Monday, August 26, 2013
Thanks to my friend Diego (Check out his most excellent web page when you get the chance) he has been able to locate photographs of the original Catalan ship model from a web site called "Maresme Medieval". The article however is in Catalan so you may have to use Google Translate if you wish to read it.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
The Project 941 or Akula, Russian "Акула" ("Shark") class submarine (NATO reporting name: Typhoon) is a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine deployed by the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. With a submerged displacement of 48,000 tons, the Typhoons are the largest class of submarine ever built, large enough to accommodate decent living facilities for the crew when submerged for months on end. The source of the NATO reporting name remains unclear, although it is often claimed to be related to the use of the word "typhoon" ("тайфун") by Leonid Brezhnev in a 1974 speech while describing a new type of nuclear ballistic missile submarine. Soviet doctrine for these vessels was to patrol under the Arctic ice cap and surface to launch SLBMs, avoiding the need to transit the GIUK gap and remaining safe from the enemy attack submarines and anti-submarine forces. Technically, Typhoons were also able to deploy their long-range nuclear missiles while moored at their docks. The Russian Navy canceled its Typhoon modernization program in March 2012, stating that modernizing one Typhoon would be as expensive as building two new Borei-class submarines. With the announcement that Russia has eliminated the last SS-N-20 Sturgeon SLBMs in September 2012, the remaining Typhoons have reached the end of service.
Typhoon submarines are among the quietest Russian sea vessels in operation, being quieter and yet more maneuverable than their predecessors. Besides their missile armament, the Typhoon class features six torpedo tubes; all of which are designed to handle RPK-2 (SS-N-15) missiles or Type 53 torpedoes. A Typhoon-class submarine can stay submerged for periods up to 120 days in normal conditions, and potentially more if deemed necessary (e.g., in the case of a nuclear war). Their primary weapons system is composed of 20 R-39 (NATO: SS-N-20) ballistic missiles (SLBM) with a maximum of 10 MIRV nuclear warheads each.
Typhoon-class submarines feature multiple pressure hulls that simplify internal design while making the vessel much wider than a normal submarine. In the main body of the sub, two Delta class pressure hulls lie parallel with a third, smaller pressure hull above them (which protrudes just below the sail), and two other pressure hulls for torpedoes and steering gear. This also greatly increases their survivability - even if one pressure hull is breached, the crew members in the other are safe and there is less potential for flooding.
The Typhoon class was developed under Project 941 as the Russian ''Akula'' class (Акула), meaning shark. It is sometimes confused with other submarines, as Akula is the name NATO uses to designate the Russian Project 971 Shchuka-B (Щука-Б) class attack submarines. The project was developed with the objective to match the SLBM armament of Ohio-class submarines, capable of carrying 192 nuclear warheads, 100 kt each. However, at the time, state-of-the-art Soviet SLBMs were substantially larger and heavier than their American counterparts (the R-39 is more than two times heavier than the Trident I; it remains the heaviest SLBM in service worldwide). The submarine had to be scaled accordingly.
Six Typhoon-class submarines were built. Originally, the submarines were designated by hull numbers only. Names were later assigned to the four vessels retained by the Russian Navy, which were sponsored by either a city or company. The construction order for an additional vessel (hull number TK-210) was canceled and never completed. Only the first of these submarines to be constructed, the Dmitriy Donskoy, is still in active service with the Russian Navy, serving as a test platform for the Bulava (SS-NX-32) missile which is currently under development. The Arkhangelsk (TK-17) and Severstal (TK-20) remain commissioned, though not currently active with the Russian fleet. All the R-39 missiles have been retired. The Typhoons are slated to be replaced by the Borei class starting in 2010-11.
In late December 2008, a senior Navy official announced that the two Typhoon-class submarines, the TK-17 and TK-20, that are in reserve would not be rearmed with the new Bulava SLBM missile system. They could however be modified to carry cruise missiles or to lay mines, or could be used in special operations. In late June 2009, the Navy Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky told reporters that the two submarines would be reserved for possible future repairs and modernization. In May 2010, the Navy Commander-in-Chief reported that Russia's Typhoon-class submarines would remain in service with the Navy until 2019. In September 2011, the Russian defense ministry decided to write off all Project 941 Akula nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines until 2014. The reason for decommission of the world's largest submarines are restrictions imposed on Russia by the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and successful trials of new Borei-class submarine. However, according to other sources at the Russian defence ministry, no such decision has been made; in that case, the submarines would remain with the Russian Navy., Submarines TK-17 Arhangelsk and TK-20 Severstal will not be modernized as platforms for cruise missiles, but they will be kept in service with their previous armament, R-39 missiles.
In 2013, the State-Run RIA Novosti news has announced that the Navy will scrap two Typhoons beginning 2018. They will be the TK-17 and TK-20.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
The first thing I noticed when I first opened the box was that it was quite literally packed to the top with parts. The next was the beautiful detail of these parts. However in keeping with Dragon's fine tradition with supplying their beautiful model kits with the worst possible instructions ever created by man or beast this kit did not disappoint. If Dragon models ever sees this I would like to ask them. How is it that you put all this effort in producing some of the finest kits in the world yet are a complete dismal failure when it comes to instructions? All these instructions show are pictures of the completed model with arrows pointing to parts with a number indicator, and some of those numbers are wrong. As for assembly procedure and in what order sorry but you're on your own. Thankfully though they at least had the courtesy to supply a tree parts diagram. One notices that when the model is finished you're left with a lot of unused parts. I suspect these parts must be for a 1/6 scale Kubelwagen. That being said once you've struggled through its building you are left with one hell of a model. A real head turner. The mother of all Schwimmwagen kits.
The VW Type 128 and 166 Schwimmwagen (literally Floating / Swimming Car) were amphibious four-wheel drive off-roaders, used extensively by the German Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS during the Second World War. The Type 166 is the most numerous mass-produced amphibious car in history.
Volkswagen Schwimmwagens used the engine and mechanicals of the VW Type 86 four-wheel drive prototype of the Kübelwagen and the Type 87 four-wheel drive 'Kübel/Beetle' Command Car, which in turn were based on the platform of the civilian Volkswagen Beetle. Erwin Komenda, Ferdinand Porsche's first car body designer, was forced to develop an all-new unitized bodytub structure since the flat floorpan chassis of the existing VW vehicles was unsuited to smooth movement through water. Komenda patented his ideas for the swimming car at the German Patent office.
The earliest Type 128 prototype was based on the full-length Kübelwagen chassis with a 240 cm (7.9 ft) wheelbase. Pre-production units of the 128, fitted with custom welded bodytubs, demonstrated that this construction was too weak for tough off-roading, had insufficient torsional rigidity, and easily suffered hull-ruptures at the front cross-member, as well as in the wheel-wells. This was unacceptable for an amphibious vehicle. The large-scale production models (Type 166) were therefore made smaller, and had a wheel-base of only 200 cm (6.6 ft).
VW Schwimmwagens were produced by the Volkswagen factory at Fallersleben / Wolfsburg and Porsche's facilities in Stuttgart; with the bodies (or rather hulls) produced by Ambi Budd in Berlin. 15,584 Type 166 Schwimmwagen cars were produced from 1941 through 1944; 14,276 at Fallersleben and 1,308 by Porsche. Given these numbers, the VW 166 is the most mass-produced amphibious car in history. Only 163 are known by the Schwimmwagen Registry to remain today, and only 13 have survived without restoration work.
All Schwimmwagen were four wheel drive only on first gear (and reverse gears with some models) and had ZF self-locking differentials on both front and rear axles. Just like the Kübelwagen, the Schwimmwagen had portal gear rear hubs that gave better ground clearance, while at the same time reducing drive-line torque stresses with their gear reduction at the wheels.
When crossing water a screw propeller could be lowered down from the rear deck engine cover. When in place a simple coupling provided drive straight from an extension of the engine's crankshaft. This meant that screw propulsion was only available going forward. For reversing in the water there was the choice of using the standard equipment paddle or running the land drive in reverse, allowing the wheel-rotation to slowly take the vehicle back. The front wheels doubled up as rudders, so steering was done with the steering wheel both on land and on water.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Type VIIC/41 was a slightly modified version of the VIIC and had the same armament and engines. The difference was a stronger pressure hull giving them a deeper test depth and lighter machinery to compensate for the added steel in the hull, making them slightly lighter than the VIIC. A total of 91 were built; all of them from U-1271 onwards lacked the fittings to handle mines.
Today one Type VIIC/41 still exists: U-995 is on display at Laboe (north of Kiel), the only surviving Type VII in the world.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Type VII U-boats were the most common type of German World War II U-boat. The Type VII was based on earlier German submarine designs going back to the World War I Type UB III, designed through the Dutch dummy company Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag (I.v.S) which was set up by Germany after World War I in order to maintain and develop German submarine technology and to circumvent the limitations set by the Treaty of Versailles, and was built by shipyards around the world. The Finnish Vetehinen class and Spanish Type E-1 also provided some of the basis for the Type VII design. These designs led to the Type VII along with Type I, the latter being built in AG Weser shipyard in Bremen, Germany. The production of Type I was cut down only after two boats; the reasons for this are not certain and range from political decisions to faults of the type. The design of the Type I was further used in the development of the Type VII and Type IX. Type VII submarines were the most widely used U-boats of the war and were the most produced submarine class in history, with 703 built. The type had several modifications.
The Type VII was the most numerous U-boat type to be involved in the Battle of the Atlantic.
The Type VIIC was the workhorse of the German U-boat force, with 568 commissioned from 1940 to 1945. The first VIIC boat commissioned was the U-69 in 1940. The Type VIIC was an effective fighting machine and was seen almost everywhere U-boats operated, although its range of only 6,500 nautical miles was not as great as that of the larger Type IX (11,000 nautical miles), severely limiting the time it could spend in the far reaches of the western and southern Atlantic without refueling from a tender or U-boat tanker. The VIIC came into service toward the end of the first "Happy Time" near the beginning of the war and was still the most numerous type in service when Allied anti-submarine efforts finally defeated the U-boat campaign in late 1943 and 1944.
Type VIIC differed from the VIIB only in the addition of an active sonar and a few minor mechanical improvements, making it 2 feet longer and 8 tons heavier. Speed and range were essentially the same. Many of these boats were fitted with snorkels in 1944 and 1945.
They had the same torpedo tube arrangement as their predecessors, except for U-72, U-78, U-80, U-554, and U-555, which had only two bow tubes, and for U-203, U-331, U-351, U-401, U-431, and U-651, which had no stern tube.
On the surface the boats (except for U-88, U-90 and U-132 to U-136 which used MAN M6V40/46s) were propelled by two supercharged Germaniawerft, 6 cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesels totaling 2,800 to 3,200 hp (2,100 to 2,400 kW) at 470 to 490 rpm.
For submerged propulsion, several different electric motors were used. Early models used the VIIB configuration of two AEG GU 460/8-276 electric motors, totaling 750 hp (560 kW) with a max rpm of 296, while newer boats used two BBC (Brown Boveri & Co) GG UB 720/8, two GL (Garbe Lahmeyer) RP 137/c electric motors or two SSW (Siemens-Schuckert-Werke) GU 343/38-8 electric motors with the same power output as the AEG motors.
Perhaps the most famous VIIC boat was U-96, featured in the movie Das Boot.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
At such a cheap price this was a fun model to build however my one major complaint is that the actual 1914 racer had wire spoked wheels not the wooden spoked wheels we see here. It is obvious that these wheels are from the 1914 Stutz racer kit.
Extra things I added to this kit were leather belts, wooden floor panellings, fuel lines and of coarse plenty of mud.
Fitted with a Daimler aero-engine, these cars were notorious for producing unusually high RPM's and therefore placing strenuous demands on both car and driver. Typical of MB even to this day, the 1914 era cars dominated the venues in which they competed. The Daimler team won first, second and third place in the French Grand Prix of 1914 in Lyon. Christian Launtenschlager, Louis Wagner and Otto Salzer swept the field with an average speed of 105.15 km/h (65.34 mph).
Ralph DePalma piloted a similar car to win the fifth Indianapolis 500 in 1915. He qualified 2nd on the grid with a speed of 158.65 km/h (98.580 mph) and held off Dario Resta in a Peugeot and Gil Anderson in a Stutz to lead 132 of the 200 laps.
A big thanks to Mr. Jerry Hogan for supplying the Trieste II decal. It's a great addition to this representation of such a famous craft.
Trieste II (DSV-1) was the successor to Trieste — the United States Navy's first bathyscaphe purchased from its Swiss designers. The original Trieste design was heavily modified by the Naval Electronics Laboratory in San Diego, California and built at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Trieste II incorporated the original Terni, Italian-built sphere used in Trieste, after it was made redundant by the new high-pressure sphere cast by the German Krupp Steelworks. The Trieste sphere was suspended from an entirely new float, more seaworthy and streamlined than the original but operating on identical principles. Completed in early 1964, Trieste II was placed on board USNS Francis X. McGraw (T-AK241) and shipped, via the Panama Canal, to Boston.
Commanded by Lt Comdr. John B. Mooney, Jr., with co-pilot Lt. John H. Howland and Capt. Frank Andrews, Trieste II conducted dives in the vicinity of the loss site of Thresher — operations commenced by the first Trieste the year before. She recovered bits of wreckage, positively fixing the remains as that of the lost Thresher, in September 1964.
Between September 1965 and May 1966, Trieste II again underwent extensive modification and conversion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, but there is no clear record that she was ever operated in that new configuration, i.e., the addition of skegs or outriggers on both sides of the sphere.
During that same time period work was under way on a third configuration of the bathyscaphe. This work resulted in yet a new appearance for the Trieste II, and included the installation of a new pressure sphere, designed for operation to 20,000 feet (6,100 m).
As the bathyscaphe continued her operations as test vehicle for the deep submergence program, she qualified four officers as "hydronauts" — the beginning of a burgeoning oceanographic operation. Trieste II's valuable experience in deep submergence operations has helped in the design and construction of other deep-diving submersibles which could be used in rescuing crews and recovering objects from submarines in distress below levels reachable by conventional methods.
This unique craft was listed only as "equipment" in the Navy inventory until the autumn of 1969. On 1 September 1969, Trieste II was placed in service, with the hull number X-1. Reclassified as a deep submergence vehicle (DSV) on 1 June 1971, Trieste II (DSV-1) continued her active service in the Pacific Fleet into 1980.
The Trieste class DSV were replaced by the Alvin class DSV, as exemplified by the famous Alvin (DSV-2). The Alvins are more capable, more maneuverable, less fragile, but also can not dive as deep, reaching only a maximum of 20,000 feet (for the Sea Cliff (DSV-4)).
Trieste II is now preserved as a museum ship at the Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, Washington.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The Boeing P-26 Peashooter was the first American all-metal production fighter aircraft and the first pursuit monoplane used by the United States Army Air Corps. Designed and built by Boeing; the prototype first flew in 1932, and the type was still in use with the U.S. Army Air Corps as late as 1941 in the Philippines.
The project, funded by Boeing, to produce the Boeing Model 248 began in September 1931, with the Army Air Corps supplying the engines and the instruments. The design, which included an open cockpit, fixed landing gear and externally braced wings, was the last such design procured by the USAAC as a fighter aircraft. The Model 248 had a high landing speed, which caused a number of accidents. To remedy this, flaps were fitted to reduce the landing speed. The Army Air Corps ordered three prototypes, designated XP-936, with the first flight on 20 March 1932.
The Boeing XP-936 was still tricky to land; sometimes, because of the short nose, it tended to roll onto its back and would flip forward, injuring a number of pilots. The prototype's unarmored headrest offered virtually no protection in such instances. As a result, production Model 266s ("P-26A"s) had a taller, armored headrest installed.
Two fighters were completed as the "P-26B" with a fuel-injected Pratt & Whitney R-1340-33 engine. These were followed by 23 "P-26C"s, with carburated R-1340-33s and modified fuel systems. Both the Spanish Air Force (one aircraft) and the Chinese Air Force (eleven aircraft) ordered examples of the Model 281 version of the P-26C in 1936.
The diminutive "Peashooter", as it became affectionately known by service pilots, was faster than previous American combat aircraft. Nonetheless, due to the rapid progress in aviation design in the 1930s, its design was to quickly become an anachronism, with its wire-braced wings, fixed landing gear and open cockpit representing outdated design features. The Curtiss P-36, Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Hawker Hurricane, with enclosed cockpits, retractable landing gear and monocoque wings, all flew for the first time in 1935, just three years later than the P-26. However, the P-26 was easy to fly, and it remained in service until the U.S. entered World War II.
The first Boeing P-26 to experience major combat operation was the Chinese Model 281. On 15 August 1937, eight P-26/281s from the Chinese Air Force 3rd Pursuit Group, 17th Squadron, based at Chuyung airfield, engaged eight out of 20 Mitsubishi G3M Nell medium bombers from the Kisarazu Air Group sent to attack Nanking. The Chinese Boeing fighters helped shoot down two of the four Japanese bombers destroyed that day without suffering any losses. Subsequent engagements between the Chinese Peashooter pilots and pilots of the Imperial Japanese Navy flying the Mitsubishi A5M "Claudes" were the first aerial dogfights and kills between all-metal monoplane fighter aircraft. A single P-26 was in service with the Spanish Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939, but no aerial kills were recorded with this fighter aircraft. It was shot down in 1936.
By December 1941, U.S. fighter strength in the Philippines included 28 P-26s, 12 of which were operational with the 6th Pursuit Squadron of the Philippine Army Air Corps. Filipino-flown P-26s claimed one G3M and two or three Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeros before the last of the P-26s were burned by their crews on 24 December 1941.
Only nine P-26s remained airworthy, serving in the Panama Canal Zone. In 1942–43, the Fuerza Aérea de Guatemala acquired seven P-26s ostensibly by the U.S. government smuggling them in as "Boeing PT-26A" trainers to get around restrictions of sales to Latin American countries. The last two P-26s in service were still flying with Guatemala's Air Force until 1956, when they were replaced with P-51 Mustangs. The P-26's last combat operation was with the Guatemalan Air Force during a coup in 1954.
The P-26 was the last Boeing Company fighter aircraft to enter service until Boeing acquired McDonnell-Douglas with production and continuing support contracts for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 2002. Between those aircraft, Boeing did produce the experimental XF8B in 1944 as well as the prototype YF-22 in 1991.
Monday, August 19, 2013
This is one of the best kits I have seen in a long time. The detail is amazing plus there are lots of moving parts and removable panels. It even comes with a lighting pack.
What I found interesting is the lack of glue that was required in assembling such a complex kit.
It also comes with one of the most complex display stands I've seen.
However this kit isn't cheap. It retails at around $100 CDN.
The Shinkai 6500 (しんかい) is a manned research submersible that can dive up to a depth of 6,500 m. It was completed in 1990 and has the greatest depth range of any manned research vehicle in the world. The only manned expedition to have gone deeper was the dive of the Trieste bathyscaphe in 1960. However, the vessel could not navigate along the bottom of the sea bed. The Shinkai 6500 is owned and run by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and it is launched from the support vessel Yokosuka.
Two pilots and one researcher operate within a 73.5 mm thick titanium pressure hull with an internal diameter of 2.0 m. Buoyancy is provided by syntactic foam.
Three 14 cm methacrylate resin view ports are arranged at the front and on each side of the vehicle.