The uniqueness of this subject led this modeller to a different thinking in relation to the construction that was to follow. First, at a wingspan of 23", the model had to be robust enough so as to withstand the inevitable mishandlings during its construction. Its sturdiness, when finished, must ensure a long life in the showcase. Second, and more important, the construction had to be designed in a way of leaving an unobstructed cabin interior into which all details would be installed. All the weight of the wings had to be carried by the fuselage skin and not by reinforced bulkheads, as there weren't any on the real thing... Considering the above, the construction of the Calcutta deviated a little from the traditional scratchbuilding using styrene, as it will be shown in the paragraphs that follow. As usually happens with flying boats drawings, a major design line called "the base line" is drawn below the hull, to serve as a starting point for all measuring and dimensions to be determined. The base line is horizontal, and when looking at the side profile of the drawing, it allows for all design angles, except for the dihedral (which can be seen from the front), to be determined. On the Calcutta (see photo 1), the wings angle of attack is 2.5 degrees (angle a) with the engine nacelles "thrust line" (orange line) set at 0 degrees, that is, parallel to base line (red line). The hull's top profile (green line) rises at 3.0 degrees (from bow to tail- angle b) so the horizontal stabilizer is set in line with the nacelles thrust line. The result is that the wings are mounted onto the hull at an angle of incidence of 5.5 degrees (angles a + b).
In 1961 the Swiss Air Force decided on a serious upgrade of their aerial defence capabilities and ordered the Marcel Dassault Mirage III. With the Doppler terrain following radar, Mach 2 capability and the IBIS fire control system the Mirage was cutting edge technology in 1961. 100 of these supersonic fighters were ordered in 1961 but they had to be customised to fit special Swiss requirements. These alterations were structural and so extensive that the Swiss Air Force received a very different version, which was known as the MIRAGE III S. The changes included a complete new radar and fire control system, the HUGHES TARAN 18, which could fire the AIM 26B Falcon and the SIDEWINDER missiles instead of the French MATRA 530. Further alterations included an extendable nose gear, strengthening of the airframe, leading edges, landing gear and the adaption of JATO bottles. The original Doppler radar had only limited use in a mountainous region and takeoffs and landings in this environment put a special strain on the airframes and landing gear. The aircraft also were stored in mountain caverns and the extended nose gear helped in lowering the tail fin in order to pass the low entrances of these caverns. Once in service however, the Swiss Mirages performed outstandingly, were loved by the pilots and remained in Service until 1988. In 1980 all aircraft underwent an extensive midlife update, which featured the addition of canard wings and the adoption of a two tone Low-Viz grey paint scheme as the most recognisable features. Beside the MIRAGE III S the Swiss Air Force also operated the Recon version III R with the camera nose and the III B trainer version, in total 61 machines, of which only three were lost due to accidents.
We begin with the cockpit and there is an immediate choice of parts between the fully plastic moulded instrument panel or the version with photoetched panel sections. I am normally a bit sceptical about the photoetched versions as they can lack the required depth but when I glued the etched parts onto the plastic backing part the finished effect with the fine panel gaps persuaded me to go with this version. The cockpit tub is well handled but the restrictions of the moulding process mean that there is no horizontal strap detail on the fuel cells, only the vertical straps. The kit provides a nice set of photoetched seat harnesses which were soft enough to just bend into a natural sagged position in the seat tub. Once shaped these were painted with Vallejo acrylics and Mr Metal Color Chrome Silver for the buckles. It is well worth keeping the pilot's seat separate from the bulkhead until you have the seat belts painted and fitted. The various parts of the cockpit all locate together precisely to form a very solid tub. I replaced the moulded oxygen hose with a flexible resin tube from the MDC range for a more natural look. With the cockpit bulkhead and floor tub joined I also added the pair of fuie lines that run between the bulkhead and the fuel cells using lead wire to make these.
Welcome to this month's issue of Military Machines International, and after my personal disappointment of not being able to attend the D-Day commemorations in Normandy last month due to my workload and the timing of the production schedule (as mentioned in last month's editorial), I have at least been able to get out and about to some of my favourite shows around the UK now that the show season is underway, and so far at least the weather has been very kind to us. At the time of writing it is mid-July, and despite the fact that you will be reading this issue of the magazine in August, I have yet to attend some of the major shows in the UK such as the War & Peace Revival, but judging by the way 2014 is shaping up so far, there could well be some interesting vehicles waiting in the wings along with a few surprises. In other news, the eagle-eyed amongst you may well have spotted a new face on this page, and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome a new contributor onboard the Editorial team, namely John Blackman, who is already a familiar face to many thanks to his work within the world of military vehicles and publishing. John will be taking on the role of Contributing Editor at MMI, bringing with him a wealth of experience and some exciting new features for inclusion in the magazine, all of which will no doubt enable the magazine to go from strength to strength. Anyway, that's enough from me, and we'll be back next month with more features and another round of show reports from the 2014 season, but for now I'll leave you now to enjoy this month's feature-packed issue - Ed.
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.'
THE USAF AWARDED Sikorsky Aircraft a SI.28-billion engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract to develop a new Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) on June 26. Based on the US Army's UH-60M Black Hawk, the type will replace the USAF's current fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawks. Although the effort includes the delivery of four EMD airframes and seven aircrew and maintainer training systems, the USAF plans to purchase up to 112 new Combat Rescue Helicopters at a cost of $7.9 billion. Compared to the HH-60G, the CRH will feature increased fuel capacity and more cabin space. While Sikorsky will build the helicopters, Lockheed Martin is the major sub-systems supplier and will install the mission planning system, defensive systems, data links, mission computers and adverse weather sensors, and carry out integration of all mission-unique sub-systems. The first two helicopters will be delivered to the USAF in 2018 and a second pair will follow in 2019.
With its distinctive red, white, blue and orange roundels, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Historic Aircraft Foundation s Spitfire IX MK732 has been a well-known participant on the European airshow circuit for over two decades. The Dutch colour scheme reflects MK732 s second military career; its first was with the RAF, with which it notched up a very distinguished combat record, including operations on D-Day itself. Built at Castle Bromwich in the UKs Midlands in early 1944, MK732 was issued to 485 Squadron RNZAF in April, based at Selsey, an advanced landing ground in Sussex. Initially it was painted with the codes 'OU-Q', but when the moment came to apply the black and white 'invasion stripes' on the eve of D-Day, its individual letter was changed to U'for-Uncle. The Operations Record Book for 485 Squadron lists several pilots, including Fg Off M C Mayston, Fit Lt K J Macdonald, Pit Off H W B Patterson and Wg Cdr P J Simpson, that flew MK732 on beach patrols between June 6 and 8, 1944. During D-Day the 'Kiwi' unit had 24 pilots on strength, sharing 18 Spitfires. More often than not, Patterson would fly MK732, and it was named Baby Bea K after his fiancee, Beatrice.
World War I, the "Great War", was the first mechanized war in history. The development of smokeless gunpowder and the fully-automatic machine gun in the late 19th century had changed the conditions for infantry combat, but the invention of the internal combustion engine, the automobile and truck, and the caterpillar tracked tractor would change forever the very nature of modern ground warfare. At the beginning of the war in 1914, horses and mules far outnumbered motor vehicles, and many armies had only started to investigate the use of cars and trucks to assist in, and then take over, the task of transporting troops and supplying them in the field. The development of useful motor vehicles was aided by the needs of the various military forces, and by the beginning of World War I, there were available several hundred makes of cars and trucks, several of the latter being four-wheel-drive models with useful cross-country capabilities. Tests conducted by the US Army before the war had proven that automobiles and trucks were capable of hauling troops and supplies much farther and faster than horses and mules could.
I've had some interesting correspondence since my last editorial, which highlighted the strengthening strips on the upper wings of the Spitfire. The subject was ripe for discussion due to Steve Budd's build of Airfix's new Spitfire Mk.Vb in the same issue, especially because Steve removed the strips on his rendition. One particular reader exclaimed that Steve had "ruined" the model by omitting the strips. Overly harsh I felt, especially as the aircraft in question modelled by Steve, 'Buck' McNair's AB264/GN-H, couldn't have had the strips fitted at the time of the scheme depicted, because Airfix's decals are for March 1942. This mod, it seems, was indeed a wartime addition but wasn't fitted until July 1942 and, as it was deemed 'Class 4 and on repair', this precluded user units from carrying it out in the field...it would have been done on the production line or during lengthy repairs. Regardless, the subject will undoubtedly confound modellers due to the huge lack of photos of Spitfires actually fitted with the strips. Tamiya's old 1/48 Spitfire Mk.Vb has the strips moulded on its wings, but the instructions in my boxing demand that they be removed. Ultimately, a period photo of the aircraft to be modelled is the Holy Grail.
Greg Hanchuks 1/35 scale Xact Scale T-80U looks every bit the part of a Russian main battle tank in the middle of a military exercise. That s the result of a step-by-step process that layers paint and weathering. For the major painting, Greg used Tamiya acrylics thinned with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol to the consistency of milk. "Sometimes I have to go back and add more alcohol, or sometimes more paint," he says. "It just depends on how it is shooting." Using a compressor with a moisture trap and regulator, he sprays at 15-20 psi. "Sometimes more, sometimes less," he adds. "It s not rocket science. Practice with your airbrush and get a feel for it." Greg got his first airbrush at 10, a Paasche H single-action he and his older brother scraped money together to buy. He's been a Paasche user ever since, including a VL double-action and his current Talon, which suits his needs. "It can spray a very fine line but can also be used for larger areas. Plus, it s easy to clean," he says. Greg primed the model with flat black, citing four reasons: First, it covered the different materials well. Second, it revealed flaws and imperfections needing correction. Third, the black got deep into nooks and crannies, so any spot missed later became a dark shadow. Fourth, Tamiyas paint provided great "tooth" for subsequent colors.