Monday, March 31, 2014

Model Aircraft 04/2014

One of the modelling highlights of 2011 has to have been the release of the new 1/48 Revell kit of the Lockheed PV-1 Ventura kit, which offers accuracy, ease of construction and value for money in bucketfuls and deserves to sell extremely well indeed (I've got four and built three of them!).There are rumours that an earlier Ventura Mk II version of this tooling (as operated by 2 Group of the RAF) will follow and there are some clues to this on the sprues judging by the breakdown of parts and some of the unused items, which include the early fold-down navigator's seat and a bomb aimer's mattress and plotting table for the glazed nose position, however nothing for certain has been announced by Revell... yet. Before the introduction of this kit the only other way to build a model of the Ventura in this scale was the relatively expensive (but good) vacform kit from Koster, which offered alternative parts for an early Mk II or the later PV-1, or there was the closely related injection moulded kit from Fonderie Miniatures, which only offered the latter version. In 1/72 scale the best option is the series of Modelcraft kits, which covers most of the Ventura family, and these do result in a fairly decent model, however it does have its fair share of flaws such as an additional but superfluous entrance door on the right hand side of the fuselage and a totally incorrect flight deck, whilst the undercarriage is a little basic too.

Scale Aviation Modeller International 04/2014

The heritage of the P-51D Mustang is well known, so I won't go into all the finer details of how this aircraft came into existence, suffice it to say that a good airframe from North American Aviation was made into an even better one by mating the British Rolls Royce Merlin to it. This provided what can be said to be the finest fighter and long range escort aircraft of the Second World War, seeing action on all fronts. With the war's end came the need for the United States to dispose of large numbers of these aircraft. Many, like those surviving in Germany, were cut up for scrap usually by the local German population, an ignominious end for such fine aircraft. Those that survived and returned to the United States were either put to service by local Air National Guard Units, or were put up for sale to many fledgling Air Forces around the world. Many of these saw service with the free nations of Europe such as France, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands. Others went to Commonwealth Countries such as Canada, Australia (who also built them under licence), New Zealand and South Africa. Some, through illegal sales and acquisitions, ended up with the Chel Ha'Avir in Israel. Many more ended up in South and Central American countries, including Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic, the subject of this build.

Scale Military Modeller International 04/2014

The Jagdpanzer Hetzer was a German Tank Destroyer, based on a modified Czechoslovakian Panzer 38(t) chassis. These beasts were widely used by the Wehrmacht Infantry Divisions, and also served as a replacement for the Marder, seeing service in most theatres of World War II. The Sol Productions kit is an all resin affair, and retails at around $365.00 or £225.00, and upon opening the large box you find three large bags, each containing the various parts, a large etched fret, a turned aluminium gun barrel, a one-piece lower hull, a one-piece upper hull, a large bag containing the track links, a decal sheet and an instruction sheet with painting guide. All the parts were neatly cast in a cream/grey resin with hardly any flash, and thankfully small casting blocks, so clean-up was minimal. You also get a lovely cast figure - but only a 'half' for some reason, but sadly no interior. First off, all of the parts were washed in soapy water and then construction began with the lower hull and running gear. Straightaway problems arose, as there are no location points for the drive sprocket housings or the rear idler mounts, so I had to use some reference photographs for the correct positioning.

Radio Control Jet 04-05/2014

There's now a good choice of Viper Jets on the market both large and small. I have been looking for a new Viper to replace my old Cermark one; a Viper around the same size but lighter, as the Cermark Viper was very heavy and is now around six years old. The plan was to find the right version able to take a 22 lb turbine, with 2 m(ish) wingspan at a reasonable price and one that is easy to live with, i.e. quick to setup at the field and easy to transport and store. I am sure we all have the issue of hangar rash and the nightmare of getting our models out of the house and into the car! Then, at a local club meet, a member turned up with the new JetLegend Viper. Within a few days I'd had a chat with Jeff Sewell from Zedjets and put one on order! This Viper Jet is a break away from their normal method of finishing, as it's painted outside of the mould as standard. Vacuum moulding ensures lightness of the airframe and this translates nicely into flight characteristics - it has a great turn of speed but will float in nicely with full flap. As I mentioned earlier I wanted to use the turbine from my old Viper, a JetCat P80SE - it seemed perfect for this model. I ordered the kit with retracts, wheels and brakes. I also ordered the electronic retract, brake valve and cockpit from Jeff too. Alter a few weeks (seemed like years!) waiting like a child for Christmas, it arrived. Well packed in a large corrugated cardboard box, I checked for any shipping damage and found none.

Model Airplane International 04/2014

Ever since the very early days of the P.l 127 prototype Airfix have produced kits of the Hawker-Siddeley Harrier in 1:72. Since the Hornby revamp we have had new toolings of the later GR.7/9 Harrier plus FRS.1 & F/A.2 Sea Harriers. Now it is the turn of the earlier versions, the GR.l and, the subject of this build, the GR.3 to get the new tool treatment. On opening the box you will find 97 parts in grey-coloured plastic with a further five on the clear sprue. All are well moulded with crisp surface detail, finely engraved panel lines and very little flash or ejector pin marks. The instructions are to Airfix's current standard, being easy to follow with relevant colour call-outs along the way. The last three pages cover paint and decals, two of which are in full colour while the third is purely for the large number of stencil decals. Speaking of which, the decals are excellent with sharp printing and good colour and density and are produced by Cartograf. The two schemes are for No. 1 Squadron, RAF from 1982 based in the Falklands and No.4 Squadron, RAF from 1980 based in Germany. As a lover of the Harrier in all its incarnations I just had to get stuck into this one, so let s see how it builds.

Military World 04/2015

It can be quite surreal to unpack after a private battle. In the comfort of your own home, with the wind no longer thrashing your cheeks into a heavy rouge, and tea is drunk from a porcelain mug rather than an enamel one, you begin to recollect over the weekends festivities. Like a proverbial trail of breadcrumbs, you begin to piece together what actually happened on that field of battle. As you trawl through packs and pockets, a positive Aladdin's cave of artifacts release little moments that were originally lost in a heavy fog of adrenaline.You find the unfired round that left you with the harrowing 'Dead Man's Click,' the wrapper of a chocolate bar devoured in a small lull in the fighting, and roughly, pencil-drawn maps of impromptu defences. Although aching, tired, and dreading the eventual arrival of Monday morning, you finish the weekend content. Of course, it is only at the end of a well-organised and well-attended event that this period of merry reflection can be attained.Thankfully, Operation Teaboy on February 8th and 9th was one of those instances.

Flypast Special Edition - Luftwaffe Eagles

After success in Norway and during the Blitzkrieg that ran through the Low Countries and France, Kampfgeschwader 4 s III Gruppe got ready for its greatest test yet. The day after France surrendered, June 22, 1940, the units Junkers Ju 88s settled in to Schiphol, Amsterdam. Gruppenkonimandeur, Major Erich Bloedorn, prepared his men for operations against Britain. In the weeks before the sustained assault began, Luftwaffe bombers mounted small-scale attacks to probe the defences and laid mines around the British coast in to interdict coastal shipping. With what Churchill described as the Battle of Britain about to begin, the bulk of the RAF s fighter defences were concentrated under 11 and 12 Groups in southern England and the Midlands. Significant elements were based in the north under 13 Group to protect east coast ports and naval bases on the Firth of Forth and in the Orkneys. North Yorkshire was the dividing line between 13 Group and its more southerly cohorts. Among 13 Groups units was 41 Squadron, based at Catterick in "Yorkshire and flying Spitfires under 32-year-old Sqn Ldr H R L 'Robin Hood, a former cadet from the RAF College, Cranwell. A little further south at Church Fenton, was the recendy-formed, Hurricane-equipped 249 Squadron, part of 12 Group and led by Sqn Ldr John Grandy - aged 28 and a future Chief of the Air Staff.

History of War 04/2014

Edward of Westminster was engaged in the Seventh Crusade in North Africa when news reached him of his father Henry Ill's death. Instantly proclaimed Edward I King of England, he set off on his journey home. However, with the country enjoying relative stability, and still suffering from the after-effects of an assassination attempt, he took a leisurely detour through Italy and France. En route, he had an audience with Pope Gregory X and even suppressed a rebellion in Gascony. The new King was crowned on 19 August 1274, upon which he set about restoring order after the shambolic and unpopular reign of his father. But no sooner had Edward acceded to the throne than trouble began brewing in Wales. A patchwork of principalities and lordships, Wales had been in flux for hundreds of years, with power ebbing and flowing between the Welsh and the English. In 1274, relations between Edward and the then-Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, broke down. Llywelyn's younger brother Dafydd - in league with Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn of Powys - had plotted Llywelyn's demise. Although no assassination attempt took place, their plan was discovered and the pair defected to the English. With Edward harbouring his assailants, Llywelyn refused to pay homage to the King. Then, to make matters worse, Edward discovered that Llywelyn was planning to marry Eleanor, daughter of Simon de Montfort, the French nobleman who had led the rebellion against his father.

D-Day RAF - The RAF's Part in The Great Invasion

I have been fascinated by the D-Day story since my father took me to see the film The Longest Day at the cinema when I was 11 years old. At that age I was at once enthralled and shocked by the events portrayed on the big screen and totally in awe of the courage and heroism of those who carried the fight to the enemy. Having subsequently served for 36 years as a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force, my interest, perhaps not surprisingly, became orientated towards the RAF's involvement in the war and in the D-Day invasion. I have never lost sight, though, of the fact that where D-Day was concerned, the air element was only a part of an all-arms campaign of almost unbelievable scale that was undoubtedly one of the greatest military feats of all time. My 11 years flying with the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), including my time as the officer commanding the flight, gave me the privileged opportunity to fly two actual D-Day veteran Spitfires, the
story of one of which is included in these pages. In 2004, for the 60th anniversary commemorations of D-Day, I was privileged to fly that Spitfire as part of the BBMF formation which conducted a number of flypasts over commemorative ceremonies in Normandy, including the main one on June 6, with no fewer than 17 heads of state and assorted members of European royalty, including our own Queen, watching on the ground. This was an occasion I will never forget and heightened my interest in the D-Day events of 1944. Since joining the BBMF in 1996 I have also had the privilege of meeting many wartime veterans, some of whom were involved in the operations surrounding D-Day, of hearing their stories first hand and in some cases getting to know them well.

Cold War

British secret agent James Bond has foiled. He sits silent, frozen with bitter defeat at the Casino Royale's baccarat table, having played sinister Soviet agent Le Chiffre The Number' and lost. He knew every trick of the game, took every precaution and weighed the odds carefully but in the end he ran out of money and out of luck. Now he knows he must fly back to Britain and lace M's forced sympathy and 'better luck next time', but he also knows that there won't be a next time. If s over. Then he's handed an envelope and a note from CIA operative Felix Leiter. The envelope is stuffed with cash and the note says: "Marshall Aid. Thirty-two million francs. With the compliments of the USA." Bond is back in the game. This scene from author Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, published in 1953, was a perfect metaphor for Britain's position at the end of the 1940s. Britain had been bankrupted by the Second World War but just when it seemed as though the nation would have to abandon what remained of its empire and cancel its defence projects, America stepped in with a blank cheque and catapulted Britain back into the fray and the top table of world politics. The Yanks needed a strong ally in Europe to help stave off the growing Soviet menace and Britain was happy to oblige. Despite handing over billions of dollars though, the one thing the US refused to do was hand over its atomic secrets - so Britain simply used American cash to fund its own nuclear programme, plus a host of other military developments including the world-beating V-force bombers, the powerful English Electric Lightning jet fighter and the Royal Navy's first nuclear submarine HMS Dreadnought.

Britain At War 04/2014

AS THIS issue of Britain at War Magazine closed for press, the BBC began airing a series of programmes entitled I Was There: The Great War Interviews. Representing a valuable source of first-hand testimony, these interviews were originally recorded in the early 1960s for The Great War television series but did not get shown at that time. In August 1963, the BBC resolved to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War with a major television project. The series was the first to feature veterans, many of whom were still relatively fit individuals in their late sixties or early seventies, speaking of their experiences. This landmark approach of archival footage intercut with interviews remained the "standard format" for years to come. To locate enough veterans to film, a public appeal for veterans was published in the national press. In due course, thousands of men and women responded to the adverts. The result was a massive bank of original interviews, shot on 16mm film, with former First World War airmen, seamen and soldiers of all ranks and nationalities, as well as civilians and munitions workers.

Air International 04/2014

The Sukhoi T-50 Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii (PAK FA, Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation) has been handed over for state trials (gosudarstvennye sovmestnye ispytaniya). T-50-2 was flown by Sergey Chernyshev to the 929th Flight-Test Centre of the Ministry of Defence at Akhtubinsk in the Astrakhan Oblast from Zhukovsky outside Moscow on February 21. The arrival of the T-50 at Akhtubinsk signals the aircraft has completed its preliminary trials (predvaritelnye ispytaniya) since the first prototype made its maiden flight in January 2010. It first flew on March 3, 2011 (see Second Sukhoi T-50 Flown, April 2011, p30) and has undertaken tests of the aircraft's systems, including the weapons bay door actuating mechanism and aerial refuelling, making the first dry contact with an llyushin II-78 tanker on August 3, 2012. During 2013 it was strengthened and adapted to undertake high g-load and angle of attack tests. It has no mission systems installed and so can be used only in the initial phase of the state trials for performance and flight-handling testing. It will be joined at the base by subsequent aircraft fitted with complete mission suites and armament.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tamiya Model Magazine International 04/2014

In 1935, during the Paris Motor Show, an extraordinary prototype and superb masterpiece of style, the 'Bugatti Aerolithe', designed by Jean Bugatti, (a man of genius, son of the famous brand's founder) was presented. Besides having a splendid and futuristic line, the car had technical peculiarities which at that time were regarded as being 'science fiction'. The bodywork, for example, was built in Electron (a magnesium alloy) which couldn't be welded by the technology of that time; as a matter of fact, different parts were assembled with thousands of rivets. The name 'Aerolithe' (meteorite), was given to the car because it was so futuristic looking that it seemed like an object arriving from outer space. My total and absolute admiration for Bugatti's creations and his futuristic vision of automotive engineering was the basis of my next modelling project after the 'Steampunk monobike' (TMMI 210 April 2013). The 'Bugatti/Tesla' is a new chapter of my own personal research and interpretation of mechanical subjects, built through the different epochs, technological hybrids handed down through history and reworked with the use of an 'ucronic filter' and by giving a retro-futuristic aesthetic, not totally fantasy, not totally sci-fi, but something even better, an alternative reality where past, present and future are joined and mixed to create conceivable vehicles, normal and the same time impossible...

Classic Military Vehicle 04/2014

In order to provide sleeping accommodation in the field for very senior officers - Brigadiers and Generals - the British Army had used converted trailers which were deployed with the appropriate formation headquarters including HQ I (BR) Corps. However, in the mid-seventies a motor caravan based on the Land Rover 109 was developed. Searle Ltd of Sunbury on Thames was both a Land Rover dealer and a specialist conversion company offering a range of conversions of basic Land Rovers including a motor caravan based on the Land Rover 109 and known as the Carawagon De Luxe. It had an elevating roof for extra headroom, a roof rack over the cab, and interior space for up to four beds as well as a refrigerator, cooker and toilet. The elevating roof was novel in that as it collapsed the curved ends folded in and the vertical side pieces folded out, taking the natural curve out of the aluminium sheet which formed the roof and allowing it to lie flat. By 1977 a prototype had been built on a military spec Land Rover 109 (62GF86) using the existing Carawagon bodywork including the roof rack. The elevating roof provided standing headroom of a little over 6ft (1.9m) over the full length of the living area. The roof rack over the cab provided space for stowage of camouflage nets and a 9x7ft (2.75x2.13m) tent that could be fitted over the rear door. The internal arrangement was rather different to the civilian version. Along the right-hand side was a fitted cabinet providing a working area for up to three people which had cupboards and drawers below. Above was a vertical map board together with a drop-down table.

Military Illustrated Modeller 04/2014

The Panzer II D was designed as a fast panzer to equip the light divisions. The concept was for the panzer to be rushed to the battle on the back of a lorry and then offloaded to join the attack. Combat in Poland quickly revealed the flaw in this cunning plan, as many bridges couldn't accommodate the weight of both lorry and tank, so much time was wasted offloading the panzer before crossing the bridge. Added to this was the high centre of gravity that resulted in some lorries spilling their loads. The concept was subsequently abandoned. Only forty-three Panzer II Ds were issued before the decision was made to complete all future chassis as Flammpanzers. During 1940, the surviving PzII Ds used in Poland were withdrawn from units, again for conversion to flame-thrower tanks. The Polish PzII Ds were all from the first production series, referred to as D1. The second production batch of D chassis vehicles (D2) were converted to Marder II as modelled in the last armour issue of this magazine. The D2 chassis can be spotted as the sprocket and rear idlers had a reduced quantity of strengthening ribs. Of interest, the PzII Ausf.E version was similar to the Ausf.D, but was fitted with a lubricated track and sprocket with rollers - reminiscent of contemporary German halftracks. Again only a small quantity was produced.

Aeroplane 05/2014

Nearly 40 years after it first flew, Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.3 XZ132 emerged from the workshops of Jet Art Aviation at Selby, Yorkshire, in early February. Jet Art, a company which specialises in restoring ex-R AF aircraft, acquired XZ132 in November 2013, the machine having spent the previous 22 years as an instructional airframe in a heated building at RAF Cranwell. The aircraft made its first flight in April 1976, and after de livery to the RAF went on to serve with Nos 1,3 and lV Sqns. During the spring of 1982, XZ132 was one of the aircraft prepared for Operation Corporate to retake the Falklands Islands. This included the fitting of an I band transponder fairing beneath the nose cone fairing and modifications to enable XZ132 to carry Sidewinder missiles. On May 3,1982, XZ132 was flown from its base at Wittering, Cambs, to St Mawgan, Cornwall, from where it departed for an epic flight to Ascension Island, via Banjul in Gambia. Between May 6 and 14, XZ132 flew combat air patrol missions around Ascension Island but then suffered a major fuel leak, which resulted in the aircraft being stripped down and air freighted back to the UK for repairs. A year later XZ132 finally made it to the Falklands, being one of six Harrier GR.3As operated from RAF Stanley by 1453 (Tactical Ground Attack) Flight, flying air defence patrols for the Falklands Garrison.

Airforces Monthly 04/2014

AS AFM goes to press a satisfactory resolution to the recent events in Ukraine -and more particularly in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC), which comprises most of the Crimean Peninsula's land mass -seems along way off. Russia ceded the peninsular to Ukraine more than half a century ago when nobody in the Kremlin could foresee the end of the Soviet Union. Following the political upheaval in greater Ukraine after protestors in the capital Kiev seemed to have achieved their ambition of deposing President Viktor Yanukovych, the focus of attention rapidly shifted to Crimea. On February 28, 13 Russian Air Force Ilyushin 11-76 Candid transport aircraft flew around 2,000 Russian troops to the Black Sea Fleet's 7057th Air Base at Gvardeyskoye (Hvardiiske Air Base to the Ukrainians), north-west of Simferopol. Russia has a long-standing agreement to base Sukhoi Su-24 Fencerbombers there. A day earlier Ukraine reported that eleven Russian helicopters (eight M-24 Hind attack ships and three Mi-8 Hips) had illegally crossed the border into Crimean airspace; they were seen and photographed flying over Sevastopol in the direction of the Russian naval base at Kacha, also part of the Black Sea Fleet's 7057th Air Base and home to a mixture of Russian naval helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

Aviation News 04/2014

The latest round of US defence cuts, if they go ahead, will result in the retirement of all the USAF A-10s and U-2s, together with all of the US Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. The proposals, which had been anticipated for some time, were announced by US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at a Pentagon media briefing on February 24 to preview the Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The plans were confirmed when the full budget proposals were unveiled on March 4, on which date they were sent to Congress, which must give its approval before they can be implemented. Hagel said the new budget places emphasis on capability over capacity in order to protect key modernisation programmes. This means that funding is protected for the new long-range bomber, F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and the KC-46A tanker. Hagel said, however, that in order to fund these investments, some serious cuts have to be made elsewhere. As a result, the USAF will reduce its number of tactical air squadrons, which will include retiring the entire A-10 fleet, confirming previously announced proposals. Hagel said: "the advent of precision munitions means that many more types of aircraft can now provide effective close air support, from B-1 bombers to remotely piloted aircraft." Hagel also confirmed that the USAF will retire the veteran U-2 reconnaissance aircraft in favour of the unmanned Global Hawk system.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Armourer 03/04 2014

We now move on to the Infantry which, at the beginning of August 1914, comprised the foot guards and 69 regiments of the line. The former had only been increased from three to four regiments when, by Army Order 77 of 1900, Queen Victoria had given authority for the raising of the Irish Guards. Not until 1915 did her grandson likewise sanction the formation of the Welsh Guards. Whereas the guards' regiments were usually based in and around London in order to carry out their public duties, it would be the function of line regiments to garrison the far-flung outposts of the British Empire; the usual arrangement was for one battalion to remain at home, while another went abroad. We will see that, with few exceptions, the general make-up of a line infantry regiment in 1914 was two Regular battalions and one or two Reserve. There would also be a varying number of battalions provided by the Territorial Force, but these will be dealt with in future articles. The following order, in which we see the location of each battalion as at the beginning of August 1914, is according to precedence and deals with the guards and first 35 line regiments. Also included arc the dates for those regular battalions that left for active service before the end of 1914.

Military Machines International 04/2014

Designed and constructed by Ford Motor Company, in Dearborn, United States, the T16 carrier was inspired by the British Bren Carrier, which had been designed for the same purpose, but the T16 was an improved version based around the Canadian-built vehicles and incorporating a number of improvements as a result of the combat experience obtained with the Bren Carrier. The US started producing the T16 in 1943 and, like others US-made armoured vehicles, was delivered to the Commonwealth and other units, via the lend lease program, with 2,625 T16 being delivered in 1944 and 604 in 1945, to reinforce Allied fighting units during the Second World War. Once the war ended, many countries in Europe that had been provided with this equipment used it to reequip their armies in the post-war period. Joining these countries was Argentina, who initially hired the Belgium Company Indanex to purchase different kinds of armoured vehicles (Tanks, Carrier, Personnel Armoured Transport), trucks, engineer equipment, tractors, Jeeps, etc., purchasing all of them by weight, and paying just 20 Cents per Kg. More than five hundred vehicles in 'as is' condition departed by ship to Argentina, which included hulls of the British Crusader Mk III Tank, a large number of different models of trucks, special vehicles and Jeeps, a few M5 and M9 armoured half-track vehicles, 360 Sherman Tanks and around 300 Carrier T16E-2 light armoured vehicles.

Model Military International 04/2014

Although tanks are able to cope with shallow water such as streams, they are not suited to moving through deeper water such as wading from a landing craft to the beach. To do this, special preparation and equipment is necessary. The British method during the latter years of the Second World War was to seal any gaps where water could leak in then extend the air intakes and exhausts with large tubes made of sheet steel. This prevented the tank taking in water that could swamp the engine or drown the crew but allowed air to both as well as giving a path for the exhaust to reach above water level. After it had been prepared a tank could operate in approximately 2m of water (as the UK used Imperial measurements, this was listed as 6 feet). Although the general principle was the same for all, the method for preparing each type varied because of its design. The Churchill, for example, needed attention to the doors on the hull sides as well as the usual extensions for air intake though with its exhausts on top of the hull it only needed simple round tubes to extend the exhaust outlets. Sets of parts for each type of tank were developed and manufactured, to aid in fitting them a series of instruction manuals were produced describing the process step by step.

Combat Aircraft 04/2014

THE UNITED ARAB Emirates has moved to acquire 30 additional Lockheed Martin F-16 Desert Falcon fighters. On January 23 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of the jets to the UAE. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had first mooted the follow-on 'Viper' sale in April 2013, the deal at that time involving 25 new airframes. The DSCA announcement described the aircraft variant as the F-16 'Block 61', although it remains unclear how this will differ from the F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons currently in the UAE Air Force inventory. While Lockheed Martin has not commented on the new standard, US Department of Defense officials note that the Block 61 will include enhanced radar, avionics, and weapons capabilities. Among the items of equipment listed as part of the initial sale are 40 20mm M61A1 Vulcan guns, 40 embedded GPS inertial navigation systems, identification friend or foe equipment, Joint Mission Planning Systems, and night vision devices. Since the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar as used by the Block 60 Desert Falcon is no longer in production, it is expected that the Block 61 will feature a new radar type, likely to be either the Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) or the rival Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR).

Airfix Model World 04/2014

Most of this year's kit releases have been announced (see Nuremberg report pages 60-62), and there are certainly some interesting subjects due this year. From what I've heard and seen it certainly looks as though manufacturers have been using their heads and produced new types, different variants and delved back into their stores cupboards and re-released long-wanted classic kits...with new decals and photo-etched brass details where possible. But such releases come at a price, and there's been more than one occasion when I have looked in the stash and seen the old price tag of when the kit first appeared and noted that in some cases there's been a £10-15 increase. But, if you want it, and flinch at Internet prices then its one option to keep in mind over the next few months. This year will no doubt focus on D-Day and the start of World War One, and for me the new 1/72 Airfix Dakota has certainly caught my eye, in its RAF and USAAF boxings; I wonder if in the next few years we'll get a Vietnam-era AC-47 Spooky gunship variant, too?