Bugbolt” was based on Tamiya’s 1/48 scale P-47D Thunderbolt Razorback. We decided to do an “out of the box” build because we wanted the finished kits to look as if they belonged in a squadron. Our club president at the time, Johnathan “Wally” Strickland, came up with the idea of creating a fictitious squadron with fictitious but believable markings. Wally and a couple of other members got together and cooked up an entire backstory with the goal of entering our kits as a group build in the upcoming IPMS Nationals. Long story short, we took 2nd place. Not bad for a made up squadron.
Read the story about the origin of the “Bugbolts” and their heroic endeavors during WWII below.
The 704 Squadron and “Operation Sting”
As told by Sgt. Arthur “Rembrandt” Wright, squadron artist.
Hell! I was there when it all started, and I heard General Eisenhower with my own ears tell his people, “This’ll be a big one so y’all git me a special squadron. And make sure all of ’em is Carolina boys ’cause those fellers know how to kick up a hornet’s nest.”
Then he walked up to me as I was paintin’ another star on his jeep and he said, “That goes for you, too, Rembrandt!” ’cause he know’d I was from Charlotte myself.
Right away Carolina pilots started comin’ to England from all over. Most were hot Army types though a few was Navy. Shoot, one fella said he was a Marine and I believe it too, ’cause they was all Full of fight. Pretty soon, though, everybody was of one mind. We was now the 704 Squadron.
And I got to know ’em all ’cause I was the one paint’n their planes. They said, “Rembrandt, give us black ‘n yella noses ’cause that’s for the hornet.” And they wanted their tails to look like the beautiful blue skies over the Carolinas in summer.
Then each one of ’em took me aside and, over a sip, confided in me about their personal thoughts on such things as what their airplane should say and what their wishes were and things about their wives and girlfriends and such. I can’t say much on that ’cause it was ‘tween me and them, but I will tell you I was proud to write their names and paint their little pictures.
It was like that all of May, ’44 as they’d go off into France to bust things up in the daytime and come back at night tellin’ stories and rememberin’ things about home like Myrtle Beach and Moon Pies. All the whilst I just kept on paintin’. Then one day the General returned and took all of ’em into a tent. And when they come back out, things was different.
‘Course I didn’t know it right away but he had just told them about ‘Operation Deep Sting’ and how he chose the 704th to fly straight to Berlin, droppin’ bombs, shootin’ guns ‘n rockets and generally makin’ everybody believe that we was the actual invasion of Europe. He said we would fool Hitler and make things easier for the real invasion to come soon after.
I worked all through that night to finish everythin’ up and make sure it was all just right.
The next morning, when things were gettin’ ready, I looked into the pilots faces and I know’d then not a one of ’em was ever comin’ back. As they all walked out to their airplanes, proud and all, one turned and hollered, “Hey Rembrandt, paint me a purdy girl someday, will ya?” I’m not sure who it was.
The last thing I saw of any of ’em was those blue tails disappearin’ over the Channel…