Wednesday, October 1, 2014
As I've said in earlier posts, if you wish to build large scale models at an economical price, then buying these toys or pre built models is the way to go. All one has to do is a complete rebuild, paint and weathering, plus some corrections where possible, and one will have a fairly decent representation.
The Carrier, Personnel Half-track M3 was an armored vehicle used by the United States, the British Empire and the other Allies during World War II and the Cold War. Nearly 43,000 were produced, and supplied to the U.S. Army and Marines, as well as British Commonwealth and Soviet Red Army forces, serving on all fronts throughout the war.
Between the world wars, the US Army sought to improve the tactical mobility of its forces. With the goal of finding a high-mobility infantry vehicle, the Ordnance Department had evaluated the half-track design by testing French Citroën-Kégresse vehicles. The White Motor Company produced a prototype halftrack using their own chassis and the body of the M3 Scout Car.
The design, using as many commercial components as possible to improve reliability and rate of production, was standardized in 1940 and built by the Autocar Company, Diamond T Motor Company, and the White Company.
Offered with a choice of White 160AX or IHC RED DIAMOND 450 engines, the M3 was driven through a manual constant-mesh (non-synchromesh) transmission with four forward and one reverse gear, as well as a two-speed transfer case. Front suspension was leaf spring, tracks by vertical volute spring. Braking was vacuum-assisted hydraulic, steering manual, without power assist. The electrical system was 12-volt.
The M3 was the larger and longer counterpart to the M2 Half Track Car. The M2 was originally intended to function as an artillery tractor. The M3 had a single access door in the rear and seating for a 12-man rifle squad. Five seats were arranged on each side in the rear of the vehicle and three seats inside the cab. Racks under the seats were used for ammunition and rations; additional racks behind the seat backs held the squad's rifles and other stowage. A small rack for mines was added on the outside of the hull just above the tracks. In combat, most units found it necessary to stow additional food, rucksacks and other crew stowage on the outside of the vehicle. Luggage racks were often added in the field, and very late vehicles had rear-mounted racks for this crew stowage.
Early vehicles had a pintle mount just behind the front seats mounting a .50-caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun. The later M3A1 adopted a raised, armored 'pulpit mount' for the .50-caliber, and .30-caliber (7.62 mm) machine guns could be used from mounts along the sides of the passenger compartment. Many M3s were later modified to the M3A1 standard. The body was armored all around, with an adjustable armored shutter for the engine's radiator and a bulletproof windscreen.
The halftracks were initially extremely unpopular and dubbed "Purple Heart Boxes" (a grim reference to the US Army's decoration for combat wounds) by American troops. Chief complaints centered around the complete lack of overhead protection from airbursting artillery shells and that the armor was inadequate against machine gun fire.
Total production of the M3 ran to nearly 41,000 vehicles. To supply the Allied nations International Harvester produced several thousand of a very similar vehicle, the M5 half track for Lend-Lease.
M16A1 MGMC - Standard M3 Personnel Carriers converted to Multiple Gun Motor Carriages by removing rear seats and installing a Maxson M45 mount (more specifically the M45F, which featured folding "bat wing" gun shields on both sides of the mount over the machine guns). These vehicles are easily identified by the lack of the folding armored hull panels found on purpose-built M16s.
Monday, September 29, 2014
The Mark IV was a British tank of the World War I. Introduced in 1917, it benefited from significant developments on the first British tank, the intervening designs being small batches used for training. The major improvements were in armour, the re-siting of the fuel tank, and easier transportation. A total of 1,220 were built: 420 "Males", 595 "Females" and 205 Tank Tenders (unarmed vehicles used to carry supplies), which made it the most produced British tank of the War.
The Mark IV was first used in mid 1917 at the Battle of Messines Ridge. It remained in official British service until the end of the War, and a small number served briefly with other combatants afterwards.
The director of the Tank Supply Department, Albert Gerald Stern, first intended to fit the Mark IV with a new engine and transmission. Production of battle tanks was halted until the new design was ready, necessitating the use of the Mark II and III as interim training tanks. Failing to complete development soon enough to start production in time to have 200 tanks ready for the promised date of 1 April 1917, Stern was ultimately forced to take a Mark IV into production in May 1917 that was only slightly different from the Mark I tank.
The Mark IV Male carried three Lewis machine guns – one in the hull front and two in the sponsons – as well as the two sponson guns (now shorter barrelled QF 6 pdr 6 cwt guns). The sponsons were not mirror images of each other, as their configuration differed to allow for the 6 pdr's gun-layer operating his gun from the left and the loader serving the gun from the right. The guns had a 100 degree arc of fire but only the starboard gun could fire straight ahead. The Female had five machine guns. Two of the machine guns were operated by the gun loaders.
The decision to standardize on the Lewis gun was due to the space available within the tanks. Despite its vulnerable barrel and a tendency to overheat or foul after prolonged firing, the Lewis used compact drum magazines which could hold up to 96 rounds. The Hotchkiss was fed from a rigid strip which was trimmed down to only 14 rounds for tank use; no sooner had the machine gunner guided the fall of shot onto the target then it was time to change the strip and the process repeated. It was not until a flexible 50 round strip was fully developed in May 1917 that the Hotchkiss would become the standard machine gun for tanks again. The changes caused delays, such as adapting the design for the bulky Lewis cooling barrel, and later, problems when the Hotchkiss strips had to be stored in positions designed for Lewis gun magazines.
This tank introduced the use of the fascine, a bundle of brushwood, bound with chains, about 10 ft (3.0 m) long and 4.5 ft (1.4 m) in diameter carried on the front. It was dropped into trenches to allow the tank to more easily cross over.
A large number of these tanks were also used for development work. In an attempt to improve trench-crossing capability, the tadpole tail was introduced, an extension to the rear track horns. However, it proved insufficiently rigid and does not appear to have been used in combat. Other experimental versions tested radios, mortars placed between the rear horns, and recovery cranes. Some of these devices were later used on operational tanks. Mark IVs were also the first tanks fitted with unditching beams by field workshops. A large wooden beam, reinforced with sheet metal, was stored across the top of the tank on a set of parallel rails. If the tank became stuck, the beam was attached to the tracks (often under fire) and then dragged beneath the vehicle, providing grip.
- Combat weight
- Male: 28 tons (28.4 tonnes) – Female: 27 tons (27.4 tonnes)
- 0.25–0.47 in (6.1–12 mm)
- Three MG and two 6-pdrs (Male), Five .303 Lewis MG (Female)
- Ammunition storage
- 6 pounder: 180 HE rounds and remainder Case
The Mark IV was built by six manufacturers: Metropolitan (the majority builder), Fosters of Lincoln, Armstrong-Whitworth, Coventry Ordnance Works, William Beardmore and Company and Mirrlees, Watson & Co., with the main production being in 1917. The first order was placed for 1,000 tanks with Metropolitan in August 1916. It was then cancelled, reinstated and then modified between August and December 1916. The other manufacturers, contracted for no more than 100 tanks each, were largely immune to the conflict between Stern and the War Office.
The Mark IV was first used in large numbers on 7 June 1917, during the British assault on Messines Ridge. Crossing dry but heavily cratered terrain, many of the sixty-plus Mark IVs lagged behind the infantry, but several made important contributions to the battle. By comparison, at the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele) from 31 July, where the preliminary 24-day long barrage had destroyed all drainage and heavy rain had soaked the field, the tanks found it heavy going and contributed little; those that sank into the swampy ground were immobilized and became easy targets for enemy artillery.
Nearly 460 Mark IV tanks were used during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, showing that a large concentration of tanks could quickly overcome even the most sophisticated trench systems.
In the aftermath of the German Spring Offensive on the western front, the first tank-to-tank battle was between Mk IV tanks and German A7Vs in the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918.
About 40 captured Mark IVs were employed by the Germans as Beutepanzerwagen (The German word Beute means "loot" or "booty") with a crew of twelve. These formed four tank companies from December 1917. Some of these had their six pounders replaced by a German equivalent.
The last Mark IV to see service was Excellent, a Mark IV male retained by the naval gunnery school on Whale Island, HMS Excellent. In the early years of the Second World War it was restored to operational status and driven to the mainland, where its new career was allegedly brought to an early end after a number of cars were damaged.
Seven Mark IVs survive.
- A Mark IV Female, F4: Flirt II, which fought at the Battle of Cambrai, is at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln.
- A local company, William Foster & Co., manufactured the first tanks, although as the only Mark IVs built in Lincoln were Male, Flirt was probably built by Metropolitan in Birmingham.
- A Mark IV Female is preserved at Ashford in Kent. This is one of many that were presented for display to towns and cities in Britain after the war; most were scrapped in the 1920s and 1930s. Interestingly this tank appears to sit on a box. This is in fact blocking a hole under the tank which was cut out to remove the engine in order to install an electricity substation inside it. This was then removed a decade or so later to leave a hollow interior.
- The Royal Museum of the Army in Brussels has a Male Mark IV tank, the Lodestar III, still in original colours.
- A Mark IV Female, Grit, is owned by the Australian War Memorial and annually goes on display at their open day.
- In 1999, a Mark IV Female, D51: Deborah, was excavated at the village of Flesquières in France. It had been knocked out by shell-fire at the Battle of Cambrai (1917) and subsequently buried when used to fill a crater. Work is underway on its restoration.
- A Mark IV Male, Excellent, is displayed at Bovington. After World War I, this tank was presented by the army to HMS Excellent, a Royal Navy shore establishment where some tank crewmen were trained. During World War II, it was made operational again for service with the Home Guard when German invasion threatened in 1940. It is still maintained in working order.
- Mark IV Female Liberty: displayed at United States Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen, Maryland. Originally named Britannia, this tank took part in the Battle of Arras where it penetrated the German trench lines, destroyed four machine gun positions, helped take 395 prisoners and repulse two German counter-attacks. The tank and her crew were afterwards sent to the US to help sell War bonds. Renamed Liberty, the tank joined the Ordnance Museum collection in 1919. After decades of exposure to the elements it is in poor condition, but about to undergo restoration.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
The Supermarine S.6B is a British racing seaplane developed by R.J. Mitchell for the Supermarine company to take part in the Schneider Trophy competition of 1931. The S.6B marked the culmination of Mitchell's quest to "perfect the design of the racing seaplane" and represented the cutting edge of aerodynamic technology.
The last in the line developed by Supermarine, it followed the S.4, S.5 and the S.6. Mitchell and his team's experience in designing high speed Schneider Trophy floatplanes greatly contributing to the development of the later Supermarine Spitfire, an iconic fighter and Britain's most successful interceptor of World War II.
Despite Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald's pledge of government support for the next British race entrant immediately after the 1929 victory, official funding was withdrawn less than two months later following the Wall Street Crash, with the official reason given that the previous two contests had collected sufficient data on high speed flight, so further expenditure of public money was unwarranted. A committee formed by the Royal Aero Club, who were responsible for organising the 1931 race, which included representatives from the aircraft and aero engine industries, was formed to discuss the feasibility of a privately funded entry but concluded that not only would this be beyond their financial reach but that the lack of the highly skilled RAF pilots of the High-Speed Flight would pose a severe problem. This caused enormous public disappointment: having won two successive races a victory in a third race would secure the trophy outright.
As ever active in aviation affairs, Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail group of newspapers launched a public appeal for money and several thousand pounds were raised, and after Lady Houston publicly pledged £100,000 the Government changed its position and announced its support for an entry in January 1931, leaving less than nine months to prepare any race entrant. The RAF High Speed Flight was reformed, and Mitchell and Rolls-Royce set to work.
There were only seven months to prepare an entry, and as Mitchell did not have enough time to design a new aircraft, better performance had to be obtained by getting more power from the R-Type engine Modifications to the airframe design were limited to minor improvements and some strengthening in order to cope with the increased weight of the aircraft. Additionally, the floats were extended forward by some three feet (0.9 m). Rolls-Royce had managed to increase the power of the engine by 400 hp (298 kW) to 2,300 hp (1,715 kW).
Although the British team faced no competitors, the RAF High Speed Flight brought six Supermarine Schneider racers to Calshot Spit on Southampton Water for training and practice. The aircraft were: S.5 N219, second at Venice in 1927, S.5 N220, winner at Venice in 1927, two S.6s with new engines and redesignated as S.6As (N247 that won at Calshot in 1929 and S.6A N248, disqualified at Calshot in 1929), and the newy built S.6Bs, S1595 and S1596.
The improved aircraft was designated the Supermarine S.6B to differentiate the variant from the S.6A. The British plan for the Schneider contest was to have S1595 fly the course alone and if its speed was not high enough, or it encountered mechanical failure, then the more proven S.6A N248 would fly the course. If both S1595 and N248 failed in their attempts, N247 held in reserve would be used. The S.6B S1596 was then to attempt the World Air Speed Record. During practice, N247 was destroyed in a takeoff accident, resulting in the death of the pilot, Lieut. G. L. Brinton, R.N., precluding any other plans with only the two S.6Bs and the surviving S.6 prepared for the final Schneider run.
The winning Schneider flight was piloted by Flt. Lt. John N. Boothman in aircraft serial number S1595 at a speed of 340.08 mph (547.19 km/h), flying seven perfect laps of the triangular course over the Solent, between the Isle of Wight and the British mainland. Seventeen days later, Flt Lt. George Stainforth in S.6B serial S1596 broke the world air speed record reaching 407.5 mph (655.67 km/h).
The S.6B is hailed as giving the impetus to the development of the Supermarine Spitfire and the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.
At the completion of the record flights, both S.6Bs were retired. The Schneider Trophy winning S.6B S1595 was donated to the Science Museum in London, where it resides in an unrestored state. For a short period of time, S1596 was tested at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment (MAEE) at Felixstowe. Until the 1960s, S.6A N248 was displayed incorrectly as S1596 at Southampton Royal Pier as a visitor attraction. S1596's ultimate fate is unknown.
Here are some images of Hasegawa's 1/48 scale Supermarine Spitfire MK VII. From History of War "
One intriguing feature of the Spitfire story is that the two most important versions introduced during the war, the Mk V and the Mk IX, were both seen as interim designs, produced to fill a gap while more heavily modified and theoretically more advanced versions entered production. The Mk VII (pressurized) and Mk VIII (unpressurized) Spitfires were intended to replace the Mk V.
The Mk VII used the closely related Merlin 61 (1,300hp at 23,000ft), 64 (1,450hp at 21,000ft) and 71 (1,700hp at 18,000) engines as they appeared. The Merlin 61 was the first two-speed two-stage supercharged engine used in the Spitfire – the two stage supercharger improved performance at high altitude. The new engines required a new cooling system, one result of which was that the Mk VII had an air scoop on each wing, giving it a more symmetrical appearance than earlier Spitfires. The length of the fuselage was increased to 31ft 3.5in in early model to accommodate the larger engine. The fuselage also had to be strengthened.
The Mk VII used the “c” type universal wings, capable of carrying either eight machine guns, four cannon or two cannon and four machine guns depending on the situation, but with the extended wing tips used on the Mk VI.
The Mk VII was a pressurized fighter. It had a more advanced pressurization system than the Mk VI, using a sliding cockpit canopy, which was more popular than the locked cockpit on the Mk VI. The best high altitude version of the Mk VII was powered by the Merlin 71, and could reach 416mph at 44,000 ft.
The Mk VII remained in production from August 1942 until early in 1944, although only 140 aircraft were produced in that time. The Mk VII was a little more successful than the earlier Mk VI, but the “interim” Mk IX turned out to be capable of operating high altitude itself, and the Mk VII soon lost its special status as a high altitude fighter, although it remained in use throughout the war.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft. It was first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems, respectively. It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft.
Operators of the Hawk include the Royal Air Force (notably the Red Arrows display team) and a considerable number of foreign military operators. The Hawk is still in production in the UK and under licence in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with over 900 Hawks sold to 18 operators around the world.
In 1964 the Royal Air Force specified a requirement (Air Staff Target (AST) 362) for a new fast jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat. The SEPECAT Jaguar was originally intended for this role, but it was soon realised that it would be too complex an aircraft for fast jet training and only a small number of two-seat versions were purchased. Accordingly, in 1968, Hawker Siddeley Aviation (HSA) began studies for a simpler aircraft, initially as special project (SP) 117. The design team was led by
This project was funded by the company as a private venture, in anticipation of possible RAF interest. The design was conceived of as having tandem seating and a combat capability in addition to training, as it was felt the latter would improve export sales potential. By the end of the year HSA had submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defence based on the design concept, and in early 1970 the RAF issued Air Staff Target (AST) 397 which formalised the requirement for new trainers of this type. The RAF selected the HS.1182 for their requirement on 1 October 1971 and the principal contract, for 175 aircraft, was signed in March 1972.
More variants of the Hawk followed and common improvements to the base design typically include increased range, more powerful engines, redesigned wing and undercarriage, the addition of radar and forward-looking infrared (FLIR), GPS navigation, and night vision compatibility. Later models were manufactured with a great variety in terms of avionics fittings and system compatibility to suit the individual customer nation, cockpit functionality was often rearranged and programmed to be common to an operator's main fighter fleet to increase the Hawk's training value.
In 1981 a derivative of the Hawk was selected by the United States Navy as their new trainer aircraft. Designated the McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk, the design was navalised and strengthened to withstand operating directly from the decks of carriers in addition to typical land-based duties; This T-45 entered service in 1994; initial aircraft had analogue cockpits, while later deliveries featured a digital glass cockpit. All airframes are planned to undergo avionics upgrades to a common standard.
A major competitor to the Hawk for export sales has been the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet; aviation expert John W. R. Taylor commented: "What Europe must avoid is the kind of wasteful competition that has the Hawker Siddeley Hawk and Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet battling against each other in the world market." By early 1998, a total of 734 Hawks had been sold, more than 550 of which had been to export customers. Military customers often procured the Hawk as a replacement for older aircraft such as the BAC Strikemaster, Hawker Hunter, and Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
During the 1980s and 1990s, British Aerospace, the successor company to Hawker Siddeley, was trying to gain export sales of the variable-wing Panavia Tornado strike aircraft; however countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, whom had shown initial interest in the Tornado, concluded that the Hawk to be a more suitable and preferable aircraft for their requirements. Malaysia and Oman cancelled their arranged Tornado orders in the early 1990s, both choosing to procure the Hawk instead. Aviation authors Norman Polmar and Dana Bell stated of the Hawk: "Of the many similar designs competing for a share of the world market, the Hawk has been without equal in performance as well as sales".
On 22 December 2004, the Ministry of Defence awarded a contract to BAE Systems to develop an advanced model of the Hawk for the RAF and Royal Navy. The Hawk Mk. 128, otherwise designated as Hawk T2, replaces conventional instrumentation with a glass cockpit, to better resemble modern fighter aircraft such as the new mainstay of the RAF, the Eurofighter Typhoon. In October 2006, a GB£450 million contract was signed for the production of 28 Hawk 128s. The aircraft's maiden flight occurred on 27 July 2005 from BAE Systems' Warton Aerodrome.
According to BAE Systems, as of July 2012 they have sold nearly 1000 Hawks so far, with sales continuing to date. In July 2012, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith confirmed that Australia's fleet of Hawk Mk 127s would be upgraded to a similar configuration to the RAF's Hawk T2 as part of a major mid-life upgrade. As of 2012, the Hawk T2 is one of the competitors for the United States Air Force's T-X program to acquire a new trainer fleet.
The Hawk is an advanced trainer with a two-man tandem cockpit, a low-mounted cantilever wing and is powered by a single turbofan engine. Unlike many of the previous trainers in RAF service, the Hawk was specifically designed for training. Hawker had developed the aircraft to have a high level of servicability, as well as lower purchasing and operating costs than previous trainers like the Jet Provost. The Hawk has been praised by pilots for its agility, in particular its roll and turn handling.
The design of the fuselage included a height differential between the two seats of the cockpit; this provided generous levels of visibility for the instructor in the rear seat. Each cockpit is fitted with a Martin-Baker Mk 10B zero-zero rocket-assisted ejection seat. Air is fed to the aircraft's rear-mounted Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour engine via intakes on each of the forward wing roots. During the aircraft's development, Hawker had worked closely with Rolls-Royce to reduce the engine's fuel consumption and to ensure a high level of reliability.
Even within the development stages, a Hawk variant was intended to also serve as a single-seat ground-attack fighter; both the trainer and fighter models were developed with the export market in mind. On single seat models, the forward cockpit area which normally houses a pilot is replaced by an electronics bay for avionics and onboard systems, including a fire control computer, multi-mode radar, laser rangefinder and forward-looking infrared (FLIR). Some export customers, such as Malaysia, have extensive modifications to their aircraft, including the addition of wingtip hardpoint stations and a fittable inflight refuelling probe.
The Hawk is designed to carry a centreline gun pod, such as the 30 mm ADEN cannon, two under-wing pylons, and up to four hardpoints for fitting armaments and equipment. In RAF service, Hawks have been equipped to operate of Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. In the early 1990s, British Aerospace investigated the possibility of arming the Hawk with the Sea Eagle anti-ship missile for export customers.[
The Conostoga Wagon of the new marine frontier is the Deep Submergence Pick-Up, used for utility work in mining, construction, and as a general runabout. Like the present day pick-up truck the DSP has a large cargo bed, used to haul anything that will fit inside it.
I have to say that out of all the ships on DSV this one is the most legit looking.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
The final Bugatti race car of the 1930s was the Type 59 of 1934. It used an enlarged 3.3 L (3257 cc/198 in³) version of the straight 8 type 57s engine sitting in a modified Type 54 chassis. The engine was lowered for a better center of gravity and the frame was lightened with a number of holes drilled in the chassis. The signature piano wire wheels used splines between the brake drum and rim, and relied on the radial spokes to handle cornering loads. 250 hp (186 kW) was on tap, and 6 or 7 were made. Buraggo kits are some of the easiest kits to build. The body comes pre painted and is mostly assembled with screws. With the exception of the leather hood belt (the one with the kit was too thick and was made of plastic) and some weathering, this kit is pretty much straight out of the box.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
The Halien Class is a jack of all trades for Starfleet and the Federation. Serving roles anywhere from security and defense to rescue and salvage.
Type: Medium Cruiser
Service Period: 2330's to 2370's
Length: 378 meters
Width: 125 meters
Height: 318 meters
Mass: 1,660,000 metric tons
Speed: Warp 9
Armaments: 8 Phaser Arrays
2 Photon Torpedo Launchers
Defenses: Deflector Shields
I built this kit using parts from AMT's Enterprise C, Excelsior and Warp Shuttle kits plus a little scratch building.