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“The Fairey Fantome” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on June 22, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

Frederick Blakeslee painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. At this point in the magazine’s run, Mr. Blakeslee had started doing his “Planes by the Numbers” covers where he has so many planes on the cover, he had to explain which plane is what with a legend on the story behind the cover page. For the August issue we get a bit of a throwback where Mr. Blakeslee turns his attention to the Fairey Fantome!

th_DDA_3708THERE’S a real story behind this month’s cover, fellows. I’ll try to tell you not only of the planes you see depicted there, but about some of the troubles that confront me. You see, these covers are prepared far in advance, for there are a lot of pretty complex operations that must be performed before they are ready for the news stands. And therein lies our trouble.

Last month my friend Norman Witcomb had a feature in which he told you all about the Fairey “Fantome.” Well, I didn’t know about that until this cover bad been completed. I had planned to tell you all the details concerning this ship, but I now see that Norman has already completed that task. I’ll refresh your memory, anyway, and I don’t suppose you’ll mind seeing it in colors and in a battle scene.

The “Fantome” is ship number 2 and is now in production in Belgium, where it is known as the “Feroge.” It carts four machine guns about the clouds and one 20 m.m. cannon which fires through the airscrew boss. The crate is powered by an 860 h.p. engine and can do 250 m.p.h. at 12,000.

Ship number 1 is a Fairey “Gordan.” It’s a medium range two-seater day bomber. An Armstrong-Siddeley “Panther” drives it along. The engine develops 525 h.p., and the fourteen cylinder, radial job is air-cooled. Data on its performance is lacking.

Frederick Blakeslee.

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Story Behind The Cover: The Fairey Fantome” by Frederick Blakeslee
(August 1937, Dare-Devil Aces)

As an added bonus, we present Norman Witcomb’s breif write-up on the Fairey Fantome that Mr. Blakeslee references from the July 1937 issue of Dare-Devil Aces.

Fighting Faireys

THE Fairey firm is one of the oldest in the aircraft industry. It has furnished planes for the R.A.F. for as long as that service has existed. It also turns out the equipment for the Belgian Royal Air Service. For this purpose, Fairey has a factory in Belgium.

Shown above, are two of the latest products of this famous firm. One, the Fairey “Battle,” is a veritable masterpiece. It is designed as a medium bomber, the fastest of its kind in the world. The ship is pulled through the air at about 300 m.p.h.! This is done, of course, by another sweet job, the Rolls-Royce “Merlin” of 1,065 h.p. This motor was so successful that it caused the plane to perform beyond the fondest expectations of its designers. The “Battle” is metal-covered and is equipped with all latest devices, such as flaps, two-way radio, special high-flying equipment, and what not. The armament is secret, but two heavy guns can be seen in the wings. The British government, knowing a good thing when they see one, has ordered several hundred of these planes.

The single-seater fighter below, is the Fairey “Fantome” which has been adopted by the Belgian government as a highspeed fighter. It has a “Hisso” Cannon engine of 860 h.p. and the pilot can open her up to more than 250 m.p.h.! It is a sturdy biplane of rugged construction, and is also completely equipped with radio, etc.

The Belgian Air Force, while small, is well equipped with modern aircraft. No doubt she is anxious not to be caught defenseless again, should serious trouble break out around her borders.

Dare-Devil Aces, July 1937 by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on April 27, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

Frederick Blakeslee painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. The February 1937 Dare-Devil Aces’ cover is the first of Mr. Blakeslee’s “Planes by the Numbers” covers where he has so many planes on the cover, he explains which plane is what with a legend on the story behind the cover page. He featured the Hawker Fury on the previous issue—on this issue he gives the spotlight to German aircraft, and to the Henschel aeroplane in particular.

th_DDA_3707THIS month’s cover, as your practiced eyes can probably see, gives the spotlight to German aircraft, and to the Henschel aeroplane in particular. The five black figures represent a variety of Henschels, but the Hawkers which appear on the cover itself, have not been included. This is because most of you fellows know enough about Hawkers, already, to fly them or draw them in your sleep.

It’s too bad that we haven’t more information on ship number one, the Henschel dive-bomber. It’s really quite a crate. The German authorities have been careful about this plane and there are no available figures. However, we do know this much: This ship can really dive vertically, nose pointed directly at the earth, at any speed the motor is able to attain. And it can be pulled out of the most furious of dives without danger of breaking apart.

Planes numbers two and three are the short Henschel patrol jobs, while number four is a general purpose Henschel. But we still have one ship left, number five, and on this one, at least, we have some fairly good dope. Here it is: This last Henschel is a two-sealer, general purpose monoplane with one Siemens SAM. 22 nine-cylinder, radial air-cooled engine, which gives it a speed of 167.6 at ground level and a cruising speed of 146 m.p.h. This job lands at 51 m.p.h. Its service ceiling is 21,648 ft. and it has a range of 373 miles. Later, if I discover anything new on Germany’s Henschels, I’ll be glad to pass it along.

Fred Blakeslee

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(July 1937, Dare-Devil Aces)

“Fairey Hendons and the Gladiators” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on March 2, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

FREDERICK BLAKESLEE painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. For the June 1937 Dare-Devil Aces, Mr. Blakeslee’s paints a flock of Fairey “Hendons” bombing a big gun emplacement along with a flight of Gloster “Gauntlets”.

th_DDA_3706ON THE cover this month you will find a flock of Fairey “Hendons” bombing a big gun emplacement. They’ve come over just around dusk, when everything is quiet, and they’re giving the boys below plenty of hell.

As an escort, they have a flight of Gloster “Gauntlets,” those fast, speedy jobs that we’ve heard so much about recently. One of the most feared types of planes in the world, the “Gauntlet” is a tough baby to mingle with.

But we’re not concerned for the moment with the “Gauntlets.” We’ve devoted our attention to the nearest plane, the one without the streamlined pants on the wheels. It’s a “Gladiator” and gentlemen, what a job!

The “Gladiator” is a development of the “Gauntlet” and it’s really a better ship. You will notice that the “Gauntlet” is a two-bay wing job. Well, the designers saw fit to make the “Gladiator” a single-bay ship, and I think they were right.

Another deviation from the “Gauntlet” is the single-strut cantilever undercarriage. They constructed these babies so that they’d last and this single-strut business is a testimonial to their confidence.

When it comes to throwing steel around the sky, the “Gladiator” can take fine care of itself. Its armament consists of four machine guns, and they speak a language of their own. Personally, I wouldn’t want to speak with any of them.

When you talk about power, the “Gladiator” must be considered. In its motor-bed is a Bristol “Mercury IX,” a nine cylinder radial job. This power-house is air-cooled and supercharged, and when you give it a bit of throttle it goes places!

Do you want speed? This baby will do 255 m.p.h. at 14,500 feet, and it has a service ceiling of 32,800 feet.

The “Gauntlet” isn’t far behind in performance. It’s equipped with a Bristol “Mercury V.I.S.,” another radial, air-cooled engine. It boasts of speed of 230 m.p.h. at 15,500 feet and has a service ceiling of 33,500 feet.

Frederick Blakeslee.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Fairey Hendons and the Gladiators: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(June 1937, Dare-Devil Aces)

“The Blackburn Shark” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on January 20, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

FREDERICK BLAKESLEE painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. For the March 1937 Dare-Devil Aces, Mr. Blakeslee’s paints a tale of British planes catching a battleship docked in a small seaside town.

th_DDA_3703THE scene of this month’s cover is any place your imagination cares to place it. For my own part, I thought a little seaside view might be pleasant and just took a stab at some water and somebody’s city. But the story behind the cover is obvious enough.

The British planes have caught a battleship in dock and are doing a job on it. I imagine the most interesting crate to the reader would be that torpedo carrier, number 720. This is the Blackburn “Shark,” though I imagine the side drawing of it above looks a bit different than the three-quarter rear shot on the cover appears. Its speed is 152½ m.p.h. maximum at 5,500 feet and a landing speed of
62½ m.p.h. The torpedo it lugs around through the sky weighs no less than 1500 pounds.

All the other ships but one, of course, are of the Hawker family. And if you’ve been guessing what that tricky little blue job might be, here goes:

It is the Swedish Svenska “Jaktfalk” single-seater fighter. In an imaginary war, you would naturally pick this ship to be allied with the British, especially when you consider the close relationship between these two nations. Its British-made, supercharged motor gives it a speed of 208 m.p.h. and its ceiling is 19,680 feet. Hope you liked it, and see you next month.—Fred Blakeslee.

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Blackburn Shark: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(March 1937, Dare-Devil Aces)

Dare-Devil Aces, February 1937 by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on January 6, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

Frederick Blakeslee painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. The February 1937 Dare-Devil Aces’ cover is the first of Mr. Blakeslee’s “Planes by the Numbers” covers where he has so many planes on the cover, he explains which plane is what with a legend on the story behind the cover page. He featured the Hawker Fury on the previous issue—on this issue he featured the other planes in the Hawker line of fighters.

th_DDA_3702SOME very particular gent wrote to me the other day. complaining about the covers. He yelled that I took too much liberty with facts, and grouped planes that seldom, if ever, are seen together. He must be a new reader, for I have oft stated that, as this magazine is a fictional enterprise, the covers try to keep pace with the contents. Of course the covers are slightly screwy! I’m afraid that they wouldn’t be very interesting if I showed you a squadron of planes that were exactly alike in every respect.

This month’s cover is an example of what I mean. About seven types of planes are represented, and although some of them are slightly out of place, I don’t think you’ll mind. Let me tell you about them.

You’ll notice that the silhouettes on this page are really ships on the cover, set in exactly the same positions.

No. 1 is the Hawker “Osprey”, a Fleet fighter that ordinarily operates from aircraft carriers and other ships of the Royal Navy. I don’t know just what it’s doing over the city. Maybe the guy is on leave. It has a top speed of 240 m.p.h.

No. 2 is a Hawker “Hart”, the standard single-engined day bomber of the R.F.A. It is the basic type for most of the other Hawkers, and does 184 m.p.h.

No. 3, there are two of them, are German Ardo fighters.

No. 4 is a Fairey “Hendon” night bomber, and don’t ask me what it’s doing out in the daytime. Maybe it hasn’t been home yet. You’ll notice that it has left the rest of the flight and is off by itself. Ginsburg is probably at the wheel, and you know that guy!

No. 5 is a Hawker “Hardy”, a general purpose biplane that is particularly adapted for use in India and the Near East. Details are lacking on this, however.

No. 6 is a Hawker “Audax”, an Army cooperation crate with a speed of 152 m.p.h., which is practically walking. The way it’s heading now, the pilot would have done better to stay in bed.

No. 7 is a Bristol “Bulldog”, a really high-class piece of business. It does 175 m.p.h. at sea level, and 218 m.p.h. at 20,000, which is really lugging the mail.

So look them over, gents, and remember that I warned you.

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(February 1937, Dare-Devil Aces)

“The Hawker Fury” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on March 18, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

Frederick Blakeslee painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. On Dare-Devil Aces’ January 1937 cover, Mr. Blakeslee gives us a couple of Avia ’34’s trying to drive a bunch of Hawker “Furys” away from their Zeppelin base!

th_DDA_3701IN THE action on the cover, the reader will have no difficulty in discerning that a group of British ships are bombing a combined airdrome and dirigible depot. The green ships and the yellow plane are easily recognizable as variations of the Hawker ‘Fury,’ so we need give little of our time to them.

The plane in the upper left of the picture, however, is of a type not nearly so common as the others. It is an Avia ‘34’, if that means anything to you sky-hawks.

Germany, as you know, is exceedingly secretive concerning her air force and the new developments that she has undoubtedly made, so I’m frequently forced to ascribe to her ships which really are those of other countries.

Britain, of course, manufactures ships for a great number of countries. In fact, the green plane on the cover is a replica of a ‘Fury’ which was made for the Portuguese Air Force. The similarity existing between this ship and the truly British ships can easily be seen.

When we speak of European aircraft, we unconsciously think of the products of Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy, but strangely, the Avia with which we are concerned is the creation of none of these, but of tiny Czechoslovakia.

This country, of which we hear but little when the war drums throb in the sullen sky, is well equipped with beautiful, efficient ships of many varied types.

The Avia is a fighter of a single-seat type, and is powered by a 650 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine of the latest design. It is unique in that it carries four machine guns,—two on the wings near the outer struts, which are not shown, and the usual pair,—one on each side of the fuselage. These latter two fire through invisible troughs.

This fighter has a speed of 200 m.p.h. at sea level and its service ceiling is 24,600 feet.

Fred Blakeslee

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Hawker Fury: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(January 1937, Dare-Devil Aces)

“The Heyford” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on March 4, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

Frederick Blakeslee painted all the covers for the entire run of Dare-Devil Aces. And each of those covers had a story behind it. On Dare-Devil Aces’ December 1936 cover, Mr. Blakeslee gives the modern take on a couple of old classics—the Handly-Page Heyford and the french Morane-Saulnier!

th_DDA_3612THE world war produced many excellent fighting ships—ships that have become world famous. These world war types are now, of course, obsolete and except for those in museums and a few which are privately owned have practically disappeared. The R.F.C. display this year was unique in that several war-time ships were on the field. Flying over head were the direct descendants of some of those war-time ships. Most of the modern ships are known by other names while some carry the same name by which they were known in war days.

The difference between the modern ship and its war-time ancestor is enormous. For instance, take the war-time Handly-Page 0/400 and the modern Handly-Page “Heyford”. Quite a change!

Let us consider a famous war-time ship and see what it looks like today. Above is a drawing of this ship as it looks today. In this case the ship is known by the same name it had in war days. Its war-time ancestor is perhaps the best known of the war-time ships in America. American flyers used it almost exclusively and it features in most of the stories in this issue. Would you recognize the above drawing as a SPAD? I don’t think you would, for the Spad as it is today has developed beyond all recognition to the war-time model. Personally, I think the war-time Spad is the better looking ship. The modern version is a high-altitude fighter with a ceiling of 35,750 feet. Its speed lower down is 195 m.p.h. while high up it is 231 m.p.h. It has a 500 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine, the same engine its ancestor had with the addition of a few more “horses”. The only recognizable feature between the war-time Spad and the modern Spad is the letter “S” on the rudder.

The French monoplane on the cover is another descendant of a war-time ship not, however, as famous as the Spad, It also has the same name as its predecessor, the Morane-Saulnier. Except for refinements in design, it is remarkably like the older Morane-Saulnier. The parasol monoplane type is peculiar to France as it has always been a specialty of French military design. This ship has a speed of 204 m.p.h. and its absolute ceiling is 36,080 feet.

The ships attacking the airdrome are Dorniers. They have a maximum speed of 161 m.p.h. and a range of 745 miles.

Fred Blakeslee

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Heyford: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee
(December 1936, Dare-Devil Aces)

“Adventures Into The Unknown: A Ghost Gets Revenge” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 31, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published fourteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950.

In the final installment of his explorations into the Unkown, Mr. Blakeslee relates the story of Amy Robsart, the ill-fated wife of Robert Dudley, a favorite suitor of Queen Elizabeth I, whose ghost was said to haunt Cumnor Hall until it was demolished in 1810. Now it prowls Cornbury Park, and it is said that those who encounter her ghost are doomed to die within ten days! From the October 1950 issue of 15 Mystery Stories it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: A Ghost Gets Revenge!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: A Ghost Gets Revenge
by Frederick Blakeslee (15 Mystery Stories, October 1950)

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The House of the Screaming Skull” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 29, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published fourteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee relates the story of Burton Agnes Hall, built by Sir Henry Griffith during the first decade of the 1600’s. When his youngest daughter lay near death, she requested that her head be preserved in the walls of Burton Agnes Hall and if it were to ever be removed she would unleash unholy hell upon the manor until it was returned!

From the August 1950 issue of 15 Mystery Stories it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The House of the Screaming Skull!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The House of the Screaming Skull
by Frederick Blakeslee (15 Mystery Stories, August 1950)

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Corpus Delecti” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 22, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published fourteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee covers the Foxes and the “haunting” of their house in Hydesville, NY—an event which led to the rise of the spiritualist movement in America.

From the June 1950 issue of 15 Mystery Stories it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Corpus Delecti!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Corpus Delecti
by Frederick Blakeslee (15 Mystery Stories, June 1950)

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Ghost of the Burning Baby” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 17, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published fourteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee tells us about the grizzly murder of a newborn baby in 1577 and it’s spirit’s spectral revenge that results in the creation of another ghosts which has continued to haunt the area to this day.

From the April 1950 issue of 15 Mystery Stories it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Ghost of the Burning Baby!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Ghost of the Burning Baby
by Frederick Blakeslee (15 Mystery Stories, April 1950)

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Phantom Battle of Edgehill” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 15, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published fourteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee tells us about the ghostly echoes of the bloody first battle of the English Civil War that continue to play out over the Edgehill fields! From the February 1950 issue of 15 Mystery Stories it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Phantom Battle of Edgehill!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Phantom Battle of Edgehill
by Frederick Blakeslee (15 Mystery Stories, February 1950)

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Haunted Tanker” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 8, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published fourteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee tells us about the SS Watertown, a gasoline tanker, that was haunted by two crewmen who perished on board in 1925 and were buried at sea. Their heads were clearly visible just off the bow, following the ship as it continued on it’s course! From the December 1949 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Haunted Tank!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Haunted Tanker
by Frederick Blakeslee (Dime Mystery Magazine, December 1949)

“Adventures Into The Unknown: Death Above and Below” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 1, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

IT’S no secret that we’re big fans of the work of Frederick Blakeslee here at Age of Aces Books. He did the covers for all of Popular Publications’ big Air titles—Dare-Devil Aces, Battle Aces, Battle Birds, Fighting Aces, Dusty Ayres and his Battle Aces, and, of course, G-8 and his Battle Aces. In addition he did the interior art for Dare-Devil Aces, Battle Birds and Fighting Aces. But Blakeslee did art for other titles as well.

Last year we featured the first seven installments of Blakeslee’s Adventures Into The Unknown. That was just the first half of the series. This October we’ll be presenting the remaining seven installments. First up, Mr. Blakeslee relates a story of an innocent man cursing the very ground over his grave—stating before being hung, that in proof of his innocence no grass would grow on his grave for a generation! And sure enough, no grass would grow over his grave for one hundred and twenty years! From the October 1949 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: Death Above and Below!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: Death Above and Below
by Frederick Blakeslee (Dime Mystery Magazine, October 1949)

“Adventures Into The Unknown: The Talking Men” by Frederick Blakeslee

Link - Posted by David on October 30, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

BACK with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “Adventures Into The Unknown!” Blakeslee published fourteen installments of his two-page illustrated looks into the Unknown between March 1948 and October 1950. This time around Mr. Blakeslee examines the phenomenon known as ‘Orang Bunian’—or ‘the Talking Men.’ It is the hearing of the voices of the dead in broad daylight—usually over the site where there had once been a village! From the August 1949 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine it’s “Adventures Into The Unknown: The Talking Men!”


ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN: The Talking Men
by Frederick Blakeslee (Dime Mystery Magazine, August 1949)

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