Thursday, March 27, 2014

North American P-51 B Mustang II

Here are some images of Trumpeter's 1/32 scale North American P-51 B mustang II.

From Wikipedia"

The two XP-51Bs were a more thorough conversion than the Mustang X, with a tailor-made engine installation and a complete redesign of the radiator duct. The airframe itself was strengthened, with the fuselage and engine mount area receiving more formers because of the greater weight of the Packard V-1650-3, 1,690 lb (770 kg), compared with the Allison V-1710's 1,335 lb (606 kg). The engine cowling was completely redesigned to house the Packard Merlin, which, because of the intercooler radiator mounted on the supercharger casing, was 5 in (130 mm) taller and used an updraught induction system, rather than the downdraught carburetor of the Allison.[17] The new engine drove a four-bladed 11 ft 2 in (3.40 m) diameter Hamilton Standard propeller that featured cuffs of hard molded rubber. To cater for the increased cooling requirements of the Merlin, a new fuselage duct was designed. This housed a larger radiator, which incorporated a section for the supercharger coolant, and, forward of this and slightly lower, an oil cooler was housed in a secondary duct which drew air through the main opening and exhausted via a separate exit flap.
A "duct rumble" heard by pilots in flight in the prototype P-51B resulted in a full-scale wind-tunnel test at NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory. This was carried out by inserting the airplane, with the outer wing panels removed, into the 16-foot wind tunnel. A test engineer would sit in the cockpit with the wind tunnel running and listen for the duct rumble. It was eventually found that the rumble could be eliminated by increasing the gap between the lower surface of the wing and the upper lip of the cooling system duct from 1 inch to 2 inches. The conclusion was that part of the boundary layer on the lower surface of the wing was being ingested into the inlet and separating, causing the radiator to vibrate and producing the rumble. The inlet that went into production on the P-51B was lowered even further to give a separation of 2.63 inches from the bottom of the wing. In addition, the shelf that extended above the oil cooler face was removed and the inlet highlight was swept back.
N3B reflector gunsight with A-1 head assembly.
It was decided that new P-51B (NA-102) would continue with the four wing-mounted .50 in (12.7 mm) M2/AN Browning machine guns (with 350 rpg for the inboard guns and 280 rpg for the outboard) first used in the P-51A, while the bomb rack/external drop tank installation was adapted from the A-36 Apache; the racks were rated to be able to carry up to 500 lb (230 kg) of ordnance and were also capable of carrying drop tanks. The weapons were aimed using the electrically illuminated N-3B reflector sight fitted with an A-1 head assembly which allowed it to be used as a gun or bomb sight through varying the angle of the reflector glass. Pilots were also given the option of having ring and bead sights mounted on the top engine cowling formers. This option was discontinued with the later P-51Ds.
The first XP-51B flew on 30 November 1942. Flight tests confirmed the potential of the new fighter, with the service ceiling being raised by 10,000 feet, with the top speed improving by 50 mph at 30,000 ft (9,100 m). American production was started in early 1943 with the P-51B (NA-102) being manufactured at Inglewood, California, and the P-51C (NA-103) at a new plant in Dallas, Texas, which was in operation by summer 1943. The RAF named these models Mustang Mk III. In performance tests, the P-51B reached 441 mph (709.70 km/h) at 30,000 ft (9,100 m). In addition, the extended range made possible by the use of drop tanks enabled the Merlin-powered Mustang to be introduced as a bomber escort with a combat radius of 750 miles using two 75 gal tanks.
The range would be further increased with the introduction of an 85 gal (322 l) self-sealing fuel tank aft of the pilot's seat, starting with the P-51B-5-NA series. When this tank was full, the center of gravity of the Mustang was moved dangerously close to the aft limit. As a result, maneuvers were restricted until the tank was down to about 25 U.S. gal (95 l) and the external tanks had been dropped. Problems with high-speed "porpoising" of the P-51Bs and P-51Cs with the fuselage tanks would lead to the replacement of the fabric-covered elevators with metal-covered surfaces and a reduction of the tailplane incidence.With the fuselage and wing tanks, plus two 75 gal drop tanks, the combat radius was now 880 miles.

P-51C of 311 FG, China, July 1945, shows the dorsal fin fillet which was fitted to help counter control problems experienced when the fuselage fuel tank was fitted.
Despite these modifications, the P-51Bs and P-51Cs, and the newer P-51Ds and P-51Ks, experienced low-speed handling problems that could result in an involuntary "snap-roll" under certain conditions of air speed, angle of attack, gross weight, and center of gravity. Several crash reports tell of P-51Bs and P-51Cs crashing because horizontal stabilizers were torn off during maneuvering. As a result of these problems, a modification kit consisting of a dorsal fin was manufactured. One report stated:
"Unless a dorsal fin is installed on the P-51B, P-51C and P-51D airplanes, a snap roll may result when attempting a slow roll. The horizontal stabilizer will not withstand the effects of a snap roll. To prevent recurrence, the stabilizer should be reinforced in accordance with T.O. 01-60J-18 dated 8 April 1944 and a dorsal fin should be installed. Dorsal fin kits are being made available to overseas activities"
The dorsal fin kits became available in August 1944, and were fitted to P-51Bs and P-51Cs, and to P-51Ds and P-51Ks. Also incorporated was a change to the rudder trim tabs, which would help prevent the pilot over-controlling the aircraft and creating heavy loads on the tail unit.
One of the few remaining complaints with the Merlin-powered aircraft was a poor rearward view. The canopy structure, which was the same as the Allison-engined Mustangs, was made up of flat, framed panels; the pilot gained access, or exited the cockpit by lowering the port side panel and raising the top panel to the right. The canopy could not be opened in flight and tall pilots especially, were hampered by limited headroom. In order to at least partially improve the view from the Mustang, the British had field-modified some Mustangs with clear, sliding canopies called Malcolm hoods (designed by Robert Malcolm), and whose design had also been adopted by the U.S. Navy's own F4U-1D version of the Corsair in April 1944.

A Malcolm Hood-equipped Mustang Mk III flown by Wing Commander Tadeusz Nowierski, CO of 133 (Polish) Wing, RAF Coolham, July 1944.
The new structure was a frameless plexiglas moulding which ballooned outwards at the top and sides, increasing the headroom and allowing increased visibility to the sides and rear. Because the new structure slid backward on runners, it could be slid open in flight. The aerial mast behind the canopy was replaced by a "whip" aerial which was mounted further aft and offset to the right. Most British Mk IIIs were equipped with Malcolm hoods. Several American service groups "acquired" the necessary conversion kits and some American P-51B/P-51Cs appeared with the new canopy, although the majority continued to use the original framed canopies.
P-51Bs and P-51Cs started to arrive in England in August and October 1943. The P-51B/P-51C versions were sent to 15 fighter groups that were part of the 8th and 9th Air Forces in England and the 12th and 15th in Italy (the southern part of Italy was under Allied control by late 1943). Other deployments included the China Burma India Theater (CBI).
Allied strategists quickly exploited the long-range fighter as a bomber escort. It was largely due to the P-51 that daylight bombing raids deep into German territory became possible without prohibitive bomber losses in late 1943.
A number of the P-51B and P-51C aircraft were fitted for photo reconnaissance and designated F-6C.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Messerschmitt BF 109 G-2

Here are some images of Hasegawa's 1/32 scale Messerschmitt BF 109 G-2 in Slovak Republic markings.

From Wikipedia'
The G-1, produced from February 1942, was the first production version of the G-series and the first production Bf 109 with a pressurized cockpit. It could be identified by the small, horn-shaped air intake for the cockpit compressor just above the supercharger intake, on the left upper cowling. In addition, the angled armour plate for the pilot's head was replaced by a vertical piece which sealed-off the rear of the side-hinged cockpit canopy. Small, triangular armour-glass panels were fitted into the upper corners of this armour, although there were aircraft in which the plate was solid steel. Silica gel capsules were placed in each pane of the windscreen and opening canopy to absorb any moisture which may have been trapped in the double glazing. The last 80 G-1s built were lightweight G-1/R2. In these GM-1 nitrous oxide 'boost' was used, and the pilot's back armour was removed, as were all fittings for the long-range drop tank. A few G-1 flown by I./JG 1 are known to have carried the underwing 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon gondolas.

The G-2, which started production in May 1942, lacked the cabin pressurization and GM-1 installation. Performance-wise it was identical to the G-1. The canopy reverted to one layer of glazing and incorporated the angled head armour used on the F-4, although several G-2 had the vertical type as fitted to the G-1. Several Rüstsätze could be fitted, although installing these did not change the designation of the aircraft. Instead the "/R" suffix referred to the G-2's Rüstzustand[citation needed] or equipment condition of the airframe, which was assigned at the factory rather than in the field. There were two Rüstzustand[ planned for G-2s: 

The Slovak Air Force (Slovenské vzdušné zbrane, or SVZ), between 1939 and 1945, was the air force of the short-lived World War II Slovak Republic. Its mission was to provide air support at fronts, and to protect Bratislava and metropolitan areas against enemy air strikes. These units supported Axis Powers offensives in Ukraine and Russian Central front under the lead of Luftwaffe in the Stalingrad and Caucasus operations.
One of their first air battles was during the Hungarian reoccupation of the Carpatho-Ruthenia area on March 1939 (see Slovak-Hungarian War), in which they suffered some losses against Magyar Királyi Honvéd Légierö (Hungarian Air Force). They also participated in the Polish Campaign on September 1939. For the rest of the war, Slovak A.F. confronted USAAF and RAF during their raids against the country. The engagement in the Eastern Front resulted in great losses of aircraft and personnel.
The symbol of the Slovak air force was a white-blue with red circle cross on tail and wings amongst yellow paint in engine cover and vertical line in fuselage.
The aircraft for training was supplied by Germany and Italy. To defend Slovak air space, the air force used Messerschmitt 109 (E and G types), Avia B-534, and some other interceptor types. It was also helped by Luftwaffe units active in the area.
When Romanians and Russians entered Slovakia, with some captured aircraft and defectors they organized local Insurgent Air Force to continue their fight against Axis forces in country,[citation needed] others served voluntarily in Luftwaffe units; later these air units were integrated to National Air Force after the end of the war.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

North American P-51 D Mustang IV. Ferocious Frankie

Here are some more images of Trumpeter's 1/32 scale P-51 D Mustang IV. Ferocious Frankie was flown by Wallace Hopkins, Captain 374 FS France 1944.

From Upaero"
“Ferocious Frankie”, named in honour of his wife Frankie, coded B7 H of the 374th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group. Wallace Hopkins was born in Washington, Georgia and flew a total of 76 combat missions with the 361st where he flew as Operations Officer. He was an ACE credited with 8 victories and 1.5 damaged. His decorations include the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross both with Oak Leaf Clusters and the French Croix de Guerre, one of four awarded to members of the 361st.

A native of Washington, Georgia, “Hop” Hopkins enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 1939 and a year later entered pilot school. After graduation on July 1941, he flew P-39s, P-40s, and P-47s with the 8th Pursuit Group at Mitchell Field, New York. Reassigned to the 361st Fighter Group in 1943, Major Hopkins was appointed Group Operations Officer and flew P-47D, P-51B, P-51D and P-51K aircraft on bomber escort and ground attack missions from Bottisham and little Walden in England, St Dizier, France and Chievrers, Belguim. Having been promoted to Lt. Col. In 1944, Hopkins was appointed Deputy Group Commander in April1945.

During the Korean War, Col. Hopkins served as Deputy Wing Commander, 8th Fighter Bomber Wing, flying F-80s. He retired on February 1968.

Colonel Wallace E. Hopkins, USAF (Retired), died on 26th April 1992 at the age of 74.

Victory Credits
29th May 1944 2 Fw 190’s destroyed (Air) Vicinity Pitka, Poland
29th June 1944 4 Fw 190’s destroyed (Gnd)
1.5 Fw 109’s damaged (Gnd)
Oschersleben A/D, Germany
8th August 1944 2 Fw 190’s Destroyed (Air) Vicinity Evreux, France

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

M 26 Armored Tank Recovery Vehicle "Dragon Wagon"

Here are some images of Tamiya's 1/35 scale M 26 Armored Tank Recovery Vehicle "Dragon Wagon".

From Wikipedia"
The M25 Tank Transporter was a heavy tank transporter and tank recovery vehicle used in World War II and beyond by the US Army.
Nicknamed the Dragon Wagon, the M25 was composed of a 6x6 armored tractor (M26) and 40-ton trailer (M15).

 In 1942 a new 40 ton semi-trailer tank transporter was required. This was to offer better off-road performance than the M9 24-small-wheel trailer, and greater capacity than the 30 ton 8-large-wheel Shelvoke and Drewry semi-trailers, then in use with the Diamond T tractor unit. This new trailer was designed by the Fruehauf Trailer Company (based in Detroit, MI). A new tractor unit was required, as this heavier trailer was more than the Diamond T could cope with.
The M26 tractor was designed by the San Francisco-based Knuckey Truck Company. When Knuckey's production capacity proved insufficient the Army awarded production to the Pacific Car & Foundry Co. of Seattle, Washington.
Designated TR-1 by Pacific Car, the 12-ton 6x6 M26 tractor was powered by a Hall-Scott 440 1,090 cu in (17.9 L) 6-cylinder gasoline engine developing 240 hp (180 kW) at 2000 rpm and 810 lbf·ft (1,098 N·m) at 1200 rpm. This engine was developed exclusively for the M26, although it was also used to uprate the Diamond T. Some 2,100 Type 440s were built. Baxter notes "over 1,300" M26 and M26A1 being built.
Unusually, the tractor unit was fitted with both an armored cab and two winches with a combined pull of 60 tons. The intention was that as well as hauling the tank transporter semi-trailer, the tractor unit could itself be used for battlefield light recovery work.
A later unarmored version of the M26 tractor was designated the M26A1. An experimental ballast tractor conversion was experimented with by the British FVPE

 The M 26 first saw action in Italy in 1943 and was later used for the allies following the invasion of Normandy. After the war many M 26 tractors were left behind in Europe, some of which were used by the French military.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Here are some images of Dragon Models 1/35 scale Rheinmetall's Self propelled Mortar 60 cm Morser.
 Dragon Models has now re released this kit with the additional rail transporters. I hate it when model kit companies do that. Re release the kit later on with even more features. (In my best John Cleese voice) Makes me maaaaddddd!

From Wikipedia"
"Karl-Gerät" (040/041) (German literally "Karl-device"), also known as Thor and Mörser Karl, was a World War II German self-propelled siege mortar (Mörser) designed and built by Rheinmetall. It was the largest self-propelled weapon to see service. Its heaviest munition was a 60 cm (24 in) diameter, 2,170 kg (4,780 lb) shell, and the range for its lightest shell of 1,250 kg (2,760 lb) was just over 10 km (6.2 mi). Each gun had to be accompanied by a crane, a heavy transport trailer, and several modified tanks to carry shells.
Seven guns were built, of which six saw combat between 1941 and 1945. It was used in attacking the Soviet fortresses of Brest-Litovsk and Sevastopol, bombarded Polish resistance fighters in Warsaw and participated in the Battle of the Bulge and the attacks against the Remagen Bridgehead. Only one exists today; the others were scrapped after the war.
In March 1936 Rheinmetall made a proposal for a super-heavy howitzer to attack the Maginot Line. Their initial concept was for a weapon that would be transported by several tracked vehicles and assembled on site, but the lengthy preparation time drove them to change it to a self-propelled weapon in January 1937. Extensive driving trials took place in 1938 and 1939 using the first Neubaufahrzeug tank prototype and a scale model to investigate the extremely high ground pressure and steering of such an enormous vehicle. Firing trials took place in June 1939. The full-scale driving trials were held at Unterlüss in May 1940. General Karl Becker of the Artillery was involved in the development, from whom the huge weapon gained its nickname.
In total, seven Karl-Geräte howitzers were manufactured. The first six had the nicknames "Adam" (later "Baldur"), "Eva" (later "Wotan"), "Thor", "Odin", "Loki", and "Ziu"; the seventh, the research and test weapon (Versuchs-Gerät), had no name. Delivery of the six production vehicles took place from November 1940 to August 1941.
In February 1941, discussions commenced concerning increasing the range of the weapon, and in May 1942, 54 cm barrels (Gerät 041) were ordered for the six vehicles. At a conference with Adolf Hitler in March 1943 it was stated that the first 54 cm Gerät 041 would be delivered by June 1943, and the third, by mid-August. Only three of the 54 cm barrels were actually completed and they could be mounted on Nr. I, IV, and V, although any vehicle could be converted to use the smaller weapon.
Twenty-two Panzer IV Ausf. D, E and F chassis were modified with a superstructure capable of carrying four shells that replaced the turret and outfitted with a crane as Munitionsschlepper ammunition transporters/loaders. Two or three of these Munitionsschlepper were assigned to each weapon.
 The 124-ton vehicle was propelled by a Daimler-Benz MB 503 A 12-cylinder liquid-cooled gasoline engine or a MB 507 C 12-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel engine, but this was mainly used for aiming (the mount had only 4 degrees of traverse on each side), as the engines provided a top speed of only 10 km/h (6.2 mph). For longer distances the Karl-Gerät was disassembled using a special 35 t (34 long tons; 39 short tons) mobile crane into seven loads. The chassis was loaded onto a six-axle Culemeyer-Strassenroller lowboy trailer. The other parts of the gun were lighter and used four-axle trailers. If the trailer with the chassis on board had to cross a bridge that couldn't carry their combined weight the chassis had to be off-loaded and driven across under its own power. The weapon was moved long distances via rail on a variant of a Schnabel car; the whole chassis was hung between two huge pedestal-mounted swiveling arms fixed to five-axle bogies. When it reached its destination, the weapon was detached from its supporting arms, driven to its intended firing location, then the chassis was lowered to the ground to distribute the recoil forces more evenly in preparation for firing. The Karl-Gerät proved to have no problems moving over normal soil, but under no circumstances was it allowed to make turns on soft soil lest it throw a track. The chassis had to be backed into position to fire, which expedited movement to a new position, but the firing position had to be precisely leveled and the approach route prepared ahead of time to fill in soft spots and any ditches, etc. It could only be loaded at zero elevation, so it had to be re-aimed between every shot.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Queen Mary 2

Here are some images of Revells 1/400 scale Ocean Liner Queen Mary Two. Coming in at 1,132 feet long, 135 wide and at a whopping 148,528 tons makes the QMII the largest ocean liner in the world although there are larger cruise ships. This was a nice and a big model to build. The kit costs around $100 Cdn.

From Wikipedia"
RMS Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She was the first major ocean liner built since Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, the vessel she succeeded as flagship of the Cunard Line.
The ship was named by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 after the first RMS Queen Mary, completed in 1936. Queen Mary was in turn named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. With the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 from active duty in 2008, Queen Mary 2 is currently the only transatlantic ocean liner in operation as a liner (in scheduled service between Southampton and New York ), although the ship is often used for cruising, including an annual world cruise.[6][dead link]
At the time of her construction in 2003 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Queen Mary 2 was the longest, widest and tallest passenger ship ever built, and with her 151,400 gross register tons (GRT), was also the largest. She no longer holds this distinction after the construction of Royal Caribbean International's 154,407 GT Freedom of the Seas in April 2006, which was in turn superseded by the same company's 225,282 GT Oasis of the Seas in October 2009. However, Queen Mary 2 remains the largest ocean liner (as opposed to cruise ship) ever built.
Queen Mary 2 was intended primarily to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and was therefore designed differently from many other passenger ships. The ship's final cost was approximately $300,000 US per berth, nearly double that of many contemporary cruise ships. This was due to the size of the ship, the high quality of materials, and that, having been designed as an ocean liner, she required 40% more steel than a standard cruise ship. She has a maximum speed of just over 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) and a cruising speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph), much faster than contemporary cruise ships, such as Oasis of the Seas, which has a top speed of 22.6 knots (41.9 km/h; 26.0 mph). Instead of the diesel-electric configuration found on many ships, Queen Mary 2 uses a CODLAG configuration (Combined diesel-electric and gas) in order to achieve her maximum speed. This uses additional gas turbines to augment the power given by the diesel generators onboard, and allow the ship to reach a higher maximum speed.
Queen Mary 2's facilities include fifteen restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, and the first planetarium at sea. There are also kennels onboard, as well as a nursery. Queen Mary 2 is one of the few ships afloat today to have remnants of a class system onboard, most prominently seen in her dining options.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Space 1999 "The Alien"

Here are some images of MPC/Round 2 1/25 scale Space 1999 "The Alien".
Let's see, where does one begin?
This vehicle has never appeared on "Space 1999" in any way, shape, or form.
This model is actually a George Barris design that was originally called the "Moon Scope".
However MPC  in their infinite wisdom decided to revamp the kit with the addition of a few extra tiddly bits, plus a space suited figure with base. MPC probably did this to bulk up their Space 1999 kits which was quite popular at the time, and they most likely felt that the real buggy used in the show was to boring to make a kit out of.
I decided to revamp the model with an open hood, as I couldn't see any other logical way to gain entry into the vehicle. I also created some seat belts for the vehicle as well.
I also built the wheels in such a way as to have small wheels on the front and larger wheels at the back.
As for the space suited figure I couldn't in all conscience bring myself to building it as I personally found it a gawd awful design. Unfit for modeling consumption. But hey, to each his own I guess.
I wish Round 2 would re release the Space 1999 Hawk model. That's the one everyone wants.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

1960's Batmobile

Here are some images of Polar Lights 1/24 scale 1960's  Batmobile from the comic books.           

From Wikipedia "

The Batmobile is the automobile of DC Comics superhero Batman. The car has evolved along with the character from comic books to television and films. Kept in the Batcave, which it accesses through a hidden entrance, the Batmobile is a gadget-laden vehicle used by Batman in his crime-fighting activities.
Batman first drove in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939). A sedan, the vehicle was simply referred to as "his car". It soon began featuring an increasingly prominent bat motif, typically including distinctive wing-shaped tailfins. In the early stages of Batman's career, he modified it with armor and technologically-advanced automotive customization and turned the Batmobile into a sleek street machine. The Batmobile has gone through numerous incarnations, and as state-of-the-art technology has continued to advance, the vehicle has had to change to stay a step ahead of real-life cutting edge advances.