It seems like most modellers building German WWII armor prefer the more powerful Tigers or the Panther over the more common Panzer IV, but I was very pleased when Dragon announced they were to release kits of all the Panzer IV variants. I prefer the versions with the longer guns and my interest with the 1943 Kharkov battles made the Ausf. G an obvious choice for me when it was released a couple of years ago. I had long considered the idea of a model of a white-washed Panzer Grey vehicle fighting in and around the city of Kharkov and furthermore it would offer me a chance to try the hairspray method. When plan a new project I search for unique details which would make the model stand out and this approach also opens possibilities for a personal touch to the completed model. The inspiration for me to start this project was a collection of images of a Panzer IV I found on the web site Missing Links, showing a Das Reich Division vehicle from Kharkov. The most prominent feature on this tank was the mounting of extended Winterketten tracks on the left side, with ordinary tracks on the right. There are other details on this vehicle not seen elsewhere, and the fact that Echelon had released decals for this particular vehicle endorsed my choice of subject.
An hour and a half before, we'd boarded our two MH-60 Black Hawks and lifted off into a moonless night. It was only a short flight from our base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to the border with Pakistan, and from there another hour to the target we had been studying on satellite images for weeks. The cabin was pitch-black except for the lights from the cockpit. I had been wedged against the left door with no room to stretch out. We'd stripped the helicopter of its seats to save on weight, so we either sat on the floor or on small camp chairs purchased at a local sporting goods store before we left. Now perched on the edge of the cabin, I stretched my legs out the door trying to get the blood flowing. My legs were numb and cramped. Crowded into the cabin around me and in the second helicopter were 23 of my teammates from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. I had operated with these men dozens of times before. Some I had known 10 years or more. I trusted each one completely. five minutes ago, the whole cabin had come alive. We pulled on our helmets and checked our radios and then made one final check of our weapons.
At Daniel Defense, they often say it is proud to manufacture the finest cold hammer-forged barrels on the planet. Not only do they hammer forge the rifling of the barrel, but they also hammer forges the chambers. By manufacturing barrels in this fashion, they completely eliminate any tooling marks, burrs or imperfections that can otherwise be present in a barrel manufactured by other means. In turn, this virtually eliminates the necessity for barrel break-in. Out of the box, they recommend that you fieldstrip the platform. Once broken down, clean the bore and chamber with a proper chamber and bore brush to break up any carbon and copper that might be left over from factory function testing. Next, apply some bore cleaner to a cleaning patch and run it through the bore starting from the chamber end. Follow the wet patch with a dry patch and repeat this process until the patches come out clean. Using a quality gun lubricant, apply a thin coat to the inside of your upper receiver, bolt carrier, bolt and charging handle. Once this is done, reassemble and head to the range! Keep these components well lubricated for the first couple hundred rounds. This will help condition the moving parts and make the action smoother.
The year was 1973 and the scene was the 21 st EAA convention at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Among the hordes of modern light aircraft on show, one design really stood out: the remarkable Bede BD-5J. Alongside its piston-powered BD-5A stablemate, this extraordinary newcomer was the talk of the event, a profile only further raised by the sensational, rocketing demonstrations it gave. Equally impressive as those performances was the fact that - piloted by Bede Aircraft's ChiefTest Pilot, Lester Berven - the BD-5J had only just made its first flight, on July 20, 1973. To the homebuilders present, Berven's sensational displays surely pointed to an exciting future of wallet-friendly, high-performance jet ownership and operation. In reality, the BD-5Js planned development was hampered by several factors and, subsequently, only a very limited number were ever built. Even so, the BD-5J remains an iconic jet and one given extensive exposure well outside the aviation sphere. Awarded a long-term Guinness Book of Records listing as the Smallest Jet Aircraft, it shot to fame in 1983 when used as Roger Moore's sprightly getaway platform in the James Bond film Octopussy. A worthy tribute to the BD-5J's enduring nature is that, more than four decades post-conception, the aircraft is getting a new lease of life, albeit without its original designer's direct input.
Snakes are often stereotyped for their deadly bite and the family of particularly venomous snakes called the Viper (Viperidea) are known for their ability to either kill or immobilise their prey. They can also attack without injecting any poison and can live for up to 30 years. Given this image it is not surprising that it also lends its name to one of the world's most popular contemporary fighter jets; the Lockheed Martin F-16. Whilst it is formally known as the Fighting Falcon many pilots and ground crew nickname it the Viper The name is well deserved; head on it does look like a snake, and it certainly packs a powerful 'bite'. Almost forty years after the F-16 took to the skies the modern-day variants of the Fighting Falcon were used by the Israeli Defence Force over the Gaza Strip in November 2012 as they attacked rockets that were being fired into Israel. In the latter part of 2012 Turkish Air Force F-16's were also in action over Northern Iraq attacking Kurdish separatist elements using the area as a sanctuary to attack across the border into Turkey Greek F-l 6s also routinely engage in virtual dogfights with Turkish F-16s over the Aegean Sea, sometimes with dramatic consequences.