Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Military Illustrated Modeller 10/2014

The Flakpanzer 38(t) was based on the Panzer 38(t) Ausf M chassis developed for Marder III production and mounted the proven Flak 38 to the rear. Folding side plates allowed the gun to be fired at both aerial and ground targets. The Czech manufacturer BMM completed over 140 examples with many being operated against Allied 'Jabo' (jagdbomber) fighters during the 1944 Normandy campaign. Tristar have an excellent track record with the Panzer 38(t) having produced various versions of the original gun tank with full interiors. In addition, they have released three versions of the Flak 38 providing early and late versions. This Flakpanzer is therefore a logical combination with elements taken from these previous releases plus four new sprues providing the superstructure and Ausf M hull. The quality of the new parts is perfectly acceptable, but in a few areas, the definition is not quite as sharp as seen with the original Panzer 38(t) or Flak 38 kits. Construction starts with the hull and interior fittings. Inspection of the inner sidewalls and floor reveals a number of deep ejector-pin marks that will require filling. Accessing these areas to sand away filler while not damaging the raised joint flanges can prove challenging, so I chose to remove all the raised detail, fill and sand the marks then re-instate the flanges with plastic card. Adding the flange detail after assembling the hull has the added advantage of covering any joins in the corners. The 'punch & die' set was used extensively to add the many tiny rivet heads seen on the finished model. The interior parts provided by Tristar are exceptionally well detailed, especially the gearbox and steering levers. The latter are made up of a sandwich of brass levers and spacers that are best threaded onto an appropriate diameter plastic spindle and clamped together before adding a small amount of cyano glue to secure the assembly. This can then be secured to the plastic housing with a little more cyano glue.

Tamiya Model Magazine International 10/2014

Fairly recently, Fujimi and Hasegawa, mainly known for their beautiful aircraft kits, decided to produce motorcycle models too. This was a pleasant surprise as they chose to tackle innovative machines and the level of detail is impressively high. While Hasegawa is interested in the 250cc Japanese World Champions, Fujimi, has taken on the endurance machines of the 1980s. Their catalogue already lists the 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750, 1987 Yamaha YZF-750, and the topic of this article, the 1985 Yamaha FZR 750R. In the '80s, endurance races had a renewed boost of interest and Yamaha wanted a part of the action. The bike uses a Deltabox framework developed from that of the YZR500 Grand Prix and an engine from the FZ75Ü. Fujimi's kit comes with the colours of Tech21 as ridden by Taira/Roberts but the bike that was sent to France for the '85 Bol d'Or would be ridden by Christian Sarron, Thierry Espié and Jacques Cornu. It was painted in the colours of Sonauto, the French importer of Yamaha plus a well known French tobacco company, a more logical choice for the French market than Tech21. It is this scheme that French artisan-producer 'Blue Stuff (Dexter Models) has chosen as an optional scheme for the kit, and it is produced to a very high quality. For the record, the actual bike was subsequently repainted in the Tech21 colours for the Yamaha museum in Japan, where the company took a hundred photos. These are now posted on Fujimi's website (see Modelspec for web address) providing some excellent photos to aid the modeller in their superdetailing efforts should they desire.

Aviation News 10/2014

The spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) - now called the Islamic State (IS) - into Iraq has led to the US mounting airstrikes to assist the Iraqi Government and Kurdish forces. As of September 1, US Central Command revealed that 123 airstrikes had taken place. American fighters conducted the first attacks against IS militants on August 8 when a pair of US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets, operating from the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush (CVN 77), used 500lb (227kg) laser-guided bombs against a mobile artillery piece near Erbil. The US airstrikes helped Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces recapture the strategically critical Mosul Dam in northern Iraq. USAF C-130s and C-17s have also been conducting humanitarian aid air drops to people threatened by IS. Additionally, the Iraqi Air Force has been attacking IS fighters and assisting civilians in need. The RAF is heavily involved in the effort. Seven Tornado GR4s have been deployed to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, to conduct 'humanitarian support' missions and reconnaissance. Four Chinooks were sent to the base on Cyprus to assist in Iraq if required. Missions to gather intelligence have been carried out by the service's first RC-135W Rivet Joint and the UK has also undertaken aid drops using C-130Js. Plus, on August 31 two C-130Js delivered 11 tonnes of equipment to Erbil. The load consisted of 7.62mm ammunition provided by other nations, plus body armour, helmets and sleeping bags provided by the UK. RAF C-17A Globemaster Ills have additionally transported a range of non-lethal support, gifted by the UK, and intended for Kurdish forces.

Aeroplane 11/2014

Much has been written in recent months about the visit of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster to the UK, and rightly so. As Steve Slater astutely points out in his Hangar Talk column, the aircraft has managed to score some major publicity coups during its time in Britain and has regularly appeared on TV, radio and in newspapers as well as the specialist media. I live in a small village in Derbyshire and regulars in the 'Carpenters Arms' (which I frequent merely to keep up on village gossip, you understand...) have been asking me when and where the Lancasters are appearing, with many locals travelling significant distances to see the two aircraft fly in formation. These are not aviation enthusiasts by any stretch of the imagination, but the media coverage and the desire to be part of history has meant they have been caught up in the Lancaster 'fever' that has gripped the UK. Tony Harmsworth and I were recently among the large crowd at East Kirkby to see the two Lancasters overflying the resident, taxiable, Just Jane. The sight, and more especially the sound, of three Lancasters and 12 Merlin engines will live long in my memory.

Classic Military Vehicle 10/2014

When asked by Tsar Nicholas II to develop a vehicle that could travel at all speeds over deep snow, ice or roads covered with lightly packed snow - a vehicle that could leave the road without slowing down - French engineer Adolphe Kégresse came up with a novel solution. He would go on to replace the rear wheels with an endless track system, using a flexible rubber belt. That was in 1906, and he was the tender age of 27 at the time; seven years later Kégresse, believing that he had perfected the system, applied for a patent in his native France, but then the Bolshevik revolution spoiled his plans when he had to flee Russia. The concept of the half-track, however, wasn't exactly new. The Holt Manufacturing Company (later to become Caterpillar) had toyed with the idea in 1913, and the likes of Lombard and others had produced half-track machines from 1916. However, the Frenchman's way of doing things was altogether more refined and sophisticated and offered a unique combination of performance, ride and reliability. Moreover, unlike caterpillar tracks, his rubber band didn't tear up the surface of the road - and this would inevitably add to its versatility and usefulness. What's so clever about the Kégresse set-up is that it used a unique flexible track design with a proper suspension system to support the vehicle's weight. The bogie itself consisted of three subassemblies, namely the rubber track including the four road wheels, the suspension with its adjustable idler wheel, and the driving axle with its drive pulleys or sprockets.

AIR Modeller 10/11 2014

The Dutch-manufactured Fokker D.XXI was a low-wing monoplane that saw action during the defence of Holland in May 1940. The type had a much longer and very successful operational career with the Finnish Air Force against its Soviet counterparts, during both the Winter War and Continuation War. Its rugged design with a radial engine and fixed undercarriage made it very suitable for the harsh Northern conditions, especially as the wheels could be replaced with skis for winter use. Initially I was going to build this 1:48 scale Special Hobby kit more or less out of the box with some additional details like opening the landing flaps, cockpit canopy and gun bays in the wings. However the resin Bristol Mercury radial engine from Vector supplied with the kit was so finely detailed that it seemed a waste to hide it away inside the closed cowling. With the cowling now removed, the model looked slightly odd with the engine protruding from the front of the fuselage. So I decided to remove the panels in front of the cockpit as well, exposing the area directly behind the engine and uncovering the internal fuel tank. After that the model construction was straightforward.

AirForces Monthly 10/2014

THIS YEAR'S Exercise Pitch Black 2014 (PB14), was the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF's) largest and most complex air exercise, involved up to 110 aircraft and more than 2,300 personnel. The exercise ran from August 1 to 22. Held in the Northern Territory every two years, PB14 included offensive counter air and defensive counter air missions, which were launched from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal. The Delamere Range Facility and Bradshaw Field Training Area were also used. Mission scenarios became progressively larger and more complicated through the course of the exercise, requiring mission commanders to factor in a variety of air combat roles. Those practised during Exercise Pitch Black included air-to-air combat, air-to-ground attack, airborne early warning and control, air-to-air refuelling and tactical air transport. In addition, many other ground-borne roles - such as combat support, joint battlefield airspace control, employment of combat controllers (including joint terminal attack control) and exercise co-ordination - were also practised. The exercise areas used for Exercise Pitch Black are some of the largest in the world and feature realistic, simulated and re-created threats and targets.

Military History Monthly 10/2014

The war on the Western Front in 1914 confounded most predictions. The Germans did not capture Paris. The French did not storm across the Rhine. The 'spirit of the offensive' was shown to be suicidal. No-one had enough artillery, machine-guns, or munitions. Cavalry was virtually redundant. More aircraft were desperately needed. The fronts rapidly went into lockdown. The war of manoeuvre turned into a war of attrition. On the Eastern Front, on the other hand, the broad pattern of the war was closer to that of 19th-century conflicts. For sure, there were too many cavalry and not enough guns, telephones, and radio operators. Hardly anyone suspected that the eight armoured cars of Russia's 1st Automobile Machine Gun Company represented the future of warfare. Nonetheless, the war proved far less 'sticky' here than in the West. Within the six weeks it was supposed to have taken the Germans to lake Paris, true trench-warfare had begun on the Western Front. This became apparent to the BEF when it was hurled back from the freshly cut German trenches on the Aisne in September. In the East, however, the balance between mass and space was different, and the war of movement continued - not just into 1915, but, to a significant degree, throughout the three years that the war lasted. This did not make the Eastern Front any less murderous: if anything, the contrary was true, for trenches provided protection, whereas a war of movement exposed men more frequently to danger on the surface. In our special feature this month, David Porter explores the great battles between German and Russian in East Prussia, and between Austro-Hungarian and Russian in Galicia, during the opening months of the First World War: this was a clash of three empires in the marshes and thickets of the Masurian Lakes, and in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

How To Build The Leopard Family In 1:35

Anyone that follows the modelling world will notice how often a particular subject becomes flavour of the month, and how, once that happens, a large number of kits from a variety of different manufacturers, will appear at the same time. The Leopard is a great example of how this can result in lots of new kits being released, seemingly, out of the blue. Though there have always been kits of this vehicle from the likes of Tamiya, Italeri and Revell, many of these are based on older moulds and though the second-generation Leopard 2 family sought favour thanks to Tamiya's attentions and latterly, those of HobbyBoss, the earlier Leopard 1 in its many incarnations has been rather less popular. Enter MENG and their 1 A4. Released in a flurry of excitement, this new kit was hoped to be the last word on the subject, so when it appeared with odd accuracy issues many still felt that the opportunity had been missed and no more first-generation kits would appear. Not so. Takom then released a MEXAS and are due to look at other versions including the 1A5/ C2. MENG have also taken another look at their more problematic issues in their kit and have reworked them - much to the delight of the enthusiastic modeller - and so we may finally have a kit to match the hopes and expectations of the market.

Combat Aircraft 10/2014

Hearing the news that the 65th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis AFB is to disband in September came as little surprise. The US Air Force is struggling to fund its "big ticket" programs, so something has to give. However, the figure quoted in terms of savings afforded by culling the 19 aggressor F-15s is $35 million annually. Compare that with the reductions we are told will come in the F-35 Lightning II program. The F-35 Joint Program Office says that an F-35A currently costs $112 million, but that it will come down to $80 million by 2019 (others say the current figure is an awful lot higher). Ignoring this fact, the JPO figure still suggests a reduction of $32 million per aircraft by 2019. So, to fund and save the aggressors would require just one F-35 to be deferred each year until 2019. Not fewer jets, just deferring them! Of course, that doesn't work. If everyone just waited for F-35 costs to come down as promised, the price cut wouldn't happen. Production needs to ramp up now in order to yield the cost reductions. Pile them high, sell them cheap(er). So, why can't customers just sit it out and play the waiting game — wait for an F-35 that has come down the cost curve, wait for an F-35 that doesn't have all the concurrency issues; a more mature jet that has completed testing and doesn't require modifications? Some argue that the expensive jets coming out in the initial LRIP batches will have little combat capability and will require the sort of costly mid-life upgrade that the F-16s needed in the 1990s. With the high cost of concurrency (bringing these jets up to full capability standards), will these early F-35s be rendered obsolete? Are they going to have any useful combat capability? In the longer term, they surely will, but many less complex fighter aircraft programs have taken a decade to be brought up to a meaningful standard after entering service. The question is whether air forces will be forced to sacrifice useful fighter fleets in order to pay for a new jet with little real immediate combat capability.

Military Machines International 10/2014

Farley Mowat was born in Ontario on 12 May 1921. Despite being encouraged by his father, Angus, a veteran of the Great War, to join the Army, Farley was set on joining the Royal Canadian Air Force and learning to fly. Unfortunately for him (but perhaps fortunately for us) the RCAF was not as keen on him as he was on them. Therefore, falling back on his father's advice, young Farley enlisted with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, known as the Hasty P and by 10 July 1943, he was a subaltern in command of a rifle platoon and found himself participating in the initial landings of Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily. In his book, 'My Father's Son', Mowat remarks that in its initial stages the campaign in Sicily was an "exhilarating if exhausting experience for those that escaped death or mutilation". But as the action moved into Italy and there began a long and bitter struggle, the experience became more exhausting that anything else. Following a particularly stressful period during the Moro River campaign at the tail end of 1943, Mowat departed the front line and was appointed to the staff at Brigade HQ. Although the aforementioned My Father's Son provides a very good account of Mowat's service in Italy, we must fast-forward to April 1945 when the now Captain Mowat, based at Eindhoven in the Netherlands was serving as a Technical Intelligence Officer. His task was, as he puts it: "to scour the battlefields and beyond for examples of new military horrors being deployed by the Jerries against our lads."

Air International Special KC 135

One of the most important ways in which the US Air Force has been upgrading its fleet of KC-135Rs and KC-135Ts, as well as its other models, is to make their flight decks compatible with the modern, highly digital, air traffic management environment. By default, this has meant the US Air Force doing away with the navigator's and flight engineer's positions on every C-135 flight deck, in order to make the aircraft fully navigable and controllable by just a two-pilot crew. It has also meant the Air Force replacing all of the fleet's 1950s-vintage analogue instruments and navigational systems with digital avionics and displays, which make it easier for the two pilots to absorb all the aircraft systems, air traffic management and navigational information required to fly the aircraft efficiently and safely while satisfying today's complex airspace and traffic requirements. The cockpit upgrade process, which began in 1997 and includes three distinct phases, will be finished within a few years. By the time the process is completed, every major KC-135R and KC-135T flight deck component, except the pilot's seats and a few other minor parts, will have been replaced by a new digital electronic component, says Col Martin O'Grady, KC-135R system programme manager for the US Air Force. By then, all of the 400-plus C-135s remaining in US service should be able to continue performing their missions efficiently and reliably in the highly digital 21st century operating environment until either the US Department of Defense mandates their replacement or until they reach the limit of their currently specified 39,000 flight-hour lives. At current annual rates of operation, most US Air Force KC-135s are expected to reach that 39,000-flight-hour figure between 2040 and 2050.

Model Military International 10/2014

The T-64 is a Soviet main battle tank introduced in the early 1960s. It was a more advanced counterpart to the T-62: the T-64 served tank divisions, while the T-62 supported infantry in motor rifle divisions. Although the T-62 and the famous T-72 would see much wider use and generally more development, it was the T-64 that formed the basis of more modern Soviet tank designs, such as the T-80. The T-64 was conceived in Kharkiv, Ukraine as the next-generation main battle tank by Alexander A. Morozov, the designer of the T-54 which, in the meantime, would be incrementally improved by Leonid N. Kartsev's Nizhny Tagil bureau, by the models T-54A, T-54B, T-55, and T-55A. A revolutionary feature of the T-64 is the incorporation of an automatic loader for its 125-mm gun, allowing one crew member's position to be omitted and helping to keep the size and weight of the tank down. Tank troopers would joke that the designers had finally caught up with their unofficial hymn, Three Tankers - the song had been written to commemorate the crewmen fighting in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, in 3-man BT-5 tanks in 1939. The T-64 also pioneered other Soviet tank technology: the T-64A model of 1967 introduced the 125-mm smooth-bore gun, and the T-64B of 1976 would be able to fire a guided anti-tank missile through its gun barrel. The T-64 design was further developed as the gas turbine-powered T-80 main battle tank. The turret of the T-64B would be used in the improved T-80U and T-80UD, and an advanced version of its diesel engine would power the T-80UD and T-84 tanks built in the Ukraine.

Airfix Model World 10/2014

Keen-eyed readers will notice that on page 22 of this issue, we have a new feature entitled 'Your Airfix'. Having worked in publishing for more than 20 years (and a long-time avid magazine reader), I've always considered that the better publications in their relevant markets always offer some form of reader participation. It then struck me recently that this sort of avenue was missing from Airfix Model World, in terms of model builds. Of course, anyone can get in touch if they are interested in becoming a contributor, but not everyone has the means or time to do this. Our new page, though, allows any AMW reader the opportunity to show off a particular Airfix build of which they're particularly proud; it can be any subject as long as it's an Airfix model, photographed to a good standard against a clean white background, along with a 300 word description of what was involved in the build. I was certainly impressed with the ingenuity of our first submission from Steve Fitzpatrick who, despite having only recently returned to modelling since childhood, portrayed Duxford's de Havilland Vampire in a realistic and well-rendered museum setting. The gauntlet is thrown... let's see those Airfix models so we can all enjoy them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fine Scale Modeler 10/2014

Airbrushing scares some modelers, but there are those who enjoy it. Simon Harrison is one of the latter. "I love an afternoon spent with an airbrush," he says. Simon notes that two aspects make or break a model: a straight, square build and an appealing paint job. "Having an eye for the right finish is critical, as that's where the art lives," he says. Focused on 1/48 scale World War II fighters, Simon especially enjoys building Luftwaffe aircraft. "I love the myriad of colors, the pervasive undercurrent of conjecture when it comes to selecting them, the ensuing employ of liberal amounts of artistic license, and the no-nonsense look of the prototypes," he says, even if the schemes can be challenging. "When I joined IPMS, I found that good Luftwaffe modeling tended to separate the wheat from the chaff". A musician, music teacher, and bookkeeper from Wainwright, Alberta, Canada, Simon spends a lot of time turning sows ears into silk purses, as he puts it. "I'll happily hack old swap-meet kits apart, graft in bits from various manufacturers, saw things into shards, and generally run amok," he says. "At the very least, if a kit s good, I'll add antennas, brake lines, wing lights, seat harnesses and brass-tube gun barrels. Sprinkling some eye candy about in cockpits is fun, too."  For painting, Simon keeps an arsenal of three Badger airbrushes. lie got his first 25 years ago, a single-action Model 200 that he still uses every time he builds. "Its reliable, indestructible, and predictable," he says. "I also have a Model 200NII that I use for clear-coating and large-area coverage, and a Model 150-F that's a gem for intricate work."

Scale Military Modeller International 09/2014

This HobbyBoss kit comes with a full interior but starts with the frame and running gear. There are many pieces that build the full undercarriage which is very detailed. The only part of the running gear I didn't like were the vinyl tires so I switched to resin tyres and hubs from Alliance Modelworks. This set also included a really nice spare tyre without the cover which looks so much better than the kit spare, but it also comes with a 'covered spare' if you want of those as well. After the frame and running gear, the interior is next in line for assembly. This went together without too much difficulty, though there were some pin marks that needed to be filled. The kit does supply a complete engine, etched screen that separates the crew compartment from the engine compartment as well as etched empty hand grenade holders and crew gear. This makes for a very nice interior even though you don't get to see much of it through the turret structure. Next is the rest of the hull exterior. I originally found a wartime photograph that shows a 222 with two fuel cans stored in metal racks on each fender which is want I wanted to do, but that wasn't going to work with the Black Dog accessories set I purchased for the large bundle of gear for the rear deck. In fact the bundle of gear is made for the Tamiya 222 kit which has one fuel can on either side of the rear hull and the gear goes around those fuel cans. To overcome that I used Magic Sculpt to make some additional tarpaulins that take up the excess slack between the Black Dog gear and the top of the vehicle. And taking a cue from the Black Dog set, I made my own spare fuel can rack for the front of the vehicle from four Tasca fuel cans and plastic stock.

Military Modelling Vol.44 No.10, 2014

In 1934, Austrian manufacturer Steyr merged with Austro-Daimler-Puch to form Steyr-Daimler-Puch and were primarily producers of high-end civilian cars. At the outbreak of war, Austria had been annexed the year before by Germany and formed part of the Third Reich. Steyr-Daimler-Puch went into full military vehicle production for the war effort including the production of the Steyr Raupenschlepper Ost (RSO). One of the war machines which had already been conceived and produced 8-years earlier by Austro-Daimler Puchwerke AG was the ADGZ (M35 mittlerer Panzerwagen), a heavy 12-wheeled armoured police and reconnaissance car designed for the Austrian army. Several of the ADGZ vehicles had been pushed into German military and policing service before the outbreak of war. At the outbreak of war, several ADGZ vehicles formed part of the attack on Poland in September 1939. The PzKpfwSteyr ADGZ armoured cars were assigned primarily to Police detachments and SS units. By 1941, the SS ordered an additional 25 ADGZ vehicles and these were pushed into service on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans with the 7th SS Freiwillingen-Gebirgs-Division 'Prinz Eugen' for anti-partisan purposes. Sources are short on details regarding the number of ADGZ armoured cars produced, but close approximation was 53 in total between 1934 and 1942 (25 produced in early 1942 for the SSand 38 produced for Austrian Army by 1938).

Britain At War 09/2014

HAVING BEEN at the helm of Britain at War Magazine since its launch in May 2007, it is with a degree of emotion that I am penning this, my last "Dugout". Having had the exciting and rewarding opportunity of being part of the organisation at Key that has created the UK's best-selling military history monthly, I am moving on to pastures new. Reflecting on the last eighty-nine issues, I can certainly say that I have learnt a lot and enjoyed many remarkable opportunities. Not least of these have been those occasions when I have been able to listen to those men and women who were there, the veterans of the Second World War about whom so much of this magazine depends. It is appropriate that I should thank all those that who have helped make my time as Editor so rewarding. My immediate editorial team, John Grehan and Mark Khan, have been there from the start, whilst Geoff Simpson and Ken Wright have assisted me for many years. A band of regular and knowledgeable contributors has also ensured that nothing was too much trouble. I would also like to thank my wife Leanne, who has not only had to contend with the irregular hours, but has faithfully read every word of the magazine's content. Then, of course, there are the magazine's readers, many of whom have also shared the experience from Day One. Whilst I will carry on writing for the magazine, I am handing over the reins as Editor to Andy Saunders, someone whom I have known for many years, and who has a lifetime of interest in, and expertise of, military history. Please be assured that Britain at War is in safe hands with the team at Key continuing to provide you with the same breadth and depth of content as it does today.

AIR International 09/2014

The stand-up of Electronic Attack Squadron 143 (VAQ-143) 'Cobras', to be equipped with Boeing EA-18G Growlers, had been planned for October at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. "A new date has not been set and will not be set until after the completion of the environmental impact study," said Cdr Jeannie Groeneveld, public affairs officer for commander, Naval Air Force, US Pacific Fleet. The navy currently operates three expeditionary VAQ squadrons and is planning to expand the force to five units with VAQ-144 'Roadrunners' scheduled for stand-up in October 2015. It is not known if the delay with VAQ-143 will postpone the activation of VAQ-144. The expeditionary VAQ squadrons deploy to land bases in support of joint operations. The navy also operates ten carrier-based VAQ squadrons, one of which may become available for the expeditionary role. Electronic Attack Squadron 134 (VAQ-134) 'Garudas', currently making the navy's last EA-6B Prowler deployment and involved in combat in Iraq from the deck of USS George H W Bush, is due to return to Whidbey Island late this year and begin transition to the EA-18G in 2015. Since the navy nominally has ten carrier air wings but only nine in operation, VAQ-134, as the tenth squadron, could be pressed into expeditionary service if the operational needs require it: the squadron had previously served in that role. Cdr Jeannie Groeneveld said that VAQ-134 is projected to complete the Growler transition in early 2016: "Depending on the myriad of domestic and international events that will occur in the next two years affecting government decisions and presence requirements, it remains to be seen whether or not VAQ-134 will return to the expeditionary role."

Flight Journal 10/2014

In the spring of 1945, barely after V-E Day, the U.S. government sent teams from various aircraft manufacturers to Europe seeking German aeronautical records. The searchers included Douglas aerodynamicists L. E. Root and Apollo M.O. Smith who were especially interested in delta wing and tailless configurations. Upon return to California, "Amo" Smith convinced the company to conduct wind tunnel tests based on Dr. Alexander Lippisch's work, notably the Messerschmitt 163. The tests at Cal Tech were encouraging, leading to Douglas Model 571. Chief engineer Edward H. Heinemann (already known for the SBD dive bomber and A-26 Invader) conceived a basic design of 600 square feet wing area and gross weight of eight tons. Despite the positive test results, the U.S. Navy — Douglas' main customer — expressed doubts about delta wings. Therefore Heinemann's men took matters into their own hands. They asked the company shop to build balsa models of two-foot spans in various delta configurations. Then some of the world's most accomplished engineers took themselves atop a building while others held nets on the ground. As Heinemann recalled, "We launched each model straight out, applying slight downward pressure on the leading edge of the wing. The pure flying wing model flipped over, out of control... But the others, all of which had shapes similar to the (future) Skyray, flew beautifully." In 1947, the Navy's fighter design branch expressed interest in the Douglas concept. One of the advocates was Lt. Cdr. Turner Caldwell, who that year set a world speed record in Heine-mann's D-558 Skystreak. Caldwell's boss, Cdr. A.B. Metzger, let it drop that the Navy might be interested in a carrier-based interceptor that could reach 40,000 feet in five minutes or less.

Aeroplane 10/2014

It has certainly been a month to remember in the historic aviation world with a variety of highpoints. In the quarter of a century since the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Avro Lancaster triumphantly returned to the skies the Aeroplane team has repeatedly been asked whether we thought the 'Lane' would ever visit the UK. In fact, it's probably fair to say if we'd had a pound for each time we'd been asked we could have paid for the ferry flight ourselves! We all lived in hope that one day we'd see the aircraft share the skies with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's PA474, and this month that dream became a reality. I'd like to go on record to thank those who have made this possible, from the people funding the project to the crews maintaining, flying and looking after every element of the trip. I'm sure I speak on behalf of the entire British aviation community - and many who count themselves more as casual onlookers - when I say that we are eternally grateful for your efforts to share your aeroplane and bring her to the Lancaster's spiritual home of Lincolnshire's Bomber County. Elsewhere in the world, those who made the trip to Oshkosh (see page 68) saw the much-anticipated return of a Fairey Gannet to the airshow scene alongside new restorations and completed projects including a Lockheed Vega and Gee Bee QED. But for me, the highlight of the show was the jaw-dropping line up of seven Lockheed 12s... Only at Oshkosh!

Model Aircraft 09/2014

Evgeniy Georgievich Pepelyaev was born in the town of Bodaybo in the Irkutsk region, the centre of the famous Lena gold-mines, on 18 March 1918. Evgeniy's father, Georgiy Georgievich Pepelyaev, was a worker who travelled from one place to another and assembled and repaired various gold mining hardware: diesel engines, steam-boilers, generators, etc. In 1928 the Pepelyaevs left Bodaybo and stayed at various places - in Novosibirsk, Chuvashia, and the Petropavlovskand the Semipalatinsk regions - over a period of few years. Evgeniy had to study in a new school almost each academic year. In 1934 he entered the Omsk Railway Construction Technical School, but he did not graduate from it, as in 1935 his elder brother Konstantin, an instructor in the 8th Military Pilots School, took Evgeniy, who had been dreaming of becoming a pilot since childhood, with him to Odessa. When in Odessa, Evgeniy worked at aircraft repair shops and simultaneously started attending a flying club. He entered the Odessa Military Pilots School under special recruitment in August 1936. In 1937 cadet Pepelyaev was among the first to complete the flight training program on the U-2 aircraft, and in January 1938 he started mastering the 1-16 fighter powered by the M-25 engine. By November 1938 he had mastered take-off and landing on the 1-16, basic aerobatics, and some aerobatics stunts such as loop, wingover, climbing turn, and spin. He had also learned certain air combat manoeuvres and practised firing at ground targets.

FlyPast 10/2014

Initially, it was one of a pair of aerodromes built close to each other in Cambridgeshire. There was already a small Home Defence landing ground at neighbouring Fowlmere, but Duxford was to dramatically increase military activities in the region. Work began on October 15, 1917, despite significant opposition from landowners who were concerned about the scale of the project. The first military personnel moved in during March 1918, although neither Duxford or Fowlmere was complete at that stage. American troops were billeted in a brick hut, while temporary wood and canvas Bessonneau hangars were constructed to house their aircraft. Although they were built as training depots, both Duxford and Fowlmere were first used as mobilisation stations, officially becoming Training Depot Stations from September 1918. Alistair Rabys history of Duxford describes the arrival of new air cadets at this time: ''On that course was Flight Cadet G R W Williams, who recalls they were about 60 strong. There was still a shortage of accommodation, and several of the newcomers were sent to an annexe at Thriplow Manor, a couple of miles away. The following day they were brought by a Crossley Tender [the standard personnel carrier at the time - ED] for breakfast in the Officers' Mess, of which they were probationary members. "Once the cadets had crossed the road to the airfield the first step was a trip to the stores to draw flying kit. This consisted of thigh-length sheepskin boots, a long leather coat with fleece lining, fur-lined helmet, goggles and fur-lined mittens with silk gloves. Then, with five others, Cadet Williams was allocated to a flying instructor, Lt Geoffrey Dorman. From then his programme alternated, weather permitting, between flying in the morning, and afternoon lectures, reversed next day."

Model Airplane International 09/2014

The late versions of the popular 'Dora' were always sought after by modellers despite there only ever being a small number of production examples, of which only a handful ever reached operational units. Following the Planet Models resin kits back in 2005 that were really good, but an expensive choice for 1:72, about two and halve years ago RV Resin produced a range of several late marks of Fw 190D (despite the company name the kits were all plastic). These all suffered from minor shape errors (more on that later), but still seem to be a better option than conversions of D-9 kits. Now AZ Model have upgraded the RV Resin tooling and released them under their own label. Having the original kit RV Resin kit at hand I opened the red box that indicates AZ Model's new moulding technology and the inevitable question of 'what has changed compared to the original tooling' could be easily answered. The kit consists of two light tan-coloured plastic sprues of about 50 parts, two transparent parts and five resin items. One of the sprues is completely new and holds the revised fuselage plus a few other smaller parts like the pilot's head armour, separate fuselage front ring and undercarriage legs. The fuselage seems to be completely new (or at least the front part has been heavily modified), so now the position of the exhausts is correct (the original parts got this wrong, protruding some 2-3mm above the wing, while they should end approximately at the leading edge) as well as the total fuselage length, which was about 2mm short. Also newly tooled are the clear parts and nice additions are the exposed wheel wells, exhausts and supercharger intake, all supplied in resin.

Model Airplane News 08/2014

Multiplex has been producing a line of foam RC model planes for a number of years, and their latest release, the Shark, is foam at its best. Distributed by Hitec RCD, the design, and the product, is really outstanding. The colorful, well-applied graphics complement the Shark's beautiful lines. A very versatile electric-powered scale-like sport flyer, this model has several excellent features. Our test model required a receiver, 3-channel minimum, and a 3-cell, l,000mAh LiPo battery to make it ready for flight. The motor and speed control come already installed. Servos and push-rods are also installed, and I found that they were correctly set up and adjusted. A hex wrench is included for making adjustments if needed. I used a Hitec Aurora 9 transmitter and a 7-chan-nel Optima receiver to control the Shark. This may seem like more radio than required, but it's nice to have the extensive capabilities the Aurora 9 offers. In stock configuration, the Shark is a 3-channel model, rudder, elevator, and throttle, and flies very well. There is also an optional kit offered to add ailerons, which includes two servos, extension leads, pushrods, and horns. The ailerons are molded into the wing and only require cutting the ends free. Pockets for the servos and slots for the servo leads are molded into the wings to help make installation easy.

Scale Aviation Modeller International 09/2014

The J2M3 Raiden, Allied code name Jack, was designed by Jiro Horikoshi in 1939 as a defence interceptor for the Imperial Japanese Navy; Horikoshi's other famous aircraft was the A6M Zero. The Raiden was designed specifically to counter the threat of high altitude bombers and was capable of high speed climb and was armed with four machine guns, however the shape of the aircraft proved to limit the aircraft's manoeuvrability. The Raiden was powered by a single KaseiType23 kou 14 Cylinder Radial Engine producing 1,850hp and had a maximum speed of407mph and range of 348 miles. It was armed with four Type 99-2 cannon in the wings. The inboard cannon had a fire rate of 190rpg whilst the outboard had a fire rate of 210rpg. The Raiden could also carry two 60kg bombs or 2 x 200L drop tanks. 307 J2M3s were built by Mitsubishi and 128 were built by Koza KK in Japan. The aircraft saw extensive use during the Second World war by the Imperial Japanese Navy and were used amongst other roles as interceptors for the US Boeing B-29 Bombers. The Zoukei-Mura kit of the J2M3 Raiden comes in a very impressive box, which contains nine sprues of grey and two of clear injection moulded plastic, one decal sheet, one masking seal sheet and one very impressive instruction booklet. The parts are superbly moulded with exquisite detail and clarity to them, are all individually bagged and sealed and have finely engraved panel lines and surface detail.The decal sheet is superbly printed with crystal clarity and registration.