Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Military Modelling Vol.43 No.13

I've written one or two articles about Young Miniatures offerings in the past and always been complimentary towards them so please forgive me for gushing a bit about this one! It's perhaps not as charismatic as the Hector piece I painted (see MM Vol.42 No.10), which after all is fashioned after an actor in a Hollywood movie. In fact it'll have a bit of work to do to equal the Hector kit in my eyes. In fairness, this being an historical representation, I should look more to the accuracy of the armour and accoutrements, rather than focusing on how photogenic it is. This gives me a problem though, because after all, we'd like our painted pieces to stand out if they're not in the display cabinet - to draw the eye. I'm not sure (at this point, because he's still in bits as I write this) whether that'll be the case. However, the box art promises quite a lot, so I suppose it's a little adventure worth following to see what's at the end. The box art as I've mentioned is competent, not too flashy and "you'll never paint to this standard" flashy, which must encourage the beginner and intermediate modellers. The box art is also lifelike and this makes you want to see if you can paint as well - I think that's a good thing.

Flight International 2013-12-10

Boeing is nothing if not resilient. One month after receiving a black eve when South Korea decided to re-tender its 60-air-craft F-X III competition rather than select the F-15 Silent Eagle, which was the only contender inside Seoul's budget, the US air-framer changed tack, pitching an aircraft it dubs the "Advanced F-15" at October's Seoul air show. That shift may prove to be a winning move, despite South Korea's selection of the Lockheed Martin F-35A to replace its fleet of obsolete McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms. That order will be for 40 of the fifth-generation aircraft for delivery from 2018, with an option for another 20. However, there are still another 20 aircraft to play for, which in today's world of tight defence budgets is a big deal. Believed to be in the frame for this non-stealth part of the package are F-X III losers Eurofighter Typhoon and F-15 - and Boeing's apparent price advantage may well swing the deal for its "Advanced" offering, which lacks the canted tails and conformal weapon bays of the Silent Eagle.

Model Military International 01/2014

The Pz.Kpfw. 35(t) was one of two indigenous light tanks adopted by the German army when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in 1938/39, the other being the excellent Pz.Kpfw. 38(t). Both these tanks equipped several German Panzer Divisions during the early months of World War Two, and were an important part of the German invasions of Poland in 1939, France and the Low Countries in 1940, and Russia in 1941. The Pz.Kpfw. 35(t) began as a project from Skoda to answer a requirement from the Czech Army for a light cavalry tank. Ceskomoravskâ Kolben-Danék (CKD) offered a small light tank, the P-ll-a, weighing 8.5 tonnes and having a maximum 16mm of armour. Skoda offered a heavier design based on their earlier SU design. It featured 25mm of armour and weighed 10.5 tonnes, and was of riveted construction. Frontal armour was 25mm on the hull and turret; side armour ranged from 15-16mm and rear armour from 15-19mm. The main gun was a 37mm L/40 Skoda A3 design that featured a "pepperpot" muzzle brake and could penetrate 37mm of armour at 100 meters and 31mm at 500 meters, enough to deal with most of the light and light-medium tanks of the mid-1930s. Secondary armament was two 7.92mm light machine guns, one in the driver's front plate and the other in the turret front. The turret-mounted MG could be locked to track with the main gun, or unlocked and aimed independently.

Aviation Week & Space Technology - December 9, 2013

A large, classified unmanned aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman is now flying—and it demonstrates a major advance in combining stealth and aerodynamic efficiency Defense and intelligence officials say the secret unmanned aerial system (UAS), designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, is scheduled to enter production for the U.S. Air Force and could be operational by 2015. Funded through the Air Force's classified budget, the program to build this new UAS, dubbed the RQ-180, was awarded to Northrop Grumman after a competition that included Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The aircraft will conduct the penetrating ISR mission that has been left unaddressed, and under wide debate, since retirement of the Lockheed SR-71 in 1998. Neither the Air Force nor Northrop Grumman would speak about the classified airplane. When queried about the project, Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy said, "The Air Force does not discuss this program."

BBC History 12/2013

Canadian soldiers coped with life on the front line during the First World War by developing their own 'trench language', new research suggests. In a study published in War in History, Dr Tim Cook from the Canadian War Museum explores letters and other documents written by soldiers during the conflict that reveal that the men swore habitually and used slang terms to refer to objects and events. By comparing these records with those used in earlier studies into the use of language, Cook suggests that the use of slang - referring to German hand grenades as 'potato mashers', for instance - acted as a 'shield', allowing combatants to trivialise death. The use of swearwords, meanwhile, is suggested to have been useful in offering relief from the discipline and stress of warfare. Both forms of expression, Cook argues, were designed to distinguish soldiers from civilians. Swearing became habitual without the customary need to tone down vulgarities in the presence of women and children, and lewd songs acted as an expression of masculinity that forged bonds of camaraderie.