Thursday, May 8, 2014

FlyPast 06/2014

Now the centrepiece of the magnificent collection of aircraft within the American Air Museum at IWM Duxford, Boeing B-52D Stratofortress 56-0689 has been based at the Cambridgeshire airfield since October 8, 1983. Not only is it the biggest aircraft on display, it is also the largest and heaviest machine ever to have landed at Duxford. Arriving with just over 14,000 flying hours on the clock', the M11 motorway was closed for several minutes as the B-52 made its final approach. The giant jet made a perfect touchdown and was brought safely to a halt before the end of the runway with the help of a brake parachute. The only complete Stratofortress on display anywhere in the UK, 56-0689 was built at Boeing's Wichita plant in Kansas, and delivered to the USAF's 28th Bomb Wing (BW) on October 11, 1957. After receiving several modifications, it flew around 200 sorties during the Vietnam War, initially based at Guam from June 1968. It became a pool aircraft used by several units, and from January 1969 was flying missions from Thailand. It had several tenures both in the US and Southeast Asia, before flying operationally for the last time with the 7th BW at Carswell, Texas. A crew from the squadron then flew the B-52 to Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, prior to delivery to Duxford. The machine spent much of its time on external display, before undergoing intensive conservation work and finallv taking up residence in the American Air Museum in September 1996. The building had been specifically designed to accommodate the leviathan's 185ft (56.4m) wingspan.

Model Military International 06/2014

A posting on HyperScale and a couple of busy threads on Facebook recently have suggested that some model articles feature too much aftermarket. Hopefully, any detailed model article will include plenty of useful information for those who build the model straight from the box as well as those who choose to add aftermarket, so it should ideally offer the best of both worlds. It was also suggested that the author of a model article should tell the readers about the value of any aftermarket item. I always try to explain why I use an aftermarket item, but I believe that the question of value is in the eye (or the wallet) of the beholder. My job as I see it is to offer enough information and photos to let the potential purchaser make up their own mind. Some thought that two kits should be built side-by-side - one straight from the box and one enhanced with aftermarket. I have actually done exactly that when I have written modeling books on specific subjects, but it is difficult to find the time and space to do this online or in the magazines. However, rather than justify my use (or otherwise) of aftermarket parts, I thought it might be more interesting to let the plastic do the talking and list every kit - both military and aircraft - that I have built since the beginning of 2013, along with the aftermarket used on each one. Please note that I have not listed paints, decals or weathering products here.

Combat Aircraft Monthly 06/2014

After a protracted evaluation process, on March 24 the Republic of Korea formally selected the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, becoming the third Foreign Military Sales (FMS) country to procure the Joint Strike Fighter, after Israel and Japan. Seoul will acquire a total of 40 F-35A conventional take-off and landing variants under Phase III of its F-X fighter competition, with the potential to increase this order by 20 aircraft in future. F-X Phase III had previously pitted the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle, EADS Eurofighter Typhoon and Lightning II against each other for a planned $7.2-billion, 60-aircraft requirement. The F-15SE was originally declared the winner on cost grounds, before the Boeing product was rejected last September amid concerns relating to its survivability. Last November, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said the F-35 was the 'only aircraft that fits [the] requirements' set by the military. Deliveries of the Block 3 F-35 to the Republic of Korea Air Force are expected from 2018 to 2021, dependent on a contract signature later this year. A decision to purchase the 20 remaining aircraft will then be based upon factors including operational requirements, the security situation, funding, and technological developments. These remaining aircraft could be purchased by 2023-24. The company will provide the RoKAF Lightning lis with Block 3F software that is expected to become operational in 2017. Currently, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and Korean finance ministry are working out the total budget available.

Airfix Model World 06/2014

Well, here I am in the hot seat of Europe's biggest-selling monthly modelling magazine! Those of you who read Glenn's final editorial in last month's issue will know that he's returned to the realm of full-sized aircraft as brand editor of AirForces Monthly. I must thank him profusely for his stewardship of AMWsince its launch in 2010. Good luck Glenn, and I'm sure we'll see you reporting from a carrier deck soon! AMW wouldn't be what it is without solid support from Airfix, our sterling bunch of contributors and talented page designer Tom Bagley. While creating a quality modelling publication isn't without its challenges, it is tremendous fun for me...Glenn's right-hand man since AMW's launch, and a 'plastic basher' for the past 40 years who revels not just in the excitement of new releases, but also the rejuvenation of aged kits launched during my youth. I suppose the last statement is a plea to modellers who may have forgotten the satisfaction one can glean from adding home-spun detail, re-scribing and generally breathing new life into an old kit. Past AMW build features by the likes of Jan Maes and Mike Grant are testimony to what can be achieved with imagination and patience. It's also with great excitement that this month we present two exclusive builds of new 1/72 Ai'rfix D-Day toolings (C-47 and Higgins LCVP), and our special 24-page supplement on the same firm's stunning 1/24 Hawker Typhoon. Those who follow new Airfix products closely will know that the company is making impressive efforts to provide us with quality kits at reasonable prices. We'll keep bringing you exclusive builds of the latest Airfix treats (more test shots are currently waiting in the wings!), as well as those from other big names such as Hasegawa, Eduard, Dragon, Revell and many more. However, I'd like to know if you think we're missing anything in terms of kit coverage, or skills and techniques... I'll do my utmost to consider your ideas.

Aviation History 07/2014

Rarely has there been a combat aircraft so perfect for its time and place as the Hellcat. "No more outstanding example of skill and luck joining forces to produce just the right aeroplane is to be found than that provided by the Grumman Hellcat," wrote legendary British test pilot Eric "Winkle" Brown in his book Wings of the Navy. This bluff, sensible, utterly workmanlike shipboard fighter arrived in the Pacific theater in August 1943 and went to work straight out of the box. The Hellcat immediately challenged what had been the most powerful naval air arm on the planet and beat it like a bongo, racking up by far the highest kill-versus-loss ratio of any airplane in American service during World War II (19-to-l, based on claimed shoot-downs). It resoundingly won the most onesided, humiliating air battle of any war— the Marianas Turkey Shoot. Unlike other fighters that went through lengthy series of engine, airframe and armament changes, the F6F was hardly modified or updated thereafter, and there were only two basic versions of the airplane during its entire lifetime: the F6F-3 and -5. The Hellcat's initial development proceeded virtually without incident The fighter proved to be as tough, reliable and durable as a Peterbilt It was viceless and turned out to be the ideal airplane for young, inexperienced ensigns to operate from aircraft carriers. Grumman claimed it had been "designed to be flown by 200-hour farmboys." In combat for just under two years, the Hellcat was as unbeatable on the day it stood down as it had been when it arrived for its very first mission.

WWII History 06/2014

THE BUG WAS IN DEEP TROUBLE. ON A TOP-SECRET FLIGHT OVER OCCUPIED Norway, this ancient, war-weary C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft became the helpless target of German antiaircraft guns, all firing desperately to bring down the transport and its precious cargo. Her pilot maneuvered violently to dodge the curtain of flak, praying his decrepit airplane would hold together long enough to make an escape. It did. Hours later, The Bug landed safely in Scotland, where Allied intelligence officers anxiously waited. Inside were the remains of a Nazi A-4 rocket, which had recently exploded over Sweden, the first real evidence of Germany's ballistic missile program that would shortly result in deadly V2 attacks across England. The flight of The Bug, which took place on July 30, 1944, was one of hundreds conducted by a fleet of unmarked American military aircraft operating in and out of a supposedly neutral nation underneath the noses of the German Gestapo. The story of this secret airline is one of World War IPs most amazing classified missions and sheds new light on the role of Sweden in the fight against Nazi Germany. At the start of World War II, Sweden found itself in a precarious position. When Germany conquered its Scandinavian neighbors in 1940, the Swedes were able to remain carefully neutral. Sweden possessed many cultural and economic ties to the Third Reich, regularly trading Swedish timber and machine parts in exchange for German coal.

Military Machines International 06/2014

The British Army is now in yet another period of reorganisation although any consequent re-equipment is limited by budgetary problems. It faces two main problems - the first to withdraw from Afghanistan bringing back all the vehicles and equipment as the role dwindles to training and secondly the need to re-invent itself as a force of three "reaction" brigades, an air assault brigade and seven "adaptable" brigades. The idea is that the reaction brigades are ready to deploy anywhere in the world where British interests are threatened and at brigade strength could undertake three, six-month tours, giving the adaptable brigades time to train and equip to follow on with the tours after the first 18 months. Given the budgetary limitations (and the fact that the FRES project has not really run to anything like the original plan) the equipment programme could be typified by the words "make do and mend". For many of the fleets of vehicle the proposed force size means that they are oversize for the needs of the Army - this i ncludes Wolf (TUM/ TUL), Support Vehicle (SV) and Oshkosh Close Support Tanker (CST). Starting with armoured vehicles FRES is no longer an acronym used by MoD preferring to describe the project by the letters SV standing for "Scout Vehicle" and describing the family of vehicles being developed by General Dynamics from the Austro-Spanish ASCOD.