Friday, June 27, 2014

Model Airplane International 07/2014

While it is true that we already have an MS.406 in this scale from Hasegawa. there have always been those that felt it left something to be deserved as far as accuracy went, so who better to do the type than French company Azur, using the moulding skills of MPM in the Czech Republic. I started this kit by quietly studying the I instruction sheet because on the sprue J you have different optional parts like a8 the propeller, as well as some that can «I be discarded such as the fixed radiator for the MS.410. Anyway, first I built the cockpit, it is well detailed with photo-etched for the instrument panel, seat belts and some tiny pieces. The front and rear panel are plain instead of the steel tubing that they should be but, if like me, you leave the canopy closed it will be fine. I made the rollover frame with stretched sprue as this is not supplied in the box but it is shown in the instructions. The main cockpit was a dark shade of blue/grey and for this I chose Humbrol 77 (Navy Blue). I applied Humbrol 67 (Leather Brown) on the harness and seat cushion then applied a very dark wash of Tamiya X-1 9 Smoke before a thin layer of Prince August acrylic polyurethane matt varnish sealed everything in. Next I secured the fuselage halves with very thin liquid cement, working on small lengths to get a strong bond. Half an hour later I added cyanoacrylate glue to act as a (quick) putty so that in a further 30 minutes I could sand these seams. I used the same system between the wing and the fuselage join, starting with the lower section and working up because that way I could better adjust the fit and alignment. Finally I glued the horizontal tail to conclude the fuselage assembly.

Air International 07/2014

The primary goal of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations is to provide military and, where appropriate, civilian commanders with high-fidelity intelligence to enable timely and efficient decision-making. Effective ISR operations are a key enabling capability in the armoury of intelligence specialists seeking to secure national borders and meet the continued challenge of fighting the war on terrorism against ever-more elusive targets. Built by UTC Aerospace Systems, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. the DB-110 Reconnaissance System (the DB stands for dual band) is at the forefront of this essential mission. Employing cutting-edge technology and with a proven track record on operations, the DB-;110 has acquired an enviable global reputation that is second to none, and will continue to grow in light of recent orders. That said, the DB-110 pod's technology does have wider commercial applications in providing unique wide-area surveillance in near real-time, which the company continues to explore. The DB-110 system is complex but UTC Aerospace Systems specialists explained the system's history, key functionality, as well as its pioneering technology to AIR International.

Britain At War 07/2014

WITH THE current focus on the First World War, stories that have lain untold for many years are emerging from family sources, writes Mark Khan. The Herts At War Project has recently uncovered one of these accounts. Private William Taylor was serving with the 1st Battalion the Hertfordshire Regiment, a pre-war Territorial unit, when war broke out in August 1914. The 1st Herts was among a small number of Territorial units which were sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. The Herts Regiment was attached to the 4th (Guards) Brigade of part of the 2nd Division. As a result of the dedication, professionalism, courage under fire and comradeship it showed in the days and weeks that followed, the battalion earned the nickname of the "Herts Guards". Aged 23, Private Taylor had travelled to France 1914 with his regiment in 1914. He served as part of a Lewis gun team. When he went to war, Taylor took with him a set of eight photographs, which included images of members of his family, keeping them in a wallet in his breast pocket, as his grandson, David Taylor, recalls: "When he left for France in 1914 he took these pictures with him as keepsakes. In quiet moments he got them out and looked at them and remembered his family back at home". Little did he know that the wallet and these photographs would one day protect him from serious injury or possibly death.

Aeroplane 08/2014

During mid-May volunteers at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall completed painting the wings of de Havilland Mosquito FB. VI TA122, enabling removal of the tail trestle. A couple of weeks earlier, the team assembled and fitted the two paddle-bladed propellers, and fitted the spinners. In late June the newly restored tailplane was due be fitted, completing the aircraft's fixed structure, after which all that that remains to complete the airframe will be the restoration and fitting of the flaps, ailerons, elevators and rudder. However, work on the FB. VI will soon be put on hold to allow the entire Mosquito team to concentrate on the restoration of the Mosquito prototype W4050, with the intention of having this truly historic machine back together in time for the 75th anniversary of its maiden flight on November 25, 2015. The propellers and the hydromatic variable pitch mechanisms for TA122 had been restored to operating condition by Roy Thomas and Tony Markham over the past few months. Project leader, Bob Glasby, says "The first propeller took around 45 minutes to fit as some issues were experienced in aligning the splines. However, having practiced on that one, the second propeller slipped on in just fifteen minutes!

Scale Aviation Modeller International 07/2014

The Imperial Japanese Navy formally issued a set of specifications on 17th January 1938 to both Mitsubishi and Nakajima to develop an advanced fighter whose performance would exceed any other fighter aircraft that it was likely to meet. The Nakajima Company on reading the specifications believed them to be nearly impossible to fulfil and pulled out from the competition. The Mitsubishi Company continued to undertake the development of the required fighter. The design team was led by Jiro Horikoshi who had also led the team that produced the A5M. He believed that the requirements could be met but only if the fighter's weight was kept as light as possible. Every weight saving measure was looked at and this included using a new aluminium alloy that was developed by Sumitomo Metal Industries in 1936. It was decided that there was to be no armour protection for the pilot or any other critical parts of the aircraft, and it had standard fuel tanks as opposed to self-sealing ones, which were becoming the norm in the aircraft of other manufacturers. All of this went to make it lighter, more manoeuvrable and have a longer range than any other fighter in production at the time. It had an amazingly low stall speed of 110 kph or 69 mph and it was this that contributed to it being able to out-turn any other fighter it went up against.

Scale Military Modeller International 07/2014

On April 291975 the People's Army of North Vietnam began the final assault on Saigon. Although outnumbered, the South Vietnamese troops fought tirelessly as the last US personnel evacuated the City. In the early hours of April 30 NVA tanks entered Saigon and the President of South Vietnam announced the capitulation of the country. The Viet-cong flag was hoisted on the roof of the presidential palace and marked the end of the Vietnam war. The origin of the T-54 came from the end of World War II and the development of the T-44. This then became the backbone of the armoured forces of the Communist Bloc well into the 1960s. Armed with a 100mm gun, the T-54 came in a number of versions such as the T-54-1 Model 1946, T-54-2 Model 1949, T-54-3 Model 1951, and the T-54A and T-54B. To the best of my knowledge there is no plastic model of this tank except the Trumpeter one from a good few years ago, so for this build I used the Tamiya T-55 and a T-54B conversion set from Tank Maker. In this set you have a new engine deck and turret fan, so characteristic of this version, and a full engine -which in my copy was sadly distorted and needed a bit of persuasion with a hair dyer! The Tamiya base kit built as you would expect and I added the usual electrical wiring and handrails from my spares-box and also added the piping and fuel tanks from a MIG Productions set. I also used a Blast Models set to improve the details on the turret and main gun.

Military History 09/2014

Within a decade of the 1888 introduction of the bolt-action Lee-Metford service rifle—designed by Scottish-born gunsmith James Paris Lee and British engineer William Metford to fire black powder cartridges from a 10-round box magazine—the British army began development of a rifle that would fire the Mk 1.303-inch ball cartridge using cordite smokeless powder. The result— matching Lee's bolt-action design with rifling developed by the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield—was the Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk I, introduced in 1895. The new weapon fell short in combat against the Mauser Model 1895s the British faced during the Boer War, however, prompting production of the much-improved Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk I, accepted for service in 1902. Fitted with a 25.2-inch barrel (midway between the original model rifle and carbine) and a sliding charger guide for faster reloading, the SMLE, or "Smelly," saw further improvements and served as the principal long arm of the British soldier until the mid-1950s, when superseded by the semiautomatic L1A1 self-loading rifle. The SMLE Mk III proved its superiority to the Mauser at the Aug. 23, 1914, Battle of Möns, during which trained British soldiers averaged 25 aimed rounds a minute, leading German officers to believe they were using machine guns.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Military Modelling Vol.44 No.7

In 1943, military engineers developed a demolition weapon with a capacity of destroying its target at an effective range of 80-yards. The 290mm spigot mortars were adapted to existing 6pdr armed Churchill Mk.IIIs and Mk.IVs. The conversion was undertaken by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) workshops and the newly converted Churchill tanks with the 290mm mortar would be designated the Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE). The first delivery of the AVRE's occurred in April 1944 allowing for two months of training for the crews before the invasion of Normandy. The 290mm calibre shell (or Petard), originally code-named 'Bomb, Demolition No.1' and later nicknamed The Flying Dustbin1, weighed approximately 401b and contained 251b of demolition charge. It was a cylindrical drum made of tinplate with an attached fin-like tailpiece containing cordite propellant. A total of 24 dustbins could be carried in the AVRE and a trained crew could fire 3 to 4 rounds per minute. The principle purpose of the petard was to destroy concrete walls. One Petard could remove 6 cubic feet from a heavily fortified and steel reinforced wall. Other modifications to the Churchill to bring it up to an AVRE included the removal of the co-driver's hinged hatches and replacement with a sliding hatch through which the petard was loaded. The turret was slightly traversed to the left of centre, allowing the mortar tube to be positioned in a vertical position over the hatch to allow the co-driver to load the shell. The AVRE was also fitted with mud deflectors running along the mud chutes to prevent stones and other debris from interfering with devices attached to the AVRE. Although several books and references suggest that Churchill Mk.llls converted to AVRE was a rare occurrence, I found plenty of wartime images of Churchill Mk.lll AVREs in Normandy. I counted 15 different Churchills sporting a Mk.lll type turret and mounting a 290mm spigot. With photographic evidence under my belt, I was keen to proceed with making the modification to the AFV Club Mk.III offering to a Mk.III AVRE.

Classic Military Vehicle 07/2014

To begin with we need to dispel a recurring myth. When they went into action on D-Day,the three British regiments operating DD tanks had been divided between two armoured brigades and had no connection with 79th Armoured Division; the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry and the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards formed part of the 8th Armoured Brigade which landed on Gold sector while the 13th/18th Hussars in 27th Armoured Brigade landed on Sword. Also, each DD regiment consisted of two squadrons of amphibious tanks (20 tanks each) while the remainder of the regiment, the Third Squadron and Regimental Headquarters, with 24 tanks between them, landed dry, not being equipped with DD tanks. Of course, regarded as specialised armour all of these regiments had been part of 79th Armoured Division while training in Britain but when they went into action they were seen as tanks with the ability to swim. Once that was done and they were ashore they became ordinary fighting tanks and as such formed part of a conventional armoured brigade. Even so, it is clear that the 79th Armoured Division found it hard to let them go and the divisional history often refers to the activities of the DD tanks when recounting events on 6 June 1944.

Flight Journal 08/2014

In early June of 1944, my original P-38J, CL-X, had been wrecked by a fellow pilot while I was on leave. I returned to see my pride and joy lying on its belly from a combat encounter. My bunkmate, who was at the controls of my Lightning, told me he had an engine shot out while tangling with the Luftwaffe and made it all the way back to base in England when he got cut off by a landing B-17. With wheels down, flaps out, and only one prop turning, he ran out of options, raised the gear, and bellied it in. Thankfully, with a war going on, there were many P-38s sitting around waiting to be assigned. I was issued a new P-38 and my ground crew got it ready to fly. Unfortunately, the day I was supposed to give it a test hop, everything was grounded so the ground crews could paint black and white stripes on our airplanes — invasion stripes. I would have to perform double duty on my next flight, a combat mission and test hop all rolled into one. On June 5, I was slotted to fly a night mission over the English Channel to cover the invasion beaches along the French coast. The P-38s were selected because they were extremely recognizable with twin engines and twin tails, and nothing else looked like them. Our instructions were simple: "If you see anything flying over the beaches, shoot it down — no questions asked. Destroy anything that is not a P-38 entering your assigned patrol area." We departed our base at Wormingford very late in the afternoon. The weather was terrible with low ceilings and heavy rain as we struck out for our patrol area. From 1,500 feet, I saw countless numbers of boats of all shapes and sizes all over the channel heading for France. What a sight! We orbited the beaches and I saw some sporadic gunfire, but nothing that would compare to the next day. We landed well after dark and trudged to our bunks for some rest.

Model Airplane News 07/2014

Hosted at Paradise Field in Lakeland, FL, Florida Jets is an annual "jet-together" that has been going on for 18 years. With more than 120 registered pilots this year, the event has grown dramatically, and along the way, it has become a showcase for manufacturers and suppliers in this unique segment of the RC hobby. It is run as a fly-in rather than a contest, so participants are pretty much free to fly as much as they'd like. There is no judging or scoring, just pure "jetting around" in the near-perfect Florida sky. For this year's event, which took place March 5-8, the light breeze was steady, but went right down the runway. This allowed some of the larger, heavier models to touch down at just above walking speed. The big news for 2014 was the outstanding, newly installed blacktop runway and relocation of the actual flying site to a more "user-friendlv" location. Previous jet participants had been vocal about the grass runway, so promoter Frank Tiano responded by installing a 60- by 700-foot strip of asphalt. Everyone was pleased and some commented that this improvement will likely trigger a huge increase in participation in the future. The flightline, vendor booths, suppliers, and food stands were far more accessible than in previous years and everyone noticed.

Jets 07-08/2014

It is often stated that no one remembers who came second, but the same cannot be said of the Northrop YF-17 which was beaten to a significant USAF contract by the General Dynamics YF-16 in 1974/5. Since its initial design, sometime prior to that competition,the airframe has undergone several reincarnations, changing from an intended lightweight fighter to an advanced carrier-borne multi-role fighter/attack aircraft. In doing so the aircraft has increased, significantly, in both size and weight while its versatility and capability far outweigh anything envisaged by the original design team back in the 1960s. Northrop, which was responsible for the successful low-cost, low-maintenance F-5 Freedom Fighter jet, embarked on a company-funded project to further develop the F-5E in the mid-60s. Eventually,the design settled around the Northrop P-530 which had a stretched F-5 fuselage, a higher mounted thin-wing -offering a similar planform but much larger area than its predecessor - with enormous leading-edge root extensions (LERX) stretching from the wing to near the front of the windshield.Twn canted tail fins, extending beyond the wing wake, provided stability and better control.The LERX ensured better handling at a high angle-of-attack and the 'hooded'appearance of these extensions gave rise to the aircraft's nickname: Cobra.

Aero Modeller 07-08/2014

Some years ago, I was hooked by a curious form of scale modelling which uses paper as the raw material. Paper modelling has distant roots: it was popular in the late 1800s and is still used today for static modelling purposes. The high level of scale fidelity and realism that an accurate design can reach (as well as the strength of the resulting model) seems incredible, in spite of the everyday nature of this medium. The more paper models I built, the more I enjoyed the experience. I explored all kind of subjects; cars, missiles, ships, buildings, science-fiction, trains, and (obviously!) aeroplanes. Surfing the net today you can find a lot of free downloads of paper models designed by more or less talented artists, and some of them are really intriguing. All you have to do is to print the files on common or photographic paper, cut the parts and start gluing them together with white glue. No paint, no sawdust, no smelly glues; just the kind of modelling you can do on the dinner table at teatime. Looking back, after a while I moved on to control line building and flying, and static paper modelling was forgotten. Years ran on. One day, while I was looking for something unusual to build, I came across a static model by Fabrizio Prudenziati, one of the most talented paper model designers in the world.

Aviation News 07/2014

Support for retaining the A-10 Thunderbolt II in service with the US Air Force was given a boost on May 22, when the full US House, followed hours later by the Senate Armed Services Committee, both backed proposals to save the aircraft from retirement, at least for now. Both supported the $601 bn Defense Authorization Bill that will fund military spending for the next fiscal year, beginning on October 1. This includes legislation that would ban retirement of the A-10 for at least a year and fully-fund operation of the type through to the end of 2015, at least. Proposals to retire the 238-strong A-10 fleet, which the air force says would save $4.2bn over five years, had been announced on February 24 by US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Since then there has been an inevitable backlash against retirement of the elderly, but still highly-regarded, aircraft. However, there are still hurdles to overcome if the A-10 fleet is to be saved, as the full Senate must approve its version of the National Defense Authorisation Act and the President has to sign off the final version. The White House has already threatened to veto any version of the bill that exceeds the Pentagon's budget request.

Airforces Monthly 07/2014

A FM HAS learnt that the cadre of Typhoon-qualified pilots in the Austrian Air Force (ÖL -Östereichische Luftstreitkräfte) Eurofighter EF2000 squadron at Zeltweg Air Base, has been reduced from 18 to 12 since late April. The cuts are the result of austerity measures and further extensive budget reductions are proposed for 2014 and 2015. Officially confirming the move, an Austrian MoD spokesman said it was necessary because a forthcoming reduction in the allowance of jet-fuel assigned to the unit meant 1080 flight-hours per year (down from 1200) would not be enough to let all 18 pilots fly enough hours. A source inside the ÖL, who did not want to be named, toldAFM that two EF2000s have already been grounded and are being used for spare parts. Several options, including cutting the Austrian Eurofighter fleet of 15 Tranche-1 airframes to 12 or even nine aircraft, have been the subject of intense debate in Austria's parliament and press in recent weeks. If the number of fighters is reduced, it has been estimated that the savings gained will be minimal-about 19% of the cost of having a Typhoon fleet. In essence the saving will amount to little more than that spent on daily operating costs. Of the estimated €60-70,000 cost of each flying hour, in 2013 the Austrian government audit office reported that 81% results from fixed costs such as the In-Service-Support contract for logistical and spare parts support which has to be paid whether the jets fly or not.

AFV Modeller 07-08/2014

The Ural-4320 Is a general purpose off road 6x6 truck produced at the Ural Automotive Plant In Mlass, Russia for use In the Russian Army. Introduced In 1976, It Is still In production today. The wheel arrangement for the Urai-4320 was designed for transporting cargo, personnel and trailers on all types of roads and terrain. One of these versions Is the URAL 4320/ATZ-5, a tanker truck used In aerodromes for the supply of fuel to aircraft. The Hungarian brand, Balaton Modell, specializes In full resin models, vehicle kit conversions and postwar 1:72 aircraft. The finesse Is really very good, being resin models they reach a truly extraordinary level of detail. They have recently released this, their first complete resin model In 1:48. From the moment I opened the box, I was Impressed with the quality of the parts. Aside from the parts In resin, a sheet of decals provides markings for 3 versions, Russian, Hungarian and German, along with photoetch and a piece of film to make glaze the cab. I was Impressed by the wheels, they really are of excellent quality and give a purposeful look even In 1:48, they are huge! The build Is really simple but I follow certain steps prior to building a model In resin, one of them is to start with the separation of the moulding blocks from each piece and cataloging them so that they are easily Identified. I also clean the parts with hot water and a few drops of detergent to remove all dust and dirt that Is generated In handling resin. With the parts prepared and dried, I started with the chassis and cab, and the fit of parts Is very good making for an enjoyable build.

Military Illustrated Modeller 07/2014

The majority of camouflage schemes for the Messerschmitt Bf 109 G comprise RLM 74 Grey Green and RLM 75 Grey Violet over RLM 76 Light Blue lower surfaces. Fortunately, there is plenty of variety in the application of the colours. Grey certainly does not have to be dull. I found a photo of Black 4, an Erla built Bf 1 09 G-10, that displayed a number of very interesting features. The camouflage colours were quite faded to the point that demarcation was indistinct in places. The fuselage and wing crosses were noticeably smaller than the standard too. The wing crosses were also located further outboard than usual, but larger crosses in the original positions appeared to be painted out with a fresh coat of RLM 74 Grey Green. A large patch of fresh dark grey also appeared on the mid-rear fuselage spine and side. The top of the elevators were painted in a very pale colour - most likely RLM 76 Light Blue. The canopy and windscreen framing was a very dark colour, probably RLM 66 Black Grey. The fin and rudder appeared to be finished with a mottled overspray of RLM 76 over a darker shade. And the cherry on this grey pie was the Blue-White-Blue fuselage band typical of late-war JG300 aircraft. This was a truly fascinating camouflage scheme. BarracudaCals has released two 1:32 scale decal sheets covering Erla built Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-10s; and Black 4 was amongst the schemes. Not only were the unique markings perfectly depicted, but the decal sheet also included the small-sized crosses. Now all I had to do was paint the model!

Tamiya Model Magazine Internatioal 07/2014

This year, Tamiya's big news was the unveiling of the new 1:35 First World War British Mk.IV 'Male' tank, the very first vehicle from this conflict to be kitted by Tamiya and quite a big leap for the company. When initially announced, the model caused some controversy in being motorised, something that some modellers seem to think will make the kit toy-like even though it's still a scale model, just with a small motor. We think it's rather cool and brings the model to life, and when the novelty of the motorisation has worn off, the kit will make a superb static display model with sharp detail and impeccable fit of parts. To accompany the Mk.IV, Tamiya lias created a set of five British WWl infantry figures, three with Lee-Enfield rifles, an officer with a Webley revolver and a machine gunner firing a Lewis gun. Also new from Tamiva is a 1:48 MIO HC Achilles tank destroyer with lTpdr gun in its open-topped turret, a newly tooled 1:700 USS Saratoga aircraft carrier and a revised edition of Italeri's German one-ton Sd.Kfz. 10 halftrack. The latter will come with some new parts to refine the base kit, open/ closed roof, new tools and three figures. The USS Saratoga CV-3 is depicted as she appeared at the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 and boasts a respectable hull-length of nearly 400mm, or fifteen and three-quarter inches.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Military Machines International 07/2014

The introduction of the American Jeep in World War Two saw it being adapted to perform a wide range of specialist roles over the intervening years. The heavily armed Special Air Service Jeeps that were used firstly in the North African deserts and latterly in North West Europe are well documented, but the specially adapted Jeeps developed for use by British Airborne Forces during the war are another interesting variant of the wartime Jeep and one that I will be taking a look at. The decision to provide the airborne forces with some form of motorized transport stemmed from their need to move rapidly once on the ground in order to seize and hold their objectives, which as you might expect were usually close to or behind enemy lines and usually involved the troops being air-dropped into the area either by parachute or by glider. Depending on the particular operational circumstances, this sometimes involved the use of artillery and other heavy equipment and the dropping of such equipment by parachute wasn't always feasible, even so the diminutive airborne scooters and simple folding push bikes were early attempts at providing the Airborne Forces with more mobility, but the advent of the Jeep provided a new opportunity to create a light, air-portable vehicle that could be sent into battle with the troops, however, there was a major stumbling block in the way - the size of the Jeep.

Model Military International 07/2014

The current family of MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles have proven to be highly effective at combating the mine and IED threat in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. They are now being produced in large numbers by many different countries. The main feature of the current designs is the V Shaped hull, which is designed to direct the blast from a mine detonation away from the occupants. This design is not a new one. In fact, it was originally developed over 40 years ago, not by one of the world's Super Powers but two small countries at the southern end of the African continent. Both Rhodesia and South Africa were facing insurgency conflicts where guerrilla-laid land mines were indiscriminately killing and wounding soldiers and civilians alike. These mine-protected designs were accomplished with minimal resources and finance. It took 30 years for the rest of the world to "discover" how well they worked. In this part we will be looking at
the early Rhodesian designs that utilised a medium sized chassis such as the Land Rover and Land Cruiser for patrol and civilian work. The 1950s and 60s saw great political upheaval on the African Continent. Many European countries began to shed or lose their colonial possessions, which changed the face of Africa. In 1963 Britain granted full independence to Northern Rhodesia, which became Zambia. Southern Rhodesia, indignant at not being granted independence, unilaterally declared independence from Britain on 11th November 1965. This act precipitated a prolonged guerrilla war which began initially as a low intensity 'Police Action' but due to the support to the nationalist movement from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact allies as well as China the 'Bush War' intensified and by the 1970s threatened to escalate to a full scale conventional war that would engulf most of the region.

Flight Journal 06/2014

In early 1939, just months before WW II erupted in Europe, the Kriegsmarine formulated Plan Z, a construction program expected to be completed in 1948. It included ten battleships, three battlecruisers, and four carriers. The lead ship of the Flugzeugträger class was named Graf Zeppelin, a logical connection to Germany's dirigible pioneer. A sister ship to be named Peter Strasser (after the Great War Zeppelin commander) was scrapped during construction. Adolf Hitler pledged his support to the Kriegsmarine, with Graf Zeppelin's keel being laid by Deutsche Werke at Kiel in December 1936. She was launched two years later. Originally planned for 18,000 tons, her 361-foot length gained another 10,000 tons but she was originally rated at more than 33 knots. By the end of 1939, with Germany at war, she was 85% finished. All warships have long lead times, but especially aircraft carriers. Graf Zeppelin's progress was complicated by the fact that Reichstnarshal Hermann Goring owned nearly everything that flew in Nazi Germany. Therefore, her air group would belong to the Luftwaffe. Britain operated under the same policy until almost the last minute, as the Royal Air Force provided aircrews and planes to the Royal Navy. Britain's Fleet Air Arm, organic to the RN, only gained independence in May 1939. Realizing that it was starting far behind Britain and the U.S., in 1935 the Kriegsmarine sent a study group to Japan during the large carrier Akagi's modernization. From 1940 onward, the Imperial Navy kept a large delegation in Germany to offer advice and to report back on Graf Zeppelin's progress. We can only wonder what Japan's accomplished aviators and sailors thought of their ally's approach to the esoteric art of carrier aviation. Surely they recognized the practical limitations of the sled launch and compressed-air catapults.

Combat Aircraft Monthly 07/2014

THE US NAVY has announced that Sikorsky Aircraft has been selected as the winner of the VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement program. The May 7 news means that, under the terms of a $1.24-billion Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract. Sikorsky will build, modify, test and deliver six FAA-certifîed S-92A helicopters and two simulators to the US Marine Corps. The 'competition' had actually become a one-horse race after Northrop Grumman/ AgustaWestland and Bell/Boeing decided not to take part. The EMD contract runs until 2020. Ultimately the program includes 21 operational aircraft that will be delivered by 2023. Sikorsky submitted its VXX proposal for an existing, in-production helicopter platform to the US Navy in August 2013. but became the only bidder for the project when several competitors decided not to pursue it. Sikorsky has delivered more than 200 S-92s, developed as a medium-lift, commercial helicopter, since 2004. Ten nations currently utilize the aircraft for their head of state missions. Also used by the offshore oil and gas industry, and for civil search and rescue, the S-92's main cabin is 20ft (6.1m) long, 6.5ft (1.9m) wide and 6ft (1.8m) high. Two of the six aircraft covered by the EMD contract will be designated as Engineering Development Models (EDM), and will be delivered in 2018. Those aircraft will support flight performance and mission communication system capabilities testing carried out by the US Navy as well as certification testing by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Finescale Modeler 07/2014

In 1943, to counter the growing threat from Royal Air Force night bombing, the Luftwaffe launched a campaign using single-seat fighters. Vectored toward oncoming bombers by controllers, the pilots attacked using illumination from ground-based searchlights and fires. Dubbed "Wilde Sau" (wild boar), the program led to the creation of Jagdgeschwader 300 equipped with Bf 109s and Fw 190s borrowed from day-fighter units. Brian Geiger used Hasegawas 1/32 scale Bf 109G-6 to build a JG 300 aircraft flown by ace Arnold Döring. A layer of Tamiya fine white surface primer provided a foundation for the Testors Model Master, Floquil, and Humbrol enamels Brian used on his Messerschmitt. He used a double-action airbrush powered by a Central Pneumatic compressor. "Its nothing special, but I really appreciate the fact it has a small tank so the motor doesn't run constantly," Brian says. "My stress level goes down a lot without all of the racket." The pre-shaded most panel lines and a few stained areas with thin black paint. "There's no need to be exact while pre-shading,"he says. "Much of the effect will disappear, but enough remains to break up the large areas." On the black areas, he post-shaded panels dark gray.

Airfix Model World 07/2014

First conceived in 1943 as a short-range, fast and heavily-armed interceptor, the Kyushu Shinden (Magnificent Lightning) suffered from development delays that meant just two prototypes were built. Very unusually for the time, the Shinden had a canard pusher configuration, partly because the original idea was to fit a turbojet engine once one became available. Two prototypes were eventually completed by April 1945 but problems with the engineering, equipment and staff shortages had already delayed the programme. The first prototype finally flew in August 1945 and completed approximately 45 minutes of test flights before World War Two ended. Flight data showed that the design was promising but there were issues with torque generated by the radial engine, which pulled the aircraft to the right. These were in the process of being resolved when the war finished. The National Air and Space Museum, in Washington DC, owns the only surviving Shinden. The kit comprised one clear and five light grey runners plus a sheet of decals. Reading the 'Old Man' blog from Telford 2013 on the Zoukei-Mura website provided interesting background for this build, as it explained the idea behind the kits. The concept is that the modeller constructs the internal framework and then adds the outer skin to partially mimic the way the real aircraft would have been built.