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Updated: 5 hours 41 min ago

Air Wars between Ecuador and Peru, Vol. 2

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 00:24
Review Author:  Frank Landrus Helion & Company

Born in Lima, Peru, in 1977, Amaru Tincopa is a graduate in law. He developed a strong interest in history at a very young age and began researching and publishing about Peruvian and Latin American military aviation history quite early. His first book, covering the deployment history of the Aeroplani Caproni and that Italian company's endeavor in Peru was released in 2003 for an Italian publisher. He has since published a dozen additional titles in Argentina, France, and the United Kingdom, while three others are in the pipeline. Amaru Tincopa is currently cooperating with numerous renowned military aviation history magazines around the world. This is his third book for Helion.

Helion's latest book in the Latin America @ War series is a square back soft cover book that includes 80 gloss paper pages. This tome is a follow-up to Latin America @ War Volume 12 that focused on the July 1941 war between Ecuador and Peru. The front cover features a color painting by Jerry Boucher of a pair of Cessna Dragonflies in combat on January 28, 1981, over Falso Paquisha. The rear cover features two color side profiles by Tom Cooper.  The top profile is one of ten Jaguar ES acquired by the FAE in 1974 (This profile can also be found on page 32i with a nice description).  The lower profile is one of thirteen Bell 212 helicopters acquired by FAP in the early 1970s.  Its bright colors were to make it easier to find in the Amazonian jungle (This profile can also be found on page 32ii with a nice description).  I counted 3 color pictures and 110 black and white photographs. There are also 17 aviation color side profiles by Tom Cooper and one color profile of a Mil-6 by Luca Canossa.  There are threeblack and white maps, one full color map, and 18 tables.

Amaru Tincopa follows up his previous book on the Ecuador - Peru border battles with the lead-in to the 1981 border battle.  Utilizing access to Peruvian archives and several private sources, Amaru Tincopa provides the reader insight into the role each countries airpower played.  The development and aircraft acquisition of both the air forces of Ecuador and Peru is covered from 1941 through 1981.  The escalating political climate of the late seventies is covered well as skirmishes eventually led to early 1981 battle.  Amaru Tincopa brings the battle day by day from both perspectives.  February 22, 1981 saw cease-fire negotiations begin. A long lasting agreement was not reached, but all Ecuadoran troops had withdrawn from Peruvian territory (at least from Peru's perspective).  Of course all this set the stage for the next battle.  The sections include:

Abbreviations

Acknowledgements

Foreword by General Mario Muniz Ortega (FAP, Retired)

Introduction 

  1. A Protracted Conflict

The 'Honorable Transaction' Approach

The 78 Kilometre Border Gap

  1. The Ecuadorean Air Force, 1941 - 1981

US Aid to Ecuador

AME to FAE

British Period

Dragonflies...

...Jaguars... [Page 10]

Table 1: Order of Battle, FAE, January 1981

...and Mirages

Table 2: Serial Numbers of FAE's Fighter Jets, 1981

Support Units

Ecuadorean Canberras

Table 3: Ecuadorean Canberra B.Mk.8s

  1. The Peruvian Air Force, 1941 - 1981

Cooperation with the USAAF

Table 4: EAM Aircraft, 1941

CAP During the Second World War

New Combat Aircraft

Aeronautics Ministry

Territorial Organization

Table 5: Peruvian Aeronautic Corps, Order of Battle, 1945

ARP, MDAP, and FAP

Crisis of the Early 1950s

CAP's Serialling System of the 1940s

Table 6: CAP Serialling System, 1939-1960

Table 7: FAP Serialling System, 1960 - Today

Renovacion II

Additional Renewal

Table 8: Peruvian Canberra B.(I).Mk 8s

Martillo I: First Mirage Order [Page 26]

1968 Coupd'Etat

Peruvian Naval Aviation

Follow-Ups

The F-5E Tiger II Affair

Tacnazo

Arms Have No Ideology

Peruvian Army Aviation

Training in the USSR

Initial Operational Capability

Table 9: FAP's Command and Control Nodes in the NOT, January 1981

Additional Soviet Arms

Table 10: FAP ORBAT, January 1981

Planning and Organising Operation Rechazo

Table 11: Code-Names for FAP Aircraft

Table 12: Code-Names for FAP's FOBs

Color Profiles [Page 32 i]

  1. Escalation

Clashes of 1977 - 1978

Observation Posts

First Contact

Faulty Intelligence

Maximum Alert in Ecuador

Clash of 23 January

Emergency Response [Page 39]

Additional Reinforcements

Califa's Reconnissance

Falso Paquisha

IF-Problems

Final Preparations

  1. Aerial Operations from 27 January to 4 February 1981

27 January 1981

28 January 1981

First Air Combat

A Presidential Handicap

29 January 1981: Air Strikes by Dragonflies

Second Contact

30 January 1981: Sukhois Over Ecuador

Assault on PV-22

Table 13: Combined EP/FAP Assault Force for VP No.22, 30 January 1981

31 January 1981 [Page 51]

Table 14: Combined EP/FAP Assault Force for VP No. 3, 31 January 1981

Table 15: Combined EP/FAP Assault Force for PV-4, 1 February 1981

1 February 1981

2 February 1981

3 February 1981

  1. Aerial Operations from 18 to 20 February 1981

18 February 1981

19 February 1981

Table 16: EP Assault Force for PV Jimenez Banda 2, 18 February 1981

20 February 1981

Table 17: EP Assault Force for PV-4B, 20 February 1981

  1. Aftermath

Ecuadorean Lessons

Table 18: FAP Flight Time During the Paquisha War, 1981

Peruvian Lessons 

Bibliography

Notes

I really liked the battle between a pair of Ecuadoran Cessna A-37Bs and a pair of Peruvian Dragonflies that was depicted on the cover.  What ensued was a seven minute dogfight as the four Dragonflies gyrated low above the jungle.  No victories were achieved, although both sides took home some battle damage.  Both sides disengaged due the weather getting worse, a lack of ammunition, and fuel levels were going critical.  One of the Peruvian pilots had to shut down one engine to conserve fuel.  Upon landing, about a dozen bullet holes were discovered in the starboard wing.  The Ecuadoran pilots didn't get off scot free either as at least one hole in the port wing main spar was discovered.

Amaru Tincopa leads the reader through the build-up to the 1981 action and plenty of details of the composition of both sides in this conflict.  Once the battle started, you receive daily action reports discussing the operations from both sides. You get 18 tables!  I really appreciated the backgrounds of the different parties involved along with the military operations and political policies that were involved.  The contemporary photographs support the text, and they certainly give you a good perspective of the events described.  I have already ordered Volume 1 on the 1941 battle, and fully expect an additional Volume on actions post-1981. If you own one the previous releases in the Latin America @ War series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Helion & Company, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

T-54/Type 59 Visual Modelers Guide (English)

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 08:58
Product Image Review Author:  Peter Bucher AMMO by Mig Jimenez

This book is devoted to the T-54 and Type 59 tanks. It is a visual reference with a great number of photographs to help the modeler distinguish the difference between the variants of T-54A / Typre59 and T-54B.

The book begins with a nice historical section explaining the models of the T-54 family. The timeline explains the changes that occurred to the models of the tanks in chronological order.

After the historical section, you dive headfirst into the first photo section of the book that begins with the T-54 / Type 59.  This section has several excellent photographs including extreme close-ups of the tank and its many details. The photographic section is broken down into two sub sections entitled Turret and Hull. The detailed photographs are excellent and were extremely helpful to me as I am currently getting ready to start building a type 59 tank. 

The second photo section of the book has aT-54B and again is broken down into two sections entitled Turret and Hull.  Again, there are many photographs of tanks, including details of each part of tank, with excellent extreme close-ups.  There is also included a very nice line drawing of the tracks showing what I refer to as the classic T-54 / type 59 track sag.            

The third photo section of the book is devoted to the interiors of the tanks and there are many close-up photographs to help the modeler complete a detailed interior on a T-54 or Type 59 tank. Nicely done!

The last section of the book is a beautiful section of color plates of type 59 and T-54 tanks spanning five pages.

I genuinely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to any modeler who is building a Type 59 or T-54 tank.  I think you will find it especially useful for looking at the various details that litter the surface of the Type 59 and T-54 tanks.  I also found the price very fair for a book of this quality that has so many wonderful color photographs and hope the Mig Ammo team will put out many more books like this one.

Lastly, I would again like to thank Mid Ammo for this wonderful book and would highly recommend it.      

ITALERI HEINKEL HE-111H

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 08:47
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Italeri

HISTORY

The Heinkel HE-111 was probably one of the most produced medium bombers used by the Luftwaffe during World War II,  and a few ex-Spanish variants are still flying in various places throughout the world. Originally designed, deceptively to appear as a civilian airliner, in the late thirties,  it went into production as a high speed medium bomber, and went through extensive modifications over the years, serving the Luftwaffe until being replaced by the more advanced Junkers JU-88's and Dornier DO-217's late in the war. Numerous variants were produced over the years, differing in wing platform, powerplant, fuselage arrangement, armament, and other features. 

The HE-111 served the Luftwaffe as a high speed medium bomber from late 1936 until production ended in 1944.  The type was used as a medium bomber, torpedo bomber,  reconnaissance aircraft, transport, trainer, glider tug, and numerous other functions, until it was finally replaced by better performing types, such as the Junkers JU-88 and  Dornier DO-217.  There are many references that outline the developmental and operational history of the type, so I won't go into detail.  Over 7,300 were believed to have been built, and in addition, about 130 were built in Spain for the Spanish Air Force after the end of World War II.

REFERENCES

The Heinkel HE-111 is covered in numerous texts dealing with the history of the Luftwaffe. William Green's Warplanes of the Third Reich has excellent information on the type,    In addition, the Squadron In Action series has two publications, #6 and #184, which outline the developmental and combat career of the type. Both, incidentally, also cover the HE-111Z. the five engine composite type intended as a glider tug for the Messerschmitt ME-321.  Incidentally,  Italaeri also produces a kit of the HE-111Z, although I haven't built it yet.  So there is no lack of information on the HE-111, and much is available on line.

INSTRUCTIONS

The kit comes with 6 pages of detail instructions showing how to assemble the model, and five pages of color four view drawings showing the five variants that can be built using the standard kit decals. The instructions begin with a brief historical account in six languages, and warnings not to allow any modeler under the age of 14 to try to build the model.  Page 2 gives a detailed sprue diagram and color guide, while pages 3-through 6 provides exploded assembly drawings showing how the model goes together. They also include interior color details.

The decals provide markings for five different aircraft, and in general include about everything that is needed to produce a good model.  Aside from side fuselage crosses that to me seemed too big, there are no tail swastika markings, a common problem with contemporary Luftwaffe subjects. However, there are plenty of aftermarket swastikas available, or I suppose you could use a Confederate Flag tail marking if you are feeling particularly politically incorrect.

The color drawings in the instructions provide about all the information you will need, and the decals include nearly all of the detail maintenance markings common to most military aircraft. These are coded, and locations on the model are shown accurately.  These drawings also give accurate color and marking information, and the decals do not have to be trimmed, making application much easier.

THE KIT

This kit has been around for a long time. I have one in my display cabinet that is listed as having been built in 1979, and looking at the old model, it is exactly the same kit. Molding is in soft grey styrene, with raised panel lines.  If you are particularly ambitious, the panel lines could be removed and replaced with scribed lines, although the overall effect I think is just as good if you leave things the way they are.  Fit is basically good, although I found the right wing required some filler to get things lined up properly.  There are a LOT of parts in this model, and with five variants, there are lots of parts to get lost, and quite a few that you will not use.  

DECALS

The single decal sheet provides excellent decals that require no trimming.  The only problems I found I have already mentioned,  fuselage crosses that are slightly too large, and an absence of swastikas. The decal spares box solved the fuselage cross problem, so no big deal. The decals go on easily, although you need to get them out of the water quickly and on the surface before they curl up. If they do curl up, and several of mine did, they are relatively easy to straighten out.  A thin coat of Micro Sol helped the decals snuggle down to the surface. 

Website lists this as an old kit with new decals.      

ASSEMBLY

Assembly is rather straightforward, with parts usually fitting properly without any problems.  The instructions are very helpful, and the extra drawings showing the different bombs and armament systems are useful. I used pure MEK for my assembly glue, and also held the parts together with masking tape until they were dry. The seams were noticeable, but they could usually be sanded or scraped down without undue effort.  Assembly, in short, was not difficult. Actually, it was one of the more pleasant kits I've built over the past few years, and for a kit of this vintage,  that is remarkable. 

One issue is the steps in the assembly process.  I left the small clear plastic gun positions off until the last, and assembled them with guns attached.  The engines were very well represented, and were very easy to construct.  I painted them before attaching them to the already painted airframe. There are actually no mounting tabs for the engines, so the majority of the glue has to go on the thick parts of the engine units.  I also masked off as many of the windows as I could, and I used liquid mask on some, and carefully cut masking tape on the others. Just be sure to attach the side windows securely, as I had several pop out when I tried to remove the liquid mask.  Since the glass went inside, to remain forever there, I just filled in the openings with Micro Krystal Klear, and I can't tell the difference between the clear plastic and the liquid. You really can't see much through either type of window, however.

PAINTING AND FINISHING CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The airplane I did,  Choice "D", an HE-111H-6, 1H+GP, of the 6th Staffel of KG26, based at Grosseto, Italy, in the Summer of 1942, carried a typical Luftwaffe color scheme of 70/71/65 with white engines, rudder, and tail band.  This was a standard Luftwaffe color scheme, and most modelers have these colors on hand. I didn't do any weathering, as I assumed that the plane hadn't been in that area for long.  I started with the under surfaces RLM65 blue, followed by the lighter and later darker greens.  I applied the white markings first, including the rudder, fuselage band, and engine cowlings and spinners.

The biggest problem I had was the tedious task of applying the decals.  I think they included every maintenance mark and warning, and some of these were extremely small.  It was just time consuming, but enjoyable. 

All in all, it was a fun build, with adequate detail and no serious problems to require solving.  I would certainly recommend it to modelers with average to above average skills, and I am looking forward to building Italeri's HE-111Z when I get that new addition built on my house.  Have a shot at one of these.  Recommended.

Thanks to Italeri and Phil Peterson for the review kit.  It kept me busy during part of the coroner virus shutdown.

     

Hitler’s Anti-Tank Weapons 1939-1945

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 08:31
Product Image Review Author:  Phillip Cavender Pen & Sword

Pen & Sword Books are not new to the plastic modeling industry. The UK based publishing company has been around since 1990 churning out titles covering subjects from military, aviation, maritime and other areas of history.

With over 228 books in the "Images of War Series", Hitler's Anti-Tank Weapons 1939-1945 is their latest addition published in May 2020. The author Hans Seidler has written other books in the series including, Hitler's Tank Killers - Sturmgeschutz at War 1939-1945, Luftwaffe Flak Divisions and Hitler's Boy Soldiers. This 9.5 x 7.5-inch paperback has 128 pages with 250 black and white illustrations. The book is comprised of an Introduction, five chapters with three appendices. Each chapter starts with 1-2 pages of introduction followed by several black and white images. All images have captions by the author describing what the reader is viewing.

 

Chapter One - Early Years (1939-41)

In this chapter the author gives a short background on the introduction of the PaK 35/36 light anti-tank weapon. What follows are several photos of German soldiers in training and more importantly closeup images which are especially useful for the anti-tank weapons modeler. Most of the images of the Pak 35/36 are taken from the Polish and French campaigns during the early years.

                       

Chapter Two - Operations in Russia

On the first page and half the author describes Germany's introduction of the 5cm PaK 38 used as a replacement for the PaK 35/36. What follows are numerous images of a mix of PaK 35/36 and PaK 38 in field settings. A few images are closeups and several images could be amazing subjects in a diorama setting.

Chapter Three - Stop Gap Solutions

Again, we have another brief description of the Stop Gap Solutions the Germans employed along the southern front of Russia with the advent of the Marder and the conversion of Soviet field artillery.  What follows are images most of which are quite clear, with the authors beneficial captions.

Chapter Four - 1943

1943 saw the introduction of the PaK 43 (Panzerabwehrkanone and Panzerjagerkanone) to combat the Soviet armour. As in earlier chapters the author provides a brief two-page introduction followed by numerous pages of black and white images. All the photographs are clear and present an abundance of information in imagery for the modeler.

Chapter Five - The End

The author in Chapter Five wraps up this book with a few pages summarizing the amount of artillery and forces the German used on the Eastern front. Also, a brief description of the production of the Panzerfaust and its use during the last two years of the war.

 

Appendix I -Popular Towed Anti-Tank Guns

A brief description of the following is presented.

PaK 36

PaK 38 (L/60)

PaK 97/38

PaK 40

PaK 43

Appendix II - Converted Anti-Tank Guns

A brief description of the following is presented.

Panzerjager I

Marder I

Marder II

Marder III

Hornisse/Nashorn

Elefant

Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

Jagdpanther

Jagdpanzer IV

Jagdtiger

Appendix III - Hand Held Anti-Tank Weapons

Panzerbuchse 39/38

Panzerschreck - Raketenpanzerbuchse 54 (RPzB 54)

Panzerfaust

A rare image of the German training diagram for the Panzerfaust

Conclusion

The Image of War Series by Pen & Sword Books are not new to this reviewer. Having several books in this series on hand, this will be a welcome addition for reference purposes. The black and white images contained in the book are clear with some rare images I have never seen before. The author includes with each image a caption describing in detail what is contained in the image. If the author's objective was to present a detailed book of the Hitler's Anti-Tank Weapons with imagery capturing their uses, he did in fact meet this goal. The book is easy to read with amazing images and captions.

This book will make an excellent addition to any modeler or military historian's library. I highly recommend. Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishers and Pen & Sword Books for this review sample.

Cross & Cockade 2021 Calendar

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 07:35
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Cross & Cockade International

Cross & Cockade has released their 2021 calendar, and in keeping with past calendars, combines excellent W.W.I aviation art with the usual calendar functions. As in past years, you are advised to order your copy now, and not wait. There may be a limited supply of these calendars and you do not want to miss out because you waited until the supply ran out.

 

According to Roger Tisdale of Cross & Cockade the profits from the sale of these annual  Cross and Cockade International Calendars go to assist in the upkeep of the British Air Services Memorial at the St-Omer airfield in northern France". This is a very worthy cause and deserving of your support.  One can check out the St-Omer Memorial at http://www.webmatters.net/txtpat/?id=258

 

Beside the fact that you will be contributing to the upkeep and maintenance of this significant Memorial, the artwork on the calendar is stunning. Consider it an early Christmas present you can give a friend, or yourself, for that matter.

 

The calendar is 81/2 inches by 12 inches. The pages are "bound" on a set of small metal rings that allow for each month to be flipped to the reverse side, thus keeping the calendar together rather than having to remove each month's page and discarding it. A small, sturdy mounting wire allows the calendar to be hung from a traditional picture hanger, a push pin, or a nail/screw head.

 

Each month features artwork as indicated by the chart copied from the C&C website. One of the pages in the calendar includes the name of each artist and a website featuring that artist's work and/or an email with which the artist can be contacted.

 

The calendar can be ordered by visiting the C&CI website at https://bit.ly/3k9XUvE. Know that your payment is a contribution to the maintenance and upkeep of the British Air Services Memorial at the St Omer airfield in northern France.

 

 

January

Daniel Bechennec

F.B.A. Type H

February

Lynn Williams

Sopwith Camel

March 

Staslav Hajek

Lloyd C.V

April

Ken Farmer

Short 184

May

Paul Lengelle

Caudron G.III

June

Antonis Kanidis

F.K.8

July

Derek Lamparter

D.F.W. C.V

August

Taras Shtyk

S.E. 5a

September

Anastasios Polychronis

Pfalz D.III

October

James Field

Sopwith Pup

November

Paul Monteagle

Phoenix D.1

December

Terry Jones

Bristol F2B

While seeking permission from several of the artists and copyright holders, I fell into an email exchange with them. All are incredibly talented artists, as can be seen by the artwork that is featured on each of the monthly calendar pages. One of the subjects that came to the surface was some information about the Sopwith Camel and its pilot that appears on the February page. Lynn Williams, the artist, shared, "I don't know if you are aware that the artwork, showing Captain DV Armstrong's red-painted Camel performing an ultra-low level flick-roll, which was his piece de resistance in commencement of his astonishing aerobatic displays around British aerodromes during WW1, forms the front cover of Annette Carson's excellent biography of Armstrong. Her well-researched book, Camel Pilot Supreme published by Pen and Sword, describes his early life and service history and includes eye-witness accounts of Armstrong's unique abilities, both in pioneering aerobatic manoeuvres and serving to overcome the fear that the Camel inspired in novice fighter pilots at the time, many fatal accidents occurring in training and familiarisation flying before ever they went to the Front. Performing such demonstrations he prefigured Lockheed test pilot Tony LeVier who encouraged young P-38 pilots to overcome their concerns about the Lightning, in his (also red-painted) P-38,emblazoned with the word Yippee! beneath the lower wings." Mr. Williams, it turns out, is a very talented artist as well as a pilot who has designed some kit aircraft, some of which are flying and more are under construction. If you are interested in the story behind Captain DV Armstrong, you can find Ms. Carson's book by Googling "camel pilot supreme by annette carson". It is available on several websites

As mentioned previously, the proceeds from the sale of the C&CI calendar go to support the British Air Services Memorial at the St-Omer airfield in northern France. Web coverage of this Memorial can be viewed at, http://www.webmatters.net/txtpat/?id=255.

 

 

This calendar is highly recommended due to the excellent artwork, as well as the fact that the proceeds go to the British Air Services Memorial at St. Omer. Thanks to Roger Tisdale and C&CI for providing this calendar to IPMS/USA for review.

 

Intruder Sandbox

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 07:24
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette AOA Decals

    AOA Decals has expanded to 1/72nd scale and their second release is a set of markings for the Fujimi A-6E TRAM covering all three Intruder squadrons involved in the strikes against Libya in March and April 1986 as part of Operation Prairie Fire and Operation El Dorado Canyon respectively; also covered are two squadrons in 1991 from Operation Desert Storm. Inside the package, there is one 5.5 x 7-inch decal sheet printed perfectly by Microscale; full color profiles for all eights aircraft; full weapons and load outs specific to each plane; top profiles for each plane and also instructions for the decals for crew helmets, fuel tanks, tailhooks, formation lights, ejection seats, VA-35 MERs, & VA-55 special ordnance markings.

 

The Aircraft covered by these sheets are:

 

  • VA-34 Blue Blasters (2 options) - USS America, Operations Prairie Fire & El Dorado Canyon (1986)
  • VA-55 Warhorses - USS Coral Sea, Operations Prairie Fire & El Dorado Canyon (1986)
  • VA-85 Black Falcons - USS Saratoga, Operation Prairie Fire (1986)
  • VA-35 Black Panthers (2 options) - USS Saratoga, Operation Desert Storm (1991)
  • VMA(AW)-533 Hawks (2 options) - Sheikh Isa Air Base (Bahrain), Operation Desert Storm (1991)

 

All the schemes are low visibility schemes. Notes are included as to paint schemes and other markings such as stenciling which was not used on the Desert Storm planes. Each specific profile has notes about that specific plane and includes detail when confirmed and notes any specific that cannot be confirmed.

 

These are fantastic decals covering some historic planes and missions. The addition of weapons loads and helmet markings plus notes on each profile give the modeler excellent reference material and a wonderful sheet made by Microscale. Highly recommended.

 

My thanks to AOA Decals and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review them.

M3 Lee Grant

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 01:03
Product Image Review Author:  Bob LaBouy AFV Modeller

From the publisher's notes on this book:  "This volume is the 

most detailed study yet presented of the M3 Lee/Grant tanks, illustrating and describing the development, production, and use of these iconic vehicles by US, Commonwealth, and Russian forces during WWII.  The tanks, their power plants, and production techniques used by each manufacturer are shown from assembly line to front line through this profusely illustrated book, including numerous never before published vintage photos."

The Table of Contents provides this basic outline:

  • Introduction                                                                                          
  • Chapter 1 - Setting the stage, the TS/M2                                              
  • Chapter 2 - Preparing for war                                                               
  • Chapter 3 - An overview of the M3 Medium Tank series                        
  • Chapter 4 - The radial engine tanks - M3, M3A1 & M3A2                      
  • Chapter 5 - The Diesel tanks - M3A3 and M3A5                                    
  • Chapter 6 - The Multi-bank tanks - M3A4                                             
  • Chapter 7 - Production and modification                                               
  • Chapter 8 - M3-based conversions                                                        
  • Chapter 9 - North American use                                                           
  • Chapter 10 - The M3 in the British Isles                                                
  • Chapter 11 - Combat debut - North Africa                                            
  • Chapter 12 - The M3 in the Far East                                                     
  • Chapter 13 - The M3 in Australia                                                          
  • Chapter 14 - The M3 in Soviet service                                                  
  • Appendix - Tabulated data                                                                    

This book was a sheer enjoyment and a great pleasure to review, for several reasons.  Speaking of photos, without attempting to count the actual photographs, there are at well over 1,000 black and white images in this book.  Several portions of this book impressed me very much and I spent four days pouring over the photos and captions.

During the Acknowledgments to this book David Doyle states that he began collecting written and photographic records 20 years ago and in earnest almost five years ago, culminating in what he describes as only 'modest results.'  From my reading and review of this large book, I can't imagine what more any author can hope to find.  While I have his prior paperback edition for the M3, this hardback book certainly puts that edition to shame.

In Chapter 2, there is great article about the person who immigrated to the United States from Denmark and eventually headed the U.S. armament production program and describes in detail many of the trials and tribulations taking that program to fruition.  Lieutenant  General 'Big Bill' Knudsen was originally employed with Ford and later with General Motors where he learned his production methods and forged the basic methods which eventually became industrial methods employed in the American tank industry.

The ambitious government armament production eventually brought together some of the largest American companies including Ford, Chrysler, American Car and Foundry, American Locomotive Co; Baldwin Locomotive Works, Pullman Standard Car Co; St. Louis Car Co; American Bridge Company, Oldsmobile and hundreds of smaller engineering companies across the country.  The teething issues are fully described and lengths that several of the companies went to hinder the contracting officers.  I was intrigued to see the analysis of the cast steel hull over the armor plate hulls, which would eliminate bolts and rivets and save over $3,000 per tank.

For a tank that saw only limited service in WW II, I was surprised to see the total number of 23,839 tanks produced from 1940 through 1942.

Additionally, as I read the text and studied the numerous photographs and very well written captions, I developed a great appreciation for the M3 Lee and Grant tanks, as well as the differences between the two tanks.  The photographs detailed the tanks in all phases of their construction, with a great many internal and external details.

I was aware of the early development of the radial engines for the M3, I was not surprised to learn that eventually led to diesel powered and later a larger multi-bank engine.  Additionally, there is a chapter dedicated to the various conversions of the M3, including the T2/M31 recovery vehicle in several versions and the Leaflet, the canal defense light.  These mounted a moveable turret and a 13 million candlepower carbon arc lamp to illuminate battlefields. 

Last but far from least, the descriptions of the M3 in combat, especially in North Africa is well described in numerous photos.  I was surprised to both an M3 Grant camouflaged as a 'sun shield' tracked lorry as well as photos of both the Lee and Grant versions in British service and U.S. Lees in Tunisia.

The one weakness in my evaluation of this book, is that there is nothing about models or building models of the M3 for modelers, aside from the many photos to document the M3.  Don't consider this a complaint, as I now have more details than I could ever hope to include in a model of the M3.  However, I had hoped that there would be some summary of the models, accessories and decals available, especially as the publisher is 'AFV Modeler.'

I wholeheartedly recommend this book for any members interested in the M3 tanks.  As a modeler, I don't think this book has any rivals.

My thanks for this review copy and my thanks to both David Doyle and Casemate for providing review samples, and IPMS/USA for my opportunity to review, read, thoroughly enjoy, and provide this review. 

HG Wells Little Wars

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 00:38
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Helion & Company

THE BOOK

Inside the front cover is a listing of other titles in Helion & Company's "Paper Soldiers" series.  Interested in the Civil War? Which one, American or English Civil War?  They have games for both.  Roman legions?  American Revolution?  Trafalgar? The Spanish Armada?  It's all in there.

This book is based on H. G. Wells' 1913 book which gives rules for movement and battle with miniature armies.  The book is subtitled "A Game for Boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books. " 

CONTENTS

I.  ON THE LEGENDARY PAST

II. THE BEGINNINGS OF MODERN LITTLE WARFARE

III THE RULES

The Country

The Move

Mobility of the Various Arms

Hand-to-Hand Fighting and Capturing

Varieties of the Battle Game

Composition of Forces

Size of the Soldiers

IV ENDING WITH A SORT OF CHALLENGE

APPENDIX:  LITTLE WARS AND KRIEGSPIELS

Andy Callan's introduction gives a well described summary of what the original Wells book covered and how the Little Wars changed over the years. The little wars started out using a cannon to shoot opposing forces. But the manufacturer changed the design in a cost cutting move, and the cannon became inaccurate.  So the rules changed.  And changed again as other ideas came in.  The rules in the book call for measured movement on the floor, timed moves, and casualties determined by unit type and position, with no chance elements.  It's all strategy and tactics, not luck.

MY WARGAMING HISTORY

I had a bunch of toy soldiers when I was a kid.  And at one point I got a toy 105mm howitzer which would fire small wooden bullets.  So I set up two sides and shot them with the 105.  I didn't like the fact that the small wooden shell would bounce off some soldiers without knocking them over.  I graduated up to using those pencils you get at the golf course for score keeping.  They worked. 

Later, I played Avalon Hill board games, particularly Gettysburg.  Also, Risk was a favorite.  When my friend and opponent (He beat me SO often) Bill Tometich told me that there was a magazine with a game in every issue, I subscribed to Strategy and Tactics Magazine through the 80's.  

So here we are back at the idea of shooting a cannon at the enemy soldiers on the floor.

WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SPECIAL

Peter Dennis does the artwork for this series of books.  You get multiple pages of paper figures to use in the games.  The idea is to scan and print color copies of the pages onto heavy paper, then cut the figure out and fold it, so the front and back align. I show several pages of figures, infantry and cavalry, plus a Zouave I printed, folded, cut out, and assembled.  

But wait, there's more!  Also included in the pages are a cannon which can be printed, cut out, and assembled.  With a rubber band moving the breech, the cannon can fire paper balls at the enemy.  So we can go back to the original Wells concept of war gaming.  

And even more!  In addition to the soldiers, cavalry and civilian figures in the book, there is a Martian Tripod, in case you decide to do a "War of the Worlds" scenario.  

EVALUATION:  

Recommended to anyone who's interested in miniature war games.

This book is a really neat trip back in time for me.  The idea of shooting at soldier figures goes back over 60 years in my life.  The figures are really well done.  I had minimal trouble with the figure I glued and cut out.  If I do another, it'll be even less trouble.  

Also, the introduction by Andy Callan is really nicely done, well written and insightful.

Thanks to Casemate for providing the review sample to IPMS.

 

Ed. Note - Unfortunately, shortly after writing this review Jim Pearsall passed away. A long time member and historian of IPMS, a dedicated member of the Review Corps, and friend to us all, Jim will be missed.

Israeli Gal Class Submarine

Sat, 09/05/2020 - 09:25
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov

OKB Grigorov has provided another very nice kit with the Israeli Gal submarine which represent a diesel-electric submarine developed and constructed in the Vickers Shipyard in the UK for the Israeli Navy. They were based on the German 206 class submarines. The "Gal" (Hebrew for Wave) class entered service in the late 1970's and were all replaced by the Dolphin Class by the early 2000's.

  • One resin part
  • Two very small photoetch sheets

The detail quality is great; The resin submarine is very delicate an you need to be carefully removed from the resin base.

There was no instruction sheet provided, this was not a problem as it was a simple build.

The Assembly is quick and easy.

The metal stand is a good addition to the kit.

The final part is painting.

This is my seventh one of these great kits and I really enjoy building these and they make a wonderful display all lined up.

Thanks go to OKB for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them

British Police Female Officer

Sat, 09/05/2020 - 09:09
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell ICM

ICM has released a new tooled figure representing a British Female Police office in this case with the Special weapons squad as British Police are not normally armed.

In the box is;

  • 2 x light grey sprues
  • 1 black sprue
  • Plastic base part
  • 1 instruction sheet

All the sprues are extremely well molded with no little flash and great detail. The inclusion of a base with optional surfaces is a great addition to this kit!

Construction

The construction is very easy, and it assembles very well. You do need to do a little filling on some of the legs to torso joint but its minimal.

I really enjoyed building these and they look great as a team of individually.

Now for only moan about this kit is the lack of decals which would have been a great addition. I made my own Police patch and black and white patterns rather than try to paint them.

Summary

This was a fantastic kit and really fun to build.

Thanks go to ICM for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

Top Drawing 93 Panzer III Ausf. J/L/M/K

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 20:50
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Kagero Publishing

The book provides great detail drawings of the Panzer III Ausf J, L, L and K. This was a German WWII Medium tank these versions were manufactured and used from 1939 to late 1942.

 I found the drawings in this book to be fascinating and very detailed, ideal for any modeler as reference materials.

Along with the many outline drawings (in 1/48 & 1/72 scales in the main pages) there is also very nice profile drawings. There are loose scale drawings in 1/35 scale.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in the armor and a must for modellers.

Thanks go to Casemate Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them

3.7 cm Flak 18/36/37

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 18:44
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo MMP Books

The "Camera On" series focuses on 'lived in' images of a specific subject. The subject in this case is 3.7 cm Flak 18/36/37, but the real value of this book is the images of its crew, their uniforms -sometimes even in civilian clothes-, the locations where the pictures were taken, the equipment -and litter!- around the gun emplacement.

The book is divided in the following sections

 

  • Foreword, with high level description of the weapon and its history
  • 3.7 cm Flak 18
  • 3.7 cm Flak 36
  • Tun antiaerean Rheinmetall calibru 37 mm model 1939
  • 3.7 cm Flak 37

 

Each section has dozens of pictures, some of them show a close up of the weapon (with very good detail for your model), most of them show the crew around the weapon (with very high value for a vignette as it show all the 'stuff' around a gun emplacement).

While some of the pictures might have been staged, none of them have the aspect of being taken by professional photographers, rather regular soldiers with a camera that were capturing their lives while manning an anti-aerial weapon.

I've found of particular historical interest how -as the war progressed- the crew became either younger (teens, almost kids) and also older, with perhaps one or two 'regular' trained crew members.

If you want to get inspiration for a vignette, get ideas for the next uniform or clothing in your figures, or simply have curiosity for "every day pictures" during wartime, this book is for you.

Recommended.

I would like to thank Mushroom Model Publication, Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

 

Images of War - United States Marine Corps in Vietnam: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 18:37
Product Image Review Author:  Bill Kluge Pen and Sword Books Ltd

This edition in the "Images of War" series provides a overview of U.S Marine Corps operations in Vietnam, from the initial deployment of a Marine Hawk anti-aircraft missile battery near DaNang in February, 1965, followed a month later by elements of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, to the final withdrawal of Marine ground troops in June, 1971. Marine air was finally withdrawn in September of 1972, with off shore Marine aircraft and security forces participating in the evacuation of Saigon in 1975 (the book's photo coverage ends with the withdrawal of Marine ground forces).

The limited text is arranged chronologically in four chapters:

 

  • One: The Opening Act (1965)
  • Two: The fighting Increases in Scope: (1966-67)
  • Three: The Defining Year (1968)
  • Four: Coming to an End: (1969-75)

 

The text provides a limited overview and assessment of Marine activities, occasionally highlighting little known facets of Marine involvement in the conflict, such as the frequent differences between Army and Marine tactics and goals, with the ensuing disagreements between MACV commander General William Westmorland and senior Marine commanders, as well as degrading of morale for Marines on the ground as the war neared its conclusion. The Tet Offensive, as well as the sieges of Con Thien and Khe Sanh receive considerable coverage with the photos as well as the text, while earlier operations are covered in less detail, if at all (one disappointment was the near lack of coverage - just one photograph - of Marine ship to shore operations in 1966 and 67).

The vast bulk of information is provided by the multitude of photographs. What detailed information there is comes with the photo captions. The overwhelming majority of photos illustrate Marine infantry, with a lesser number of images of armor and artillery forces, and a few of helicopter and fixed wing air units. The images are generally arranged chronologically. However, while the photos often show the uniforms and weapons to good advantage, the reader should view their sequencing with a grain of salt (for example, while some photos sprinkled throughout the book show Marines in camouflage utilities, those uniforms weren't issued until late 1968, a tidbit of information noted in one photo caption).

All in all, this is a good primer of Marine Corps activities during the Vietnam War. The photos in particular provide an encompassing view of Marine riflemen in action, and offer a good starting point to see how Marines operated in all types of conditions present in Vietnam.

Thanks to IPMS and Casemate Publishers for providing this volume for review.

Ammo by Mig Jimenez Shaders – Candy Red, Orange, Yellow, Violet

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 00:25
Product Image Review Author:  Scott Hollingshead AMMO by Mig Jimenez

If reading this review feels a little like deja vu all over again, I previously reviewed five of the Shaders, and as four additional colors were still waiting for analysis, I volunteered to help out.  Fortunately, I cannot plagiarize myself, so writing this was very easy indeed.  Now go ahead and enjoy my assessment of some additional Shaders colors.  

A recent arrival for the Review Corps were Shaders from Ammo by Mig Jimenez, which are a unique addition for modelers of just about anything.  For this review in particular, I was provided with four of the colors including Candy Red (0868), Orange (0850), Yellow (0867), and Violet (0859).  The full line consists of 20 different colors.  The Shaders are unique to begin with as they are packaged in 10ml bottles, so they are about half the size of a typical bottle of acrylic paint.  Shaders do not require shaking prior to use (they are about the consistency of ink), and they can be mixed to create different shades, and may be thinned with water if desired.

For this review I used only two drops of each of my four Shaders, and this was enough of the product to cover approximately 2 square inches.  I primed the outside of an upper scrap fuselage with Stynylrez White, Metal, and Red-Brown.  I used pieces of Post-it notes to mask over the Shaders with no issues of lifting.  These colors do need to be over sprayed with a clear coat once they are dry in order to seal them.

I mentioned these as being useful to modelers of just about anything, so here are some potential uses:

  • Panel lines on aircraft
  • Shadows on vehicles or buildings
  • Shading (adding tonal variations to paint)
  • Representing sheer fabrics on figures
  • Filters for any subject (with the advantage of being applied with an airbrush)
  • Creating gold mylar (think Apollo Lunar Module and the like) 
  • Creating the appearance of heated metal

In watching some available YouTube videos, aircraft, armor, railroad buildings, figure, and Gundam kits are all mentioned.  When I volunteered for these colors, I was thinking of using the Candy Red, Orange, and Yellow for shading flames on monster kits.  As you can see in my photos, the Shaders did a nice job of adding different tones to the Red-Brown primer, which would be good for showing different shades of rust, and also the effects of the Shaders on Metallic paint.

Based on an early YouTube video on the Shaders as well as a new video added not long ago in English, here are some things to keep in mind when using this product.

  • Start with light shades (you can only make base colors darker with these).
  • Shaders are meant to be applied with an airbrush.
  • Only a few drops are needed to cover a large area.
  • Mig recommends having decals in place before using the Shaders.
  • Excess accumulation will result in a glossy appearance.
  • Shaders are meant to be applied over a flat finish.
  • If a mistake is made, these colors may be wiped off with water (I validated this when I made a mistake on my initial application of the Yellow Shader over the White primer).
  • If adding more layers of Shaders, flat coat the underlying layer first.
  • Coat the Shaders with a gloss or semi-gloss coat prior to adding washes.
  • Your airbrush can be cleaned with water.

My plusses are the unique finishes that you can obtain with the Shaders whether adding shadows, panels of different tones, color differences along panel lines, or creating a new color on a piece of plastic.  The unique bottle design is intentional so that these are not confused with other acrylic paints as these are not intended to be used as base colors.  With a nice range of colors, you can achieve different effects, and you can easily mix even more colors yourself.  I had one minus with this group of Shaders as my Orange looks eerily similar to my Yellow.  I did shake the Orange Shader in an attempt to mix the solution in case that was the issue, but this did not change the outcome.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend these paints to anyone wanting to add another option when creating shadows, panels with different tones, or any other effect mentioned.  Mig mentions that he created the Shaders to make modeling easier, and he hit the mark with this product.  Modelers with some experience with their airbrush should have no issues with using the Shaders.

I would like to thank the folks at Ammo by Mig Jimenez for being gracious enough to provide these Shaders to the IPMS-USA for review!  Thanks to Phil Peterson for running the Review Corps and the other folks behind the scenes publishing the reviews.  Finally, my sincere appreciation to all who take the time to read this.

 

 

Per Ardua – Training an RAF Phantom Crew

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 00:15
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Fonthill Media

Both Philip Keeble and David Gledhill have written books about their experiences as front-line RAF aircrew in the Cold War.  In Per Ardua they explain the process each went through to become Phantom Phlyers.  Phil reviews the fast jet training program he went through to become a RAF pilot while David discusses the navigator training that he went through to become a F-4 navigator giving he reader an insight into what it took to become RAF aircrew in the late 1960's and early 70's.

Phil went through pilot training in the late 60's before the Phantom was adopted for the RAF.  He takes the reader through his experiences in primary flight training and fast jet training as he earned his commission as an officer and eventually his pilot wings.  He discusses the different trainers he flew as well as describing some of the more memorable flights he had.  After earning his wings, Phil was initially posted to Canberras which he flew for several tours before being assigned to the Phantom.  

David takes the reader through the initial training that all navigators underwent learning basic aerial navigation techniques.  He expected to be posted to Nimrods, but due to fortunate pairing with a fast jet pilot in an early training stage, he shifted his sights towards the mighty Phantom.

The structure of the book bounces back and forth between the two authors as they each discuss their experiences in training. However, it is not always clear who is writing, and I had to back up several times to sort out whose experiences I was reading.  As David and Phil went through the F-4 conversion course about 5 or 6 years apart, their experiences do not always match up as things changed in that period.  So, while the title of the book implies that this is the story of how David and Phil trained together to become a Phantom crew, it is actually two intertwined stories of how each of the authors was trained to fly the Phantom.

There is a particularly good discussion of air intercept training from both the pilot and the navigator's perspective and reminded me of the training I went through to become a radar intercept officer (RIO).  Here the back and forth style works well as you get a particularly good sense of what each was looking at and how pilots and navigators would learn to work together as a team.  Their discussion of BOLDFACE drills/emergency procedures illustrates just how important an aircrew team works together.

I also really enjoyed the discussion of their experiences with air-to-air refueling and was glad to hear that their experiences with the "iron maiden" drogue at the end of the KC-135 boom were like mine.

My only gripe out the book is the repeated references to other books the two authors have written or are in the process of writing.  I found it a bit irritating for them to start a story, only to stop abruptly with a reference to one of their other books.

The book also includes quite a few good quality black and white photographs of the various training aircraft they each flew as well as the Phantom and several of its color schemes.

I enjoyed this book and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the modern RAF and what it took to become a Phantom crew.

Thank you to Casemate Publishing for the review book and to IPMS-USA for letting me read and review it.

AV-8B Nozzles

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 23:54
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Brengun

This set provides replacement nozzles for Hasegawa's AV-8B Harrier II kits.  The set includes two sets of forward and rear exhaust/lift nozzles and are direct replacements for the kit parts.  As is expected with Brengun/Hauler, the castings are excellent and a huge improvement over the kit parts.  I soaked the parts in Simple Green overnight to remove any casting residue, then rinsed them off I with water and used a fine razor saw to remove the nozzles from the pour stubs.

The front "cold" nozzles include the interior vanes that are conspicuously absent on the kit nozzles, and as they are single piece casting, there is no seam down the middle of the nozzles to fill.  One of the nozzles had a couple of small airholes where the casting block was attached, but these were easily taken care of with Mr. Surfacer and light sanding.  I also had to do a little sanding where the pour stub was attached to get it to match the rounded shape of the rear of the nozzle.

Unlike the kit parts, the rear "hot" nozzles are hollow and like the front nozzles include the prominent interior vanes of the real nozzle.  Again, I had a couple of small air holes to fill where the pour stub was removed and had to sand the pour stub location to restore the rounded shape of the rear nozzles.  

Assembly is just like the kit parts as the nozzles have the exact same size attachment point as the kit parts, so they slip right into the kit supplied rubber washers.

I primed all four nozzles with Testors steel. The rear ones will stay this color with some additional colors added to replicate the burned heated metal appearance of the "hot" nozzles.  The "cold" nozzles will be painted to match the fuselage side color, once I decide which one to model.

This is another outstanding set from Brengun and one of the easiest I have ever used.  The new nozzles are a huge improvement over the kit parts, and I am already looking for a second set for my AV-8B+ kit.

Highly recommended.  Thank you to Brengun for the sample set and to IPMS/USA for letting me review it.

Italeri Vosper MTB 74 with Crew (Part 1)

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 07:24
Product Image Review Author:  Mike Kellner Italeri

Italeri's 1/35 scale version of the Vosper  MTB 74 which was used on the 28 March 1942 Operation Chariot Saint Nazaire raid comes in a big box. It was a specially configured boat having most of its offensive armament removed and having two torpedo tubes added to the foredeck.  It also had special muffler silencers added. It successfully hit the nets which protected the docks, torpedoed the lock gates and achieved its mission, but was sunk on its way back home.  Chariot achieved its goal of disabling the only dry dock in German-occupied France which could handle the Tirpitz so that forced her to return to Germany for any repairs.

 

The kit is molded in gray plastic and includes a fret of photoetched details, a decal sheet, a clear sheet, screw, ropes, and seven crew figures. The hull is in two pieces with just the aft transom area being separate.

 

For this first installment I'll concentrate on the cabin and its interior. There is no interior in the hull---there are two positions from which to control the boat, one inside the cabin and one outside the cabin. I followed the directions in their order and steps, painted everything and then added the photoetch and decals.  By mistake I put brass part C in place before the decal underneath it, so had to cut the decal into individual pieces to fit into the recesses of the metal part.

 

Everything fit well except the windows. The clear windows are some kind of acetate requiring photoetched details glued to the inside and outside of the "panes", which made me a bit nervous. Their fit wasn't the best, and in fact I wish they were a little bigger---some barely covered the openings they were to fit into. I painted the photoetch first and a friend of mine told me to try to adhere them to the "glass" with Future Floor Wax which I did after trying to put one on with thin CA. I got a smudge of that on one window and tried to get it off with debonder, which only made things worse.  I thought Future might cover that up, but it didn't.

 

So for the rest of the windows I just glued the PE on with the Future which turned out well. There are a lot of small pieces in this kit, but so far it's been an enjoyable build.

 

Mike Kellner.   IPMS  # 30864

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panzerfaust vs. Sherman, European Theater 1944 - 1945

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 07:12
Product Image Review Author:  Mike Lamm Osprey Publishing

Osprey's Duel series is a well-established line of books providing an overview of machine-on-machine combat action from design and development through combat. The books include a thorough analysis of the elements which affected the overall outcome of specific battles, or operations.

 

This volume focuses on Germany's development of the anti-tank weapons that could be carried by a regular infantry soldier, or specialized team of soldiers, with enough firepower to knock out a tank.  To deal with the surprising threat of Soviet armor on the Eastern Front.  Focusing on primarily on the Panzerfaust and the Panzerschreck, the books takes the reader from the improvised weapons soldiers used thru the development of the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck.  The Panzerfaust revolutionized anti-tank warfare, and showed that a weapon with a relatively small shaped charge could make one man a serious threat to armored vehicles.  The weapon's introduction on the battlefield, also revolutionized the way armored forces respond to the threat, including many similar methods used today on modern armor.

 

Like most Osprey books, this title starts out with a brief history of the weapon's development and deployment.  The Faustpatrone, or "Fist Projectile", was originally deployed to the Eastern Front in October 1943.  Hitler later renamed the weapon the Panzerfaust, "Armor Fist".  The weapon proved so successful, production went from 40,000 per month in October 1943, to 1.5 million per month by the war's end.  During that time, development of the Panzerfaust went from a 1.8 lb warhead, with an effective range of 30M on the Panzerfaust 30 (klein), to a 3.5 lb warhead and 100M effective range on the Panzerfaust 100.  There was even a Panzerfaust 150 design created, and possibly produced, which very closely resembles a modern-day rocket propelled grenade, with a reusable launch tube, rather than the disposable launch tubes on earlier models.  The book gives a brief history of the Panzerschreck, but the main focus is clearly on its cousin the smaller Panzerfaust.

 

While the Panzerfaust was created in response to fighting on the Eastern Front, the book focuses solely on its use in the West.  Specifically, during the Allies Normandy campaign.  While the allies had been the first to successfully deploy shaped charge weapons, specifically the bazooka, they hadn't prepared to defend themselves against those weapons.  The book goes into great detail about the success of the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck in Normandy's bocage, and then describes the various methods used to improvise defensive armor for the vulnerable Sherman tanks.  It was particularly interesting to read about the field modifications that were literally made overnight to protect the Shermans.  The descriptions of the steel cage, with sandbags was something I wasn't very familiar with, and is definitely not something I've seen on a model.

Mission Models Paint Merkava Modern AFV

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 07:00
Product Image Review Author:  Dan Brown Mission Models

Mission Models Paints has released several new colors recently for modern AFVs.  This example is for modern Israeli armor, specifically the Merkava line of vehicles.  This paint color is meant to cover most Israeli AFVs from the late 1970s to the present. 

 

Like all other Mission Models water-based acrylics MMP-128 is odorless, fast drying, designed not to clog airbrush tips, and to produce a smooth, durable finish.  Mission Models helpfully includes a guide on how to work with their paint on their website under the Tech Support Section.  The paint is thicker than many acrylics I have worked with and it is not pre-thinned for air brushing.  It does appear though that the paint particles are very fine and they have helpfully included a stainless-steel ball in every bottle to enhance mixing, which is a very nice touch. 

 

I experimented with a number of different thinning ratios while working with this paint.  I ended up preferring the standard mix I had seen in a few places for 70% paint, 30% thinner and a few drops of the Poly Intermix.  I also tended to spray at higher PSIs than the website recommended.  You will need to use the MMP thinner for this paint to avoid issues, but this thinner has quickly become my new favorite acrylic thinner.  I sprayed this mix both from my Iwata Neo airbrush and my Sparmax trigger airbrush with good results. 

 

You will need to use multiple light coats to get complete coverage of the surface.  As this is an acrylic paint, the dry time is fast but each layer has to be dry before you proceed.  I typically needed 3-4 coats at the 70/30 mixing ratio to get the coverage that I wanted.  The only real issue I had was with painting road wheels, the thin layers that I sprayed had a hard time covering the details on the wheels and the paint did not work well with a circle template.  I chose to test brush painting on the wheels and was surprised how well this paint handled being brush painted. 

 

I found that cleaning this paint up is extremely easy, both the MMP thinner and water cut right through the paint.  The paint color itself seems like a very good match for the IDF green used on Merkava vehicles.  In the pictures below I compare it to my custom mix for Tamiya paints and Life Color UA 903 IDF Green.  All three paints are a very close match.  Also, I used this paint to build a Meng Merkava, images of this build are below. 

 

While finishing the Meng Merkava I noted some minor issues with the paint.  I brush painted Future on to the vehicle in locations that decals were needed and used my Micro Sol/Set for setting the decals.  The MMp-128 ran slightly once these were applied, it was easy to correct but I would highly recommend gloss coating with a strong enamel product prior to decaling over this paint.  Throughout the build on the Merkava, I noted that this paint tended to wear and chip more easily than Tamiya paints.  It is also supposed to hold up well under tape but I had several locations lift after the application of Tamiya tape.  With this in mind I would strongly recommend priming under this paint with an MMP primer to strengthen adhesion. 

 

Overall, this paint is very similar to other MMP products, it easy to use and produces a nice flat finish.  If you are used to working with the Tamiya range of paints then there will be a learning curve for using this product.  The ease of use and the ability to pick out direct color matches for different vehicles is extremely nice.  Also, the information on their website is extremely helpful for learning to work with their range of products.  My thanks to Mission Models and IPMS for allowing me to review this paint. 

German Flak Defenses vs. Allied Heavy Bombers, 1942 - 1945

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 06:52
Product Image Review Author:  Mike Lamm Osprey Publishing

As with all the Osprey Duel series books, most of the book provides a detailed description of the weapons and equipment involved.  This book is no different with a large section of the book covering the various heavy bombers used by the Allies from the early RAF Short Sterling and Halifax bombers, to the US B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers.  Interestingly enough, while the Lancaster is discussed, in the book, the Sterling bombers receive more attention, which is mostly based on their inadequacies.  The book has an extensive section dedicated to the various flak guns, with detailed drawing and many photographs of the various types used by Germany. Osprey's Duel series is a well-established line of books providing an overview of machine-on-machine combat action from design and development through combat. The books include a thorough analysis of the elements which affected the overall outcome of specific battles, or operations.

 

This volume focuses on the strategies of the Allied bombing campaign, and Germany's attempts to stop or slow the onslaught of heavy bombers operating day and night over the Third Reich.  This book works through the background and strategies of both belligerents, the equipment both sides used, the tactics employed, and a nice summary of the effort with a full analysis of the effectiveness of the German Flakwaffe.

 

I was really impressed by the section of the book covering the amount of training the RAF, and the US put into preparing their pilots and flight crews for active duty.  Each position on the bombers receives some coverage about the amount and types of training each position needed, from the Pilot at the front to the gunners in the rear of the plane.  Just as fascinating is the description of the training given to each member of the flak crews, with some of the bigger flak guns requiring 13 or more personnel to operate them.  After reading the description of this training, it seemed obvious, but I had never really considered it prior to this book.

 

Overall, this was a quick and interesting read. While the book did include numerous interesting photos, drawings and diagrams, I'm all for more of all of those things.  Still, for an 80-page book, this one is pack with really interesting facts, and excellent commentary.  I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the air war over Germany throughout the second World War.

 

Thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS USA for this review copy.