TWO LOCKHEED C-130H-30 Hercules from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia - TUDM) arrived at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Pearce, Western Australia, on March 29 to join the international search effort for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. Arrival of the RMAF aircraft saw support for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority-led search, dubbed Operation Southern Indian Ocean, increase to seven countries. They were joined by a third TUDM Hercules on April 6. Already involved were a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion, two US Navy P-8A Poseidons, two People's Liberation Army Air Force Il-76s, two Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force P-3C Orions, a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream V, one Republic of Korea Navy P-3C Orion and a Republic of Korea Air Force C-130H Hercules. The search aircraft were all operating from RAAF Pearce. These were all in addition to the Australian aviation assets involved, which included five RAAF AP-3C Orions and were boosted on March 28by the arrival of a Royal Australian Navy S-70B-2 Seahawk from 816 Squadron. This was flown into RAAF Pearce from HMAS Albatross, Nowra, New South Wales, on March 28 on board an RAAF C-17A. It is supporting the search effort operating from the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Tooiuoomba (FFH 156). Despite extensive searching since the March 8 disappearance of MH370, operated by Boeing 777-2H6ER 9M-MRO, no trace of it or its 239 passengers and crew had been found as AFM went to press.
Produced from the autumn of 1942, the Model 32 Zero fighter followed the Model 21 in being used in the conflict in the Pacific theatre. It featured a Sakae 21 engine fitted with two superchargers, and its calling card was a main wing shortened by 50cm on either side and given a squared-off finish. It was the superior of the Model 21 in terms of top speed, climb rate and roll, and thanks to its appearance even (mistakenly) received a different nickname of 'Hamp'. This new kit joins two others in Tamiya's 1:72 range - the Mitsubishi A6M2b and A6M5 Zeke - to allow the modeller the chance to build a fine little collection of these wonderful aircraft. Though also available in other ranges including Airfix and Hasegawa, these new kits are worth checking out thanks to their astonishing levels of detail, fit, surface features and accuracy. Even from the box as seen here, this new kit is a show-stopper; add detail and it will be breathtaking. But enough of the plaudits, what do we actually have in the box? Supplied in one of Tamiya's excellent boxes decorated by a wonderful painting of our chosen subject, the kit is everything you would expect from this company; well presented, wonderfully moulded, with comprehensive instructions and decals and a level of finesse that screams for you to dig a little deeper and get started. Once removed from their bags, the plastic parts revealed high levels of detail - especially within the cockpit - and surface detail that was easily the best I have seen in a kit in this scale. It is, to all intents and purposes, identical in terms of quality to that found in Tamiya's second-generation 1:48 kit.
This cold and desolate image shows a British trench, abandoned following a German attack, with mounted German infantry looming menacingly in the background. An inscription on the back of the photograph reads, Die Große Schlacht im Westen. Der Stab einer Infanterie-Division... ueberscreiten einer genommenen engl. Stellung. This translates as 'The Great Battle in the West. The staff of an infantry division... crosses a taken English position'. The trench floor is littered with cigarette papers, matchboxes, and tinned food, all left behind in the rushed withdrawal. Corrugated iron sheets have been thrown together haphazardly to create rude bunkers along the line, inside which we see more empty food packets and further signs of a hasty evacuation. The only dismounted soldier stands directly behind a solitary grave, marked with a white cross. While the ghostly, blurred German soldiers approaching on horseback and those who have just arrived all face the captured trench in preparation for crossing, this man alone faces the German line, perhaps reflecting on the successful advance. Not instantly noticeable, his presence provides a contrast in the image's direction of movement, which comes to a stand-still at him and the little grave.
The Krupp Steyr Waffenträger was one of several parallel projects to produce a self-propelled mount for the powerful 8.8cm PaK 43 anti-tank gun, that could be swiftly manufactured adapting components from existing stock. The Krupp Steyr proposal utilised components from the RSO tractor incorporated into a thinly armoured chassis, with a partially enclosed turret to give the crew protection from shell fragmentation and small arms fire. Only one prototype of the Krupp Steyr Waffenträger was completed and it was sent for technical evaluation at the Hillersleben Proving Ground. Trumpeter's 1:35 scale kit (item 01598) was built straight from the box, apart from adding an electrical conduit made of copper wire for the Notek light, and some fine chain for the stern towing block from Trumpeter's 06624 40cm Chains Set. I constructed the model the same way I would build an aircraft kit. Substantial amounts of painting and weathering of the hull interior and open top turret has to be completed before the hull and turret basket are assembled. There is a lot of work preparing the hull interior for priming and painting. Numerous ejector pin marks have to be filled with modelling putty. I chose to fill all of them, just in case any were visible after the hull and turret had been assembled. To ease production, Trumpeter has moulded the front spaced armour solid. It was a simple task to open up this area, using a drill and a craft knife. A minor problem encountered during construction of the kit was a slight amount of warping on the two suspension arms, parts A4. However, emersion in hot water and some gentle pressure soon corrected the problem.
Details of planned structure changes to the US Air Force were revealed on March 10, confirming proposals for some drastic cost-cutting measures that will result from the fiscal year 2015 President's Budget, announced six days earlier. Over the next five years, the USAF plans to remove almost 500 aircraft across the inventories of all three components: the national guard, reserve command and regular air force. Previously reported plans by the USAF to divest entire fleets of aircraft were confirmed. It means both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft will completely disappear from the inventory, while the USAF focuses on multi-role aircraft that can deliver a variety of capabilities. "In addition to fleet divestment, we made the tough choice to reduce a number of tactical fighters, command and control, electronic attack and intra-theatre airlift assets so we could rebalance the air force at a size that can be supported by expected funding levels. Without those cuts, we will not be able to start recovering to required readiness levels," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Mark A Welsh III. Under the FY15 budget, the air force places major emphasis on its modernisation programme, with funding requested for the new Long Range Strike Bomber ($0.9bn), while a total of S11.4bn is requested for the aircraft over the duration of the five-year Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). The tanker recapitalisation programme is also provided for, with a request for S2.4bn to purchase seven KC-46A Pegasus tankers in FY15 and $16.5bn for 69 aircraft over the FYDP.
THE PRINCIPAL objective of the Allied forces on D-D ay was to land six Divisions on a fifty-mile stretch of the Normandy coast. From the landing beaches the troops would push inland to occupy a large beachhead encompassing the city of Caen. One of the important factors for the success of this operation was the capture of the bridges that carry the coast road over the Caen Canal and the River Orne, which would enable the rapid expansion of the beachhead and help secure its eastern flank. As the bridges are more than three miles inland they could not be seized by the troops landing on the beaches. The bridges would have to be taken by aerial assault - by the men of the 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry who would be landed close to the bridges by glider. It was essential that the bridges were captured intact before the defenders had time to detonate the demolition charges that would inevitably have been laid by the Germans. Speed and surprise were therefore absolutely vital. So the assault upon the bridges would have to be conducted at night before the beach landings began. It would be the first ground action of the liberation of Europe.
The Lavochkin La-5 was significant as one of the first Soviet fighters capable of matching its German counterparts. The La-5 was a development of the widely loathed LaGG-3. The LaGG-3 was frequently felt to be more dangerous to its own pilots than to the Luftwaffe. The first LaGG-3s were overweight and underpowered, suffering from poor build quality and slow climb performance. Pilots were also put at risk by its deadly high stall speed. The Messerschmitt Bf 109 F was superior to the LaGG-3 in every aspect of dogfighting except in the horizontal plane, and even then the Bf 109 could simply break off combat and climb to safety. The LaGG was so mistrusted that its pilots dubbed it the "lakirovanny garantirovanny grob ("guaranteed varnished coffin"). Despite these shortcomings, the LaGG-3 showed potential thanks to its heavy armament and robust survivability. Even after being shot to pieces, a LaGG could often still limp away to its home airfield. However, the mating of the massive 41.2 litre M82 radial engine to the LaGG-3 airframe led to a powerful and agile new aircraft - the Lavochkin La-5. It was appropriate that the La-5 entered service at around the time of the battle for Stalingrad and the destruction of von Paulus' 6th Army. The La-5 was a part of a turnaround in the skies that reflected the action on the ground. The Lavochkin bureau continued to improve the La-5 with a 1,560 horsepower fuel-injected engine and lightening of the airframe. This ultimate development was the Lo-5FN. Performance of the La-5FN was equal to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 G and Fw 190 at altitudes lower than 3,000 metres.
Mention the words "Oliver Tiger" to men of a certain age and you'll probably see a far-away look in their eyes, with perhaps a smile and respectful nod. For these engines dominated many competitions over two decades - in tether car racing, then in SMAE Class A and FAI Team racing, followed by SMAE and FAI Combat. Such is their renown, that when Vintage Team Racing was rolled out (and new engines were no longer manufactured) competitors found it difficult to convince others to part with their treasured Oliver Tigers. Asking prices remain high, so various replicas or "clones" have been made to meet the demand. Resumed production by Tom Ridley of genuine Tigers, in association with "Young John" Oliver himself, appears to have still left an opening in this specialised market niche. Even in its heyday, one needed a Tiger specially "tuned" to gain a winning edge. Alberto Parra's 2.5cc T3 Tiger aims to conform to the technical specifications in Vintage Team Racing and Combat. He is aiming for performance similar to other modern "tuned Tigers" which with the benefit of advances in model engine know-how, is at levels appreciably above the norms of yesteryear. As if that was not challenging enough, Alberto has also revealed his new 3.2cc T4 engine specifically for use in BMFA Vintage Combat. Our T3 and T4 test engines come from the very first "proof of concept" batches. Performance and construction detail will likely differ slightly in response to feedback from testers. So keeping that in mind, here's our "sneak preview" report.
I have a ways had a soft spot for the Hurricane, almost equally as much as the Spitfire. I'm sure most people like one or the other, but I have the whole Battle of Britain thing going on and love a the aircraft involved. One thing I do get huffy about is cartoon appearance examples that bear little resemblance to the origins., being stretched and formed into a shocking attempt at honouring the original designer's outline. Dynam decided to mode probably the most famous Hurricane eft with WW2 history, R4118. Checking images on the Internet showed a good likeness and accurate markings. The Hurricane is not modelled as often as the Spitfire, so maybe it has not suffered as many insulting attempts at mimicking it as the poor Spitfire, which has taken a beating! Recently there have been a few Hurricane options offered and all have been a reasonable attempt at miniaturisation. This latest offering from Dynam caught my eye while researching the Meteor review, recently completed for this fine publication. It has plenty of detail and a paint finish that matches the modelled prototype quite closely. Those who enjoy weathering have a very good frank canvas to work with here, as the mode s supplied factory fresh, without the wear and dirty marks that come with use.
As far back as 1967 the seed was sown for the development of a replacement for the M113. No longer was an Armoured Personnel Carrier sufficient with the arrival of the Russian BMP-1, an Infantry Fighting Vehicle should not only carry and protect troops, but should be able to engage hard and soft targets and keep pace with tank operations. Finally in 1980 the new IFV was named after the five-star General Omar Bradley and the first production models were delivered in May of the following year with sixty per month produced to replace the M113. Now I'm no expert or engineer, but a few fundamental issues that came to light with the M113 appear unchanged (and were addressed to a degree - think back to the rear mounted fuel cells on late M11 3s), namely internal fuel and ammunition storage. Also the use of aluminium armour hasn't proven the safest defence hence the continued upgrades in external add-on protection, the ultimate being the latest Bradley Urban Survivability Kits (BUSK) depicted by the kit. Also on-board the A3 version is the latest vision and sighting technology with improved safety seating and fire control safety systems. Bradley's M242 25mm 'Bushmaster' chain gun has a duel feed mechanism, ammo choice at the flick of a switch and a rate of two hundred rounds per minute in multiple shot mode means the M2A3 can, and has, successfully engaged enemy tanks.