Back in TMMI Issue 220 (February 2014) we featured an extraordinary amphibious assault diorama by Japanese master-modeller, Mr Kase. The work was created to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Operation Urgent Fury, the US assault on Grenada and now, with the 70th Anniversary of Operation Overlord, the landing of Allied liberation forces on the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, 1944, he has created another breathtaking scene in 1:35. It depicts an LCT landing craft disgorging its load of six Sherman tanks onto the beach, alongside a GPA 'Seeps' and a pair of LCVP 'Higgins' boats, all set within highly realistic waves breaking on the shoreline. It's an astonishing scene, made all the more impressive as the LCT(5) is a full scratchbuild, not a commercial kit. It took Mr Kase around two and a half months to complete the model, a remarkably short period of time considering how much work was involved! As mentioned, the Landing Craft Tank (LCT) was scratchbuilt; there were many variations of this vessel type and the simplest design was chosen to ease the scratchbuilding process. The LCT was painted with a mixture of Tamiya Acrylics XF-50 Field Blue and XF-Ö2 Ocean Grey, in a ratio of 50:50, using wartime colour photos as references (see pages 26 to 28 this issue).
The first time I had the pleasure of seeing a Harrier, I must have been no more than ten years of age, but the impression that it left on me resulted in an abiding love affair that has persisted to this day. Over the intervening years I've built many models of this aircraft, from Airfix' Superkit 1:24 GR.l through to an odd little Crown kit in 1:144. I must have built dozens, most of which have ended up in the bin, given away, or stored in boxes in the loft. Several years ago, Airfix released the first of what was to be a series of Harriers, offering the modelling world a couple of Sea Harriers (FRS.1 and FA.2), before tackling the GR.7/9. A very fine kit, this finally allowed me to add this second generation Harrier to my collection and once completed, the decision was made to build the same aircraft for an expanding group of 1:48 modern jets, this time using Revell's reboxed and carefully reworked, Harrier GR.7. Revell's kit replicates the GR.7 and as such, offers decals for three aircraft, two from No.41 Squadron and one from No.4 Squadron. Though these options were interesting, it was decided that something a little different would be more fun and so we chose a Harrier GR.9 fitted with a 100% LERX (the kit offers only the 65% LERX panel) and as many modern fittings such as Sniper and DJRP as we could find, along with some additional weapons which would be decided upon as the build progressed.
THE UK has agreed to purchase Storm Shadow cruise missiles at a cost of £120 million, according to an announcement made by the Defence Secretary Philip Dunne at Farnborough International Airshow. Storm Shadow, which provides long-range air-to-surface capabilities and is capable of defeating various targets, including bridges, airfields, harbours and parked aircraft, will be integrated onto RAF Typhoons. The agreement, announced on July 17, was signed between the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency, on behalf of the partner nations, and Eurofighter GmbH. The missiles, produced by MBDA, have previously been deployed on Tornado GR4 aircraft during operations over Iraq and Libya. These will now be fitted onto Typhoon Tranche 2 and 3 aircraft, ready to enter operational service with the RAF in 2018. The first Typhoon/Storm Shadow integration trials began lastyear. I nitial flight trials to demonstrate that the missile can be safely carried on Typhoon began on November 27. They are taking place at the Alenia Aermacchi Flight Test Centre at Decimomannu Air Base in Sardinia, Italy, usingtrials Typhoon MM.X614 (Instrumented Production Aircraft 2-IPA2), which has been updated to the Phase 1 Enhancement standard. Storm Shadow is due to be added to the Typhoon's arsenal as part of the aircraft's Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) programme, which introduces several new combat capabilities. Although integration testing is well underway, it is could be another year before deliveries to the RAF begin.
That's right, it's Haubitze time and with its massive gun and purposeful stance the Panzer Haubitze 2000 is an undeniably impressive vehicle and another interesting choice by the Meng design team. The vehicle itself is used by German, Dutch, Greek and Italian forces and has seen action in Afghanistan with both the German and Dutch ISAF forces so there is plenty to inspire you. The kit provides the variations to allow you to model a choice of German, Dutch and Greek vehicles with markings for a choice of three German vehicles with one Dutch and one Greek scheme. The kit comes with a turned aluminium gun barrel and stunning individual link tracks as well as a choice secondary MG armament and a choice of muzzle or protective cover. Two photoetched frets are provided for the various grilles and a clear sprue with all the periscopes, light clusters and warning beacon. Its all ready to go and so we dived straight in!
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, attracted a sell-out crowd of 140,000. This year there was a slightly different format with a Red Arrows' Pit Day organised for the Friday (July 11) to mark the RAF team's 50th display season. The idea enabled people to get closer to the Red Arrows as well as some other teams. Access was also made available to part of the Showground and in the morning ticket-holders were able to watch aircraft arrivals. There was also a flying display from 13:00 to 17:00, the highlight of which was a flypast by the Red Arrows accompanied by the team leaders' aircraft from each of the Patrouille de France, Frecce Tricolori, Breitling Jet Team and Patrouille Suisse. Unfortunately, the much-anticipated overseas debut of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II didn't happen due to the fleet being temporarily grounded after an engine fire on a USAF example on June 23. It was also noticeable that the effects of sequestration on the US military are still taking a toll, as its participation was limited to an F-15E Strike Eagle and KC-135R Stratotanker from Lakenheath and Mildenhall respectively. The US Navy was represented by a P-8A Poseidon making the type's RIAT debut, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet. This VFA-106 aircraft was only displayed on the Saturday and was being demonstrated by Boeing.