Sunday, December 30, 2012

DKM Bismarck

Happy New Year Everyone!
Here are some images of Trumpeter Models 1/200 scale Battleship Bismarck
This kit is a monster, coming in at just a shade under 50 inches and worth every penny.
As a side note though, this kit included. When it comes to model battleships I never understood model companies propensity to to not supply even the most rudimentary of rigging instructions.
This has been going on for as long as I can remember. Leaving the model builder to to stare long and hard at old photographs, and often one is relegated to guess work.
But I must say this kit is most definitely the most impressive model kit of 2012 in my opinion. Well done Trumpeter.

From Wikipedia"
Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the unification of Germany in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched two and a half years later in February 1939. Work was completed in August 1940, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power.
In the course of the warship's eight-month career under its sole commanding officer, Capt. Ernst Lindemann, Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, in May 1941, codenamed Rheinübung. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break into the Atlantic Ocean and raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, however, and British naval units were deployed to block their route. At the Battle of Denmark Strait, Bismarck engaged and destroyed the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat; Bismarck herself was hit three times and suffered an oil leak from a ruptured tank.
The destruction of Hood spurred a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy involving dozens of warships. Two days later, while heading for the relative safety of occupied France, Bismarck was attacked by Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal; one hit was scored that rendered the battleship's steering gear inoperable. In her final battle the following morning, Bismarck was neutralised by a sustained bombardment from a British fleet, was scuttled by her crew, and sank with heavy loss of life. Most experts agree that the battle damage would have caused her to sink eventually. In June 1989, Robert Ballard located the wreck, which has since been surveyed by several more expeditions.

Bismarck was ordered under the name Ersatz Hannover, a replacement for the old pre-dreadnought SMS Hannover, under contract "F". The contract was awarded to the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, where the keel was laid on 1 July 1936 at Helgen IX. The ship was launched on 14 February 1939; during the elaborate ceremonies, the ship was christened by Dorothee von Löwenfeld, the granddaughter of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the ship's namesake. Adolf Hitler held the christening speech. Fitting-out work followed the launch, during which time her original straight stem was replaced with a raked "Atlantic bow" similar to the Scharnhorst-class battleships. Bismarck was commissioned into the fleet on 24 August 1940 for sea trials, which were conducted in the Baltic. Kapitän zur See Ernst Lindemann took command of the ship at the time of her commissioning.
Bismarck displaced 41,700 t (41,000 long tons) as built and 50,300 t (49,500 long tons) fully loaded, with an overall length of 251 m (823 ft 6 in), a beam of 36 m (118 ft 1 in) and a maximum draft of 9.9 m (32 ft 6 in). She was Germany's largest battleship, and displaced more than any other European battleship, with the exception of HMS Vanguard. She was powered by three Blohm & Voss geared steam turbines and twelve oil-fired Wagner superheated boilers, which developed a total of 150,170 shaft horsepower (111,980 kW) and yielded a maximum speed of 30.01 knots (55.58 km/h; 34.53 mph) on speed trials. She had a cruising range of 8,870 nautical miles (16,430 km; 10,210 mi) at 19 kn (35 km/h; 22 mph). Bismarck was equipped with three FuMO 23 search radar sets, mounted on the forward and stern range-finders and the ship's foretop.
Her standard crew numbered 103 officers and 1,962 enlisted men. The crew was divided into twelve divisions of between 180 and 220 men. The first six divisions were assigned to the ship's armaments, divisions one through four for the main and secondary batteries and five and six manning anti-aircraft guns. The seventh division consisted of specialists, including cooks and carpenters, and the eighth division consisted of ammunition handlers. The radio operators, signalmen, and quartermasters were assigned to the ninth division. The last three divisions were the engine room personnel. When Bismarck left port, fleet staff, prize crews, and war correspondents increased the crew complement to over 2,200 men. Roughly 200 of the engine room personnel came from the light cruiser Karlsruhe, which had been lost during Operation Weserübung, the German invasion of Norway. Her crew published a ship's newspaper titled Die Schiffsglocke (The Ship's Bell); this paper was only published once, on 23 April 1941 by the commander of the engineering department, Gerhard Junack.
Bismarck was armed with eight 38 cm SK C/34 guns arranged in four twin gun turrets: two super-firing turrets forward—"Anton" and "Bruno"—and two aft—"Caesar" and "Dora". Her secondary armament consisted of twelve 15 cm (5.9 in) L/55 guns, sixteen 10.5 cm (4.1 in) L/65 and sixteen 3.7 cm (1.5 in) L/83, and twelve 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft guns. Bismarck also carried four Arado Ar 196 reconnaissance floatplanes, with a single large hangar and a double-ended catapult.The ship's main belt was 320 mm (13 in) thick and was covered by a pair of upper and main armoured decks that were 50 mm (2.0 in) and 100 to 120 mm (3.9 to 4.7 in) thick, respectively. The 38 cm (15 in) turrets were protected by 360 mm (14.2 in) thick faces and 220 mm (8.7 in) thick sides.

Discovery by Robert Ballard

Painting by Ken Marshall depicting Argo exploring the wreck
The wreck of Bismarck was discovered on 8 June 1989 by Dr Robert Ballard, the oceanographer responsible for finding the RMS Titanic. Bismarck was found to be resting upright at a depth of approximately 4,791 m (15,719 ft), about 650 km (400 mi) west of Brest. The ship struck an extinct underwater volcano, which rose some 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above the surrounding abyssal plain, triggering a 2 km (1.2 mi) landslide. Bismarck slid down the mountain, coming to a stop two-thirds down.
Ballard's survey found no underwater penetrations of the ship's fully armoured citadel. Eight holes were found in the hull, one on the starboard side and seven on the port side, all above the waterline. One of the holes is in the deck, on the bow's starboard side. The angle and shape indicates the shell that created the hole was fired from Bismarck's port side and struck the starboard anchor chain. The anchor chain has disappeared down this hole. Six holes are amidships, three shell fragments pierced the upper splinter belt, and one made a hole in the main armour belt. Further aft a huge hole is visible, parallel to the aircraft catapult, on the deck. It is unclear whether this was a result of an internal magazine explosion due to a shell penetration of the ship's armour. The submersibles recorded no sign of a shell penetration through the main or side armour that could have caused this; it is likely that the shell penetrated the deck armour only. Huge dents showed that many of the 14 inch shells fired by King George V bounced off the German belt armour.
Ballard noted that he found no evidence of the internal implosions that occur when a hull that is not fully flooded sinks. The surrounding water, which has much greater pressure than the air in the hull, would crush the ship. Instead, Ballard points out that the hull is in relatively good condition; he states simply that "Bismarck did not implode." This suggests that Bismarck's compartments were flooded when the ship sank, supporting the scuttling theory. Ballard added "we found a hull that appears whole and relatively undamaged by the descent and impact". They concluded that the direct cause of sinking was scuttling: sabotage of engine-room valves by her crew, as claimed by German survivors. Ballard kept the wreck's exact location a secret to prevent other divers from taking artifacts from the ship, a practice he considered a form of grave robbing.
The whole stern had broken away; as it was not near the main wreckage and as of 2010 had not been found, it can be assumed this did not occur on impact with the sea floor. The missing section came away roughly where the torpedo had hit, raising questions of possible structural failure. The stern area had also received several hits, increasing the torpedo damage. This, coupled with the fact the ship sank "stern first" and had no structural support to hold it in place, suggests the stern detached at the surface. In 1942 Prinz Eugen was also torpedoed in the stern, which subsequently collapsed. This prompted a strengthening of the stern structures on all German capital ships.

Subsequent expeditions

In June 2001, Deep Ocean Expeditions, partnered with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, conducted another investigation of the wreck. The researchers used Russian-built mini-subs. William N. Lange, a Woods Hole expert, stated, "You see a large number of shell holes in the superstructure and deck, but not that many along the side, and none below the waterline." The expedition found no penetrations in the main armoured belt, above or below the waterline. The examiners noted several long gashes in the hull, but attributed these to impact on the sea floor.
An Anglo-American expedition in July 2001 was funded by a British TV channel. The team used the volcano—the only one in that area—to locate the wreck. Using ROVs to film the hull, the team concluded that the ship sank due to combat damage. Expedition leader David Mearns claimed significant gashes were found in the hull: "My feeling is that those holes were probably lengthened by the slide, but initiated by torpedoes".
The 2002 documentary Expedition: Bismarck, directed by James Cameron and filmed in May–June 2002 using smaller and more agile MIR submersibles, reconstructed the events leading to the sinking. These provided the first interior shots. His findings were that there was not enough damage below the waterline to confirm that she was sunk rather than scuttled. Close inspection of the wreckage confirmed that none of the torpedoes or shells penetrated the second layer of the inner hull. Using small ROVs to examine the interior, Cameron discovered that the torpedo blasts had failed to shatter the torpedo bulkheads.
Despite their sometimes differing viewpoints, these experts generally agree that Bismarck would have eventually foundered if the Germans had not scuttled her first. Ballard estimated that Bismarck could still have floated for at least a day when the British vessels ceased fire and could have been captured by the Royal Navy, a position supported by the historian Ludovic Kennedy (who was serving on the destroyer Tartar at the time). Kennedy stated, "That she would have foundered eventually there can be little doubt; but the scuttling ensured that it was sooner rather than later." When asked whether Bismarck would have sunk if the Germans had not scuttled the ship, Cameron replied "Sure. But it might have taken half a day." In Mearns' subsequent book Hood and Bismarck, he conceded that scuttling "may have hastened the inevitable, but only by a matter of minutes." Ballard later concluded that "As far as I was concerned, the British had sunk the ship regardless of who delivered the final blow."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Tis the season!
So here's to wishing all of my readers a very Merry Christmas.And for your viewing pleasure we bring you two Sherlock Holmes episodes starring Jeremy Brett in the lead role. Both episodes take place during the Christmas season though these stories do not necessarily fill one with with Christmas cheer but instead bring some very fine entertainment.

The first episode is The Blue Carbuncle"
From IMDB"
 When the Countess of Morcar's priceless blue carbuncle is stolen, a reformed thief is charged with the crime.

Next up we have the episode The Cardboard Box"
Susan Cushing asks Holmes' help in solving the disappearance of her sister Mary Browner, but it doesn't seem Holmes' type of case until he is told of a Christmas present's grisly contents. 

I love the speech Holmes gives at the end.
 “What is the meaning of it, Watson? said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. "What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.” 

Have a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ferry Pilots Composite

Here is my composite image of ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) pilots receiving instructions before ferrying brand new Hawker Hurricanes to their prospective squadrons.

Images of the Hawker Hurricane model used can be seen here.

From Wikipedia"
 The Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) was a British World War II civilian organisation that ferried new, repaired and damaged military aircraft between UK factories, assembly plants, transatlantic delivery points, Maintenance Units (MU), scrap yards, and active service squadrons and airfields—but not to aircraft carriers. It also flew service personnel on urgent duty from one place to another and performed air ambulance work.
The original intended usage was to transport mail and medical supplies. However the pilots were immediately needed to work with the Royal Air Force (RAF) ferry pools transporting aircraft. By 1 May 1940, they took over transporting all military aircraft from the factories to the Maintenance Units to have guns and accessories installed. On 1 August 1941, the ATA took over all ferry jobs. This freed the much-needed combat pilot for combat duty. Lord Beaverbrook, (Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook), gave an appropriate tribute at the closing ceremony disbanding the ATA.
“Without the ATA the days and nights of the Battle of Britain would have been conducted under conditions quite different from the actual events. They carried out the delivery of aircraft from the factories to the RAF, thus relieving countless numbers of RAF pilots for duty in the battle. Just as the Battle of Britain is the accomplishment and achievement of the RAF, likewise it can be declared that the ATA sustained and supported them in the battle. They were soldiers fighting in the struggle just as completely as if they had been engaged on the battlefront.”
 During the war, the service flew 415,000 hours and delivered over 308,000 aircraft of 130 types including Spitfires, Hawker Hurricanes, Mosquitoes, Mustangs, Lancasters, Halifaxes, Fairey Swordfish, Fairey Barracudas, and Fortresses. The average aircraft strength of the ATA training schools was 78. Total of 133,247 hours were flown by school aircraft and 6,013 conversion courses were put through. The total flying hours of the Air Movement Flight was 17,059 of which 8,570 were on UK internal flights and 8,489 on overseas flights. 883 Tons of freight was carried and 3,430 passengers transported without casualty. Total taxi hours amounted to 179,325 excluding Air Movements.

The administration of the organisation fell to Gerard d'Erlanger, a director of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). He had suggested a similar organisation prior to the war in a letter dated 24 May 1938. In late August 1939, the ATA was placed under British Airways Ltd. for initial administration and finance. On 10 October 1939, Air Member for Supply and Organisation (AMSO) took over the control of the ATA. The first pilots were assigned to RAF Reserve Command and attached to RAF Flights to ferry trainers, fighters and bombers from factory and storage to Air Force Stations.
Late in 1939, it was decided that a third and entirely civilian ferry pool at White Waltham near Maidenhead in Berkshire should be set up. Operations of this pool began 15 February 1940. On 16 May 1940, RAF Maintenance Command through 41 Group, took control. Then on 22 July 1941, the ATA came under the control of the Ministry of Production (MAP). Although control shifted to these many departments, administration was always carried out by BOAC under Commander Gerard d’Erlanger CBE.

The organisation recruited pilots who were considered to be unsuitable for reasons of age or fitness for either the Royal Air Force or the Fleet Air Arm (therefore humorously referred to as "Ancient and Tattered Airmen"), pilots from neutral countries and, notably, women pilots.
First Officer Maureen Dunlop. The female pilots had a high media profile.
Diana Barnato Walker climbing into the cockpit of a Spitfire whilst serving with the Air Transport Auxiliary
A unique feature of the ATA is that physical handicaps were ignored if the pilot could do the job. Thus there were one-armed, one-legged, short-sighted, and one-eyed pilots with the ATA. Representatives of 28 countries flew with the ATA.
In late 1939, Commander Pauline Gower MBE was given the task of organising the women's section of the ATA. There were 166 women pilots (one in eight of the entire service) who volunteered from Britain, the Commonwealth (Canada, New Zealand and South Africa), United States, the Netherlands, Poland, and one from Argentina, Maureen Dunlop. Fifteen lost their lives in the air, including the British pioneer aviatrix Amy Johnson. One of many notable achievements of the women is that they earned the same pay as men in equal rank as the men flying with the organisation starting in 1943. This was the first time that the British Government gave its blessing to equal pay for equal work, within an organisation under its jurisdiction. (Note, at the same time, American woman flying with the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the WASP, were earning as little as 65% of their male colleagues.) Although initially restricted to non-combat types (i.e. trainers and transports), women pilots were eventually permitted to fly virtually every aircraft flown by the RAF and Fleet Air Arm including the four-engined bombers, but excluding the largest flying boats.

Although the first ATA pilots were introduced to military aircraft at the RAF’s Central Flying School (CFS), the ATA soon developed its own training programme. Pilots progressed from light, single-engined aircraft to more powerful and complicated aircraft in stages. They first qualified on one “class” of aircraft, then gained experience on that class by doing ferrying work of any and all aircraft in that class before returning to training to qualify on the next class of aircraft. As a result, pilots progressed based on their own capabilities, rather than on a rigid timetable. This not only ensured that as many pilots as possible advanced, but those that could not were still gainfully employed flying the aircraft types on which they had qualified. Once cleared to fly one class of aircraft, pilots could be asked to ferry any plane in that class even if they had never seen that type of aircraft before. To do so they had Ferry Pilot Notes, a two-ring book of small cards with the critical statistics and notations necessary to ferry each aircraft. A pilot cleared on more than one class, could be asked to fly an aircraft in any of the categories on which he or she was qualified; thus even a pilot cleared to fly four-engined bombers could be assigned to fly a single-engined trainer if scheduling made this the most efficient way to get the aircraft to its destination.
The ATA trained its pilots only to ferry planes, rather than to perfection on every type. For example aerobatics and blind flying were not taught and pilots were explicitly forbidden from doing either, even if capable of doing so. The objective of the ATA was to deliver aircraft safely, and that meant taking no unnecessary risks.
A detailed account of the training that ATA pilots experienced and a vivid view of the daily life of an ATA pilot may be found in "Intrepid Woman, Betty Lussier's Secret War, 1942-1945", Betty Lussier, 2010.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Grumman TBM-3 Avenger

Here are some more images of Trumpeters 1/32 scale Grumman TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber.
The markings on this model were those flown by George HW Bush in World War Two.

From Wikipedia"

The Grumman TBF Avenger (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured by General Motors) was a torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and eventually used by several air or naval arms around the world.
The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway. Despite losing five of the six Avengers on its combat debut, it survived in service to become one of the outstanding torpedo bombers of World War II. Greatly modified after the war, it remained in use until the 1960s.
Douglas' TBD Devastator, the U.S. Navy's main torpedo bomber introduced in 1935, was obsolete by 1939. Bids were accepted from several companies but Grumman's TBF design was selected as the TBD's replacement and two prototypes were ordered by the Navy in April 1940. Designed by Leroy Grumman, the first prototype was called the XTBF-1. It was first flown on August 1, 1941. Although one of the first two prototypes crashed near Brentwood, New York, rapid production continued.
Grumman's first torpedo bomber was the heaviest single-engine aircraft of World War II, and only the USAAF's P-47 Thunderbolt came close to equalling it in maximum loaded weight among all single-engined fighters, only being some 400 lb (181 kg) lighter than the TBF, by the end of World War II. The Avenger was the first design to feature a new "compound angle" wing-folding mechanism created by Grumman, intended to maximize storage space on an aircraft carrier; the F4F-4 and later models of Wildcat received a similar folding wing and the F6F Hellcat (both designed by Grumman) employed this mechanism as well. The engine used was the Wright R-2600-20 Cyclone 14 twin-row radial engine (which produced 1,900 hp/1,417 kW). The aircraft took 25 gallons of oil and used one gallon per minute at start-up. There were three crew members: pilot, turret gunner and radioman/bombardier/ventral gunner. One .30 caliber machine gun was mounted in the nose, a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) gun was mounted right next to the turret gunner's head in a rear-facing electrically powered turret, and a single .30 caliber hand-fired machine gun mounted ventrally (under the tail), which was used to defend against enemy fighters attacking from below and to the rear. This gun was fired by the radioman/bombardier while standing up and bending over in the belly of the tail section, though he usually sat on a folding bench facing forward to operate the radio and to sight in bombing runs. Later models of the TBF/TBM dispensed with the nose-mounted gun for one .50 caliber gun in each wing per pilots' requests for better forward firepower and increased strafing ability. There was only one set of controls on the aircraft, and no access to the pilot's position from the rest of the aircraft. The radio equipment was massive, especially by today's standards, and filled the whole glass canopy to the rear of the pilot. The radios were accessible for repair through a "tunnel" along the right hand side. Any Avengers that are still flying today usually have an additional rear-mounted seat in place of the radios, allowing for a fourth passenger.
The Avenger had a large bomb bay, allowing for one Bliss-Leavitt Mark 13 torpedo, a single 2,000 pound (907 kg) bomb, or up to four 500 pound (227 kg) bombs. The aircraft had overall ruggedness and stability, and pilots say it flew like a truck, for better or worse. With its good radio facilities, docile handling, and long range, the Grumman Avenger also made an ideal command aircraft for Commanders, Air Group (CAGs). With a 30,000 ft (10,000 m) ceiling and a fully loaded range of 1,000 mi (1,610 km), it was better than any previous American torpedo bomber, and better than its Japanese counterpart, the obsolete Nakajima B5N "Kate". Later Avenger models carried radar equipment for the ASW and AEW roles. Although improvements in new types of aviation radar were soon forthcoming from the engineers at MIT and the electronic industry, the available radars in 1943 were very bulky, because they contained vacuum tube technology. Because of this, radar was at first carried only on the roomy TBF Avengers, but not on the smaller and faster fighters.
Escort carrier sailors referred to the TBF as the "turkey" because of its size and maneuverability in comparison to the F4F Wildcat fighters in CVE airgroups.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Douglas A-1H Skyraider

Here are some images of Zoukei-Mura's 1/32 scale Douglas A-1H Skyraider.
This ZM kit pretty much has a complete interior, including some frame work. The problem is one only sees about 5% of it. It's nice to know it's there if one wanted to do a section model.
 Zoukei-Mura make a beautiful kit though they also come with a hefty price tag to match.

From Wikipedia"
The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly AD) was an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the late 1940s and early 1980s. It became a piston-powered, propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed "Spad, after the French World War I fighter. The Skyraider had a remarkably long and successful career, even inspiring its straight-winged, slow-flying, jet-powered successor, the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
It was operated by the United States Navy (USN), the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the United States Air Force (USAF), and also saw service with the British Royal Navy, the French Air Force, the Air Force of the Republic of Vietnam (VNAF), and others.

The piston-engined Skyraider was designed during World War II to meet U.S. Naval requirements for a carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber, to follow-on from earlier types such as the Helldiver and Avenger. Designed by Ed Heinemann of the Douglas Aircraft Company, prototypes were ordered on 6 July 1944 as the XBT2D-1. The XBT2D-1 made its first flight on 18 March 1945 and in April 1945, the USN began evaluation of the aircraft at the Naval Air Test Center (NATC). In December 1946, after a designation change to AD-1, delivery of the first production aircraft to a fleet squadron was made to VA-19A.
The AD-1 was built at Douglas' El Segundo plant in Southern California. In his memoir The Lonely Sky, test pilot Bill Bridgeman quotes a production rate of two aircraft per day, describing the routine yet sometimes hazardous work of certifying AD-1s fresh off the assembly line for delivery to the U.S. Navy in 1949 and 1950.

Douglas XBT2D-1 Skyraider prototype.
The low-wing monoplane design started with a Wright R-3350 radial engine, later upgraded several times. Its distinctive feature was large straight wings with seven hard points apiece. These gave the aircraft excellent low-speed maneuverability, and enabled it to carry a large amount of ordnance (more than its own weight in weapons) over a considerable combat radius and loiter time for its size, comparable to much heavier subsonic or supersonic jets. The aircraft was optimized for the ground-attack mission and was armored against ground fire in key locations unlike faster fighters adapted to carry bombs, such as the Vought F4U Corsair or North American P-51 Mustang, which would be retired by U.S. forces before the 1960s.
Shortly after Heinmann began design of the XBT2D-1 a study was issued that showed for every 100 lbs of weight reduction the take-off run was decreased by 8 feet, the combat radius increased by 22 miles and the rate of climb increased by 18 feet. Heinmann immediately had his design engineers begin a program of finding weight saving on the XBT2D-1 design no matter how small. 270 lbs was found by simplifying the fuel system; 200 lbs by eliminating an internal bomb bay and hanging the bombs, drop tanks and rockets from the wings or fuselage; 70 lbs by using a fuselage dive brake; and 100 lbs by using an older tail wheel design. In the end Heinmann and his design engineers found over 1800 lbs of weight savings on the original XBT2D-1 design.
Navy AD series were initially painted in ANA 623 Glossy Sea Blue, but during the 1950s following the Korean War, the color scheme was changed to light gull grey (FS26440) and white (FS27875). Initially using the gray and white Navy pattern, by 1967 the USAF began to paint its Skyraiders in a camouflaged pattern using two shades of green, and one of tan.
Used by the USN over Korea and Vietnam, the A-1 was a primary close air support aircraft for the USAF and VNAF during the Vietnam War. The A-1 was famous for being able to take hits and keep flying. There was added armor plating around the cockpit area for added pilot protection. It was replaced beginning in the mid-1960s by the Grumman A-6 Intruder as the Navy's primary medium attack plane in supercarrier-based air wings; however Skyraiders continued to operate from the smaller Essex class carriers.
The Skyraider went through seven versions, starting with the AD-1, then AD-2 and AD-3 with various minor improvements, then the AD-4 with a more powerful R-3350-26WA engine. The AD-5 was significantly widened, allowing two crew to sit side-by-side (this was not the first multiple-crew variant, the AD-1Q being a two-seater and the AD-3N a three-seater); it also came in a four-seat night-attack version, the AD-5N. The AD-6 was an improved AD-4B with improved low-level bombing equipment, and the final production version AD-7 was upgraded to a R-3350-26WB engine.
In addition to serving during Korea and Vietnam as an attack aircraft, the Skyraider was modified into a carrier-based airborne early warning aircraft, replacing the Grumman TBM-3W Avenger. It served in this function in the USN and Royal Navy, being replaced by the Grumman E-1 Tracer and Fairey Gannet respectively in those services.
Skyraider production ended in 1957 with a total of 3,180 built. In 1962, the existing Skyraiders were redesignated A-1D through A-1J and later used by both the USAF and the Navy in the Vietnam War.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Little Boy And Fat Man

Here are some images of Monogram's 1/48 scale atomic bombs Little Boy and Fat Man.
These little models came with Monogram's 1/48 scale B 29 Superfortress kit.

From Wikipedia"
"Little Boy" was the codename for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets of the 393rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, of the United States Army Air Forces. It was the first atomic bomb to be used as a weapon. The second, the "Fat Man", was dropped three days later on Nagasaki.
The weapon was developed by the Manhattan Project during World War II. It derived its explosive power from the nuclear fission of uranium 235. The Hiroshima bombing was the second artificial nuclear explosion in history, after the Trinity test, and the first uranium-based detonation. Approximately 600 to 860 milligrams of matter in the bomb was converted into the active energy of heat and radiation (see mass-energy equivalence for detail). It exploded with an energy of 16 kilotons of TNT (67 TJ). It has been estimated that 130,000 to 150,000 people had died as a result of its use by the end of December 1945. Its design was not tested in advance, unlike the more complex plutonium bomb (Fat Man). The available supply of enriched uranium was very small at that time, and it was thought that the simple design of a uranium "gun" type bomb was so sure to work that there was no need to test it at full scale.

"Fat Man" was the codename for the atomic bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan, by the United States on August 9, 1945. It was the second of two nuclear weapons to be used in warfare to date (the other being "Little Boy"), and its detonation caused the third man-made nuclear explosion. The name also refers more generically to the early nuclear weapon designs of U.S. weapons based on the "Fat Man" model. It was an implosion-type weapon with a plutonium core, similar to "GADGET", the experimental device "detonated only a month earlieron 16 July at Alamagordo Air Base, New Mexico. "Fat Man" was possibly named after Winston Churchill, though Robert Serber said in his memoirs that as the "Fat Man" bomb was round and fat, he named it after Sydney Greenstreet's character of "Kasper Gutman" in The Maltese Falcon.
The original target for the bomb was the city of Kokura, but obscuring clouds necessitated changing course to the alternative target, Nagasaki. "Fat Man" was dropped from the B-29 bomber Bockscar, piloted by Major Charles Sweeney of the 393d Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, and exploded at 11:02 AM (JST), at an altitude of about 1,650 feet (500 m), with a yield of about 21 kilotons of TNT or 88 terajoules. The Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works, the factory that manufactured the type 91 torpedoes released in the attack on Pearl Harbor, was destroyed in the blast. Because of poor visibility due to cloud cover, the bomb missed its intended detonation point, and damage was somewhat less extensive than that in Hiroshima. An estimated 39,000 people were killed outright by the bombing at Nagasaki, and a further 25,000 were injured. Thousands more died later from related blast and burn injuries, and hundreds more from radiation illnesses from exposure to the bomb's initial radiation. The bombing raid on Nagasaki had the third highest fatality rate in World War II after the nuclear strike on Hiroshima and the March 9/10 1945 Operation Meetinghouse fire bombing raid on Tokyo.

 The names for all three atomic bomb design projects during WW II ("Fat Man", "Thin Man", and "Little Boy") were allegedly created by Robert Serber, a former student of Los Alamos director Robert Oppenheimer who worked on the project, according to Serber. According to his later memoirs, he chose them based on their design shapes; the "Thin Man" would be a very long device, and the name came from the Dashiell Hammett detective novel and series of movies by the same name; the "Fat Man" bomb would be round and fat and was named after Sidney Greenstreet's "Kasper Gutman" character in The Maltese Falcon. "Little Boy" would come last and be named only to contrast to the "Thin Man" bomb. The original "Thin Man" had been expected to be as long as 17 feet, but when it was discovered that U-235 would require a slower projectile speed than first measurements had indicated, it was realized that the gun-design could be shortened to 6 feet, and this design was named "Little Boy" in contrast. However, in his memoirs, Paul Tibbets, commander of the 509th Composite Group said the code names were part of an Air Force cover story. According to Tibbets, Project Silverplate, the Air Force program to modify the B-29 to carry atomic bombs, was given the cover story of modifying the B-29 into a passenger plane. One plane was allegedly for the use of Winston Churchill, 'the fat man', and the other for Franklin Roosevelt, 'the thin man.'

Sunday, December 9, 2012

3 Years

Well, it's been about 3 years since I've started this blog and I must say things are coming along nicely, thanks to you my beloved readers.
So on that note I give you a big hardy cheer, a Hazzah!!!, and a thank you.
Here's to more great years to come. May they be as wonderful as the last three.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Volkswagen Kübelwagen

Here are some images of Tamiya's 1/16 scale Type 82 Volkswagen Kubelwagen.
This is a new post of a model I posted a couple of years ago.

From Wikipedia"

The Volkswagen Kübelwagen (literally translated as "tub truck", for its resemblance to a metal bathtub on wheels ) was a light military vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen during World War II for use by the German military (both Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS). Based heavily on the Volkswagen Beetle, it was prototyped as the Type 62, but eventually became known internally as the Type 82.
With its rolling chassis and mechanics built at Stadt des KdF-Wagens (renamed Wolfsburg after 1945), and its body built by US-owned firm Ambi Budd Presswerke in Berlin, the Kübelwagen was for the Germans what the jeep was for the Allies, and in fact the Kübelwagen was the inspiration for the July 1940-dated concept of the Allies' Jeep vehicle to begin with, with Jeep prototypes coming from American Bantam, Ford Motor Company and Willys-Overland by the end of 1940.

Although Adolf Hitler discussed with Ferdinand Porsche the possibility of military application of the Volkswagen as early as April 1934, it was not until January 1938, that high-ranking Third Reich army officials formally approached Porsche about designing an inexpensive, light-weight military transport vehicle that could be operated reliably both on- and off-road in even the most extreme conditions, suggesting that the Beetle could provide the basis for such a vehicle.
Porsche began work on the project immediately, having a prototype of the vehicle ready within the month, but realized during development that it would not be enough to reinforce the Beetle's chassis to handle the stresses that military use would put on it. In order to guarantee adequate off-road performance of a two-wheel-drive vehicle with a 1,000 cc FMCV 1 engine, it would have to be lightweight. In fact, the army had stipulated a laden weight of 950 kg (2,100 lb) including four battle-dressed troops, which meant that the vehicle itself should not weigh more than 550 kg (1,200 lb). Porsche therefore sub-contracted Trutz, an experienced military coachbuilder to help out with the body design.
Developmental testing by the military began after a presentation of the prototypes designated as Type 62 in November 1938. Despite lacking four wheel drive, a mainstay of the American military Jeeps, the vehicle proved very competent at maneuvering its way over rough terrain, even in a direct comparison with a contemporary standard German army 4×4, and the project was given the green light for further development. The vehicle's light weight and ZF self-locking differential compensated for the lack of 4×4 capabilities.
Further development of the Type 62 took place during 1939, including a more angular body design; and pre-production models were field-tested in the invasion of Poland that started in September that year. Despite their overall satisfaction with the vehicle's performance, military commanders demanded that a few important changes be made: the lowest speed of the vehicle had to be reduced from 8 km/h (5.0 mph) to 4 km/h (2.5 mph) as an adjustment to the pace of marching soldiers. Secondly it needed some improvement of its off road ability. Porsche responded to both requests by mounting new axles with gear-reduction hubs, providing the car with more torque and more ground-clearance all at once. Revised dampers, 41 cm (16 in) wheels and a limited slip differential, as well as countless small modifications completed the specification. In order to reflect the changes, the vehicle was renamed Type 82.
Full scale production of the Type 82 Kübelwagen started in February 1940, as soon as the VW factories had become operational. No major changes took place until production ended in 1945, only small modifications were implemented—mostly eliminating unnecessary parts and reinforcing some which had proved unequal to the task. Prototype versions were assembled with four-wheel-drive (Type 86) and different engines, but none offered a significant increase in performance or capability over the existing Type 82 and the designs were never implemented. As of March 1943, the car received a revised dash and the bigger 1,131 cc engine developed for the Schwimmwagen that produced more torque and power than the original 985 cc unit. When Volkswagen production ceased at the end of the war, 50,435 Kübelwagen vehicles had been produced and the vehicle had proven itself to be surprisingly useful, reliable, and durable.
VW resurrected the basic Kübelwagen design several decades after the war as the 1969 Type 181, developed for the German Federal Armed Forces and later also produced for the civilian market known as "Thing" in the US, "Trekker" in the UK and "Safari" in Mexico. Although similar in looks and design, almost no parts were interchangeable with the Type 82.

When the German military took delivery of the first vehicles, they immediately put them to the test on- and off-road in snow and ice to test their capability at handling European winters; several four-wheel-drive vehicles were used as reference points. The two-wheel-drive Kübelwagen surprised even those who had been a part of its development, as it handily out-performed the other vehicles in nearly every test. Most notably—thanks to its smooth, flat underbody—the Kübel would propel itself much like a motorised sled when its wheels were sinking into sand, snow or mud, allowing it to follow tracked vehicles with remarkable tenacity.
In November 1943, the U.S. military conducted a series of tests as well on several Type 82s they had captured in North Africa; they concluded that the vehicle was simpler, easier to manufacture and maintain, faster, and more comfortable for four passengers than the U.S. Jeeps. This statement is at odds with U.S. War Department Technical Manual TM-E 30-451, Handbook on German Military Forces, dated 15 March 1945. In this manual (p. 416), it states "The Volkswagen, the German equivalent of the U.S. "Jeep", is inferior in every way except in the comfort of its seating accommodations."

VW Type 82 with engine visible in Sicily (1943).
At the same time, another Kübelwagen also captured in North Africa had been dissected in Britain by engineers of the Humber Car Company, whose report was equally unfavourable and dismissive.
Among the design features that contributed to the Kübelwagen's performance were:

  • Light weight—although some 41 cm (16 in) longer than the Willys MB, it was over 300 kg (660 lb) lighter
  • Very flat and smooth underbody, that allowed the car to slide over the surface it was traversing
  • Considerable ground clearance—roughly 28 cm (11 in), in part thanks to:
    • The use of portal gear hub reduction, providing more torque and ride height simultaneously
    • Independent suspension on all four wheels
    • Self-locking differential, limiting slippage and retaining traction.
Apart from that the air-cooled engine proved highly tolerant of hot and cold climates, and less vulnerable to bullets due to the absence of a radiator. For starting under winter conditions, a specially volatile starting fuel was required, contained in a small auxiliary fuel tank.
As the body was not a load-bearing part of the structure of the vehicle, it could easily be modified to special purposes.
The Kübelwagen could reach a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).