Friday, September 20, 2013

Flight Journal 12/2013

IN THIS ISSUE WE ASK a series of sometimes-rhetorical, sometimes-literal questions, the first and most controversial being, "Does Israel have the world's best air force?" This is a pretty heady question, but then, it's a heady subject. The reason we asked is because there is probably no other air force in the world that has had to prove its prowess through the immediate defense of the homeland so often. This because all of their neighbors would love to push them into the sea and Israel is only about the size of New Jersey. So, it wouldn't take much of a push. To make matters worse, it is so narrow (9 miles in some areas), that almost all of it is within range of anything that shoots. So, it stands to reason that the Israeli air force would be critical to the country's survival. The way they handle their defense is a fascinating, timely subject and Peter Mersky takes us inside the Israel Air Force to show us what made it such a force to be reckoned with today.

Aviation News 10/2013

The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) has moved from the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea in case its air wing is called upon to strike Syria. The USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) had arrived in the Arabian Sea to relieve the Nimitz, though both will remain in the area due to ongoing tensions. In addition to the other ships which make up the battle groups of both carriers, four Arleigh Burke-Class guided-missile destroyers are in the eastern Mediterranean Sea - the ships involved are the USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Gravely (DDG 107), USS Mahan (DDG 72) and USS Ramage (DDG 61). It is also likely there are submarines in the area with both the latter and destroyers available to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria. President Barack Obama has called for a limited strike on Syria and requested a vote by Congress on this when it returns from recess on September 9. Obama was urging action in response to the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21, which the US believes was carried out by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

AirForces Monthly 10/2013

A DETACHMENT of two Mirage F1CR and one Mirage F1B combat aircraft from the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air - AdlA) deployed to the Russian Air Force's 3958th Aviation Base at Savasleyka, 250 miles (400km) east of Moscow, in late August. The aircraft were from Escadron de Reconnaissance (ER) 2/33 'Savoie' at Base Aérienne (BA) 118 Mont-de-Marsan, Aquitaine. The Mirages, together with 60 French airmen, arrived at Savasleyka on August 18 and returned home on the 23rd. Two Transall C-160RS and one C-130H-30 Hercules provided support. The Mirages participated in a four-day joint exercise flying over the Nizhny Novgorod and Tver regions. They undertook formation flights with four Russian Air Force MiG-29SMTs, simulating air-to-ground attacks and flying with mixed French-Russian crews in two-seat MiG-29UBM combat trainers.

Military Illustrated Modeller 10/2013

The best small-scale kit of the Russian T-72 tank is currently made by Revell. It's an Ml export version, equivalent in most respects to the Russian T-72A but with some small differences. I'd previously converted this kit to a slightly earlier version of the T-72A, the model 1979. The model 1983 version features the addition of anti-radiation appliqué bolted over the turret roof. There are also some small panels of this material around the driver compartment. Just after starting this model a resin kit of the KMT-7 mine roller system was released by the Russian company Zedval. I'd seen some pictures of this particular variant fitted with this system whilst serving in Chechnya and found it an appealing subject. Overall the Revell kit is good, although there are some issues with the turret shape in particular. Russian tank turrets are actually quite complex in shape, but it's clear from studying photos that the Revell one isn't correct around the front or rear. One very useful feature of the kit is that it includes two styles of road-wheels, the earlier type with eight indents and the later style with six. This gives a lot of scope for conversion possibilities across the different T-72 variants. This particular version is often seen with the later style wheel so I used these for my model.

Air Modeller Issue 50

In 1934, the Douglas Company designer, Ed Heinemann began work on a new dive bomber for the U.S. Navy, which was to be based on aircraft carriers. After many twists and intermediate type designs, finally on 23 July 1 938, the first flight of the prototype of the Dauntless, the XBT-2 took place. The first production model was shipped on June 4, 1940, the SBD-1. Over the next four years, there were several models Dauntless (SBD-1, -2, -3, -4, -5 and -6), besides being used by the U.S. Navy, other countries, (Australia, Chile, France, Mexico, New Zealand and the UK), and the U.S. Army also used it, under the name of A-24 Banshee. At the beginning of hostilities against Japan, the Dauntless proved itself including in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway and Guadalcanal. And specifically in Midway where they won great respect, being the principal architects of victory, because in four minutes they sank three of four Japanese aircraft carriers. The fourth aircraft carrier, was sunk a little later. In particular the model SBD-3 performed well at Midway and were the same aircraft that had participated in the Coral Sea a month earlier, well worn aircraft, and experienced in combat, these are aspects that must be reflected in the realisation of the model I had planned.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

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 'officially' 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.

Electric Flight 11/2013

The new P-51D Mustang EP is a new model just introduced to the market. This model is sold by Hobby People and is designed for the modeler who's looking for a simple bolt-together model that requires minimal building experience. This plane is great for someone looking to get into a nice warbird design that packs many scale features like panel lines, retractable landing gear (both main and tailwheel), and a 4-bladed propeller and spinner design. All of these features in a brushless, powerful package give the modeler the flight performance of a sport plane. The P-51D EP is designed to use the included 760Kv outrunner brushless motor that comes pre-installed and hooked up to a 50-amp speed control and a nice 4-blade prop with a plastic scale-like spinner. The P-51D comes stuffed with six 9-gram servos that are all installed from the factory. The P-51D is a very well-constructed, receiver-ready ARF with molded EPP foam construction and a nicely painted semi-gloss, flat finish with a magnetic canopy hatch design.

Flypast Special - Mighty Eighth

The three 'Overs' is the timeless description of 'Yanks' in the UK. From 1942 GIs, sailors and 'flyboys' began to arrive in Great Britain, they were the first of tens of thousands. The majority of these 'invaders' were also very young... or did they just seem that way? By early 1946 there was hardly a trace of them, and many of the airfields and other establishments that they had inhabited lay silent or had reverted to previous uses. This relatively fleeting stay was to have an effect that has lasted down the generations. They had an impact on the military, political, economic and social thinking, and behaviour of the country. History has shown that the 'Friendly Invasion' of 1942-1945 was not to be a one-off. As the nature of the 'Cold War' crystallised, the basing of US military personnel in the UK became a reality again in 1948 as the international situation degraded and the Berlin blockade heralded a tense future. US forces have remained resident, to one degree or another, ever since.

Tamiya's 1:32 P-51D Mustang

The prototype NA-73X Mustang was designed and rolled out by North American Aviation a mere 102 days after the specification was issued by the British Purchasing Commission. The initial operational Mustang variants were powered by the Allison V-1710 engine, which was optimised for low-altitude performance. The P-51 Mustang flew its first operational missions with the Royal Air Force in the reconnaissance and fighter-bomber roles. The combination of a Rolls Royce Merlin engine with the innovative airframe and laminar flow wing design of the A-35/P-51A resulted in one of the best fighter aircraft of World War Two. However, the P-51B/C series (Mustang III) was somewhat hampered by poor visibility through its heavily framed canopy. It was also difficult to bail out in an emergency due to the multi part canopy. The Malcolm Hood was a sliding, one-piece canopy designed by the British to be fitted to the Mustang III to address the bailout problem. However, this was a stopgap measure.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Company Profile 1895 to 1969 - Junkers

Aged 56 by the time his first aircraft had flown, Professor Hugo Junkers can be described as one of the greatest aviation pioneers and a maverick to boot. His approach to how an aircraft should be built was like no other and, rather than modifying, re-designing or copying ideas from other pioneers, Junkers took his own unique route and doggedly stuck to it for the two decades. Proceeding in the face of the theory that aircraft should be built from wood and fabric, all Junkers aircraft, from the 'Tin Donkey' of 1915 onwards, were made of metal, a material that was regarded, right up to the early 1930s by many other aircraft manufacturers as being too heavy. Wood and fabric were of course ideal from a performance and massed production point of view, but Junkers was a visionary who had no ambition to make money on the back of military aircraft. His goal was to prove that metal would display a much greater durability from a long-term commercial service point of view and his unceasing efforts to prove this also made Junkers and his aircraft as pioneers of the airline industry.

Panzer Aces No.26

I decided to build this vignette after reading the Squadron Signal Publications book titled SS Armour (ref 6014). One of the photos showed several German officers chatting in front of a "LSSAH" Panther while a large group of expectant civilians watch the scene around them, as if admiring a new race car. I made a personal interpretation of the scene, preferring to make the civilians stand in the background in a slightly higher position, watching the scene from a vantage point. The vignette takes place on a 13x13 cm square chipboard with sealed edges. The basic base elements are a brick panel and a wall made by Mig Productions and also an Evergreen plastic panel sidewalk. Both the side walls and the terrace floor were made with a 1,5 mm Evergreen panels. I placed a photo etch railing on the upper wall, the handrail had to be thickened with a specially shaped Evergreen rod. I placed an Aneste streetlamp and bench that was scratch built using rectangular section plastic rods as the only urban furniture. I started airbrushing a layer of Tamiya buff and added several tones with medium grey, using flat green paint on the grass.

Military History 11/2011

In 2001 the citizens of Leeds, England, erected a bronze statue in honor of Acting Flight Sergeant Arthur Louis Aaron, an RAF bomber pilot and Leeds' only World War II Victoria Cross winner. Unveiled by the last survivor of Aaron's crew, the statue depicts the pilot standing beside a tree, up which climb three children, representing the generations that have enjoyed freedom because of his and others' sacrifice. "In appalling conditions he showed the greatest qualities of courage, determination and leadership," Aaron's VC citation reads, "and though wounded and dying, he set an example of devotion to duty which has seldom been equaled and never surpassed." In March 1941 Aaron was a student on scholarship at Leeds School of Architecture when he became one of 23 founding cadets of the Leeds University Air Squadron. He trained as a pilot at the No. 1 British Flying Training School in Terrell, Texas, earned his pilots wings in June 1942 and subsequently joined the No. 218 "Gold Coast" Squadron at RAF Downham Market airfield in Norfolk.

Armchair General 11/2011

The superlative "greatest" is often applied to commanders, battles and countless aspects of military history -too often, it seems. One can hardly read an account about a battle or leader without finding the word "greatest" in it somewhere. In this issue of Armchair General, however, we strive to put the "great" back in "greatest." The Korean War accomplishments of General Matthew B. Ridgway, the subject of our Battlefield Leader feature article, were described by General Omar N. Bradley as "the greatest feat of personal leadership in the history of the Army." Given Ridgway's remarkable achievement - miraculously transforming the beaten, retreating U.S. 8th Army into a revitalized fighting force - Bradley's "greatest" description seems right on target. The U.S. Army's World War II chief of staff, General George C. Marshall, used "greatest" to describe the achievements of U.S. 4th Armored Division - aka "Patton's Best." Marshall called the dramatic "race across France" that the 4th spearheaded in the summer of 1944 "one of the greatest feats of American arms." Our current You Command interactive article challenges YOU to lead a combat command of the 4th as it battles German forces in a key September 1944 attack.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Airfix Model World Special - Scale Modelling Step-by-step

Welcome to Scale Modelling -Step-by-Step... whether you are a total novice, returning to the hobby after a long lay-off, or an experienced modeller. I mention the latter because even old-hands can pick up bad or unproductive habits and forget the basics. While flexibility and experimentation form a large part of building scale models, there are some 'standards' that are set in stone and many construction, painting and airbrushing methods are featured here. Primarily though, this instructional publication is aimed at beginners who, if they choose to stick with it, will have entered a wonderful world in which to develop their creativity. Modelling encompasses many disciplines, and for younger people it is perfect for developing manual dexterity and patience. For those interested in history, or who would like to be, the hobby presents a fantastic opportunity to explore research material... not just for inspiration, but also for achieving the best possible accuracy.

Airfix Model World 10/2013

With the career of the USA's current electronic attack aircraft, the EA-6B Prowler, nearing its sunset a successor was badly needed. The role is currently being inherited by the new family member of the 'Superbug' series, the EA-18G Growler. This sub-type shares 90% commonality with its counterpart, the combat-proven F/A-18F, which fields a capable self-defence suite as well as the primary mission equipment required to fulfil the electronic attack role. At this time the EA-18G is slated to be the only dedicated electronic warfare aircraft in the future force of the USA. It is also proposed that Growler should be the main source of tactical jamming support for all NATO air forces. Capabilities include Suppression of Enemy Air Defences, stand-off attack and escort jamming, non-traditional electronic attack and time-critical strike support. The Growler has already flown on active service and cut its teeth during Operation Odyssey Dawn, to help enforce a United Nations no-fly zone over Libya in 2011.

Military Machines International 10/2013

A recent email and accompanying photo sent in by Roland Groom referred to an example of the British Army's Warthog all-terrain tracked vehicle undergoing tests at Bovington (shown bottom) with the locally based Armoured Trials & Development Unit. The vehicle had been fitted with a full suite of the relatively new Tarian add-on armour produced by a local Dorset based firm. In laymen's terms the Tarian armour is essentially a hi-tech composite woven rope/cloth-like material with ballistic properties that can be formed into a netting that is arranged around the exterior of the vehicle and acts in the same way as conventional bar armour, which has been widely used in recent years on vehicles serving in Afghanistan for protection against RPGs. The Tarian armour has the advantage of being easier to produce and is substantially lighter than the conventional bar armour, thus increasing the payload ability of the vehicle it is fitted to. Also shown here is a Tarian-equipped Foxhound armoured patrol car, and by way of comparison a Warthog fitted with the conventional bar armour, both photographed at the Defence Vehicle Dynamics show this year.

Combat Aircraft Monthly 10/2013

THE NEWS FROM Seoul that South Korea has probably selected the F-15SE in its FX-III fighter contest comes as a big boost for Boeing. Not only would this secure the future of the F-15 production line at St Louis past 2020. but it also casts doubt over export ambitions for the Lockheed Martin F-35. Boeing executives have subtly pressed customers, including the US Air Force, to realise that their advanced Eagle and Super Hornet offerings both provide viable alternatives to the F-35. The push to include stealthy weapons pods on both types, new large area display cockpits. AESA radars and embedded forward-looking infra-red sensors all offer JSF-like capabilities, albeit in much older core platforms, which are not inherently stealthy. US Air Force pilots have long suggested (off the record) that a Block 60 F-16 on steroids, or new Silent Eagles, would provide capabilities approaching those of the F-35. but with far lower program risks — and. as Korea has seemingly illustrated, at a more acceptable and predictable acquisition cost.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Model Military International 10/2013

US and Coalition forces in Iraq found themselves fighting an intense Counter-Insurgency Operation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. US Military doctrine of the time did not allocate armoured vehicles for "behind the wire" operations and only used unarmoured HMMWVs and trucks for patrolling and transport in the supposedly safe areas. The insurgents began to use mines and Improvised Explosive Devices, which they were able to use to strike almost anywhere. Rising casualties resulted in an urgent program to add armour packages to trucks and the introduction of new armoured HMMWVs. The armoured HMMWVs were never entirely successful due to their vulnerability to "under belly blasts". The US DoD went looking for a solution to the problem. It was decided that it would be easier to purchase an off the shelf solution rather than go through designing and developing a new vehicle. 30 years previously, the South African and former Rhodesian Security Forces had faced a similar mine problem and had developed a solution, the concept of the V shaped hull. This directed the blast outwards and away from the vehicle thus protecting the occupants. One of the first vehicles to be obtained for testing was the RG-31.

Scale Aviation Modeller 09/2013

Study of books, Internet sites, and talks with fellow modellers suggest there are some common opinions about certain aircraft. A lot of them claim the F-105 is very beautiful, but I never liked it. The A-7 is regarded as the opposite, and has even earned its nickname based on the fact, but I always liked the lines of the Corsair II. The Westland Wyvern is also seldom regarded as a beautiful plane, but I always loved its shape. Perhaps there is something wrong with me? I always wanted to build a Wyvern, but the only option in my scale -1/48 - was the Dynavector vacform kit. My only sources of information about this product were Internet reviews, in which some positive reviews offered an insight into the kit, but only a hands-on examination can tell you everything. Dynavector kits are not distributed in Poland, so the option was to order online. I debated the purchase at some length, as I had no information to go on and the kit is rather expensive.

Scale Military Modeller International 09/2013

I was very curious and excited for three reasons when the Editor asked if l was interested in putting together the Trumpeter T-62 ERA. Firstly, l have a few Trumpeter kits in my stash but have not yet built any of them, secondly I remember building the Tamiya T-62 many years back and enjoyed it despite all the shortcomings in the kit and lastly, l like the shape of modern tanks with 'Explosive Reactive Armour' as they look a bit futuristic! On opening the box I was delighted to see the many parts (approximately 600) including some photo-etch, a turned metal barrel and some different lengths of wire. I found the instructions easy to follow and I have to say that even at an early stage I had decided that I would be building more Trumpeter kits in the near future! I began the build with the wheels, and found no problems here as they all went together easily (and well done Trumpeter for the separate rims). The bottom hull is made of two parts and needed just a tiny bit of filler.

Model Airplane International 09/2013

The kit comes in a surprisingly large top-opening box and is packed with four grey-coloured sprues plus one clear. Parts are of very nice quality, especially when you consider this is a low volume kit. There are also a lot of parts, there seem to be enough parts to make practically any late Spitfire/Seafire here. Different rudders, guns, radiators, propellers, the list goes on. A simple but effective A5-size instruction booklet is included with colour call-outs for Gunze-Sangyo paints. A very nice decal sheet by Aviprint completes the package. The decals provide two sets of roundels in both WWII and postwar colours; the instructions explain this is because contemporary colour photographs show the colours looking dull, possibly due to fading, and the modeller is thus given the choice of colours - a nice touch. On with the build then, inevitably this begins with the cockpit. Take note of the instructions, as the correct rear bulkhead needs to be selected early on. The interior is nicely detailed and goes together easily. The fuselage sidewalls are well detailed and careful painting is required to bring out this detail. I used Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green, which is pretty close to the RAF colour though it would seem some Seafire cockpits were black.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Model Aircraft 09/2013

The post World War II German Air Force was founded in 1956 during the Cold War as the aerial warfare branch of the armed forces of the then West Germany, and after the reunification of East and West 1990, it was integrated with parts of the air arm of the former German Democratic Republic. There is no continuity between the current Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr and the former Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, which was founded in 1935 and completely disbanded after World War II. Thus the term Luftwaffe is used for both the 'historic' and the 'current' German air force. After World War II German aviation was severely curtailed, and military aviation was completely forbidden by the Allied Control Commission. This all changed in 1955 when West Germany joined NATO, as the Western Allies believed that Germany was needed to counter the increasing military threats posed by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. Therefore on 9 January 1956 a new German Air Force was founded as a branch of the new Bundeswehr (Federal Defence Force).

Britain At War 09/2013

DOUGLAS Boston Mk.V BZ590, an 18 Squadron aircraft, took off from Forli near Rimini at 20.45 hours on 21 April 1945, the crew's target being a river crossing on the Po at Taglio di Po, followed by an armed reconnaissance of the Po Valley. The aircraft failed to return and was believed to have been brought down by anti-aircraft fire just days before the end of the war in Europe. After BZ590 failed to return, all four crew members on board were listed as missing believed killed. Those four men were Sergeant David Raikes, who was the pilot, Flight Sergeant David Perkins, the navigator, Flight Sergeant Alexander Bostock, the wireless operator and air gunner, and Warrant Officer John Hunt RAAF, the air gunner. All of the crew were aged 20, except for Hunt who was 21. Eye-witnesses of the last moments of BZ590 would later recall the crash with clarity, it having been nicknamed locally as the "Pippo". The wreckage continued to burn for a number of hours after it was shot down. Based on these accounts, the remains of the aircraft were unearthed in 2011 by the Italian amateur archaeological society Archeologi dell'Aria, a group that searches for the remains of Second World War aircraft.

Military Modelling 09/2013

With the sunshine and warm temperatures of what might turn out to be the best summer we have had here in the UK for some years, there is of course lots more to attract our attention. The shows such as Duxford, Tankfest, and the War & Peace Revival have a passed now but the memories of them, the new references we have gathered and no doubt a few more kits to add to the 'stash', we have to accept that the days are getting shorter once more and thoughts begin to turn to what projects to do next. On our website we maintain a popular forum, where lots of modellers share tips and advice, and we all earn new ways of trying things. With regular members from all around the world there are a great variety of interests to encourage each other, in a friendly and supportive environment. We are coming to the c ose of our Bomber Command Group Build, and when you read this we will be into a new one, on Panzer IV chassis-based AFVs. So there's a lot to choose from - gun tanks, SPs, Panzerjäger, Flakpanzer etc. and in any scale - if it's on a Panzer IV chassis, do come and join in.

Flypast Magazine 10/2013

Max Gaskins war began as an engine fitter on a windswept airfield in Yorkshire. It ended with him as a master bomber's flight engineer in an elite Pathfinder squadron. In between he got to do what few in Bomber Command did -dropping agents and supplies to Resistance forces in France, Norway, the Low Countries and Denmark, flying with 161 Squadron from the RAF s most secret airfield, Tempsford in Bedfordshire. It was a career that earned him a DFC and Bar after 63 'ops', during which he served alongside legends of both the bomber war and the famous 'Tempsford Taxi' service. Max was on a cycling holiday in Devon when war was declared, listening to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlains speech over a car radio at the roadside on a sunny morning near Barnstable. He was still short of his 18th birthday but immediately turned north and three days later arrived back at the family home in Liverpool, determined to do his bit by joining the RAF.