Monday, July 29, 2013

Airfix Model World 12/2012

The F3H-2 Demon is of ten regarded as an underpowered machine with a troubled existence. Nevertheless, and after the introduction of the more powerful Allison J-71 engine, this design found its place as the U.S. Navy's first all-weather embarked interceptor with missile capability. The experiences amassed by both McDonnell and the U.S. Navy with this hefty aircraft ushered in more famous carrier-borne creations, such as the F-4. At first inspection, the plastic parts provided by Hobbyboss were a pleasure to look at. The plastic surface was well detailed with consistent panel lines and, when viewed more closely, it was obvious that Hobbyboss took care when positioning the tool ejector pins; they were all located in places that would be hidden on the finished model. The runners came individually packed, which was extremely useful regarding the clear parts. Also included was a photo-etched fret that provided details for the engine exhaust fan, airbrakesand wing fences.

Airfix Model World 11/2012

The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is the single biggest hazard facing ground forces currently operating in Afghanistan. To help combat these dangers, the Oshkosh M-ATV is the U.S. military's latest development in an evolving series of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. This concept emerged following rising casualty rates from lEDs following the invasion of Iraq. Initial MRAP vehicles were based upon designs developed in Rhodesia and South Africa, which utilised a V-shaped hull to divert the force of an explosion away from the vehicle's underside. They are large and very bulky vehicles, which have proved cumbersome in the difficult terrain of Afghanistan. The M-ATV, however, is smaller and designed to take advantage of the greater protection provided by an MRAP vehicle, but coupled with the greater mobility necessary to meet the terrain conditions. It is now the primary ground vehicle for U.S. forces in Afghanistan and is intended to be a replacement for the M1114 HMMWV. MRAPs are proving to be remarkably successful. In fact, since their introduction IED-related casualties have fallen by a massive by 90%.

Airifix Model World 10/2012

The DH.9a was a successful light day bomber which first entered service with 110 Squadron in June 1918. Its 'Ninak' nickname came from the then phonetic alphabet; at the time, 'Ack' was used for the letter A, and thus the '.9a' portion of the aircraft'sdesignation morphed into Ninak in military-speak. The type was borne out of the necessity to find a replacement for the under-performing DH.9, which in turn was already a replacement for the DH.4. By the Armistice, 110 Squadron alone had dropped 10 tons of bombs on German targets with only slight losses. An Anglo-American collaboration, the DH.9a married a British airframe with an American-built Liberty engine. Its V12 water-cooled power plant was rated at 400hp, which produced a top speed of 114mph (183km/h) at 10,000ft (3,048m). A 450lb (204kg) bomb load was carried externally and other armament consisted of a single .303in Vickers gun, synchronised to fire through the propeller arc, and a scarf-mounted single or twin Lewis gun for the rear gunner.

Airfix Model World 09/2012

Reconnaissance has had a long history in the Hellenic Air Force (HAF), and it began when 335 Squadron of 112 Combat Wing fitted a camera in the tip tank of an F-84G Thunderjet. Positive results led to the delivery of the RT-33A (a T-33A trainer with cameras in a modified nose). The new aircraft prompted 335 Squadron to form the 348 Tactical Reconnaissance Flight which, on July 7,1954, was relocated to 110 Combat Wing in Larissa, after being supplied with the new RT-33A. These aircraft were eventually replaced by the RF-84F Thunderflash, which was acquired in August 1956. Until autumn 1978, the RF-84F was the only type in the squadron. Then, the RF-4E Phantom II ushered in a new era of air reconnaissance with the HAF. On March 29,1991, the RF-84F was withdrawn after 34 years' active service, and left the squadron with just a handful of RF-4Es. However, in August 1993, numbers were increased with the addition of surplus RF-4Es from German Air Force stocks, and the unit is now known as 348 Mira 'Mafia' (eyes).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Flight Journal 10/2013

EVERY AIRPLANE FREAK has his or her own favorite aircraft. However, if you really press them, or lay out a bunch of new airplane options to chose from, chances are they'll find that they have more than one favorite. In fact, it's like picking your favorite song: think about it too hard and it leads to confusion. That's the case with this issue, for sure. However, to confuse the favorite-airplane decision even further, we've dipped deeply into esoterica that is sure to confuse everyone. Regardless of someone's favorite airplane, there is no one who doesn't love the Spitfire. It's certainly one of our favorites. This is why in coming weeks you'll find a Flight Journal special issue on the stands that contains nothing but Spitfires. Just think of the Spit article we put in this regular issue, "If Looks Could Kill," by James P. Busha as a teaser. Actually, considering the amount of elliptical eye candy in the form of John Dibbs photography in these pages, it's more of an appetizer than a teaser. But, wait until you see how much more we have in the special issue! It borders on being obscene.

Model Airplane News 10/2013

The Spitfire looked good and was good. With its sleek, graceful lines and powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the British Supermarine Spitfire was the undisputed WW II fighter of the Royal Air Force and it saw action in all theaters of the war. Introduced in 1938, the Spitfire was constantly refined and improved, as more than 20,000 were built. Best known for its elliptical wing and its role during the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire was beloved by its pilots and became the aviation icon for the RAF. Top Flite is well known for producing giant-scale warbird models that are easy to assemble and fly great. This tradition continues with the new giant-scale Spitfire ARF, and like its full-scale counterpart, this new Top Flite offering will be just as embraced by warbird enthusiasts!

Bf 109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front

It is now generally accepted that the Battle of Britain constituted one of the first major turning points of World War 2. At its close, the hitherto seemingly invincible German Luftwaffe - victorious in Poland, Scandinavia, the Low Countries and France - had, for the first time, failed to achieve its assigned objectives: the neutralisation of the Royal Air Force (RAF), and the subsequent invasion and subjugation of England. The British have come to regard the Battle as having been 'officially5 over, and won, by 31 October 1940. German aviation historians are less arbitrary. They consider the daylight operations (admittedly drastically reduced in scale) flown during the closing weeks of the year, and the attendant night Blitz, which continued well into the spring of 1941, as part and parcel of the same campaign. In their view, the ongoing aerial onslaught against Great Britain was only brought to a halt by Hitler's decision to shelve indefinitely his plans for a cross-Ghannel invasion, and turn his attention instead to other fronts: to the Mediterranean and the Balkans and, ultimately, to the east.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Le Fana de l'Aviation 08/2013

La nouvelle a claqué comme un monstrueux coup de tonnerre à la fin du mois de juin dans le milieu des warbirds : le Military Aviation Museum fondé par l'Américain Jerry Yagen à Virginia Beach, en Virginie, met en vente tous ses avions, soit près de 70 machines -la plus grosse collection de warbirds en état de vol aux mains d'un seul individu -, ainsi que ses bâtiments et son terrain. Quelques jours plus tard, le négociant spécialisé en avions anciens Platinum Fighter Sales a annoncé avoir conclu la vente du Boeing B-17G Chuckie immatriculé N3701G et du Focke-Wulf (Flug Werk) 190A8 immatriculé N447FW au Tillamook Air Museum de Jack Erickson, à Tillamook dans rOregon - les deux avions ont été convoyés en vol une semaine plus tard. Le Military Aviation Museum (lire Le Fana de l'Aviation n° 507) a ouvert ses portes en 2008 et donnait à voir à ses visiteurs 45 appareils de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale (quasiment tous en état de vol ou potentiellement, anglais, américains, allemands, russes) et 24 de la Première Guerre mondiale (tous des reproductions).

Ships Monthly 08/2013

The Royal Navy has endured a long period of continual adjustment ever since it lost its global pre-eminence to the US Navy during World War II. But, in the Cold War decades, even as the size of its fleet seemed to decline inexorably, it remained unquestionably the most powerful Western navy after that of the United States. Today it faces a new world. The centre of maritime gravity has shifted dramatically eastwards. Although the US Navy will remain the most powerful in the world, nations such as China, India, Japan, South Korea and Brazil, with their expanding fleets, will increasingly influence naval affairs. The Royal Navy has to find its place in this world. The immediate post-Cold-War years seemed to offer the promise (at least as far as the Royal Navy was concerned) of Britain pursuing a maritime-centred expeditionary strategy. But then came the long land-based campaigns of Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by economic crisis and austerity. The Royal Navy's operational strength has been squeezed significantly in recent years, and naval chiefs have complained of national 'sea blindness'.

Marine Modelling International - Submarine Special

War came to Sydney. Australia in the overcast evening of Sunday 31 st May 1942. Its prelude, in the early hours of the day before, had been a reconnaissance flight over the harbour by Flying Warrant Officer Susumo Ito and his observer in a Yokosuka E14Y 'Glen' floatplane launched from the Japanese submarine 1-21 lying 55 kilometres out to sea. Skimming low to allow his observer to sketch the anti-submarine boom net. Ito noted the concentration of Allied shipping in the harbour. There were several capital ships including the cruisers USS Chicago and HMAS Canberra, though not the Queen Elizabeth (Warspite) class battleship he had been given to expect. When searchlights began to probe the sky he pulled up to disappear into the 600m cloud base. Descending again, he flew over the great steel arch of the Harbour Bridge and noted the flashes of light from the welding activity at the Cockatoo Island dockyard before turning back to the east. There was little evidence that the country was on a war footing. The harbour was brightly lit and the ferries were plying their trade. Unknown to Ito. fighters had been scrambled from Richmond airbase to investigate, but they were called back when his aircraft was officially identified as 'friendly'.

Model Airplane International 08/2013

AFV Club seem to have taken it upon themselves to give us nearly the whole collection of later F-5s and this particular version is another in the family tree. These particular machines have been around since the mid 1970s, upgraded in the 1990s by Israeli Military Industries and used by a whole host of nations. In the beautifully produced box you have nine sprues of neatly moulded light grey plastic, a separate rear fuselage half, some poly caps, a tiny etched fret and a single sprue of reasonably clear transparencies. You also get a single decal sheet containing the four versions on offer: three Chilean and one Moroccan. The plastic is well moulded although there is a little bit of flash on a lot of the components. The cockpit detail is excellent, as is the stuff in the wheel wells, and there are a couple of options in the box with open and closed auxiliary air ducts and various sizes of drop tanks, as well as the parts particular to the different nations. The external detail won't be to some people's taste because it is very 'rivety' although it's not really that bad, the panel lines are all neatly engraved and the overall shape is pretty accurate.

Model Aircraft 08/2013

The use of air power in the Vietnam War would change the way wars were fought both in the Twentieth century and beyond. New technological advances and more sophisticated weapons made the Vietnam War a testing ground for the US military, and new tactics and approaches were used with varying degrees of success. Air power would now be used as a bargaining tool and Vietnam also introduced the attack helicopter as a vital weapon. The conflict began with the training and advising of the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF), and culminated with the Christmas bombing of 1972, and saw the US involved in the skies of Southeast Asia for over fifteen years. Consistent with US military as well as political objectives, the air war in Vietnam gradually increased throughout the campaign and air components from all four military services were utilised. Jet bombers and fighters were used extensively for the first time in the history of modern warfare, and a new age of warfare dawned. The North Vietnamese, with the help of the Soviet Union, had developed an extensive air defence network, and as a result the US suffered heavy helicopter, aircraft and pilot losses throughout the war.

Air International 08/2013

Major funding issues did not stop the South African Air Force's first live fire Air Capability Demonstration of the year, at the Roodewal weapons range on May 9. Bombs dropped, rockets flew and dust was stirred, but austerity was evident everywhere, especially in the absence of the pride of the Air Force - the Gripen. The aim of the demonstration was to use airpower for interdiction, surveillance, air support and in-field mobility to defeat a simulated enemy. It a so showed the air force's operational capabilities, readiness and ability to operate with other arms of service, most notably the army and special forces in this case. The Deputy Chief of the Air Force, Major General Gerald Malinga, said that the airpower demonstrated how the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) can promote peace and stability in South Africa as we as the continent - air force officials said that airpower was essential in conflict prevention and merely having air support or a perception of it can prevent conflict.

Scale Aviation Modeller International 08/2013

When Tamiya announced a little over a year ago that they were to release the II-2 Shturmovik in 1/48 I was very tempted to go out and purchase one as soon as I could. Having built the Accurate Miniatures kit many years ago and knowing how good it was, if a little complex in its construction at times, I was intrigued as to how a well-known manufacturer like Tamiya would tackle such an important and influential aircraft. I, like many who model in 1/72, no doubt thought that it would only be a matter of time until it would be released in that scale. Well it took a while, but here it is at last, and I have to say it is a very fine piece of plastic engineering by Tamiya. The Russians, like many other nations, took a keen interest in the weapons and newly formed tactics being used in the Spanish Civil War. They were, after all, supporting the Republican side with tanks and aircraft and to a lesser extent men, mainly in an 'advisory role.' The numbers of aircraft supplied varies depending on source from 600 to 800 planes, and the lessons learned indicated a need for a new type of aircraft dedicated to the ground support role, tasked with infantry support in the roles of tank hunter and bunker busting.

Scale Military Modeller International 08/2013

This is going to be quite a small diorama setting, determined in no small way by the size of the main subject - the 1:35 Ontos, and having just finished 'Marines in Hue City' by Eric Hammel where the aforementioned Ontos was used with devastating effect in the close-quarter house-to-house fighting, it seemed like a good place to start. With the model being quite small overall, I decided to raise the 'height' of the base so that the Ontos stands taller when displayed. So, starting with a simple picture frame, backing board was glued in place, followed by some sides made from sheet balsa, as this is cheap to buy and easy to work with. Polystyrene sheet was then stacked and glued into place to give a nice level and compact area to work on. Celluclay was then evenly spread over the top of the base, and here I find spreading on a fine layer of PVA glue first helps the clay stay in place. This was then smoothed over with a damp brush. Fine sand was then sprinkled over the base, and at this point I also pushed into position the wall section I planned to add later, so at least it had a flat area for its location.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Aeroplane Icons - Mosquito

UNDOUBTEDLY one of the greatest and most versatile aircraft of the Second World War, the Mosquito was also the world's first true multi-role combat aircraft (the second not arriving until the Panavia Tornado). Designed by a company with no previous experience in producing high-performance military aircraft, de Havilland managed to produce a timeless classic which will remain one of those spine-tingling machines now sorely missed in British skies. However, while I write these words, far away in New Zealand, the sound of a pair of Merlin engines in harmony is to be heard in the skies once more, as Jerry Yagen's long project (Canadian-built FB.26 KA114) is now back in the air. The Mosquitoes versatility during the Second World War saw the aircraft operating in a variety of roles including as a pure unarmed bomber, a heavily armed fighter-bomber, rocket and heavy cannon armed anti-shipping aircraft, radar-equipped night-fighter, an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft, meteorological, trainer and finally as a target tug. From the PR.1 to the T.43, there was not a role the Mosquito could not be adapted to carry out; the aircraft was even modified for light transport work both during and after the war.

Aeroplane Icons - Meteor

THE STORY of the Gloster Meteor is one of the greatest in the history of the aviation industry and one we generally take for granted. This pioneering aircraft was not particularly advanced, was given very little chance to prove itself in combat but, as a 'first-generation' jet, its arrival launched the RAF into a new era. Development of the jet engine, thanks to the efforts of Frank Whittle, began in 1936, and as with all military projects, the outbreak of the Second World War saw his work accelerate to the point of the first flight of the E.28/39 from Cranwell in May 1941. Less than two years later, the F.9/40 was off the ground and, by August, the first Meteor F Mk 1s were entering service with 616 Squadron. This was an incredible achievement which saw the Meteor poised to re-equip a host of RAF squadrons during the immediate post-war era. By 1950, the best of the day fighter breed had arrived in the shape of the F Mk 8 and, for the next five years, over 30 operational units were flying the type, up until the arrival of the'second-generation' Hawker Hunter.

Aeroplane Icons - Hurricane

I often enjoy discussing various subjects, especially aviation ones, where I like to take the opposite viewpoint regardless of whether I agree with it or not in order to prompt discussion. When the subject of Spitfire or Hurricane comes up I will always plump for the Hurricane as the better aircraft... though not to play devil's advocate, but because it was! It may have not been the prettiest or the best performing but it will always been seen as the aircraft we needed at the time and, thankfully, in high numbers. Its design incorporated older, tried and tested technologies but also took fighter design a little further forward. When George Bulman first took the prototype into the air at Brooklands on the 6th November 1935, the new Hurricane was presented to the world as a modern fighting monoplane. Fitted with eight guns, a retractable undercarriage and the ability to breach 300mph with ease, many journalists of the day commented that the peak of fighter performance had finally been reached.

Spaceships of Science Fiction

The oldest known story, the Epic of Gilgamesh, was written on clay tablets more than 3,000 years ago. In it the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh, travels to the ocean at the end of the known world on a quest for knowledge and immortality. The merest touch of the water there will bring instant death, and the stone charms which could have protected the ship have been-destroyed. But Gilgamesh cannot rest until he has crossed to the far side of the deadly sea. He boards the ship despite the fact that he may not make the crossing alive. As our world was discovered and mapped, heroes no longer needed to travel In small and fragile craft across deadly and inhospitable oceans. The development of sailing ships, first of wood and then of iron and steel, means that the oceans of today hold little peril, and there are no new lands to conquer on the Earth. The world is smaller now,' and to find new challenges the heroes of today's fantastical stories are forced to leave this planet behind to find the unexplained and the weird, the beautiful and the monstrous. But still they must travel through hostile, deadly waters.

Aeroplane Icons - Blenheim

The story of the Blenheim has its roots firmly embedded within a civilian project first envisaged by Frank Barnwell and his design team at the Bristol Aeroplane Company, Filton, in early 1933. The plan was to produce a commercial light transport aircraft capable of cruising at a minimum speed of 250mph. By late July 1933, Barnwell, closely supported by Leslie Frise, had transcribed his ideas for the new aircraft onto paper. This revealed a twin-engined, low-wing monoplane with a monocoque enclosed cockpit and a fuselage capable of holding two crew and six passengers in comfort. Power was planned to be a pair of Bristol Aquila I sleeve-valve, air cooled radial engines producing 500hp each. However, the Aquila was still under development with a team of Bristol engineers led by A H R 'Roy' Fedden and was not destined to be ready until September 1934.

Aeroplane Icons - Sunderland

THE ARRIVAL of the Short Sunderland in RAF service in 1938 raised the bar considerably with regard to flying-boat design, compared to what airmen had previously experienced. Gone were the draughty, cluttered cockpits, cramped fuselages and mediocre performance associated with average inter-war flying boat. The Sunderland brought a host of improvements which remained, only marginally altered, for the aircraft's 21 years of RAF service. Those crews still operating the Saro London and Supermarine Stranraer must have looked on in envy as the Sunderland crews enjoyed a bridge', a galley, a dining room and even a sleeping area, thanks to the flying boat's cavernous hull. Coastal Command would operate almost 50 different types during the Second World War but only the Sunderland would continually serve on the front-line from the first day to the last. This, and the fact that the flying-boat remained in RAF service until 1958, and almost a decade beyond - with the RNZAF - is testimony to the aircraft's forward thinking design.

Aeroplane Icons - Lightning

Spoken of in hushed tones by those who remember the type in service and longed for by those too young to remember it in flight, the English Electric Lightning is one of the most iconic British jets ever built. The highly swept wings, the bulletlike nose cone and the ear-splitting crackle from its reheated Avon engines combined to make the aircraft unmistakable. It was the first operational British aircraft capable of achieving twice the speed of sound and although designed primarily as an interceptor to meet incoming Soviet bombers at heights up to 60,000ft, it was later developed for ground attack. The Lightning was clearly an aeroplane with much promise and export potential, yet despite a decade of development by the boffins at English Electric, it was struck down by a very British problem... indecision and ineptitude by policy makers and government bodies. Speaking frankly in his 'Silver Flash' article on page 22, the late Roland 'Bee' Beamont (the legendary test pilot) bemoans the Lightning project as, "bedeviled by prevarication and repeated Whitehall U-turns."

Aeroplane Icons - Halifax

ONE OF THE three British four-engine heavy bombers which took the night war to Hitler's heartland, the Handley Page Halifax contributed in no small way to the destruction and ultimate surrender of the Third Reich. Unlike its Short Stirling and Avro Lancaster companions, the Halifax proved a more versatile design, taking on roles additional to its principle mission with RAF Bomber Command. Yet its comparatively short period in service and a production run of 6,176 machines was not without problems. In its early years from service entry in March 1941, little good could be said about the Halifax. Its in-built faults found it underpowered, its performance was lamentable, it suffered from a vicious swing on take-off causing inherent undercarriage collapses, and rudder stall problems often gave fatal results. All round it was a poor design from Britain's most famous builder of big bombers! In fact, so bad was the aircraft that'Bomber'Harris wanted it withdrawn from service and production switched in favour of the Lancaster. Indeed, his opinion of owner Frederick Handley Page bordered on the murderous!

Airfix Model World 08/2012

THE FIRST airshow of the season at the Imperial War Museum Duxford was held in unseasonal weather for we Brits -there was glorious sunshine and record temperatures. With the Queen's Jubilee firmly in everyone's mind, the Duxford staff made the link to pull together aircraft for the flying display that have a royal connection, and it led to a good variety of types on display. One was a Royal Navy Lynx HMA8; Prince Andrew had flown an earlier variant of the helicopter following his return from the Falklands War, where he flew sorties in Sea Kings. One of the highlights of the display was the recently restored Gloster Meteor T. 7 owned by the Air Atlantique Classic Aircraft Trust. Prince Phillip had flown the Meteor when he learnt to fly with the RAF in the 1950s. Hard to miss with its agility, noise and the welcome use of flares during its stunning routine, the Belgian Air Force F-16AM from 360 Squadron at Florennes was resplendent in a new 2012 display scheme, against the clear blue sky.

Airfix Model World 07/2012

A question often discussed by modellers at club meetings, on-line forums, at shows and in letters pages, is who makes the best kit in a particular scale of their own favourite modelling subject. The personal favourite of this author (when taking a break from the usual diet of motorsport kits) is World War Two Luftwaffe, particularly 1/72 fighters. The Messerschmitt Bf 109E is always popular, but which kit should one choose? In a bid to clear these murky waters, two kits were purchased to decide which should take the 'Best 1/72 Emil' crown. The two kits purchased (E-3s) were those from Tamiya and ICM. Judgements for the purposes of this article were based not just upon accuracy and quality, but also ease of construction and general enjoyment for the builder. Tamiya's kit has 44 parts moulded in dark Grey styrene on a single sprue and three in clear. Quality of moulding is simply exquisite and the clear parts are excellent.

Airfix Model World 06/2012

By 1941 the threat of German invasion had receded such that Britain thought once more about landing an army on the continent The Germans had also considered this possibility, though, and were busy fortifying the coast in what became known as the Atlantic Wall. Furthermore, because any army large enough to defeat German forces would need enormous quantities of supplies, the Germans turned all major ports into fortresses capable (it was thought) of resisting attack long enough for any invasion to fail through
lack of materiel support. The wisdom of this strategy was confirmed on August 19,1942, when the Allies tested their ability to capture a port with the ill-fated assault on Dieppe. None of the major objectives were achieved and the attacking forces withdrew after just six hours, leaving 3,600 of their number (nearly 60% of those that went ashore) killed, wounded or captured. This catastrophe emphasised the impracticality of assaulting a fortified port and so, when the Combined Chiefs of Staff met in Quebec during late August 1943, it was decided that the allies would take harbours with them.

Airfix Model World 05/2012

TAMIYA WILL re-issue its old T-55 tank kit with four new sprues to allow the building of an Iraqi 'special'. It was during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 that Coalition forces came up against the T-55 'Enigma' variant. They used the moniker in place of any official Iraqi designation being known. This upgrade to the real vehicle was long overdue, as the T-55 series was developed in the immediate years after World War Two. 'Enigma' involved new gear such as heavier main armour, along with additional protective armour blocks on the glacis, turret and hull sides. Tamiya's new sprues include an entirely new upper hull and turret, as well as the extra armour. This new release, coded 35324, will allow some exciting build and diorama opportunities, as the vehicle was used in the Iraqi Army's only offensive action during the 1991 Gulf War, the Battle of Khafji.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Aeroplane Icons - Swordfish

The Fairey Swordfish story is one of an aircraft initially frowned upon when it entered service in 1936, respected by the beginning of the Second World War and deemed legendary by the time peace was declared. The world must have looked on in awe at our powerful Royal Navy and its large carriers and with equal bemusement at the seemingly fragile biplanes, with their single torpedo and light armament upon their decks. However, the Swordfish was the only torpedo bomber we had in significant numbers at the beginning of the war and it would prove to be so much more. Designed with one role in mind, the Swordfish evolved into one of the most versatile of Naval aircraft. Its slow speed, which was criticised from the outset, proved to be one of its strengths, especially when it came to anti-submarine work, in which it claimed 21 U-boats sunk between April 1940 and December 1944. The later combination of RPs and ASV radar made the Swordfish particularly effective against U-boats and shipping, of which it claimed over 300,000 tons sunk.

Aeroplane Icons - Lancaster

During August 1940, when Britain undoubtedly had its back to the wall, Lord Portal announced the Air Staff's intention to re-equip the RAF's strategic bombing force solely with four-engined aircraft. This might appear to be a very ambitious aim, but only days earlier the RAF's first four-engined "heavy", the Short Stirling, had been delivered to 7 Sqn. The Handley Page Halifax was not far behind, bringing the idea of a heavy bomber force closer to reality. That same month the first production Avro Type 679 Manchester arrived at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down for evaluation and, at this stage, the twin-engine aircraft was an unknown quantity. However, it promised to be as good, if not better in certain respects such as bomb load, top speed and altitude, than the Halifax and Stirling. Behind closed doors the Manchester was throwing up many questions, mainly centring on its Rolls-Royce Vulture engines.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Classic Military Vehicle 08/2013

Drive a military vehicle on the public roads in most of the UK and, beyond a few stares which we can convince ourselves are down to admiration, you probably won't elicit much of a reaction. The worst you might suffer is the occasional comment about 'playing soldiers'. But that isn't necessarily the case in Ulster where there are areas best avoided if you are driving a green machine of any age or era. That's something members of the Ulster Military Vehicle Club (UMVC) have to bear in mind, and particularly so if their chosen vehicle happens to be one of the uparmoured Land Rovers that appeared on the TV news almost daily during what was known as 'The Troubles'. Drive one of those onto the wrong estate and the inhabitants are unlikely to draw the distinction between a lovingly restored ex-military vehicle and one that is in current service and possibly considered fair game.

Flying Scale Models 08/2013

As most students of aviation history, particularly the WW2 period, the RAF's Eagle Squadrons were manned by American pilots who joined up prior to USA's entry into the war in December 1941 and many of these air combat experienced pilots later transferred to the US Army Air Corps when the first elements arrived in UK in May 1943., when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth welcomed a nucleus of the 78th Fight Group, with their P-47 Thunderbolts to RAF Duxford. To commemorate that arrival a group of current historic warbird operators recently recreated 'The Eagle Squadron' to perform at UK air shows during this years summer season, commencing with the Imperial War Museum's Spring Air Show, flying aircraft representative of those operated by members of the original Eagle Squadrons' and the USAAC during the period. These include Hawker Hurricane Mk.X, Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I, Republic P-47G, and North American P-51 Mustang, plus Boeing B-17.

Flying Scale Models 07/2013

After a period of a decline in numbers, The Royal Air Force Model Aircraft Association is growing, and its well-attended spring showcase reflected the new ebullient mood. Due to other commitments for Flying Scale Models next day at The Indoor Scale Nationals, I could only attend RAFMAA Warbirds on the Saturday - but what a day! A full day's scale warbirding, in bright sunshine, and light winds! There is no event on the scale calendar like RAFMAA. First of all you have to be invited. Then you and your vehicle have to be booked in. You must also to take your passport as proof of identity. Once you get to the chosen Station - this year it was RAF Wittering - you have to be admitted by armed Guards. Once inside, you camp within the strictly fenced perimeter. All very reassuring. Next morning, the Briefing is as crisp and informative as you might expect, and the organisation of the flight line is second to none. Flying began briskly and continued all day. Please accept my apologies if one or two model details are a bit basic.

Flying Scale Models 02/2013

Glamour has much to do with pleasing aesthetic appearance, often coupled with notable achievement. In terms aesthetics, the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8, was an 'achiever' largely thanks to the bravery and determination of the crews who operated it on the 'boring' but vital missions they flew over the Western Front during WW1. But the aesthetics is another story! More than four thousand R.E.8 artillery reconnaissance aircraft were built and the only conclusion one can draw from, this figure is that this aeroplane was one of the most successful flops in the history of aviation. (R.E. stands for Reconnaissance Experimental). It was successful in the award of large contracts to several constructors and in the results of hazardous sorties by its courageous flying crews, but it was a flop in that it was designed to an ill-conceived specification and, from the outset, was inadequate for the duties it was intended to perform.

Flying Scale Models 01/2013

Most scale modellers are familiar with the Ford / Stout 'Tin Goose' and Fokker F.VIi trimotors. However, Britain had its own three-engined airliner in 1930s, the Westland Wessex. The Wessex first flew on the 21st February 1929, and was originally fitted with the Cirrus engine of 95hp. It was designed for two crew and four passengers and proved to be a reliable design that impressed prospective operators with its economy and comparatively short take-off run. The Wessex was just the ticket when Sir Alan Cobham set up his air service between Guernsey and the UK mainland. Ten examples were built. Re-equipped with the Armstrong Siddeley Genet engine of 140hp, providing the Wessex with a maximum speed of 122mph/ and a range of 420 miles. For those who collect obscure facts of aviation, as a stop-gap, the Wessex prototype was first flown with an off-the-shelf Westland Wapiti rudder. It functioned so well, the design was retained for all ten production airframes.

Model Airplane International 06/2011

The kit is presented as a limited-run package with three sprues of seventy-three delicately detailed plastic parts plus the addition of a fret of photo-etch and three resin components. The photo-etch is particularly pleasing as the machine-gun jackets and a full complement of harnesses are thankfully provided, which I feel is always is a big plus in such builds. The cockpit is just jammed full of detail and really builds into a fabulous interior. The bomb storage area between the pilot and navigator is one such section that is highlighted with etched metal bomb-holding cradles that rest over the lower floor bomb openings. These apertures can also be added as an etched section or a plastic piece. I chose the latter option as the fit of this section into the floor looked a bit ropey and the plastic piece could be manipulated more easily. The fuel tank on which the pilot sits is a resin piece as is the exhaust outlet pipe for the engine unit. Two pieces that do, from a detail point of view, benefit from being reproduced in resin.

Model Airplane International 05/2011

As with its bomber sibling this kit has also taken a hammering on various Internet forums regarding its accuracy. To some extent this can be justified as similar mistakes have been made as with the earlier kit. The main topic of discussion has been the shape of the nose cone. I have been able to do a side-by-side comparison this time with an Italeri kit and the main difference is that the radome of the HobbyBoss kit tapers to a point too quickly whereas the Italeri kit has more of a curved profile. Regarding the other big problem (the only one I corrected on the IDS) the shape of the tailerons, which have been replaced. The new parts now have the correct squared-off tips and kinked leading edges. Revisions for the ADV include a completely new cockpit and forward fuselage, wing gloves, tailerons, chaff and flare dispensers and stores. Parts breakdown is also very similar to the earlier kit with a multi-part fuselage and the options of open flaps, slats, spoilers, airbrakes and thrust reversers.

Model Airplane International 04/2011

This new kit comprises 27 injection moulded parts, 3 clear transparencies (canopy and two belly windows) and one resin part (engine front) and it makes up into an accurate replica of the this World War II workhorse fighter. The kit itself offers simple construction with the only area of caution being the correct positioning of the tubby fighter's landing gear assembly. Thankfully, the instructions clearly show the sequence to be followed and I experienced no problems interpreting them. Finely engraved panel lines adorn the kit throughout. No trimming was needed to install the five-piece cockpit, however the seat comes without any belts. Given the seat position height in the cockpit, the shoulder straps are clearly visible directly below the headrest through the canopy, so their addition was necessary, along with lap belts, which I fashioned from tape cut into thin strips. Simple painting enhanced the resin nine-cylinder R-1820 engine front and it fitted well within the cowl ring. Before I knew it, the basic airframe assembly was completed. I did have to use some filler on the wing halves and fuselage seams but that was minimal.

Model Airplane International 03/2011

About 60 parts on a single sprue are moulded exceptionally clean as flash is limited to a minimum and the other imperfections like visible tool separation or sink marks are not present at all. The surface of larger parts is polished to a high gloss and features fine engraved panel lines, as are all other details like the cowling and gun bay cover fasteners, spent cartridges chutes or the interior of the wheel wells. The clear sprue contains a single canopy and gunsight; the former being both thin and crystal clear. The cannon barrels are perfectly cast in resin, but etched parts are not included. The decal sheet, printed by Techmod, is beautifully printed in perfect register and having good colour density, including a set of stencils. While the first box (#72037) offers machines from the European theatre of operation, this issue covers 'tropicalized' machines of the RAAF (BSI64, No.54 Squadron), USAAF (JK707, 307th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group) and RAF (BR30I, No.249 Squadron & MA292, No.615 Squadron). The kit also provides many alternative parts, for instance different main wheels (five-spoke and with covers), propellers (de Havilland and Rotol), standard and short-span wing and two sets of upper wing gun covers.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Flying Scale Models 12/2012

The elegant, unmistakably French fighter biplane received by the American 95th Aero Squadron in February 1918 was the first of some 297 purchased by the U.S.A. in World War One to supplement its limited supplies of SPAD 13C.1s. It was the shapely Nieuport N.28C-1 and, although it was to achieve a degree of fame in the hands of a few outstanding pilots (Lufbery and Rickenbacker to name but two), as a fighter it was flawed from the outset and rejected for front-line use by the French Air Service, considering it inferior to the SPAD, which had been ordered into full production as their principal fighter aircraft in 1917. (What a way to treat your new-found and much needed Allies!) The Nieuport 28 was the culmination of a design evolution whose origins lay in a successful series of sesquiplane fighters by Gustave Delage, of which the little Nieuport Model 11 of 1915 was the first to win fame in combat.

Flying Scale Models 11/2012

Mike Conrad's Bowers Fly-Baby Biplane isn't meant to be a Class One scale model, there is no pretence of having absolutely scale fittings, it doesn't have a cross axle (to prevent tripping in the grass - although you can fit one if you wish) and it has ailerons on both the lower and top wings. It is what one would term as a 'character' scale model, look at it closely and you can pick a few scale holes in it, but in the air it is a 'Fly Baby' through and through. It has that hard-to-define authority when flying. But over to Mike.
It is usually early on in January that the urge to build a new model suddenly strikes me. But, of course, it takes me at least another month to decide which full size subject to tackle. Mind you, who am kidding? It was always going to be a biplane and, however much I looked at the World War I selection, I really could not find something that had not been done before.

Flying Scale Models 10/2012

There are some prototypes that defy the rules of aesthetics, yet still manage to deliver a fascinating aircraft. The Blackburn R-l is one such type. It is a miasma of rigging, portholes, double struttery, tanks, louvres, and grills. Yet, overall, the effect is magnificently individual. The Blackburn R-l 'Blackburn' was conceived in 1922 as a carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft for both fleet spotting and gun spotting duties. Blackburns entered service at Gosport in April 1923. It was loosely based on the earlier Blackburn Dart-it spanned 45 feet 6 inches (13.87m), weighed 3,929 lbs (1786 kg) and was fitted with Napier Lion engine. Designed for a crew of three comprising pilot, navigator and rear gunner, the pilot's high seat was on top of the wing. The navigator sat inside the fuselage, with the gunner firing from the rear of the fuselage cabin. The pilot's position was so high that landing must have been exceptionally difficult, even though portholes were provided. The two-bay wings folded for storage on the carrier.

Flying Scale Models 09/2012

I've always had a bit of a thing about Taubes, ever since seeing an old free-flight plan for the Rumpier Taube back in the early 1970s. So, when asked to design a few more fairly small models, and since Taubes were a topic that had come up recently, I armed myself with the Albatros Datafile and set about drawing a plan for an electric powered, R/C model. In order to keep it relatively simple, the Rumpler Taube was the type chosen. Although there is nothing particularly complicated about the build, there are rather a lot of wing ribs to cut. Therefore, I strongly suggest you arm yourself with the set of laser cut parts before starting to build the model. However, for those who insist on 'going it alone', the second sheet of the plan provides all the patterns that would appear as a cut part set laid out on wood size panels. Copy this sheet, cut out the panels and LIGHTLY spray-mount them to the wood to create your own print-wood style kit. Once the parts are cut out, because you only lightly stuck the patterns in place, the paper can be peeled away.

Aviation News 08/2013

The F-4Fs were joined by 40 visiting aircraft made up of numerous German military aircraft and some international, most arriving on Friday morning. From other nations came a Danish AF SAAB T-17; two RAF Tornado GR4s and a 208(R) Squadron Hawk TIA; two Belgian F-16BMs plus a single F-16AM in special markings; and a Spanish EF-18M and EF-18BM Hornet from Ala 12. Unfortunately, a Hellenic Air Force F-4E AUP from Andravida-based 338 Mira became unserviceable in Italy while en route so did not make it. A small number of historic aircraft attended and Saturday morning's flying programme saw several take to the air as well as a German Army Aviation Bo105P and one of the six Wittmundhafen-based A-4N Sky hawks, operated by BAE Systems Flight Systems, which provide aerial targets. The display everyone had been waiting for started at 14:00: the flight of four specially painted F-4Fs on the unit's last operational sorties. Unfortunately, 38+33 had a technical problem during start-up, so its crew hurriedly settled into spare aircraft 38+28. The jets taxied past the crowds, backtracked to Runway 26 and took off individually.

Airforces Monthly 08/2013

SEVENTEEN PEOPLE have died in a US-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle attack in the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan. Most of the dead were reported by locals to be members of the militant Haqqani network. Pakistan's recently-elected Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, protested and described the attack on July 3 as a violation of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. US President Barack Obama is on record saying the strikes are a legitimate part of the campaign against terrorism. The security situation in Afghanistan is still in a parlous state. Much of the carnage is said to be the work of insurgents, many of whom are reported to enter the country from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in north-west Pakistan, home to the Muslim Pashtun people who inhabit both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The region is known to be a stronghold for AI Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The United States continues to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the region, against the express wishes of Sharif.

Military Illustrated Modeller Issue 28

The M1A1 Abrams is the main weapon of the US Army, Army National Guard and the United States Marine Corps. Its development is the 3rd generation of tanks post WW2. In recent years the M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams fleet have been going through a complete overhaul programme to bring them back to a 'like new' condition. In addition to the overhauls, an armour package has been developed for urban activities; TUSK, or 'Tank Urban Survivability Kit'. There are two versions of this system; TUSK I, commonly found on the M1A1 and TUSK II, found on the Ml A2. There are several kits to depict the TUSK Abrams and Tamiya has just released the TUSK l/ll in plastic. Perfect Scale Modellbau along with Legend Productions offer resin upgrades for the Dragon Abrams kits. Because there is no plastic kit of the M1A1 with TUSK I, I choose to use the Dragon kit with the Perfect Scale resin conversion. I like to depart from the regular instructions and assemble, mainly so small parts are not damaged during the fitting of non kit-parts like the large resin bits. The Dragon kit is one of the best kits but still requires checking and re-checking of parts to insure proper alignment. Once the main kit parts are in place I start in on the resin parts.

Flying Scale Models 08/2012

The tailplane and elevators are built flat over the plans using strip stock, some formed parts, and laminated leading edges. After building the structure, strip material is applied to either side of the ribs allowing sufficient thickness for sanding to a streamlined profile. Pockets are provided for aluminium tubing that will house carbon fibre rods at assembly. The plans show the carbon fibre rod attached to the fuselage during its construction, but I chose to install aluminium tubes in the fuselage that the cyano glue slid into after the fuselage finishing was completed. The fin and rudder are built in the same fashion, with the fin being fully sheeted. After shaping and smoothing everything, slots were cut for CA hinges, and the parts were ready to cover. Wing structures are typical spar-and-rib construction, with the exception of particularly wide bass trailing edge and tip pieces, which make for a very rigid wing with good attachment for the trailing edge of the ribs. The top wing is built in two pieces and joined flat at the centre section with plywood joiners. The centre section is sheeted on top, and the cut-out over the cockpit is laminated using sheet material and sanded to shape. I made a cut-out for the radiator that fits between the two spars by removing sheeting on top and boxing in the opening for reinforcement.

Flying Scale Models 07/2012

When times are hard, it takes considerable self-belief to abandon employment with an established aircraft producer to set up in business to create a new aircraft for which no likely customer, either military or civilian, has implied a need. It would take a brave man indeed, particularly so at the start of the 1930s when the world had been plunged into a Depression that showed no sign of easing. Arthur Thornton had worked at the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company, a~id designed the all-metal Blackburn Bluebird single engined, twin-seat biplane light trainer/private touring aircraft in 1924 and also the Uncock single seat lightweight fighter aircraft in 1928. Thornton was convinced of a market for an advanced aerobatic aircraft that could also be used as a fighter trainer and for bombing training. So he left Blackburn in early 1930 to form Arrow Aircraft (Leeds) Ltd. where he set to work with associate Sidney Oddy to produce their first aircraft, a diminutive sequiplane type, with rearward, manually folding wings and Cirrus-Hermes IIB inverted inline engine.

Flying Scale Models 06/2012

If you intend to fly your model outdoors, you may wish to ignore this section and build it with the gear retracted. Using thin-nose pliers, bend the 1mm dia. wire components to shape using the plan as a guide. The inner legs are made up from one piece of wire; start bending from the wheel end and work your way up - you will need to slip the two sections of aluminium torque tube on the wire as you progress. Next, bend the outer sections, slipping into place the tube before you make the final bend at the top. Ensure that you make a left hand and a right hand leg. Bind and solder the three sections together. Mount the undercarriage into the model, epoxying the aluminium tubes to the wing plates (you will have to remove a section of tissue from below the wing, and patch in later). Note that the assembly also epoxies to the rear of F1 A. Thicken the gear legs with sanded scrap balsa and use thin strips of paper around the balsa to replicate the oleos etc. Use soft balsa block for the 'square sectioned' outer legs and fashion the doors from thin card.

Flying Scale Models 05/2012

The Focke-Wulf Fw190 Würger (or 'Shrike' - known also as the 'Butcher Bird') was one of the classic fighters of WWII, designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s. Tank decreed that "it was not to be a racehorse, but a cavalry horse". Using the air-cooled, 14-cylinder two-row radial BMW 801 engine (of eventually 1,677 hp), the Fw190A had ample power and was able to lift larger loads than its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The '190 was used by the Luftwaffe in a wide variety of roles, including day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft and, to a lesser degree, night fighter. From 1941 the Fw190 wrested air superiority away from the RAF, until the introduction of the vastly improved Spitfire Mk.lX in July 1942. The Fw190 was well liked by its pilots - some of the Luftwaffe's most successful fighter aces claimed a great many of their kills while flying it.

Model Airplane International 02/2011

The interior is made up of plastic and etched parts and the moulding quality is almost equal to equivalent resin examples. The eagle-eyed readers among you may have noticed the different colour seat compared to John Wilkes impressive Spitfire (See lss.50), as in this instance the type had an all-metal version. A dark brown wash was given to the interior as I find enamel paint has a finer pigment than oil paints. During building I frequently study the later stages for any snags and this was fortunate because when I test-fitted the horizontal stabilizers (parts C29-CI9) their location holes did require some filing to get a snug fit. This would have been difficult if I had already closed up the fuselage. Finally, after dry-fitting, the cockpit and fuselage were permanently glued together and set aside to dry. Later I found a slight step along the nose section, so to correct this I sprayed light coats of Xtracolor matt base along the seam and allowed it to dry before sanding it smooth. It takes a couple of applications to get right but I was pleased with the results. A dry fit of the lower wing section to the fuselage showed a rather large gap.