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©Warren Zoell


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Leonardo da Vinci's Spingarde

Here are some images of Academy's Leonardo da Vinci's Spingarde.
These are simple kits but they're fun.

From the instructions"
The Leonardo da Vinci Spingarde launcher was placed on a firm wooden structure and could launch projectiles at targets over a wide range, due to its ability to move in all directions. Although heavy, efficient aiming was not difficult, making it highly functional on the battlefield.

Friday, November 20, 2015

HMS Halifax 1768

Here are some images of Constructo's 1/32 scale HMS Halifax 1768.

From Wikipedia"
HMS Halifax was a schooner built for merchant service at Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1765 that the British Royal Navy purchased in 1768 for coastal patrol in North America in the years just prior to the American Revolution. She is one of the best documented schooners from early North America.
 The schooner was built by a group of Halifax merchants with government support as the Nova Scotia Packet, to establish a reliable packet service of mail and passengers between Halifax and Boston in 1765. The managing owner was, Joseph Grey, the son in law of the commissioner of the Halifax Naval Yard where the schooner was likely built. Launched in late September 1765, the schooner made her first voyage on 15 October 1765 under the command of Benjamin Green Jnr. Weather permitting, the packet sailed every eight days between Halifax and Boston and made 23 round trips during her merchant career. In July 1768, the Nova Scotia Packet was chartered by Commodore Samuel Hood in Halifax to take dispatches to Portsmouth, England. Hood also recommended that the schooner be purchased by the British Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy purchased the schooner on 12 October 1768 and renamed her Halifax; she met a need for more coastal patrol schooners to combat smuggling and deal with colonial unrest in New England. The careful record of her lines and construction by Portsmouth dockyard naval architects, and the detailed record of her naval service, make the schooner a much-studied example of early schooners in North America.

Original Royal Navy plans of HMS Halifax
After being surveyed in September 1768 she was commissioned in October and fitted out at Portsmouth between October and December. Her first commander was Lieutenant Samuel Scott, who sailed her back to North America in January 1769. In 1769 Halifax confiscated and towed the schooner Liberty, later HMS Liberty, belonging to John Hancock. Halifax returned to Britain for a refit in December 1770, and the following year was under the command of Lieutenant Abraham Crespin. Lieutenant Jacob Rogers took command in 1773, and was succeeded in 1774 by Lieutenant Joseph Nunn.

After an active career on the coast on North America she was wrecked on 15 February 1775 at Foster Island near Machias, Maine. she was reportedly intentionally run aground by a local pilot. The court martial of Nunn, his officers, and crew, attributed the loss to the pilot's ignorance; nothing came of this as the pilot had disappeared while Nunn was arranging transport from Sheep's Island to Boston for his crew with a local shipowner, Mr. Beale.
The wreck played a role in the Battle of Machias later that year, when Admiral Samuel Graves ordered that her guns be recovered. A later schooner named Halifax serving in North America was recorded as being purchased in 1775, though her lines were identical to the Halifax sunk that year, and she may therefore have been salved and returned to service.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

15CM Nebelwerfer 41

Here are some images Verlinden Productions 1/16 scale 15CM Nebelwerfer 41.

From Wikipedia"
The 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41 (15 cm NbW 41) was a German multiple rocket launcher used in the Second World War. It served with units of the Nebeltruppen, the German equivalent of the U.S. Army's Chemical Corps. Just as the Chemical Corps had responsibility for poison gas and smoke weapons that were used instead to deliver high-explosives during the war, so did the Nebeltruppen. The name Nebelwerfer is best translated as "smoke thrower".
 Rocket development had begun during the 1920s and reached fruition in the late-30s. These offered the opportunity for the Nebeltruppen to deliver large quantities of poison gas or smoke simultaneously. The first weapon to be delivered to the troops was the 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41 in 1940, after the Battle of France, a purpose-designed rocket with gas, smoke and high-explosive warheads. It, like virtually all German rocket designs, was spin-stabilized to increase accuracy. One very unusual feature was that the rocket motor was in the front, the exhaust venturi being about two-thirds down the body from the nose, with the intent to optimize the blast and fragmentation effect of the rocket as the warhead would still be above the ground when it detonated. This proved to greatly complicate manufacture for not much extra effect and it was not copied on later rocket designs. It was fired from a six-tube launcher mounted on a towed carriage adapted from that used by the 3.7 cm PaK 36 to a range of 6,900 metres (7,500 yd). Almost five and a half million 15 cm rockets and six thousand launchers were manufactured over the course of the war.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Renault FT 17

Here are some images of Takom Models 1/16 scale Renault FT 17 light tank.

From Wikipedia"
The Renault FT, frequently referred to in post-World War I literature as the "FT-17" or "FT17", was a French light tank that was among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history. The FT was the first production tank to have its armament within a fully rotating turret. The Renault FT's configuration – crew compartment at the front, engine compartment at the back, and main armament in a revolving turret – became and remains the standard tank layout. Over 3,000 Renault FT tanks were manufactured by French industry, most of them during the year 1918. Another 950 of an almost identical licensed copy of the FT (the M1917) were made in the United States, but not in time to enter combat. Armoured warfare historian Steven Zaloga has called the Renault FT "the world's first modern tank."

The FT was designed and produced by the Société des Automobiles Renault (Renault Automobile Company), one of France's major manufacturers of motor vehicles then and now.
It is thought possible that Louis Renault began working on the idea as early as 21 December 1915, after a visit from Colonel J.B.E. Estienne. Estienne had drawn up plans for a tracked armoured vehicle based on the Holt caterpillar tractor, and, with permission from General Joffre, approached Renault as a possible manufacturer. Renault declined, saying that his company was operating at full capacity producing war materiel and that he had no experience of tracked vehicles. Estienne took his plans to the Schneider company, where they became France's first operational tank, the Schneider CA.
At a later, chance meeting with Renault on 16 July 1916, Estienne asked him to reconsider, which he did. The speed with which the project then progressed to the mock-up stage has led to the theory that Renault had been working on the idea for some time.
Louis Renault himself conceived the new tank's overall design and set its basic specifications. He imposed a realistic limit to the FT's projected weight which could not exceed 7 tons. Louis Renault was unconvinced that a sufficient power-to-weight ratio could be achieved with the production engines available at the time to give sufficient mobility to the heavy tank types requested by the military. Renault's most talented industrial designer, Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier, generated the FT's detailed execution plans . Charles-Edmond Serre, a long time associate of Louis Renault, organized and supervised the new tank's mass production. The FT's tracks were kept automatically under tension to prevent derailments, while a rounded tail piece facilitated the crossing of trenches . Because the engine had been designed to function normally under any slant, very steep slopes could be negotiated by the Renault FT without loss of power. Effective internal ventilation was provided by the engine's radiator fan which drew its air through the front crew compartment of the tank and forced it out through the rear engine's compartment.
Renault's design was technically far more advanced than the other two French tanks at the time, namely the Schneider CA1 (1916) and the heavy Saint-Chamond (1917). Nevertheless Renault encountered some early difficulties in getting his proposal fully supported by the head of the French tank arm, Colonel (later General) Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne. After the first British use of heavy tanks on 15 September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, the French military still pondered whether a large number of light tanks would be preferable to a smaller number of superheavy tanks (the later Char 2C). However, on 27 November 1916, Estienne had sent to the French Commander in Chief a personal memorandum proposing the immediate adoption and mass manufacture of a light tank based on the specifications of the Renault prototype. After receiving two large government orders for the FT tank, one in April 1917 and the other in June 1917, Renault was at last able to proceed. However his design remained in competition with the superheavy Char 2C until the end of the war.
 The prototype was refined during the second half of 1917, but the Renault FT remained plagued by radiator fan belt problems throughout the war. Only 84 were produced in 1917 but 2,697 were delivered to the French army before the Armistice.
 About half of all FTs were manufactured in Renault's factory at Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris, with the remainder subcontracted to other concerns. Of the original order for 3,530, Renault accounted for 1,850 (52 per cent), Berliet 800 (23 per cent), SOMUA (a subsidiary of Schneider & Cie) 600 (17 per cent), and Delaunay-Belleville 280 (8 per cent). When the order was increased to 7,820 in 1918, production was distributed in roughly the same proportion. Louis Renault agreed to waive royalties for all French manufacturers of the FT.
 When the USA entered the War in April 1917, its army was short of heavy materiel, and had no tanks at all. Because of the wartime demands on French industry, it was decided that the quickest way to supply the American forces with sufficient armour was to manufacture the FT in the USA. A requirement of 4,400 of a modified version, the M1917, was decided on, with delivery expected to begin in April, 1918. By June 1918, US manufacturers had failed to produce any, and delivery dates were put back until September. France therefore agreed to lend 144 FTs, enough to equip 2 battalions. No M1917s reached the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) until the War was over.

The Renault FT was widely used by French forces in 1918 and by the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in France in the later stages of World War I.
The battlefield debut of the Renault FT occurred on 31 May 1918 east of the Forest of Retz, near Chaudun, between Soissons and Villers-Cotterets, during the Second Battle of the Marne. This engagement, with 30 FTs, successfully broke up a German advance, but in the absence of infantry support, the vehicles later withdrew. From then on, gradually increasing numbers of FTs were deployed, together with smaller numbers of the older Schneider CA1 and Saint-Chamond tanks. As the war had become a war of movement during the summer of 1918, the lighter FTs were often transported on heavy trucks and special trailers rather than by rail on flat cars. Estienne had initially proposed to overwhelm the enemy defences using a "swarm" of light tanks, a tactic that was eventually successfully implemented. Beginning in late 1917, the Entente allies were attempting to outproduce the Central Powers in all respects, including artillery, tanks, and chemical weapons. Consequently a goal was set of manufacturing 12,260 Renault FT tanks (including 4,440 of the US version) before the end of 1919.
After the end of World War I, Renault FTs were exported to many countries (Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Iran, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Yugoslavia). Renault FT tanks were used by most nations having armoured forces, generally as their prominent tank type. The tanks were used in many later conflicts, such as the Russian Civil War, Polish-Soviet War, Chinese Civil War, Rif War, Spanish Civil War, and Estonian War of Independence.
Renault FT tanks were also fielded in limited numbers during World War II, in Poland, Finland, France, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, although they were already obsolete. In 1940 the French Army still had eight battalions equipped with 63 FTs each and three independent companies with ten each, for a total organic strength of 534, all equipped with machine guns. These were put to use after most of the modern equipment was lost in earlier battles.
Many smaller units assembled after the start of World War II also used the Renault FT. This usage gave rise to the popular myth that the French had no modern equipment at all; in fact, they had more modern tanks than the Germans. The French suffered from tactical and strategic weaknesses rather than from equipment deficiencies. When the best French units were cut off by the German drive to the English Channel, the complete French materiel reserve was sent to the front as an expediency measure; this included 575 FTs. Earlier, 115 sections of FTs had been formed for airbase defence. The Wehrmacht captured 1,704 FTs. They used about a hundred for airfield defence and about 650 for patrolling occupied Europe. Some were used by the Germans in 1944 for street-fighting in Paris, but by this time they were hopelessly out of date. Vichy France used Renault FTs against Allied invasion forces during Operation Torch in Morocco and Algeria. The French tanks, however, were no match for the newly arrived American M4 Sherman and M3 Stuart tanks.

Much confusion surrounds the name of this tank.
It is sometimes stated that the letters FT stand for the French terms faible tonnage (low tonnage), faible taille (small size), franchisseur de tranchées (trench crosser), or force terrestre (land force). None is correct. Nor was it named the FT 17 or FT-17; nor was there an FT18.
All new Renault projects were given a two-letter product code for internal use, and the next one available was 'FT.'
The prototype was at first referred to as the automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917. Automitrailleuse à chenilles means "armoured car with tracks." By this stage of the War, automitrailleuse was the standard word for an armoured car, but by the time the FT was designed there were two other types of French tank in existence and the term char d'assaut (from the French char - a cart or wagon, and assaut; attack or assault), soon shortened to char, had at the insistence of Colonel Estienne, already been adopted by the French and was in common use. Once orders for the vehicle had been secured it was the practice at Renault to refer to it as the "FT." The vehicle was originally intended to carry a machine-gun, and was therefore described as a char mitrailleur. Mitrailleur (from mitraille; grapeshot) had by this time come to mean "machine-gunner."
Many sources, predominantly English language accounts, refer to the FT as the "FT 17" or "FT-17." This term is not contemporary, and appears to have arisen post World War One. In Estienne's biography, his granddaughter states, "It is also referred to as the FT 17: the number 17 was added after the war in history books, since it was always referred to at Renault as the FT." Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Malmassari (French tank officer and Doctor of History) states, "The Renault tank never carried the name FT 17 during the First World War, although the initials F.T. seem to appear in August 1917." Some confusion might also have been caused by the fact that the American version of the vehicle, produced in the USA under licence from Renault, was designated the M1917.
When it was decided to equip the FTs with either cannon or machine-guns, the cannon version was designated char canon (cannon tank) and the latter, in accordance with French grammar, renamed char mitrailleuse (machine-gun tank).
It is frequently claimed that some of these tanks were designated FT 18. Reasons given for the claim include: it distinguished tanks produced in 1918 from those of 1917; it was applied to FTs armed with cannon as opposed to those with machine-guns; it distinguished FTs with a cast, rounded turret from those with a hexagonal one; it referred to the 18 horsepower engine; it indicated a version to which various modifications had been made.
However, Renault records make no distinction between 1917 and 1918 output; the decision to arm FTs with a 37mm gun was made in April, 1917, before any tanks had been manufactured; because of various production difficulties and design requirements, a range of types of turret were produced by several manufacturers, but they were all fitted to the basic FT body without any distinguishing reference; all FTs had the same model 18 hp engine. The Renault manual of April, 1918 is entitled RENAULT CHAR D'ASSAUT 18 HP, and the illustrations are of the machine-gun version. The official designation was not changed until the 1930s, when the FT was fitted with a Model 1931 machine-gun and renamed the FT31. By this time the French Army was equipped with several other Renault models and it had become necessary to distinguish between the various types.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Lockheed SR-75 Aurora

Here are some images plus a composite of Testor's 1/72 scale Lockheed? SR-75 Aurora. The following is taken from the Aurora Aircraft Page. "In the late 1980s and early 1990s it was believed that a top-secret reconnaissance aircraft, capable of flying at speeds beyond Mach 6, was developed to replace the SR-71 Blackbird. The alleged project was detailed in mainstream media including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Jane's Defence Weekly, and Aviation Week & Space Technology.

The name Aurora was included in a Pentagon budget request in 1985, perhaps inadvertently, underneath reconnaissance programs of the SR-71 and U-2. The Aurora has been attributed to scores of unidentified aircraft reports around the world, including a 1989 sighting from an oil platform in the North Sea, a series of mysterious sonic booms over Southern California in 1991-92, and photographs of unusual "donuts-on-a-rope" contrails. 

From Wikipedia"

Aurora was a rumored mid-1980s American reconnaissance aircraft. There is no substantial evidence that it was ever built or flown and it has been termed a myth.
The U.S. government has consistently denied such an aircraft was ever built. Aviation and space reference site concluded "The evidence supporting the Aurora is circumstantial or pure conjecture, there is little reason to contradict the government's position."
Others come to different conclusions. In 2006, veteran black project watcher and aviation writer Bill Sweetman said, "Does Aurora exist? Years of pursuit have led me to believe that, yes, Aurora is most likely in active development, spurred on by recent advances that have allowed technology to catch up with the ambition that launched the program a generation ago."
 The Aurora legend started in March 1990, when Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine broke the news that the term "Aurora" had been inadvertently included in the 1985 U.S. budget, as an allocation of $455 million for "black aircraft production" in FY 1987. According to Aviation Week, Project Aurora referred to a group of exotic aircraft, and not to one particular airframe. Funding of the project allegedly reached $2.3 billion in fiscal 1987, according to a 1986 procurement document obtained by Aviation Week. In the 1994 book Skunk Works, Ben Rich, the former head of Lockheed's Skunk Works division, wrote that the Aurora was the budgetary code name for the stealth bomber fly-off that resulted in the B-2 Spirit.By the late 1980s, many aerospace industry observers believed that the U.S. had the technological capability to build a Mach-5 replacement for the aging Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Detailed examinations of the U.S. defense budget claimed to have found money missing or channeled into black projects. By the mid-1990s, reports surfaced of sightings of unidentified aircraft flying over California and the United Kingdom involving odd-shaped contrails, sonic booms and related phenomena that suggested the US had developed such an aircraft. Nothing ever linked any of these observations to any program or aircraft type, but the name Aurora was often tagged on these as a way of explaining the observations.

In late August 1989, while working as an engineer on the jack-up barge GSF Galveston Key in the North Sea, Chris Gibson and another witness saw an unfamiliar isosceles triangle-shaped delta aircraft, apparently refueling from a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker and accompanied by a pair of F-111 fighter-bombers. Gibson and his friend watched the aircraft for several minutes, until they went out of sight. He subsequently drew a sketch of the formation.
Gibson, who had been in the Royal Observer Corps' trophy-winning international aircraft recognition team since 1980, was unable to identify the aircraft. He dismissed suggestions that the aircraft was an F-117, Mirage IV or fully swept wing F-111. When the sighting was made public in 1992, the British Defence Secretary Tom King was told, "There is no knowledge in the MoD of a 'black' programme of this nature, although it would not surprise the relevant desk officers in the Air Staff and Defence Intelligence Staff if it did exist."
A crash at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire on 26 September 1994 appeared closely linked to "black" missions, according to a report in AirForces Monthly. Further investigation was hampered by aircraft from the USAF flooding into the base. The crash site was protected from view by firetrucks and tarpaulins and the base was closed to all flights soon after.

A series of unusual sonic booms was detected in Southern California, beginning in mid- to late-1991 and recorded by United States Geological Survey sensors across Southern California used to pinpoint earthquake epicenters. The sonic booms were characteristic of a smaller vehicle, rather than the 37-meter long Space Shuttle orbiter. Furthermore, neither the Shuttle nor NASA's single SR-71B was operating on the days the booms had been registered. In the article, "In Plane Sight?" which appeared in the Washington City Paper on 3 July 1992 (pp. 12–13), one of the seismologists, Jim Mori, noted: "We can't tell anything about the vehicle. They seem stronger than other sonic booms that we record once in a while. They've all come on Thursday mornings about the same time, between 4 and 7." Former NASA sonic boom expert Dom Maglieri studied the 15-year-old sonic boom data from the California Institute of Technology and has deemed that the data showed "something at 90,000 ft (c. 27.4 km), Mach 4 to Mach 5.2". He also said the booms did not look like those from aircraft that had traveled through the atmosphere many miles away at Los Angeles International Airport, rather, they appeared to be booms from a high-altitude aircraft directly above the ground moving at high speeds. The boom signatures of the two different aircraft patterns are wildly different. There was nothing particular to tie these events to any aircraft, but they served to grow the Aurora legend.
On 23 March 1992, near Amarillo, Texas, Steven Douglass photographed the "donuts on a rope" contrail and linked this sighting to distinctive sounds. He described the engine noise as: "strange, loud pulsating roar... unique... a deep pulsating rumble that vibrated the house and made the windows shake... similar to rocket engine noise, but deeper, with evenly timed pulses." In addition to providing the first photographs of the distinctive contrail previously reported by many, the significance of this sighting was enhanced by Douglass' reports of intercepts of radio transmissions: "Air-to-air communications... were between an AWACS aircraft with the call sign "Dragnet 51" from Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, and two unknown aircraft using the call signs "Darkstar November" and "Darkstar Mike". Messages consisted of phonetically transmitted alphanumerics. It is not known whether this radio traffic had any association with the "pulser" that had just flown over Amarillo." ("Darkstar" is also a call sign of AWACS aircraft from a different squadron at Tinker AFB) A month later, radio enthusiasts in California monitoring Edwards AFB Radar (callsign "Joshua Control") heard early morning radio transmissions between Joshua and a high flying aircraft using the callsign "Gaspipe". "You're at 67,000 feet, 81 miles out" was heard, followed by "70 miles out now, 36,000 ft, above glideslope." As in the past, nothing linked these observations to any particular aircraft or program, but the attribution to the Aurora helped expand the legend.
In February 1994 former resident of Rachel, Nevada, and Area 51 enthusiast, Chuck Clark claimed to have filmed the Aurora taking off from the Groom Lake facility. In the David Darlington book Area 51: The Dreamland Chronicles, he said:
I even saw the Aurora take off one night - or an aircraft that matched the Aurora's reputed configuration, a sharp delta with twin tails about a hundred and thirty feet long. It taxied out of a lighted hangar at two-thirty A.M. and used a lot of runway to take off. It had one red light on top, but the minute the wheels left the runway, the light went off and that was the last I saw of it. I didn't hear it because the wind was blowing from behind me toward the base." I asked when this had taken place. "February 1994. Obviously they didn't think anybody was out there. It was thirty below zero - probably ninety below with the wind chill factor. I had hiked into White Sides from a different, harder way than usual, and stayed there two or three days among the rocks, under a camouflage tarp with six layers of clothes on. I had an insulated face mask and two sleeping bags, so I didn't present a heat signature. I videotaped the aircraft through a telescope with a five-hundred-millimeter f4 lens coupled via a C-ring to a high-eight digital video camera with five hundred and twenty scan lines of resolution, which is better than TV." The author then asked "Where's the tape?" Locked away. That's a legitimate spyplane; my purpose is not to give away legitimate national defense. When they get ready to unveil it, I'll probably release the tape.

Although his claims have been controversial, Bob Lazar has stated that, during his employment at the mysterious S-4 facility in Nevada, he briefly witnessed an Aurora flight while aboard a bus near Groom Lake. He claimed that there was a "tremendous roar" which sounded almost as though "the sky was tearing". Although Lazar only saw the aircraft for a moment through the front of the bus, he described it as being "very large" and having "two huge, square exhausts with vanes in them". Lazar claims that his supervisor confirmed to him that the aircraft was indeed an "Aurora", a "high altitude research plane". He was also told that the aircraft was powered by "liquid methane".
By 1996, reports associated with the Aurora name dropped off in frequency, suggesting to people who believed that the aircraft existed that it had only ever been a prototype or that it had had a short service life.
In 2000, Aberdeen Press and Journal writer Nic Outterside wrote a piece on US stealth technology in Scotland. Citing confidential 'sources', he alleged RAF/USAF Machrihanish in Kintyre, Argyll to be a base for Aurora aircraft. Machrihanish's almost 2-mile (3.2 km)-long long runway makes it suitable for high-altitude and experimental aircraft with the fenced-off coastal approach making it ideal for takeoffs and landings to be made well away from eyes or cameras of press and public. 'Oceanic Air Traffic Control at Prestwick' Outterside says, 'also tracked fast-moving radar blips. It was claimed by staff that a "hypersonic jet was the only rational conclusion" for the readings.'
In 2006, aviation writer Bill Sweetman put together 20 years of examining budget "holes", unexplained sonic booms, as well as the Gibson sighting and concluded:
"This evidence helps establish the program's initial existence. My investigations continue to turn up evidence that suggests current activity. For example, having spent years sifting through military budgets, tracking untraceable dollars and code names, I learned how to sort out where money was going. This year, when I looked at the Air Force operations budget in detail, I found a $9-billion black hole that seems a perfect fit for a project like Aurora."
On 1 December 2014, loud repetitive bangs were heard in Bedfordshire, Glasgow, North Devon, Leicestershire, and West Sussex in the UK. The repetitive banging sound lasted for 20 to 30 minutes and was recorded by one resident on a cell phone. At around the same time, a loud boom was reported by a number of people in the upstate New York areas of Buffalo, Cheektowaga, and Clarence. Dr Bhupendra Khandelwa (University of Sheffield, UK) stated that he believed the loud, repetitive bangs sounded like an experimental jet engine called a pulse detonation engine (PDE). Sonic booms caused by meteors and military planes were ruled out, as were the sounds of fireworks and thunderstorms. Media speculation concluded that the noise recorded by locals in the UK could have been caused by the PDE engine of an Aurora aircraft.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

US Navy Swift Boat (PCF)

Here are some images of Revell's 1/48 scale US Navy Swift Boat (PCF).

From Wikipedia"
Patrol Craft Fast (PCF), also known as Swift Boats, were all-aluminum, 50-foot (15 m) long, shallow-draft vessels operated by the United States Navy, initially to patrol the coastal areas and later for work in the interior waterways as part of the brown-water navy to interdict Vietcong movement of arms and munitions, transport Vietnamese forces and insert SEAL teams for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War.
 Most of the 193 PCFs built were used by the Navy in Vietnam and the two training bases in California. About 80 of the boats constructed were sold or given away to nations friendly to the United States. The original training base for Swift Boats was at the Naval Base in Coronado, California. In 1969 training was moved to Mare Island near San Pablo Bay, California, where it remained for the duration of the war. Though not a deep water boat, PCF training boats frequently transited from Mare Island, through the Golden Gate Bridge to cruise either north or south along the Pacific Ocean coastline. PCF-8 sank in a storm off Bodega Bay, California in December 1969. This was the only Swift Boat lost during training operations. No crewmen were lost in the event.

The first swift boats arrived in Vietnam in October 1965. Initially used as coastal patrol craft as a part of Operation Market Time to interdict seaborne supplies on their way to the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam. However, their shallow draft and low freeboard limited their seaworthiness in open waters. These limitations, plus the difficulties being encountered in the interior waterways by the smaller, more lightly armed PBRs led to the incorporation of Swift boats to patrol the 1,500 miles of rivers and canals of Vietnam's interior waterways. Swift boats continued to operate along the Vietnamese coastal areas, but with the start of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's "SEALORDS" riverway interdiction strategy, their primary area of operations soon centered upon the Ca Mau peninsula and the Mekong Delta area in the southern tip of Vietnam. Here they patrolled the waterways and performed special operations, including gunfire support, troop insertion and evacuation, and raids into enemy territory.
The Mekong Delta was composed of ten thousand square miles of marshland, swamps and forested areas all interlaced by rivers and canal ways. Controlled by the Viet Cong, the interior waterways of the Mekong Delta were used to transport Viet Cong supplies and weapons.
Boats generally operated in teams of three to five. Each boat had an officer in charge, one of whom would also be placed in overall charge of the mission. Their missions included patrolling the waterways, searching water traffic for weapons and munitions, transporting Vietnamese marine units and inserting Navy SEAL teams.
When the swift boats began making forays up the waterways into the interior of the delta, they initially took the carriers by surprise, causing them to drop their materials and run off into the overgrowth. Occasionally a short firefight would break out. As it became clear that control for the waterways was being contested the Viet Cong developed a number of tactics to challenge the US Navy. They set up ambushes, built obstructions in the canals to create choke points, and began to place mines in the waterways.
For the swift boats, coming back down river was always more dangerous then going up river. The passage of a patrol assured their eventual return, providing an opportunity for the Viet Cong. Ambushes were typically short lived affairs, set up at a river bend or in a narrow canal that restricted the maneuverability of the boats. A wide variety of portable weapons were used in attacks, including recoilless rifles, B-40 rockets, .50 caliber machine guns and AK-47s, often fired from behind earthen bunkered positions. Engagements were brief and violent, with the ambushers often slipping away into the undergrowth when the boats located the source of attack and began to concentrate their return fire. When attacked the boats would accelerate out of the hot zone, turn and then return as a group, firing as many of their guns as they could bring to bear. They would power past the ambush point, turn and return to attack again till the ambushers were either killed or slipped away. Though most cruising and patrolling was done at 8 to 10 knots, the boats could reach a top speed of 32 knots. Thick brush and vegetation in the delta provided excellent cover for the escaping ambushers. Casualties taken among the river crews were high. Casualties suffered among the Viet Cong were difficult to assess, as they would take their dead and wounded away from a firefight. Discovering newly dug graveyards was one of the few ways to confirm Viet Cong losses.
The first Swift Boat to be lost during the war was PCF-4, which was lost to a mine in 1966. Two boats, PCF-14 and PCF-76, were lost in rough seas at the mouth of the Cua Viet River near the DMZ, and a third, PCF-77, was lost in a rescue effort during a monsoon at the mouth of the Perfume River on the approach to Huế. All three of these boats were lost in 1966. PCF-41 was lost that same year in an ambush when it was hit by fire from a 57 mm recoilless rifle. Its controls destroyed and coxswain killed, it ran aground at speed. When the crew ran out of ammunition it had to be abandoned. She was recovered the next day but was too badly damaged to be repaired. She was salvaged instead. PCF-43 was lost to a rocket attack in 1969. Several other Swift Boats had been lost to river mines, but had been salvaged and either repaired or used for spare parts.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

D'deridex Class Romulan Warbird

Here are some images of AMT/Round 2 1/3200 scale  D'deridex Class Romulan Warbird from Star Trek the Next Generation.

From Memory Alpha"

The warbird design referred to as D'deridex-class, B-type warbird, or Warbird class was one of the largest and most powerful mainstays of the Romulan Star Empire. It served as the backbone of the Romulan fleet during the latter half of the 24th century

The uncloaking of a warbird of this type in 2364, during an encounter with the USS Enterprise-D on the edge of the Neutral Zone, signaled the end to fifty-three years of Romulan isolation. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone") Over the next ten years, these warbirds, under the command of both the Romulan military and the Tal Shiar, participated in numerous encounters with Starfleet and the Dominion.
By 2374, they were prominently featured in the Dominion War, where they were instrumental in forcing the Dominion fleets back, time and again. The design saw action during the First and Second Battles of Chin'toka, as well as the final showdown of the conflict, the Battle of Cardassia. (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets", "The Changing Face of Evil")
At least four warbirds were used in the Battle of the Omarion Nebula, joined with at least twelve Cardassian Keldon-class cruisers in a combined fleet of twenty ships. The entire fleet was ambushed and destroyed by a fleet of 150 Dominion ships. (DS9: "The Die is Cast") At least seven warbirds were present in the Federation Alliance fleet at the Battle of Cardassia. One is known to have been destroyed and at least five survived. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind") 

The D'deridex-class warbird was classified as a battle cruiser by Starfleet. Using a forced quantum singularity as a power source (see Black hole starship) and the latest in Romulan cloaking technology, the D'deridex was not only one of the most advanced vessels in the Romulan Star Empire, but also in the Alpha Quadrant. These warbirds were roughly twice as long as a Federation Galaxy-class starship with a lower overall maximum speed. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "Tin Man")

The outboard plan of the warbird's design incorporated a unique, horizontally split "shell" hull design, with a prominent forward section. The bulk of the ship's overall size was incorporated in the open-shell, which resembled two separate "wings" that met at either side at the warp nacelles, at the "tail" and off the "neck", which was connected to the "head" or primary forward hull section. The "head" featured the bridge, main engineering, and a majority of the primary weapon systems of the vessel. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", etc.) Andrew Probert, who designed the D'deridex-class warbird, intended for it to have a length of 4,440 feet (1,353 meters).  He writes, "The wings were to have had a LOT more substance to them (as seen in my drawing) but was reduced [on] the model. They are separated to allow the engines to 'see' each other and generate a warp field. As previously noted on the board, I did not design the subsequent ships that ignore my attempt at requirements-for-warp-drive continuity.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Messerschmitt BF 109-E4

Here are some images of Airfix's 1/24 scale Messerschmitt BF 109-E4.
I don't know if it is a running problem with the kit. but when I built it I discovered that the engine covers would not fit properly by a good 1/16th of an inch in some places. So as a result some top parts of the engine had to be removed and the inside of the covers shaved in order to get the covers to fit. I couldn't see any plastic warping and the engine did fit into its proper position in the fuselage. So as a result I had no option but to glue the covers into place.

From Wikipedia"
The E-3 was replaced by the E-4 (with many airframes being upgraded to E-4 standards starting at the beginning of the Battle of Britain) which was different in some small details, most notably by using the modified 20 mm MG-FF/M wing cannon and having improved head armour for the pilot. With the MG FF/M it was possible to fire a new and improved type of explosive shell, called Minengeschoß (or 'mine-shell') which was made using drawn steel (the same way brass cartridges are made) instead of being cast as was the usual practice. This resulted in a shell with a thin but strong wall, which had a larger cavity in which to pack a much larger explosive charge than was otherwise possible. The new shell required modifications to the MG FF's mechanism due to the different recoil characteristics, hence the MG FF/M designation.
The cockpit canopy was also revised to an easier-to-produce, "squared-off" design, which also helped improve the pilot's field of view. This canopy, which was also retrofitted to many E-1s and E-3s, was largely unchanged until the introduction of a welded, heavy-framed canopy on the G series in the autumn of 1942. The E-4 would be the basis for all further Bf 109E developments. Some E-4 and later models received a further improved 1,175 PS (1,159 hp, 864 kW) DB601N high-altitude engine; known as the E-4/N; owing to priority being given to equipping Bf 110s with this engine, one fighter gruppe was converted to this version, starting in July 1940. The E-4 was also available as a fighter-bomber with equipment very similar to the previous E-1/B. It was known as E-4/B (DB 601Aa engine) and E-4/BN (DB 601N engine). A total of 561 of all E-4 versions were built, including 496 E-4s built as such: 250 E-4, 211 E-4/B, 15 E-4/N and 20 E-4/BN.