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Updated: 5 hours 43 min ago

Dunkirk Evacuation Operation Dynamo

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 06:40
Product Image Review Author:  Bill O'Malley Pen and Sword Books Ltd

Dunkirk Evacuation Operation Dynamo is an excellent book that paints a vivid picture of the chaos and monumental evacuation efforts to save the British Army early in WWII. The book describes one of the most inspiring stories of World War II, the evacuation from Dunkirk, on a daily basis from Sunday, May 26, 1940 through Monday, June 3, 1940. Evacuation of Britain's only army, the British Expeditionary Force, from Dunkirk was chaotic and rushed but miraculously saved the BEF.

 

Part of Pen & Swords Illustrated Series, the book is a compilation of fascinating photos. The book is organized in chapters for each of the nine days of the evacuation. Each chapter provides some text describing the major operations of the day and includes many black-and-white photographs of the rescue operations. The photographs are high-quality, quite clear, and helpful descriptions are provided in the photo captions.

 

Introduction - Retreat to Dunkirk

Describes the deployment, wartime actions, and ultimate retreat to Dunkirk to preface the evacuation.

 

Chapter 1, Day 1 - Sunday, 26 May 1940. Secure routes across the English Channel are established and search begins to find vessels for the evacuation.

 

Chapter 2, Day 2 - Monday, 27 May 1940. Defensive positions around Dunkirk become stressed holding off the German advance while the excavation continues.

 

Chapter 3, Day 3 - Tuesday, 28 May 1940. Due to heavy bombardment of Dunkirk Harbor, the troop embarkations were switched to the beaches eastward of Dunkirk. The British Admiralty begin notifying private owners and operators to assemble 'Little Ships', vessels commandeered by the British Navy.

 

Chapter 4, Day 4 - Wednesday, 29 May 1940. The French Army takes over defense of Dunkirk and plans to take part in the evacuation. The first of the Little Ships began to arrive in large numbers on the beaches.

 

Chapter 5, Day 5 - Thursday, 30 May 1940. French ships begin to arrive to assist with the evacuation. Heavily overcast skies kept the Luftwaffe grounded, limiting bombardment.

 

Chapter 6, Day 6 - Friday, 31 May 1940. The perimeter defense still held on the fifth day. Many photographs in this chapter.

 

Chapter 7, Day 7 - Saturday, 1 June 1940. Despite losses of many ships and aircraft, over 60,000 troops were evacuated this day.

 

Chapter 8, Day 8 - Sunday, 2 June 1940. Evacuations were switched to nighttime to avoid daytime ship losses, and the final evacuation push begins.

 

Chapter 9, Day 9 - Monday, 3 June 1940. On the night of June 2nd to 3rd most of the remaining British were evacuated as the French held the perimeter. The final lift on the night of June 3rd to 4th evacuated many of the French troops, leaving the remaining French soldiers and British soldiers to an uncertain fate.

 

Chapter 10 - The aftermath

Dunkirk finally fell to the Germans on 4 June 1940 as the first troops entered the town between 7:00 and 8:00 AM. 40,000 British and French troops still remained, however over 338,000 troops had been evacuated since 27 May. This chapter includes many photographs taken by Germans after the evacuation showing the massive amount of equipment left behind by the British army.

 

Summary

The excellent text and photos in this book resent a vivid image of the desperate, chaotic evacuation from Dunkirk and the heroic efforts necessary to save the BEF. The photographs are high quality and the captions provide good descriptions of the troops and ships involved. This is a very interesting read and the photographs or a fascinating look at the Dunkirk evacuation. Modelers will find many inspirations for dioramas in the book's photographs. History buffs will enjoy the written descriptions and visual imagery of Operation Dynamo.

 

Thanks to Pen & Sword Books for this wonderful publication, and to Casemate for providing the review sample to IPMS

LionRoar WWII YD72 USN Crane Barges I

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 00:55
Product Image Review Author:  Luke R. Bucci PhD Lion Roar

Thanks to DragonUSA for supplying the resin/PE set for review and IPMSUSA staff for handling the request and publishing this review.

Photoetch Set Review:

Bottom Line: LionRoar has produced a line of WW2 US Navy barges, either mixed resin + photoetch or all metal photoetch. Few parts, a tricky PE folding and assembly job for an unusual subject that would be a necessity for dockyard dioramas. Would have liked better instructions and decals for the barge YD number, but a quirky, fun build. Change of pace weekender for the more advanced modeler.

Brief History

Cranes are ubiquitous at harbor dockyards. Some are permanently mounted on a flat barge and towed to wherever they are needed. Unlike warships and auxiliary ships, information on barges is rare and suspect. In 1940, the US Navy delivered its first all welded steel crane, with a lifting capacity of 25 tons - YD72. The barge was 100 ft long and 45 ft wide, and stationed at Mare Island Navy Yard, California. It was sold for scrap in 1975, outliving most WW2 warships.

What You Get:

LionRoar, a prolific Chinese producer of 1/700 photoetch sets for naval topics, launched a series of 1/700 cranes, crane barges and barges in 2011 to little fanfare, but a relief for dockyard diorama builders. YD (aka Yard Dog, actually Floating Derrick) 72 was one of the first released. The resin/PE set comes in a nominal 4x2x1 inch (97x64x30 mm) box with pegboard on top, the usual LionRoar black-to-blue fade from top to bottom, a photo of the finished model, and a picture of the fret. Inside you have a small page of Instructions, front and back. Two small bags contain the two resin parts: 1) barge with crane mount base; and 2) crane house. The PE fret is stainless steel (just like the real crane) with 17 pieces (numbered 1-15 as the two doors and two pulleys were the same numbers).

The PE fret has sticky clear plastic on both sides, which means the fret needs to be cleaned with soap and water. The PE parts are fine and detailed, and on the sturdy side of metal heft. Some pieces have embossed detailing. The Instructions are very basic, use exploded views with curved arrows to indicate how to fold the crane, and straight arrows to show where the doors and panels go on the resin crane house. There is no text and no explanations. The instructions need explanation of the order of assembly and that the crane only has one way it can be assembled. Read on to prevent frustration.

The Build

Finding resources and photos of YD72 was virtually fruitless. There is one photo that is positively YD72 (the name is on the barge side), but other photos purporting to be YD72 did not have the same appearance. In fact, the only positive ID photo had a lattice crane support that was not in the kit. I resisted the urge to scratch build it since this was a review kit. YD73 looked like a sister, and there were a few color photos from 1959-1960 that were helpful. It was apparent that determining the colors of the barge, deck, crane house, and crane were not going to be authoritative. By piecing together hints from various sources, I concluded that the deck was lighter than anything else, the barge was very dark gray or black, the crane was bare steel metal, and the crane house was a darker shade than the Haze Gray of 1960. For the barge and bollards, I used Weathered Black Floquil Railroad color (enamel). The deck was brushed-on Model Air AV Vallejo Aged White acrylic FS37769 / RAL1015 / 71.132 / #29016X2. After assembly, the crane house was brushed on with Model Master Acrylic 04239 5-O Ocean Gray after Weathered Black was painted in the windows. The crane was not painted, as it would be covered with Flat Clear at the end. Pulley cables (but not the rollers at the ends or the hooks) were painted Weathered Black as seen in photos of other crane barges.

The resin parts had little flash but little detail, although the bollards were excellent and not broken. There were no locator marks for positioning the crane house on the circular base of the barge deck - another missed opportunity for the Instructions. I wanted to rotate the crane house, and it had a hole already drilled, so I determined the center of the circular base and drilled a hole to fit a steel wire. The crane house looked like the position in photos. The PE sides for the crane house fit well except for slight overhang in a few corners. CA glue was used throughout.

The PE pieces were very easy to remove from the fret without distorting the pieces - this is a big plus. I folded the crane pieces separately. The large crane arm (part #2) was folded but I ended up a slight bend in it. The arm support crane structure that mounts on the top of the crane house (#1) folded more easily but be aware it is has a convex shape and is not square, except on the ends. I decided to assemble the crane before putting it on the crane house, which was a wise choice. I glued the crane arm to the crane base with both on their sides in order to carefully position the arm so that the pulleys (parts 6) would fit into the slots in the crane base and into the little box glued on top of the crane arm. Once the crane arm was dry fitted in the crane base, the arm was moved into position for the other end of the pulley to be inside the little box, and the arm glued in place. The next day, the crane was one solid piece, and the pulleys were added, which is extremely delicate and difficult to see even with magnification. I thought I had nailed the three pulley positions, but discovered I did not. No worries, one of the outer pulleys was glued to the outside of the little box. Without explanation from the instructions, it would have been easy to not get the crane arm perfectly aligned with the crane base, leaving a pulley problem. Putting the big crane pieces on their sides was another easy way to assemble the crane that should have been mentioned in the Instructions. Adding the hook pulleys was simple.

After assembly, the crane house, deck and barge sides were weathered with Weather System Rust & Weather Kit, using the black powder mostly, and white & light gray pencils to streak the barge sides and deck. The entire model was sprayed with Testors Dullcote (outside), making sure the crane was matte and not shiny.

A narrow shim on top of the circular crane base took care of the forward tilt of the crane house and still allowed for rotation of the crane house. All told, this is a cute model that has a lot of potential to have figures and dockyard stuff added (ropes, cables, boxes, barrels, cans, life preservers, etc.). Nearby tugs with ropes tied to the barge would also be an attractive extension.

The instructions could use some explanation of how to fold and assemble the crane pieces, add the crane support lattice as a PE piece, and drill a hole in the circular crane base on the barge for a rod that fits into the crane house. Builders - be prepared for some very tight tolerances with narrow PE pieces needing fine tweezers. 

Value

At $27 MSRP, this PE set is the same cost as a destroyer-sized ship, but is considerably shorter and with fewer pieces. By itself this kit is basic but can represent YD72 well enough to be presentable yet leave room for superdetailing and addition of accessories.

Summary

This PE set is recommended for medium to advanced modelers because of some very small and easily distortable pieces (pulleys). It is an unusual subject and looks just fine next to warships. YD72 can be built in a short time, but please take your time and look ahead at the assemblies. With a little thought and extra accoutrements this can be turned into an attractive addition to any fleet.

Pros:

  1. Few pieces, well cast resin, an easy separation of PE pieces from the fret;
  2. Unusual subject, and much needed and appreciated for dockyard dioramas;
  3. PE pieces were easy to fold and fit well together;
  4. Scale appearance was good;
  5. Relatively rapid time for assembly and finishing - a short project.

Cons:

  1. Instructions need better explanation for assembling the crane - not only an exploded view drawing;
  2. Side braces of crane support (PE part #1) needed to be thicker;
  3. No crane support lattice as in only identifiable photo;
  4. Needs a hole in the circular crane base of the barge to align the crane house and enable rotation;
  5. The crane arm can only be at one elevation;
  6.  I would have made the operator housing atop the crane house PE only and not solid resin;
  7. No history or characteristics, meaning some research is needed;
  8. No painting guides or suggestions;
  9. You are on your own for looking up references or information - no easy resources.

Recommended for medium to advanced modelers of 1/700 scale ships with experience in handling, folding, and gluing small metal PE parts. Very highly recommended for dioramas and has the room to superdetail easily. An odd but rewarding short project.

USN F/A-18F VFA-2 Bounty Hunters

Wed, 08/26/2020 - 00:19
Product Image Review Author:  Max Welliver Academy Models

Stemming from Academy's excellent 2013 F/A-18 Super Hornet kit releases, they have yet again pleased Naval Aviation fans with the colorful VFA-2 Bounty Hunters Super Hornet CAG! 

The kit offers two marking options, both from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2, Bounty Hunters, out of Lemoore, California. The scheme shown on the box is the colorful CAG 100 bird BuNo 165916.  The second option is line number 104, BuNo 165920. The decals are by Cartograph and are of extremely high quality. 

The Build

The box contains six sprues molded in hard light grey plastic, and one sprue in clear for the canopy and HUD. The nose cone, rear fuselage, and front fuselage are sitting by themselves in the box. For those who have built Academy's Super Hornet or Growler releases from 2016 on, you will find that the parts are pretty much the same. This can serve as a review for all these kits as they are molded the same way, aside from a few pieces belonging to each aircraft designation. 

Instead of the cockpit assembly being found in step one, this kit begins by assembling the wings. The top of the aircraft is molded into one piece, and wings cannot be folded in the "stored" position. The inside of the wheel bays are also molded into one piece that fits tightly into the rear fuselage. The air intake assembly consists of three parts, and snaps into the rear fuselage piece as well. At this point, it is a good idea to paint the inside of the air intakes white, and mask them before joining this part to the top fuselage in a later step. A slight gap between the attaching edges of the wings runs right through the inboard flap on the underside. It is a good idea to fill this, even though many won't see that side. See picture below.

The second page of the instruction manual shows the main landing gear legs installed, but I opted to leave these out until the end. Step three begins by sandwiching the horizontal stabilizer in between the rear fuselage and the top fuselage. The stab can be glued with either a few degrees pitch trim up or down if you force it but is really designed to be set in the neutral position. So far, the kit is borderline snap tight. The fit is so good that glue is not required but is recommended of course for longevity. 

Page three begins with cockpit assembly. I have to say, for a 1/72 scale model, the detail is very good. Each ejection seat is made up of two parts, and all the panels molded on the cockpit tray have raised button, throttle, and lever detail. The decal sheet provides decals for the green DDI screens, as well as some of the button-laden panels. With a bit of time invested and a fine tipped brush, you will have a very realistic cockpit. These parts all fit into the tray that aligns into the forward fuselage piece, B4. 

Step four joins the cockpit and forward fuselage assembly to the rest of the airplane constructed in previous steps. Be aware that at this point, once you press in the front fuselage and cockpit to the upper fuselage, it will be extremely hard to remove. 

Step five joins the nose cone to the airplane. There are some mold lines on the cone that can be removed with a sharp X-Acto blade. I added about 7 grams of weight inside the cone as it provides a large enough cavity to place a substantial amount. A bit of putty is required to create a seamless fit between the fuselage and cone, but nothing excessive. Part B3 is glued behind the Naval Flight Officer's seat and will house the canopy joints later. There is a tiny seam that needs to be filled and sanded where this piece joins the fuselage spine. See picture below. 

Step six shows the tails being glued to the fuselage. The fit is extremely good here, so I decided to leave them off until they were painted, decaled, and weathered. This step also includes engine nozzle installation. A tiny gap between the nozzles and the rear fuselage is apparent but can be filled easily. I opted to leave these off until the end for ease of painting too.

Steps seven through nine focus on the landing gear. The doors fit well, but the attachment points are a bit clunky looking. Most of this gets hidden though, as the wheel wells have a lot of raised detail. The main wheels are separate from the tire, so painting is easy. The nose gear wheels are a single piece. The nose gear door attachment pins need to be sanded down a bit to allow for a tight fit against the fuselage. After test fitting, I left all gear doors and landing gear off until final assembly following paint. 

Steps 10 and 11 focus on external stores. The kit provides two AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles, two GBU-38 JDAM bombs, and three 480-gallon external fuel tanks. Additionally, two AIM-9X Sidewinders for the wingtip rails. The underwing bombs and missiles have multiple parts and lock into their respective hard points quite well. If you want to leave a pylon hard point off, two attachment holes are left in the underside of the wing. These can be filled and sanded flush. I decided to leave the two wing tanks and their pylons off. The fuel tanks are halved, with one side including the pylon, or centerline attachment. The fit is alright but will require some sanding to get rid of the seam. 

The Sidewinder attachment points to the wingtip rails are clunky pegs that do not fit well. After trying to sand and fit them, I ended up snipping the pegs off the missiles, and filling the large attachment hole on the wingtip rail. The missiles look a lot better glued than the intended method of attachment. 

Step 12 instructs the pitot probes, various antennae, and tail hook to be installed. The attachments on the pitot probes need to be sanded down to fit flush with the fuselage. Step 13 shows final installation of the HUD and canopy. The HUD is a clear piece and is often tinted green in the real Super Hornet, so to achieve this, I use translucent green to paint the edges of it. 

The canopy comes with a raised mold line down the center. This takes a bit of time to remove. First, I used an X-Acto blade to carefully scrape down the mold line flush with the rest of the canopy. Then, wet sanded using 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, and 3000 grit sandpaper. Finally, the canopy was polished with Novus 2 Fine Scratch Remover and dipped in Future. Once dry, I masked it with Tamiya tape and glued it to the airplane with white glue. I would not try to test fit the canopy as it is impossible to remove it without breaking off one more attachment pieces. 

The build process is very high quality and straightforward. The fit is so good that this kit can almost be marketed as snap tight! Highly recommended!

Painting and Weathering

I begin all my aircraft models with a prime in Vallejo Primer Black. Now, it is time to study reference photos! By simply looking up the Bureau Number (BuNo, the number located under the horizontal stab), a host of pictures of this exact airplane is shown. Some show it fresh out of paint, some during and after a tour. I like to give my aircraft models some life, so I usually try and show it after being on duty for a while. A great reference for Navy and Marine aircraft and ship photos is seaforces.org. Once I have an idea of what I want to achieve I can now begin the pre shading. 

I loaded up Model Master Light Ghost Grey in the airbrush and began to heavily mottle the surface. This consists of randomly spraying squiggles and blotches along the entire surface. For the areas of the real airplane made from fiberglass, even heavier mottling is applied. This is the nose cone, and the fuel tanks. In almost every reference photo, you will see the nose cone and fuel tank discolored, unless it is fresh out of paint. The mottling provides a great uneven base that will help break up the somewhat monotone top and bottom finishes of a Navy Super Hornet. 

Next, I finely sprayed black along some of the panel lines, over the mottling, to boost these areas once the topcoat is applied. Continue to use references! If you think you have messed up on the pre-shading, you probably haven't. These jets get really beat up! See the picture of what it looks like before final paint. (Attached below) 

Once the pre-shading was done, the top of the airplane was sprayed in Model Master Acryl Dark Ghost Grey, and the bottom in Light Ghost Grey. The surface is really popping now! The CAG bird of VFA-2 that I am modeling has a black accent around the canopy, and yellow stripes on the tails. These were painted with Vallejo Model Air. The whole model was now glossed with Future to protect the paint for decals. There are a lot of decals in this kit, but they really give this airplane character. The instruction manual does a great job of showing where each one is placed. The decals sink well into the surface after just a few coats of Micro Sol, or your favorite decal setter. The airplane was glossed again with Future to protect the decals. The nozzles were first painted black, then Model Master Jet Exhaust, and then various tones of Alclad metal. I like Alclad Magnesium, the same color used for the gun port on the nose. 

Weathering

Now comes one of my favorite parts, weathering. Since the pre-shading was applied, there isn't too much to do here. I began by applying a dark grey oil wash to all the recessed panel line detail. I let this dry for about 30 minutes, and then used Q-tips and paper towels to wipe the excess off. I then used artist oils to dot the surface with white in some areas, to depict the anti-corrosion paint applied to the jets after wear. I dotted burnt umber on the centerline fuel tank and blended that in too. As the crew walks about the leading-edge extensions and work with access panels near the nose, they leave boot prints and hand scuffs. This can be achieved by taking some powdered graphite and using a small brush to create impurities. Also, a brown color often streaks back from the main landing gear compartment. This was achieved by dotting brown oil paint and simply pulling it back with a flat brush. This is it for the weathering, and the model. I sealed all this in with a coat of Vallejo Matte Varnish.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a fantastic kit by Academy. This is, in my opinion, the best 1/72 Super Hornet on the market right now. Aside from the few areas of attention I mentioned earlier, it goes together very well. This VFA-2 release is an excellent addition to Academy's ever-growing collection of Super Hornets, and Naval aircraft. Thank you to MRC for providing this kit, and thank you to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to review it! 

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat- A Comprehensive Guide

Sun, 08/23/2020 - 13:22
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Model Aircraft Magazine

I will tell you from the start that I love SAM Publications books. As a modeler, I am always on the lookout for books that have not only great information and pictures but modeling references too. What I'll attempt to do is cover all the reasons in this review. This book covers the magnificent F-14 Tomcat in all its glory.

 

The first place I want to start is the table of contents. That is presented below:

 

  • Glossary
  • Introduction
  • The Genesis of a Legend
  • The F-14A
  • The F-14A+ and the F-14B
  • The F-14D
  • The "bombcat"
  • Tomcats for Iran
  • Flying the F-14
  • Tomcats at War
  • Tomcat Twilight
  • Color Side Profiles
  • Modeling the F-14Tomcat
  • Appendices
    • Walk around's
    • Understanding the Subject
    • Technical Diagrams
    • Tomcat Squadrons
    • Colors
    • Test Tomcats
    • Kitography
    • Scale Plan in 1/72nd Scale

As you can see, there is a lot of focus on modeling with things like the Kitography, drawings and a modeling section. Looking at the book, it is 192 pages of glossy print with hundreds of beautiful pictures, diagrams and drawings covering the Tomcat from development, life and details or its fighting history as well as a modeling section. This is a revised version as it was released earlier BUT this has updated reviews of the latest kits and information not in the previous version.

 

Let's take a look at a couple sections to give you a flavor of the book. In the section Tomcats for Iran, there is excellent detail on the USA export of the 80 F-14A Tomcat to Iran in the 1976. Details are included on the training, serial numbers, and the 284 Phoenix missiles also shipped. This is also covered with excellent pictures showing the markings of the Tomcats. This section also details the fall of the Shah and the subsequent Islamic rise. There is great detail on the subsequent embargoes of parts, the Iranians efforts to keep their fleet flying and further details of these flying into at least 2015.

 

The Chapter Tomcats at War covers the Tomcats which were deployed in war time. This section starts with the Tomcats debut during Operation Frequent Wind which was the evacuation of American citizens from Saigon in April of 1973. There were many other Tomcat support missions from Lebanon to Syria. One of the most famous was the breaking of Libya's "Line of Death" and the downing of four Libyan jets is covered including the missed missile shots, eventual hits and they enemy pilot ejection. There are multiple pictures of the markings, pilots and airframes used in this fight. The rest of the paragraph covers other actions and one I did not know about was that F-14's intercepted the Achille Lauro terrorists and forced them down in Italy for capture. Lastly, the war in the gulf is covered in pictures and words. The pictures are crisp and colorful and detail the Tomcat in all its glory.

 

Lastly, let's take a look at the section, "Modeling the Tomcat". There are eight reviews covering different scales, detail levels and markings. A quick summary is below:

 

  • Top Cat Tomcat- Tamiya 1/48th F-14A- an OOB build using the Tamiya decals for VF-84
  • Grim Reaper- Trumpeter 1/32nd F-14D converted from an F-14B in VF-101 Grim Reaper Markings by DXM. Other aftermarket used were from Avionix, Wolf pack and Aires
  • Cat on a Cat- Hasegawa 1/72nd F-14 on and Italeri carrier deck including Testors flight crew and Verlinden deck tractor
  • Tomcatters Tomcat- AMK 1/48th F-14D modeled with flaps dropped and markings of VF-31 Tomcatters of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
  • "Black Knights" Bomber- Fujimi 1/72nd F-14A in VF-154 markings
  • Iranian Blue Cat- Tamiya 1/48th F-14A in later IRIAF Iranian blue and gray camouflage
  • Swordsmen's Super Cat- Tamiya 1/48th F-14A in Furball Aero Design makings with DXM pitot tube and AKOA sensors.
  • Highway to the Danger Zone- Academy 1/48th F-14A Tomcat

 

These are all fabulous build highlighting great painting methods and other tidbits to help modelers.

 

I could go into further detail but you can see the gist of the book. It covers detail, operations, markings and modeling. It's updated with Tamiya builds. The pictures are great. If you have any passing interest in the Tomcat- as an historian or modeler or super detailer, this book, is in my mind, required.

 

This gets my highest recommendation- it is truly fabulous. My thanks to SAM for the opportunity to build it and to IPMS/USa for the change to read it.

Battleships Nelson & Rodney

Thu, 08/20/2020 - 00:15
Product Image Review Author:  George Cully MMP Books

The Royal Navy's HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney came about in an unusual way, and that helps to explain their unusual silhouette: all three of both ships' triple barrel main gun turrets were mounted on the foredeck, and their massive bridge superstructures and secondary armament suites were sited aft.  Nothing else afloat looked quite like them.  These ships were named after two famous British admirals: George Rodney, victor of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1780) and the Battle of the Saintes (1782), and Horatio Nelson, who won the Battle of the Nile (1798) and the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).  

The 1922 Washington Naval Treaty was intended to 'rebalance' the numbers of capital ships allocated among the major victorious powers after WWI; this agreement was further extended by the London Treaty of 1936.  The resulting "battleship holiday" forced the signatories to scrap multiple existing major fighting ships and to cease construction of new ones.  But Britain managed to carve out an exception to the 1922 Treaty's rules: it was allowed to build two new battleships, provided they were built within strict, specified limits, especially as to their displacement, which could not exceed 39,000 tons when fully loaded.   

Obeying those limits required that the new ships could not be laid down as per the Admiralty's long-familiar design format, i.e., main turrets placed fore and aft with the bridge superstructure in between.  But this 'clean sheet of paper' approach provided some opportunities.  Concentrating the main armament forward, for example, required less armor overall; that saved weight.  Using a much higher tensile strength steel for construction permitted the use of thinner plate, and that also helped.  The turrets, too, were of a novel design that allowed for an elevation of +40deg.  That gave the ships' 16"/45 caliber guns a maximum range of almost 40,000 yards.  But there were tradeoffs.  Moving the propulsion machinery further aft than usual imposed constraints on horsepower, which limited the ships' maximum speed to about 23 knots.  That said, in the end it didn't really matter that these ships weren't as fast as the next generation of battleships built in the 1930s.  They served well and faithfully in World War II, and HMS Rodney earned lasting fame for its major role in the destruction of the German battleship Bismarck on May 27, 1941.

As a summary volume for these two warships, I found Koszela's book to be very useful, although perhaps a little on the spendy side at its full MSRP price. Buyers might wish to shop around.  Koszela provides a concise but thorough description of the ships' origins, design approach, major component systems, and he deftly encapsules both ships' service with bullet chronologies for each from keel laying to breaker's yard.   If I had a complaint, it's the book's lack of research notes and/or a bibliography.  It would have been helpful to know what Koszela used for sources in order to judge how accurate his drawings are likely to be, and where else to look if we wanted to know more. 

But it's for the modeler that Koszel's book is of real use.  There are 71 pages of drawings, beginning with nine 1/550thscale general arrangement side and overhead views of both ships at various points in their service between 1927 and 1945.  These are followed with interior profiles, cutaways and detail drawings of various decks, armament and equipment that range in scale from 1/550th to 1/25th.   The 1/200th scale deck layout drawings would be of particular value in detailing the Trumpeter kit of HMS Nelson, and the 1/100th scale three-views of the Fairey Swordfish Mk. 1 and Supermarine Walrus are a nice bonus.  The closing section of the book provides nine color side and overhead views of both ships in prewar and wartime colors dating from 1928 (for HMS Rodney) and ending in 1945 (for HMS Nelson).

Surprisingly, as best I can determine, there are relatively few kits to be had for HMS Nelson and none for HMS Rodney.   Airfix produced an HMS Nelson years ago in its preferred 1/600th warship scale.  Trumpeter has done that ship in a 1/700th version and, more noteworthy, in an impressive 1/200th scale edition.  Perhaps somebody will give us a suitable 1/350th scale model of either of these most unusual battleships?

Thanks to Casemate for providing the review sample.

F-100 Super Sabre In Detail & Scale

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 00:36
Product Image Review Author:  Bob LaBouy Detail & Scale, Inc.

In this review, I began by comparing Bert's initial F-100 book, published way back in 1989 which was 72 pages in length (D&S Vol.33) priced at $9.95.  With the newest Detail & Scale Series Volume 11, you'll get 104 pages (at approximately twice the price) and you will see a dramatically increased amount of color images and increased amount of details about the F-100.  If this earlier print version can be located, I recommend to pick up a copy, since there are a good number of differences of the photos offered.

I was especially impressed with two of the narratives provided in the book's 'Super Sabre Pilot's Report' and 'The Super Sabre In Southeast Asia' both of which well documented with numerous photographs.

The Table of Contents provides for this basic outline:

  • Introduction                                           3
  • Super Sabre History                                4
  • Scale Drawings                                      12
  • Super Sabre Variants                               
  • YF-100                                              19
  • F-100A                                              21
  • RF-100A                                            24
  • F-100C                                              27
  • F-100D                                             31
  • F-100F                                              36
  • Super Sabre Drones                           40
  • Foreign Super Sabres                             42
  • Super Sabres Pilot's Report                     45
  • The Super Sabre in Southeast Asia          48
  • Super Sabre Details
  • Cockpit Details                                   58
  • Windscreen & Canopy Details              65
  • Fuselage Details                                 67
  • Wing Details                                      71
  • Landing Gear Details                          74
  • Tail Details                                        77
  • Engine Details                                    79
  • 20mm Cannon Details                         81
  • Pylons & External Stores Details           83
  • Modelers Section                                   90

 

In the author's own description of this book, they provide the best summary of makes this book so worthwhile.

"F-100 Super Sabre in Detail & Scale is a detailed study of one of the most important jet fighter aircraft designs to see operational service with the U. S. Air Force as well as several foreign nations.  

The book begins with a comprehensive developmental and operational history of the Super Sabre and follows that with an all-inclusive chapter on each of the variants.  From the YF-100 prototypes to the two-seat F-100F, every variant of the Super Sabre is covered with photographs, an informative text, artwork, and tables providing technical and performance data.  This coverage even includes the six RF-100A "Slick Chick" reconnaissance aircraft with cockpit photos and illustrations showing where the equipment was placed inside the modified fuselage.  The use of the F-100 as a high-speed drone comes next, and this is followed by a chapter covering its use in foreign service with France, the Republic of China, Turkey, and Denmark.  

Next, is a pilot's report by Don Schmenk which provides a fascinating and informative perspective from a pilot with more than 1,000 hours in the cockpit including 215 combat missions in Vietnam.  This is followed by a new chapter on the Super Sabre's service in Southeast Asia.  This chapter features a detailed look at the modifications made to the F-100Fs that took part in the Wild Weasel I effort, the first development by the U. S. Air Force to create an aircraft dedicated to locating and destroying enemy surface-to-air missile and gun air defense systems.

A comprehensive chapter on Super Sabre details, long a hallmark of the Detail & Scale brand, follows.  This chapter contains nine sections covering the cockpit, windscreen and canopy, fuselage, wing, landing gear, tail, engine, 20-mm cannons, and pylons and external stores details.  Complete coverage of almost every square inch of the Super Sabre is provided through 136 high resolution photographs, 115 of which are in full color.

As with all Detail & Scale Series books, the final chapter covers the scale modeling history of the Super Sabre from the early kits that are now only collector's items, to the kits that are generally available as of July 2020 for use by the serious scale modeler.  The most popular standard modeling scales of 1/144th, 1/72nd, 1/48th, and 1/32nd are treated as separate sections, and the available models in each are reviewed objectively.

F-100 Super Sabre in Detail & Scale is one of the most comprehensive books on the North American F-100 ever published."

I wholeheartedly recommend this book for any members interested in the beautiful F-100.  As a modeler, I don't think this book has any rivals.

My thanks for this review copy and my thanks to both Bert Kinzey and IPMS/USA for my opportunity to thoroughly enjoy, read, and provide this review. 

Landing gear for the Eduard 1/144 MiG-15bis/UTI

Mon, 08/17/2020 - 18:43
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Scale Aircraft Conversions

The Aircraft

The MiG-15 was the USSR's first really successful jet fighter.  The engines for the prototype were copied from Britain's Rolls Royce Nene, with the cooperation of the UK government. 

The MiG-15 was used in the Korean War, with Chinese, Korean and Soviet pilots flying combat missions into "MiG Alley" in northwestern North Korea. 

There were many users of this aircraft, 39 countries, including the United States, who bought fighters as "opposition" aircraft for exercises like Red Flag.  Only two countries still use the MiG-15, North Korea and Guinea-Bisseau.

The two versions this landing gear set is for are the MiG-15bis, an improved single seat version, and the MiG-15UTI, the two seat trainer version. 

The Scale Aircraft Conversions set.

You get two sets of gear parts in this set.  This is very good, because you get two MiGs in the box from Eduard.  The parts are all white metal, and they fit nicely in place of the kit parts. 

I ran into a smallish problem as I started this review.  I really like to build a model to go with the landing gear for these SAC reviews, and I didn't have a MiG-15 UTI or bis in my stash.  Then I found one of those golden shelf models that made this review a winner.  I had a MiG-15UTI from Eduard that I built for a review several years ago.  The plastic gear on one side had come off, I had repaired it with a glob of CA, and it was a mess.  So I used the SAC gear to fix my model. 

Another thing I discovered when I went to the Eduard web site to try to get another set of MiG-15 UTIs was that Eduard has discontinued the kit.  (See the screen capture below.)

Painting

There wasn't really any painting of the gear leg.  It was a nice silvery color, and matched the Eduard part exactly in dimension and color.  I used Super Glue Remover to get the wheel and gear doors off the Eduard part.  One problem was that the Super Glue Remover also removed much of the paint from the doors and the wheel.  So a repair of the finish on the Eduard parts was necessary.  This was mostly aluminum, black and USSR interior green. 

Assembly

This part was mostly a job of disassembling the Eduard parts and installing the SAC part.  I had used large amounts of CA on the gear trying to fix it earlier, and the Super Glue Remover did a great job of removing the CA from the wheel and the gear doors, which allowed me to do a reinstall. 

Once I had the Eduard parts cleaned off and repainted, I was very careful about how much CA I used to install the parts. 

Once I had the wheel and doors installed, the gear fit into the wing very nicely.  I had to do a test fit to get the retraction strut in the correct spot, but this is one of the huge advantages of the metal parts, as they bend cleanly and stay where you put them.

Overall Evaluation

Very highly recommended.  The SAC metal parts are much more robust than the kit parts, and more immune to problems caused by handling the kit after construction and during movement or display.

Also, the MiG-15bis is still available, and the parts will also fit other Eduard MiG-15s.

Thanks to Scale Aircraft Conversions for providing the aftermarket parts and IPMS/USA for giving me the ability to fix a pretty nice display model.

PZL TS-11 Iskra R Novax

Sun, 08/16/2020 - 23:53
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo MMP Books

The Single Series of Mushroom Model Publications focus on a specific airframe, sometimes even down to a specific mod or variant of an airframe, as in this case.

The booklet includes line drawings of the PZL TS-11 in both 72nd and 48th scale, some drawings (probably from some technical manual) with details on the wings and airbrakes, plus a nice walkaround -in black and white) of the airplane. There are a few color pictures showing the cockpit and electronics, plus a 4-view very attractive color profile.

I'm glad the booklet includes color pictures of the cockpit and electronic bays, as those colors are the hard-to-research. External colors are easier to research and even depend on the specific airframe you are modeling.

You can see a short video of every page in the book at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk6XcJpUJxY

If you are into Polish aircraft, you will love this small booklet. It is a good value for the cost.

Highly recommended.

I would like to thank Model Mushroom Publications  and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Medium Tank M3 Lee/M3 Grant

Sun, 08/16/2020 - 23:46
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Kagero Publishing

The Topdrawings series specializes in line-drawings of a given subject in each booklet. The 92nd installment in this series is devoted to the Medium Tank M3 Lee/M3 Grant as known in UK service.

This booklet has 4-View for the M3A1 early, mid and late production, M3A2 with welded hull, M3A2 with GM 6046 engine (modified rear part), M3A3 with welded hull, M3A3 late production series, M3A4 with Chrysler engine, M3A4 final production series, M3A5 with GM engine, and the M3 Grant (UK) modifications.

In addition to the B&W line drawings, you also get 11 color profiles, in some cases with multiple views (left side, right side, etc) of the same vehicle.

The booklet also includes a brief description on the overall history of the AFV and each line drawing has an explanation as to what was modified from the previous block series.

If you are looking for detailed drawings of the M3 Lee or M3 Grant, this book has it all.

Highly recommended.

I would like to thank Kagero Publishers, Casemate Publishing and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Flex-I-File Flex Set

Sun, 08/16/2020 - 00:02
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Flex-I-File

It is difficult to find many modelers that have never used a Flex-I-File product. Most modelers have several of the Flex-I-File aluminum sanding frames on their workbench, and several packets of the abrasive refill tapes ready for use. Then there are the Flex Pads which are available in varied grits. Just in case the reader is one of those "unfortunates", this review will result in some of your model money being spent.

Before we dive into the review, to be clear, the sanding frame is also sometimes referred to as "the handle" to which the abrasive tape is attached. And the abrasive tape is sometimes labeled "the sanding strip". A Flex Pad is also known as a sanding stick.

 

The Flex Set being reviewed includes:

  • 1 aluminum frame
  • a total of 8 abrasive tapes, featuring 4 different grits - tapes are color coded by grit size
  • 5 Flex Pads, each providing a different grit, one of which (the pad which is labeled "Polisher/Finisher" has three grits on the same pad.

 

It might be useful to provide some measurements for those who are not familiar with the materials in the Flex Set.

  • The Flex Pads, also known as "sanding sticks", measure 5 3/4"x 1/2", or 14.5 cm x 1.5 cm.
  • The frame is 3 1/2" "deep" with a span of 5 1/2" to accommodate the length of the abrasive tape.
  • The abrasive tape has grit on only one side and is 3/10" wide with a length that exceeds the span of the frame by about an inch. Both ends of the tape are folded back onto the non-grit side of the tape and the overlap is attached to the backside of the tape with an adhesive that is very durable. A small opening is left so that the pins on each end of the frame can hold the tape tightly. The tape and frame have enough "slack" to allow the tape to fit around curved surfaces while sanding, which the modeler will find beneficial.

 

As mentioned above, the pads are color coded according to grit.

  • Gray - Coarse - 1500 grit.
  • Tan - Medium - 2800 grit.
  • Dark Gray - Fine - 3200 grit.
  • Red - Ultra Fine - 6000 grit.

 

The grit/color coding is the same for the abrasive tapes. Both the tapes and the pads can be used for wet sanding as well as dry sanding.

 

The sanding pad that features three colors (and three grits) is identified as the "Triple-Grit Polisher/Finisher". Just look for the pad which is half black/ half white on the same side. This pad, as mentioned on the product package and on the website as "primarily for removing imperfections and restoration of clear plastic surfaces". The black area has a larger grit count so it can remove scratches. The white area has smaller grit so it will help to blend the surface upon which the black area was used. The gray area is used to polish and buff out the surface being repaired.

 

My personal experience with the Flex-I-File product goes back quite a number of years. I have found that the abrasive tapes have a long lifespan. I have some tapes that have been used on five or six projects, over a period of 18 to 24 months. Of course, the lifespan of a tape depends on the size of the model being sanded. The sanding pads also can be used on several projects, but eventually the grit is worn down and the item must be replaced. On rare occasions, I have used an abrasive tape for so long that it snaps apart while in use. (Most don't reach that age or state as I've worn off the usable grit) To "reload" a new tape on the frame is so easy that I often do it one-handed while continuing to hold the project model in the other hand.

 

Mentioned earlier, the tape and pads can be used for wet sanding as well as dry sanding, and I will conclude this review with a "helpful hint". There are a pair of items that can hold water into which the frame and tape will easily fit.  The red jar lid in the accompanying image is just a bit wider than the span of the frame, and when filled with water, it is deep enough to "wet" the entire tape. The margarine container is not long enough at the bottom to accommodate the frame and tape, but when filled with water the tape can be totally submerged without difficulty.

 

Having the proper tools to sand your project will help you to achieve a higher level of quality for your "build". These Flex-I-File sanding tools fill that role. For those of you who attend modeling events around the country (both the USA and Canada) you may see Flex-I-File occupying a vendor table or two (usually more than that!) I've found that their selection of items is always excellent and the staff at the table are always friendly and polite. Look for them and take the opportunity to load up!

 

This product is highly recommended based on the high quality of the sanding surfaces, ease of use, durability of the sanding frame, color-coding by grit, and ease of use of the website. Thanks to Flex-I-File for providing this product for review by IPMS-USA.

Moskvitch /-401-420A Soviet Passenger Car

Sat, 08/15/2020 - 19:55
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

You have to give the former Soviet Union credit - they didn't waste time coming up with something new IF something available would do the trick.  They did it with the U.S. B-29 bomber (Tupelov Tu-4) and they didn't with this series of post-war sedans - making a carbon copy of Germany's Opel Kadett from 1946 on.

 

ICM has previously made a closed-top four-door sedan version of this lovely little vehicle, and now offer the somewhat rarer convertible version.  The kit offers a couple of options - open or closed convertible top and free spare tire or encased spare tire.  It comes with a detailed engine and drive train and a truly exceptional level of detail in the interior.  It also comes with all the parts to make the standard sedan if you desperately want to go in that direction.  Being the kind of modeler I am, I chose to do mine with the open top so I could show off all the lovely inside workings.

 

However (and this is my fault, not the kit) I made some terrible decisions in the course of the build that turned this thing into something of a monster.  Wanting to go the two-tone style, which is quite attractive, I thought I could just build the chassis/fender combination separate from the body and airbrush each portion in their appropriate colors before fixing them together - rather like you might build a standard two-tone car model in the usual 1/24th scale.  The body itself was in multiple parts that I had to fit together rather like a jigsaw - definitely not the instruction sequence. What I hadn't counted on was the EXTREMELY tight tolerances of the various parts - such that when time came to fit the body on to the chassis, it simply wouldn't go.  No amount of cajoling made the slightest difference, and I finally had to break apart my carefully painted jigsaw and try and fit the various bits onto the chassis separately.  What I'm saying is that this model does NOT assemble like a car model.  It assembles like a very well-made tank model.  For the most part, you're far better off assembling it in the instructional sequence offered instead of what I tried to do.  To add insult to injury, I cut out a door panel, as the kit doesn't offer opening doors, and promptly lost this bit to the carpet monster.  What hangs on the kit in the pictures is a crude copy I made, although you can't really tell unless you look closely.

 

As a consequence of all this I had to, of course, scrap the airbrush job and paint the two-tone scheme completely by hand.  Surprisingly, it STILL came out looking pretty good if I do say so myself, which is more of a testament to the kit than to my modeling skills. 

 

So are there any obvious problems with the kit itself?  Not really.  If you pay attention and don't get cocky it cooks up into a really nice replica of this vehicle with a level of detail the 1/24th scale crowd can only dream of.  I plan on using another ICM figure kit of Soviet Leaders to create a lovely little scenario with Kruschev and perhaps one or two of his ministers on a typical 1950's Moscow street.

Detail & Scale F6F Hellcat, Detail & Scale Series Volume 10

Sat, 08/15/2020 - 16:52
Product Image Review Author:  Rob Benson Detail & Scale, Inc.

Thank you to  Bert Kinzey, Chris Sakal and Rock Roszak for continuing to bring back a tremendous resource for the modeler and aviation historian, in a digital format.  Thank you to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me to test out this new and exciting method of researching history, details, and versions of the iconic F6F Hellcat.  This new digital volume is a must-have!

 

Overview

 

The publication is a thorough and up-to date documentation of the F6F Hellcat, well-suited for modeler and the aviation aficionado.  Detail & Scale has always set a high standard, but Digital Volume 10 has exceeded even this high standard.  The first Hellcat volume was released in 1987, followed by a revised second volume published in 1996.  The third revision includes much more information from historically accurate F3F-3 restorations, more photography, and an expanded modeler's section.  As always, I certainly learned a thing or two during this review!

 

This iBook features 283 digital pages, 315 zoomable high-resolution digital photographs of which 208 are color, and 23 superb color line drawings and detail illustrations.  The iBook format retains the cherished look and feel of the original and current print-on-demand Detail & Scale series, and this new volume fits right in with my research collection.

 

Content coverage

 

Front Matter-  The cover page and chapter pages feature custom artwork depicting  Lt.(jg) Alex Vraciu and his Hellcat in action at the height of the Marianas Turkey Shoot. The artwork was created in close cooperation between artist Stu Shepherd and Detail & Scale.  The list of contributors and sources fills a good part of a page and is a testament to the thoroughness of the volume.  On digital page v of the Front Matter section is an excellent description of how to use the iBook format on an iPad.  I would expect a similar operational description in a Kindle version. The authors' biographies begin on digital p. ix and the illustrator's biography appears on digital p. xiii

 

Introduction-  This chapter provides historical context for the publication.  Many museums and individuals contributed photos and research material access to the authors to produce this exceptional volume.

 

Chapter 1 Hellcat History-  The early design concepts of Grumman are contrasted with another manufacturer of a famous aircraft, the Vought Corporation.  Powerplants, variants, and other development facts are found here.  Prototype flights, carrier qualifications and first combat experience occurred within 14 months, a remarkable timeframe.  An excellent set of dimensions and line drawings rounds out the chapter.

 

Chapter 2 Hellcat Variants-   The overall form of the Hellcat changed very little throughout its life, attesting to remarkable mission adaptability.  All of the F6F variants are described in this chapter.  I particularly appreciate the detailed Blue Angel and drone sections.  I also thought the role of the F6F as a test bed for the Sparrow I missile was a fitting handoff of sorts toward the future.

 

Chapter 3 Foreign Hellcats-  Britain operated F6Fs in the European and Pacific theaters during World War 2.   France also operated Hellcats later in Indochina, while attempting to regain the former French colony.  Uruguay flew a number of F6F-3s and F6F-5s as part of the country's naval aviation arm.

 

Chapter 4 Interview with David McCampbell-  This chapter is retained from previous editions.  Time has not diminished the importance of Captain McCampbell's interview to the history of the Hellcat.

 

Chapter 5 Hellcat Details-  This section is filled with mainly color and a few B&W images of internal and external details.  There is wealth of information here, and much of it is taken from museum restorations, including more recently completed projects.  This chapter is a detailer's gold mine.

 

Chapter 6 Hellcat Paint Schemes & Markings-  In addition to the tri-color and sea blue schemes so well known, other less familiar ones are described and illustrated here.  Post-war training, reservist, and drone colors round out the surprisingly varied colors of the Hellcat throughout its history

 

Chapter 7 Modelers Section-  This signature chapter of Detail & Scale does an excellent job of covering the very wide range and history of Hellcat kits.  Kits are grouped into "older kits" and "more recent kits" subchapters.  All known releases appear to be listed and critiqued, even if rare and little known.  A very detailed build review of the recently released Airfix 1:24 scale F6F-5 is of particular note.  If you are considering purchasing this excellent kit, make sure you purchase and consult this Detail & Scale volume.  I very nearly bought the kit based on this review!

 

More from Detail & Scale-  Many of the Detail & Scale online resources, publications, and related links are found in this section.  The live links put all sorts of good information at your fingertips.

  

Content coverage summary- 

 

In terms of content, this is another exceptional publication.  In addition to the tremendous wealth of photographs and other information, this volume is written well, with an engaging style.  The photograph resolution is superb, and the variety and diversity of images make Volume 10 invaluable.  As always, the ability of electronic media to effectively conduct research and find information reduces barriers to verify and/or discover other sources.  I found the volume's organization to be excellent.  I came away with a more thorough understanding of the Hellcat.  I also spent lots of time in the extensive image collections, scheming about the best ways to detail a model!   

 

Other considerations for digital format you should know- 

 

I certainly would expect the first question a reader would ask is, "Why do I want a digital format book, instead of a paperback?"  I like reading through traditional books as much as anyone else, with the page-by-page discovery of storyline or new information.  I also have tons of books in my library, mostly in dusty residence on stoic-looking bookshelves.  This e-book format provides many advantages for the modeler.  I can imagine that this publication will be a stunning addition to any USN aviation enthusiast's digital or traditional library.  I evaluated this copy in the iBook/iPad format, but operations on the Amazon Kindle platform are nearly identical.  At about $13.00, you can't beat the price!   I no longer buy hardcopy references if a digital version is available, following the trend of many major research libraries. 

 

But if you are not sold on digital format, Detail & Scale is taking advantage of print-on-demand technologies and at this time many of their publications are available in one-off, hard-copies for traditionalists.  Everyone will be happy!

 

I am extremely positive about this publication, as I continue to be for all the D&S digital publications I use.  I found Volume 10 to be an exceptionally effective and efficient research tool. 

 

Overall recommendation

 

Detail & Scale Series Volume 10 has my highest recommendation.   I can't find any negatives in this publication or in the delivery format.

Thanks again to the wonderful folks at Detail & Scale!  I am very pleased to see the Digital Volumes continuing to be released, and I'm sure I echo the thoughts of the modeling community in saying I hope to see many more of the Digital Series published.  Thank you again to the stalwart Reviewer Corps for your hard work in making these review opportunities happen!

MacArthur’s Papua New Guinea Offensive 1942-1943

Sat, 08/15/2020 - 16:33
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Pen & Sword

Jon Diamond is an accomplished author with a number of published books to his credit. His previous works include "Stilwell and the Chindits", War In the South Pacific, Invasion of Sicily, Invasion of the Italian Mainland, Anzio and Victory at Cassino, and now MacArthur's Papua New Guinea Offensive 1942-1943. These and other books by Mr. Diamond are published by and available through Pen and Sword.

The Japanese strategy was to threaten northern Australia by capturing Port Moresby. In this publication Mr. Diamond lays out the strategy that MacArthur put forward to thwart this Japanese plan. The text that Mr. Diamond provides is comprehensive in its coverage of the theatre of operations, the impact of the geography in which the campaign took place, and a study of the commanders and combatants involved in the fighting.

This is not "light" reading. It is a detailed study of the strategies of the opposing forces and an in-depth view of the campaigns, battles, and personnel on both sides. The 250 images are stunning and thought-provoking, revealing the intense nature of the fighting influenced by the landscape and the ideologies of the troops and their commanders.

This book is in the "Images of War" collection published by Pen and Sword. Mr. Diamond visited archives and presents a collection of very powerful images which historians, and those in the modeling community, will find impressive.

Contents

Chapter One
Overview of the South-West Pacific Area in 1942 and the Strategic Importance of Papua

Chapter Two
Terrain, Weaponry and Fortifications

Chapter Three
Commanders and Combatants

Chapter Four
The Allied Attacks on the Buna, 16 Nov 1942 to 22 Jan 1943

Chapter Five
The allied Attacks on Gona, Sanananda and Giruwa

Epilogue and References

This book is highly recommended for its coverage of the Papua New Guinea Offensive, the concise and detailed text, the excellent quality of the images and maps, and all at a reasonable price. Thanks to Pen And Sword for providing a copy of this publication to IPMS/USA for review.

Macchi C.205 Veltro

Sat, 08/15/2020 - 13:23
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus MMP Books

MMP was founded in 1996 by Roger Wallsgrove, to publish "Mushroom Model Magazine". This quarterly modelling magazine was developed from "Mushroom Monthly", a club newsletter which ran from 1985 to 1995, achieving a world-wide reputation for quality articles, fearless and honest reviews, and a great sense of humor.  From 1997 the magazine was produced in collaboration with Robert Peczkowski and Artur Juszczak (Stratus), which meant a big leap in print quality and design.  MMP expanded into book publication in 1999, and since then they have built up a list of books on aircraft and aviation, naval, military vehicles, and military history. MMP Books are distributed in North America by Casemate Publications. 

Aviation Historian, author Przemyslaw Skulski has a PhD in History and lives in Wroclaw, Poland.  Przemyslaw Skulski has authored at least eight additional books for MMP. Including aviation monographs on the Macchi C.202 Folgore, Fiat CR.42 Falco, North American A-36 Apache, and the Douglas F3D Skynight.  He also has an interest in armour, with books on the US Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen, the Soviet T-34-/76, and T-34/85.  He has also authored or co-authored monographs on the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa, Messerschmit Me 163 Komet, Lockheed F-16 Falcon, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Grumman Avenger, MiG-15, Ju-52, Fokker D.21, MiG-21bis Fishbed, Supermarine Spitifre, PZL P.24, and the Ilyushin Il-28 Beagle.

Dariusz Karnas is a skilled modeler and amateur aviation historian. He lives in Przemysl, Poland.  He has authored or contributed color plates and / or scale drawings for over one hundred publications.  These include MMP's Polish Wings, Scale Plans, and Inside series as well as books in the MMP Yellow series: Fieseler 156 Storch 1938-1945 (2012) and Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15 (2004).  You can find Dariusz Karnas on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/people/Dariusz-Karnas/100008987326348 .

This latest monograph by Przemyslaw Skulski covers the Macchi C.205 Veltro. The Macchi C.205 Veltro (Greyhound) was built around the powerful Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine.  A development of the earlier C.202 Folgore, the Veltro had a top speed of some 640 km/h (400 mph) and carried a pair of 20 mm cannon as well as 12.7 mm Breda machine guns.  The first flight was on 19-April-1942 with introduction to units in February 1943.  Featuring a complex building process, like the Spitfire, only 262 airframes were built, however, it was competitive with Allied fighters like the Mustang. Adriano Visconti achieved 11 of his 26 victories in a two-week stint in the Veltro.  Operated primarily by Italy, the Veltro did see service with the German Luftwaffe and Croatia during the war.  Post World War II, the Veltro saw service with the Italian Air Force and the Royal Egyptian Air Force.  Today, three Veltros survive, all in Italy, although only one of the three is an original Veltro. 

The cover color photograph shows off a rebuilt Macchi C.202 that was part of Serie XII updated to a Macchi C.205 Veltro but carrying the markings of M.M.92214.  She flew in these markings from 1981 to 1986 when she was seriously damaged.  She was repaired and is now on display at the Museo Nazionale Della Scienza e Della Tecnica in Milan. I counted 89 black and white photographs along with 106 color pictures.  Included in the technical section are many period drawings with one in color and seventeen in black and white (see Pages 56 and 75).  There were 28 color side profiles along with four color top views with lower wing colors displayed. Color scrap details (see Page 122) are also included alongside their respective side profiles.  There are ten 1/48 black and white line drawings, followed by four in 1/72nd scale.  You will also find three tables.  The Table of Contents includes the following sections:

  • Acknowledgement
  • Development
    • Introduction
    • Origins of the Veltro
    • Production
    • Reconnaissance and Long Range Versions
    • C.205N Orione
  • Macchi C.205 Veltro - The Users
    • Regia Aeronautica [Page 14]
    • Gruppo - Number of Planes [Table]
    • Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana
    • Aviazione Co-Belligerante and Aeronautica Militare Italiana
    • Luftwaffe
    • Croatian Aviation
    • Australia
    • Switzerland
    • Egypt
    • Syria
  • Scale Drawings
    • 1/48
    • Macchi C.205 Prototype
    • Macchi C.205V Veltro Series I
    • Macchi C.205V Veltro Series III [Page 46]
    • 1/72
    • Macchi C.205V Veltro Series III
  • Museum Exhibits
  • Technical Description
    • Fuselage and Tail [Page 56]
    • Canopy and Cockpit [Page 75]
    • Wings
    • Control Surfaces
    • Landing Gear
    • Fuel System
    • Armament
    • Powerplant
    • Communication and Navigation Equipment
    • Macchi C.205V/C.205N Technical Data (Table)
    • Macchi C.205 Production Data (Table)
  • Camouflage and Markings
    • Regia Aeronautica
    • Aviazione Cobelligeranti
    • Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana
    • Luftwaffe
    • Royal Egyptian Air Force
    • Royal Australian Air Force
    • Other Countries
  • Color Profiles [Page 122]

 

This is truly an impressive tome, on par with other monographs in the big format Orange series from MMP.  I really enjoyed the use of color photographs of the three existing airframes and detailed drawings to illustrate the Technical Description section.  One of the interesting tidbits is how a Veltro ended up in Switzerland.  Lonate Pozzolo decided to escape on a routine transfer flight to Turin.  Instead, Pozzolo decided to head to Lausanne.  Why?  For Love!  It turns out Lausanne was the home of his fiance.  It is thought that Switzerland repaired the Serie II C.205V and did some test flights, but otherwise held onto the aircraft until after World War II when it was returned to Italy.

While this monograph is not the first on the Macchi C.205 Veltro, and may not be the last, it certainly is the most complete that I have seen.  Przemyslaw Skulski has delivered a great history on the Macchi C.205 Veltro that not only covers the development and operational aspects, but provides a good basis for the modeler with nice detail shots of all the aircraft components.  The development sections include many period photographs, even a few in color.  Kit wise, there are quite a few good options in 1/32, 1/48, and 1/72 along with supporting decals, resin detail parts, masks, and photoetch.  If the camouflage makes you hesitate, there are even decal options for those 'smoke rings'.

My thanks to Casemate Publications, Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

SAC 1/32 Gotha G.1 Landing Gear for Wing Nut Wings

Sat, 08/15/2020 - 13:14
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt Scale Aircraft Conversions

Thank you to Phil and Bill for all that you do managing and providing review opportunities!

Recommended kit:  Wingnut Wings

Reviewer's Comments:

I do not own any WW kits, and due to the high demand for the now defunct company, the prices have soared. A good friend was kind enough to loan me his Gotha G.1 kit for the purposes of comparing the SAC landing gear to the kit parts.

This landing gear set from SAC is a direct replacement for the kit parts. The white metal casting is superb as is usual for SAC, but a few parts did have a little bit of flash, which was very easy to remove.  The kit consists of 12 parts. Three parts need to be removed from their pour rod (see photo).

There is a minor difference with the main structure for the front landing gear compared to the kit parts. Behind the wheel axel, there is a skid extending back, which is designed to support the plane when it sits on its tail. The SAC skid is shorter than the kit's skid by approximately a quarter inch; I have no judgement as to which is more accurate to the real plane.

Instructions are not provided, but they are not required since the parts are intended to be direct replacements for the kit parts. Prior to painting it is recommended to wash the parts with a mild detergent solution to remove any remaining mold release. I would recommend using a gel-type of CA adhesive to bond the parts together, and you certainly want to prime before painting.  

This SAC landing gear kit is, in my opinion, a must-have to give this sizeable and weighty plane proper strength and support.

Thank you for SAC for the honor to review the fantastic accessory, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity.

MiG-25BM

Fri, 08/14/2020 - 15:59
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt ICM

Thank you to Phil and to Bill for all the work that you do!

History

In the end of the 60s the Mikoyan Design Bureau developed the world's first interceptor fighter with a speed of Mach 3--the MiG-25. At the same time high-reconnaissance bomber modifications were developed and designated the MiG-25RB.  Using the MiG-25RB frame, the strike anti-aircraft Mig-25BM was produced in 1977. It had a new nose with radar and four anti-radar X-58U missiles. These planes served in the Soviet (later Russian) Air Force.  From ICM.

First Impression

The kit contains eight total flash-free sprues, seven of which are crisply molded in light gray styrene and one which is clear plastic. The detail and panel line engraving are excellent. Parts which are not used for this particular kit are clearly identified with pink shading in the diagrams. The 24-page instruction guide is easy to follow. Color call-outs use Tamiya and Revell paint numbers, and the last two pages provide full-color images to aide with painting the plane and weapons.  Decals are provided on two sheets:  one with the stencils for both versions, and one for version markings.  The two versions represented in this kit are the MiG-25BM, Lipetsk Combat and Conversion Training Center (represented in this review), and the MiG-25BM, Ahtubinsk Airfield, 1987.

Quick Tips:

  • Decide before assembly if you want to display your plane with open or closed canopy. See more details in the review as you will need to make early adjustments depending on your choice.
  • Use caution with all decals. ICM decals are characteristically thin. They remove from the sheet quickly and they are fragile to handle once on the aircraft surface.

Reviewer's Comments:

Cockpit

The cockpit assembly goes together quickly being that there are not many parts. As you work on the cockpit, you should decide if you want to pose your plane with an open or closed canopy. If you want to have a closed canopy, you need to cut away two "hinge" attachments on the right side (see associated photo). You will leave these in place, if you eventually pose your plane with an open canopy. The cockpit bulkhead and tub fit very well--remember test fitting is always recommended.

During the cockpit assembly, the instructions indicate you should install the nose landing gear. Many model builders like to add the legs near the end because while  man-handling the model during the build, we usually break anything that sticks up, down or away from the main body. I decided to not install the nose landing gear at this stage. When the model was completed, I added the main landing gear and doors. This went smoothly. Adding the nose landing gear was a bit trickier because the bay is small. It is do-able, but did take some careful effort.

Intakes

In this ICM kit, the air intakes are divided into front and rear sections (not the exhaust nozzles), which are both anchored to a large guide/support piece which is inside the fuselage and not see in the finished product. The front part of the intakes looked very nice and I was very pleased with how ICM engineered this part of the jet. The rear section of the air intakes creates the illusion that the intakes are seamless, even when they are not, I was very please with the final result of the air intakes. ICM did a good job on these.  There is, however, a potential problem spot:

The large piece that holds the entire assembly together is first adhered to the cockpit section. Next, you feed the front part of the intakes through rectangular-shaped guides, and then you glue the rear portion of the intakes to the frame thusly forming the whole intake.  All of this is eventually attached to the bottom fuselage. The problem is that if the large frame piece is not perfectly seated--truly perfectly--the top fuselage will not line up with the rest of the body. I discovered this during a test fit and was bewildered and actually struggled for a while until I realized the problem. As long as you get the intake assembly properly seated, you should have no problems.

Fuselage / Surfaces

The fuselage goes together fairly well but there are some unavoidable seams. Luckily, they did not require major sanding. I used Perfect Plastic Putty which is water soluble and it worked really well. The wings, stabilizers, ailerons and flaps fit very well and required no or minimal filler. I was very pleased with how the fuselage and surfaces came together.

Exhaust Nozzles

Although the final product looks nice there is, in my opinion, a little too much complication. The entire assembly consists of approximately 24 individual parts. I found the exterior fins to be the most difficult to work with. To construct the fins, you use three pieces, each a different size, on each side of the exhaust system. The idea is to adhere these in circular fashion around each exhaust tube. Then, you repeat the process with larger pieces--again adhering them in circular fashion around each tube.  The issue: the three pieces need to be applied in a specific order and if you do not get each piece to fit just right or if you get the order wrong you will end up with significant gaps. The problem is compounded with the larger pieces--they likewise need to be applied in a precise order, and, if any of the smaller fin pieces do not fit perfectly, then the fins do not line up well with the body of the plane. Take your time, and test fit often to obtain the best outcome.  

Finishing

After carefully masking the canopy, I primed the plane with Valejo primer. Choosing to represent the version seen on the box cover, I used Tamiya paints to coincide with the paint guide. Next, I clear coated with Tamiya gloss coat, applied the decals, and then did a wash to bring out the panel lines and other details. Finally, I added the landing gear, doors, wheels and other exterior parts.  

Overall, this is a very nice kit and is a bit of a beast in 1/48 scale. The fit is quite good, and the parts required almost no sanding and only minimal filler. This plane will make a nice addition to your collection, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to build a MiG in this scale.

Thank you to ICM for providing this kit and for the honor to review this excellent kit, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity!

OKB Grigorov– British Nuffield Assault Tank A.T.3

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 16:52
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov

OKB Grigorov has provided a very unusual kit in the form of a British post war Paper Tank. The Nuffield Assault Tank A.T.3. Which was one of 9 various of a design proposed by Nuffield. As a Paper tank it was only a design and never left the drawing board.

Included is:

  • 142 resin parts
  • One Photo Etch Sheet
  • One instruction sheet

The detail quality is great; The parts are very delicate and need careful removal from the resin bases. The instructions need a lot of experience to work with to get a great model. 

Some of the parts were a little twisted but can be corrected if you're careful. 

The assembly is good but needs a little patience and time to get the running gear built correctly. Also, the resin tracks are very fragile, so this needs a lot of accuracy to get them fitting and looking right.

There were a few gaps that needed filling.

I did find the PE sheet was very thick and made it hard to remove parts from it.

I would like to have seen some small decals. The final part is painting. 

This was my second one of this series of Nuffield assault tanks and it made it a lot easier knowing how the running gear and track assemble.

I enjoyed building this and recommend it to experienced modelers.

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

OKB Grigorov– British Nuffield Assault Tank A.T.1

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 16:07
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov

OKB Grigorov has provided a very unusual kit in the form of a British post war Paper Tank. The Nuffield Assault Tank A.T.1. Which was one of 9 various of a design proposed by Nuffield. As a Paper tank it was only a design and never left the drawing board.

Included is:

  • 128 resin parts
  • One Photo Etch Sheet
  • One instruction sheet

The detail quality is great; The parts are very delicate that need careful removal from the resin bases. The instructions need a lot of experience to work with to get a great model. 

Some of the parts were a little twisted but can be corrected if you're careful. 

The assembly is good but needs a little patience and time to get the running gear built correctly. Also, the resin tracks are very fragile so this needs a lot of accuracy to get them fitting and looking right. There were a few gaps that needed filling.

I would like to have seen some small decals.

The final part is painting. 

I enjoyed building this and recommend it to experienced modelers.

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

Images of War – Allied Armies in Sicily and Italy 1943- 1945

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 15:36
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Pen & Sword

The book is another in the great Casemate Images of War series. This book covers images from the invasion of Sicily through the invasion and progress up Italy until the wars end.

The images in the book are excellent and inspire ideas for dioramas for modelers.

The book is full of amazing photos of the Italian campaign, it is very much an overview as the subject is very large. It does tend to focus on the US forces.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in WWII.

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

UNEF: The Yugoslav Contingent

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 08:17
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra Helion & Company

Some time after the end of World War 2 and the establishment of the U.N., one of the first opportunities for the fledgling organization to flex its peacekeeper muscles was on the heel of the 1956 Arab-Israeli war. This serious flare-up between Israel and its neighbors - the first really serious conflict of many to come - was seen by the world as a definite threat to the stability of the entire region. A multinational force of British, French and numerous other participants was hastily assembled and dispatched to try and create a safe zone between the hostile forces.

Tito of Yugoslavia, who was even then trying to establish international recognition and legitimacy for his communist government, looked on this multinational effort as an excellent prospect for increasing his country's standing, and volunteered a small contingent of Yugoslavian troops to go to the Sinai Peninsula and help serve in this laudable effort.

This book is an in-depth study of the entire span of this eleven-year effort, which only concluded when the Arabian forces of the UAE basically pushed the international peacekeepers aside in their misbegotten desire to start another brawl with Israel in 1967. Unfortunately for them, we all know now how well that turned out for them.

The narrative begins with the hasty deployment itself and all the problems and issues encountered by the Yugoslav contingent as they were forced to adapt to a very foreign environment under extremely trying circumstances. Amazingly, their casualties remained remarkably low over the course of their deployment and they were never involved in anything resembling a full-fledged firefight, to their credit.

One of the more amusing aspects for me was how the Yugoslav troops were changed by their encounters with the VERY capitalist environment they were thrown into after decades of communist austerity. This book covers all the details, even including tales of bordellos and alcohol and other "degenerate" aspects of life, and it's telling that this peace-keeping operation eventually turned into something of a plum assignment for members of the Yugoslav army, even at the cost of a reduction in rank for each applicant in order to keep salary costs down.

As stated before, this unit remained on station until 1967, when they were fairly gently pushed aside by UAE members looking for a fight with their Israeli neighbors. This book provides a quite detailed study of the entire operation from beginning to end, and gives you a real feel for conditions and circumstances of the time. I found it to be a compelling read and certainly broadened my own understanding of this moment in middle eastern history. I recommend this book to anyone interested in this era and location - it's inarguably one of the better studies of this type of subject.

My thanks to Helion and Company for the publication of this interesting document and to IPMS/USA for a chance to read it. Fascinating!