In today's hyped-up world it is common to see adjectives such as "superb", "excellent" and "superior" when describing a new product. The hobby of scale modelling is no exception. We are fortunate to live in an era that is seeing an unprecedented number of brand new kits released across a wide range of scales. Many of these releases are very good indeed. Late in 2009, however, Tamiya lifted the bar. Tamiya's 1:32 scale Supermarine Spitfire is truly a superb kit in terms of level of detail, engineering innovation, fit and presentation. In the warm afterglow of its release, many modellers have declared Tamiya's Spitfire Mk.lXc to be the best scale model kit released to date. Naturally, such a subjective assertion is very much a matter of opinion, but the three modellers in this book would not arque with this view!
SITUATED IN LFA17, the M6 Pass, or Lüne Gorge as it's officially known, is a flowed valley running south to north at Tebay in eastern Cumbria. In the early 2000s this valley reverberated to the sound of frontline fast jets and was one of the best places to catch them. Sighting ten to 20 aircraft a day was not unusual, and more often than not they were frontline types. In particular the valley was well used by Tornado F3s from RAF Coningsby and RAF Leeming, while Jaguars from RAF Coltishall in Norfolk were an almost daily occurrence. In fact the only aircraft to have been scarce there over the years were C-130s and F-15s, as both of these types tend to go further west into the Lake District. Today this valley has seen a reduction in traffic probably greater than any other, but Tucanos, Hawks, Tornado GR4s and Typhoons can still be observed as well as the occasional helicopter. However, expect no more than half-a-dozen movements on a good day.
North Korean provocations have long been seen as merely harsh rhetoric and empty threats, but in recent weeks tensions between North and South Korea have reached an all-time high. Following North Korea's underground nuclear test on February 12, the United Nations said it would impose tougher sanctions on the country, which in turn led to North Korea threatening that it could make a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the US. Nevertheless, the UN sanctions came into force on March 7. Meanwhile, in the South, Exercise Key Resolve, the annual US and Republic of Korea Armed Forces command post exercise, began on March 14. Although largely computer-based, it did also involve US military aircraft, including B-52Hs and F-22 Raptors. Additionally, as part of Exercise Foal Eagle, two USAF B-52Hs flights were also undertaken over South Korea, the first on March 8, followed by a second on March 19, when the aircraft dropped practice bombs on targets at the Pilsung Range in Kangwon province.
Florida Jets is an annual jet-together that has been taking place for 17 years. Promoter and Top Gun originator, Frank Tiano conceived it as a means of bringing RC enthusiasts with a penchant for jet models together for an exchange of ideas and to provide an event that is truly exciting for spectators. It has grown dramatically, and along the way, has also become a showcase for manufacturers and suppliers in this unique segment of the RC hobby. I was told by Frank that I could count on a few surprises so I was anticipating great things. I wasn't disappointed. Since the event is more of a fly-in meet rather than a contest, participants are pretty much free to fly as much as they'd like. There is no judging or scoring, just pure jetting around a nearly perfect Florida sky. The breeze was steady, but right down the runway, allowing some of the larger, heavier models to touchdown at just above walking speed.