Tamiya launched the newly-tooled 1:24 Porsche 934 Turbo RSR 'Jägermeister' last year to much acclaim and enthusiasm; it was great to see a newly-tooled 1:24 kit of this amazing machine. Already we have a second edition of the model, using the same moulded parts, depicting the 1976 Group 4 GT car of the Vaillant team. The main sponsor (a German boiler/heating system manufacturer) used a very eye-catching livery on its competition cars, with a turquoise background and purple, red and orange stripes which contrasted beautifully with the blue-green overall shade. In Tamiya's new kit, the bodyshell and chassis plate (plus some other smaller parts) are moulded in a good replica of this colour, and while most modellers will wish to paint their Porsche kit, for those who prefer to leave the bodyshell in its bare plastic (youngsters and beginners) the colour makes a useful starting point. The kit is what could be described as 'curbside' which means no full engine, just the lower portions. The doors, bonnet and boot are moulded shut which preserves the scale-like lines of the body and greatly eases assembly. This rationalisation doesn't mean the kit is simplified in detail; the chassis is very well rendered with rear swing arms, anti-roll bar, shock absorbers, steerable front wheels and nicely moulded disc brakes and callipers.
Tamiya's big news this year was the announcement of a new 1:35 kit of the 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 Turn to pages 58/59 this issue for more details. To accompany the Mk.IV, Tamiya has created a set of five British WW1 infantry figures, three with Lee-Enfield rifles, an officer with a Webley revolver and a machine gunner firing a Lewis gun; outside of Japan, the tank kit will come with the figure set as standard. Also new from Tamiya is a 1:48 MIO IIC Achilles tank destroyer with 17pdr gun in its open-topped turret and a revised edition of Italeri's German one-ton Demag 1-ton Sd.Kfz.10 halftrack. The latter will come with some new parts to refine the base kit, open or closed canvas roof, new tools and three figures. Also shown at this year's SHS were Tamiya's 1:35 German 7.62cm Pak 36(r) North Africa Scenery Set (ICM kit) and the 1:35 US Medium Tank M4A3E8 Sherman 'Easy Eight', the Tasca (now Asuka) kit, issued in limited-edition form. In this photo-report, you can see some interesting new releases from various manufacturers were also on show. So, please enjoy the new product photos on the following pages, more info soon!
Even before the main UK television channels - BBC1 and ITV - had introduced colour pictures the first Boeing 747s were starting to roll off the manufacturer's Everett production line. Now, 46 years later, more than 1,480 have been produced, making the type the most successful widebody airliner programme to date (although the 777 is catching up fast). However, things could have been very different. What has become one of the most iconic aircraft in commercial aviation history might not have flown at all had it not been for the vision and perseverance of the company's then president, Bill Allen. The decision to launch the programme was a major gamble, had it backfired it would almost certainly have resulted in Boeing's collapse. Thankfully, for the manufacturer, the decision paid off and the 747 became the airliner of choice for many carriers wishing to move large numbers of passengers at a time. The inaugural passenger service from Washington/ Dulles to London/Heathrow was by Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) on January 22,1970. Since then the type has gone from strength to strength, with Boeing rolling out improved versions on a regular basis (for a full history of the type see Boeing 747 - Queen of the Skies, Airliner World January 2009). The 'Jumbo Jet' - as it became known - ruled the skies for more than three decades. However, the introduction of the Airbus A380 in October 2007, and the evolution of twin-engined widebody aircraft like the 777 and the A330/A350, have dramatically cut airline interest in the once mighty 747 and sales have since dwindled.
You could be forgiven for thinking that, beyond the obvious military connection, the M561 Gama Goat, Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer, and Volvo Laplander have little in common. But, amongst others, all three were considered for the role eventually allocated to the Land Rover 1-tonne forward control... Land Rover's first 100% purpose-designed military vehicle production until the Wolf appeared in the early nineties. Work on this project had started back in the sixties when the Ministry of Defence (MoD) identified what it described as a 'serious gap in the future vehicle range between the Land Rover, with a capacity of 0.5 to 0.75 ton, and the 4-ton Bedford MK/ MJ trucks.' Most pressing was a specific and immediate need for a heli-portable artillery tractor and ammunition limber for the new L118 105mm light gun, which was too heavy to be towed by existing Land Rovers. It was also believed that a vehicle that could satisfy this particular role would also be suitable for a range of other needs for which 'existing smaller vehicles were inadequate [but for which] larger ones were either too expensive or tactically unacceptable.'
RAF Fairford burst into life in June when it became the temporary base of operations for two USAF Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirits and three Boeing B-52H Stratofortress bombers. This marked the first time both types had flown sorties from the base simultaneously. The first to arrive were the three B-52Hs on Wednesday, June 4 consisting of two aircraft from the 96th Bomb Squadron (BS)/2nd Bomb Wing (BW) at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana and a sole example from the 69th BS/5th BW at Minot AFB, North Dakota. On Sunday, June 8, the two B-2 Spirits from the 393rd BS/509th BW arrived. Initially, it was thought the B-52Hs would participate in two exercises, Saber Strike a US Army-led event in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) - a maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea. Prior to the deployment a patch designed to mark the Stratofort re ss crews involvement in both exercises appeared on the Internet. It showed the exercise names, silhouettes of B-52s, the squadrons taking part and the words 'RAF Fairford.' However, during a media event at Fairford on June 10 USAF personnel said the B-52Hs were not involved in the exercises and the B-2s had never planned to take part. While deployed, the bombers came under the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group (AEG) and subordinate to that was the B-52 unit, the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS) and the 393rd EBS for the B-2s. In total 381 personnel deployed to the Gloucestershire base.
WITH UNITED States Navy F-18 fighters now flying over the northern part of Iraq from the USS George H W Bush and US Army AH-64D Apaches and US drones sent to the Baghdad area to protect American interests, it appears inevitable that American airpower is yet again going to be used to try and create a stable situation in Iraq. Iraq has also turned to Russia and Iran for ground attack aircraft (See Middle East News page 22). But will their efforts succeed? Given the history of military interventions in the Middle East the temptation might be to draw a negative conclusion and presume the chances of a successful outcome are close to zero. But analysis of conflicts where air power is being applied with some success suggests otherwise. In ongoing battles against similar insurgents in Yemen, Egypt and Pakistan, air power has denied them freedom to manoeuvre. Without intervention from the air the security situation in each country would be materially worse. Perhaps the question to ask is what lessons can be learned from recent application of airpower to shape its use and reduce unforeseen outcomes? The rapid advance of the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - otherwise known as ISIS - across vast tracts of Iraq has surprised many political leaders.