Wednesday, January 23, 2013
AFTER YEARS OF DELAYS, cost issues and technical glitches, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSI;) is moving toward becoming operational. The Marine Corps is moving aggressively to be first with the JSF by kicking off operations at Yuma, Arizona, with squadron VMFA (AW)-121 "Green Knights" early in 2013. The JSF's future depends largely on how soon authorization will be given to begin training pilots and maintainers at the 33rd Fighter Wing "Nomads," Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The joint-service training wing will serve as a schoolhouse for all three JSF versions—the land-based F-35A in its 58th Fighter Squadron "Gorillas;" the STOVL F-35B in squadron VMFAT-501 "Warlords" and the carrier-based F-35C in squadron VFA-101 "Grim Reapers." The wing has Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy members scattered throughout. In mid-October, Eglin had 20 JSFs—10 F-35As, nine Marine Corps F-35Bs, and one British F-35B. JSFs were flying at Eglin under severe restrictions, which included not flying in the rain and, the Lightning II moniker notwithstanding, staying 25 miles from lightning.
at 8:10 PM
Model building has many purposes. At one extreme lies the sophisticated, ultra precise, and—quite frequently—inordinately expensive models. These are the models whose reason for being is to assist in development of full-size prototypes—cars, submarines, spacecraft, whatever—or through the magic of special effects, to bring fantasy to life on the silver screen. In the B.C. (before computers) era, it was understood that a model builder was someone who created realistic three-dimensional replicas or representations. The end result was something you could hold in your hand (or stand next to if the scale was sufficiently large) and/or walk around. It existed in physical form. The advent of computers has changed that. Today, a model builder is defined in Hollywood as someone who creates three-dimensional images on a computer screen. I'm sorry, but unless you have access to Industrial Light & Magic, it isn't the same thing.
at 8:08 PM
When entering bulk production in 1944, the 37mm Flak 43 stood at the end of a development that had started out in 1935 with the appearance of the 3.7cm Flak 18. By mid-war it had become clear that the ubiquitous 20mm Flak did not pack enough of a punch to deal with the ever growing allied threat from the skies. Rheinmetall-Borsig and Krupp participated in a tender requesting a stronger weapon. Initially Krupp won the tender, but had to cede to the competitor due a construction flaw later. The resulting quarrel between fat cats of the party stopped the start of the bulk production from as early as 1942 until 1944. By that time this powerful weapon came too late to have an impact on the outcome of the war, even though a significant number were delivered owing to efficient production of this clever design.
at 7:57 PM
Few other hobbies give as great a return on the hobbyist's investment as plastic modeling. Even a novice with few tools and little space can build handsome models from inexpensive plastic kits. Experienced modelbuilders create superbly detailed miniature aircraft, armored vehicles, cars, trucks, ships, and other models using techniques that call for exquisite craftsmanship, but that still require only modest work space and a limited range of tools and materials. HINTS AND TIPS FOR PLASTIC MODELING contains several hundred modelbuilding techniques compiled from publications of the International Plastic Modelers Society/USA and volunteered by IPMS/USA members. All these hints and tips have been tested and found useful to beginning, intermediate, and advanced modelers.
at 7:53 PM