Friday, May 23, 2014

Fine Scale Modeler 05/2014

Let's face it: If you build armored fighting vehicles, odds are you will eventually build one that's painted plain old green — far and away the most common color used on AFVs. During World War II, most American, British, and Soviet vehicles were this monotone. Watch just about any WWII war movie and you'll see fleets of Shermans or T-34s in solid green trundling over the battlefield. This trend continued after the war, with U.S. and Soviet tanks and vehicles painted dark green well into the 1970s, when both countries introduced multicolor camouflage. Unfortunately, from a modeling perspective, dark green is a color that can completely wash out most AFVs, no matter how intricately detailed they may be. Few things are as frustrating as spending time building and detailing a model, only to see it turn into a big green blob once it's painted.
So, what do you do? You could simply avoid those schemes. Sure, most Shermans were olive drab, but a few weren't; many people model the exceptions. Other classic tricks include bright markings, like the big, white stars on U.S. vehicles or the large, handwritten slogans on T-34s. Or, you can load up stowage or troops. These are great ploys, and I've used them myself. But what if you want to model an AFV where none of these options exist? Must you live with a boring, green lump? The solution is to break up the finish — as I did when I built a U.S. Marine Corps LAV-AD (Air Defense).

History Revealed 06/2014

Bound together in death, as they are in history books and monuments across Australia, Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills made an unlikely double act in life. Burke, a flamboyant Irishman, had an impulsive streak that saw him lurch from policeman to soldier to expedition leader. In contrast, Wills was an unexcitable Englishman. He had a methodical and careful character with the mind of a scientist. In fact, the only similarity the pair did share was a lack of relevant qualifications for leading the Victorian Exploring Expedition of 1860, which was tasked with finding a south-north route across Australia. Burke had no exploration experience or knowledge of bushcraft whatsoever, while Wills was never supposed to be second-in-command. When the expedition left Melbourne, Burke's right-hand man was George Landells. Wills' original role was as surveyor and astronomical observer. The expedition took place against a backdrop of intense competition between the colonies of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. At stake were the potential riches of the Australian inland, links with the important ports in the north, and ownership of the proposed telegraph line that would straddle the continent and open up communications with Australia's gold-rich (but completely isolated) south.

BBC History 06/2014

Paris, 1832. In the Tuileries garden, the young writer Victor Hugo was strolling by the river when he heard gunshots: trouble was brewing in the working-class district of Les Halles. Hugo went to investigate. For 15 minutes he hid behind a pillar and watched as the king's soldiers fired on republican rebels. At last the battle moved away, giving Hugo the chance to make his escape. It was a moment that staved with him for the rest of his life. Some 13 years later, he began work on a novel set in Paris during those tumultuous June days: Les Misérables. Today, thanks to the success of the musical and film versions, Les Misérables is by far Hugo's best-known work. Many people assume that it is set during the French Revolution. In fact, the insurrection at its heart was a two-day uprising against the Orleanist king Louis-Philippe, which ended in failure. The June Rebellion was triggered by the food shortages of the late 1820s, a devastating cholera epidemic and the death of the popular general Jean Lamarque, who had become a hero to the working classes of Paris. At his funeral on 5 June, republican demonstrators rallied the crowds, waving red flags and calling for "liberty or death". The mood turned ugly, and by the evening rioters had taken control of much of central and eastern Paris, throwing up the barricades that play such a key role in Hugo's novel. It was all for nothing. The army stayed loyal to Louis-Philippe, and by morning the uprising had lost momentum. At the Cloître Saint-Merri, the last demonstrators were surrounded by the king's troops. By nightfall it was all over.

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 Reichsmarshal 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.

World War II 05-06/2014

IT'S GOOD TO BE WEALTHY, and World War II saw the richer side win. The Grand Alliance was a behemoth, consisting of the world's largest land mass (the Soviet Union), the biggest overseas empire (Great Britain), and the financial and industrial giant (the United States). Germany and Japan were strong states, certainly, but they could hardly compete in terms of production, manpower, or power projection. In retrospect, it is easy to oversimplify the Allied victory as an inevitable triumph of superior resources. It is intuitive to believe that bigger, better armed forces automatically confer an advantage, and like all intuitive ideas, this one does have much to recommend it. After all, no less an authority than Napoleon once famously declared that God was on the side of the "big battalions." It is always risky to argue with Napoleon, but though his axiom is true to a degree, it is also incomplete. While superior numbers and wealth are obviously important, modern war requires more than numbers. The real test of the "inevitability" thesis took place on the battlefield. It would be interesting to ask an Allied soldier or sailor, airman or Marine, "How did those superior resources work out for you?" You'd no doubt get back a contemptuous snort, seasoned with the off-color language that made this country great. If the Allies really were fighting a rich man's war, then why so often did their men have to do so outnumbered and at a disadvantage?

Model Airplane International 06/2014

Production focuses on ffA plastic kits production for origins of the company are linked with the fall of the Communist system in Czechoslovakia. Right after the Velvet revolution that had brought democracy and freedom to private enterprises, several people and enthusiast for plastic modeling founded MPM Company. The company could rely on the best Czechoslovakian modellers that already had experiences with basic master patterns making suitable for plastic kits moulds. The first MPM kits were released in 1990. These were vacuum formed kits in 1/72 and 1/48 scales. Subsequently the first injection molded parts were supplemented in the vacuum formed kits. The injection molded parts were produced using "Short Run" technology molds made from special heat resistant hardened epoxy resins. Gradually MPM Company trimmed this technology up to the level that they were able to release the first full injection molded kit in 1992. This "Short Run" technology, when the master pattern is copied into special heat resistant hardened epoxy resins, became the main program of the company. The affiliated company CMK was founded in 1995. CMK focuses on production of resin kits or their parts. The CMK products are released under own CMK logo in several series, but also their products are supplemented in MPM kits. CMK also offers on demand polyurethane and white metal casting.

Air International 07/2014

The first Boeing B-52H Stratofort re ss (60-0028) to receive a low rate initial production upgraded system of displays, servers and communications uplinks installed as part of the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) programme was delivered back to Barksdale AFB. Louisiana on April 21. A ceremony was held at the base four days later to introduce the new system to the fleet. The modifications were carried out over ten months at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker AFB. Oklahoma. Enhanced capabilities enabled by the upgrade include beyond line of sight digital data link connectivity, allowing for retargeting in flight. All operational B-52Hs will be upgraded with CONECT by 2020 at a rate of about ten per year. Meanwhile, under the terms of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed between Russia and the United States in 2010, 30 B-52Hs will permanently lose their capability to carry and employ nuclear weapons by 2018 (two more than originally reported in US Strategic Bomber Upgrades, November 2012, pl2). It will leave the US Air Force's deployed nuclear-capable bomber fleet at 41 B-52Hs and 19 Northrop B-2A Spirits. In addition, six non-deployed nuclear-capable aircraft will be retained, including three test aircraft, with the others unable to fire live weapons because, for example, they are in maintenance.