Monday, January 25, 2016

Type XXI U Boat

Here are some images of Revell's 1/144 scale Type XXI U Boat with interior.

From Wikipedia"
 Type XXI U-boats, also known as "Elektroboote" (German: "electric boat"), were a class of German diesel-electric submarines designed and operated during the Second World War. They were the first submarines designed to operate primarily submerged, rather than as surface ships that could submerge as a means to escape detection or launch an attack.

The key features of the Type XXI were the hydrodynamically streamlined hull and conning tower, and the large number of battery cells, roughly triple that of the Type VIIC. This gave these boats great underwater range, and dramatically reduced the time spent on or near the surface. They could travel submerged at about 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) for two or three days before recharging batteries, which took less than five hours using the Schnorchel. The Type XXI was also far quieter than the VIIC, making it harder to detect when submerged.
The Type XXI's streamlined and hydro-dynamically clean hull design allowed high submerged speed. The ability to outrun many surface ships while submerged, combined with improved dive times (also a product of the new hull form), made it far harder to chase and destroy. It also gave the boat a 'sprint ability' when positioning itself for an attack. Older boats had to surface to sprint into position. This often revealed a boat's location, especially after aircraft became available for convoy escort. The new hull design also reduced visibility by marine or airborne radar when surfaced; whether this was a goal of the design or coincidence is still debated.
They also featured an electric torpedo-reloading system that allowed all six bow torpedo tubes to be reloaded faster than a Type VIIC could reload one tube. The Type XXI could fire 18 torpedoes in under 20 minutes. The class also featured a very sensitive passive sonar for the time, housed in the "chin" of the hull.
The Type XXIs also had better facilities than previous U-boat classes, including a freezer for food.

Between 1943 and 1945, 118 boats were assembled by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg, AG Weser of Bremen, and Schichau-Werke of Danzig. Each hull was constructed from eight prefabricated sections with final assembly at the shipyards. This new method could have pushed construction time below six months per vessel, but in practice all the assembled U-boats were plagued with severe quality problems that required extensive post-production work to rectify. One of the reasons for these shortcomings was that sections were made by companies having little experience in shipbuilding, following a decision by Albert Speer. As a result, of 118 Type XXIs completed, only four were fit for combat before the Second World War ended in Europe.
It was planned that final assembly of Type XXI boats would eventually be carried out in the Valentin submarine pens, a massive, bomb–hardened concrete bunker built at the small port of Farge, near Bremen. Construction of the pens was between 1943 and 1945, using around 10,000 concentration camp prisoners and prisoners of war as forced labour. The facility was 90% completed when, in March 1945, it was badly damaged by Allied bombing with Grand Slam "earthquake" bombs and abandoned. A few weeks later, the area was captured by the British Army.

U-2511 and U-3008 were the only Type XXIs to go on war patrols, and neither sank any ships. U-2511 had a British cruiser in her sights on 4 May when news of the German cease-fire was received. She made a practice attack before leaving the scene undetected.
In 1957, U-2540, which had been scuttled at the end of the war, was raised and refitted as research vessel Wilhelm Bauer of the Bundesmarine. She was operated by both military and civilian crews in a research role until 1982. In 1984, she was opened to the public by the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum (German Maritime Museum) in Bremerhaven, Germany.

U-2518 became French submarine Roland Morillot. She saw active service during the Suez Crisis in 1956, and remained in commission until 1967. She was scrapped in 1969.

Four Type XXI boats were assigned to the Soviet Union by the Potsdam Agreement; these were U-3515, U-2529, U-3035, and U-3041, which were commissioned into the Soviet Navy as B-27, B-28, B-29, and B-30 (later B-100) respectively. However, Western intelligence believed the Soviets had acquired several more Type XXI boats; a review by the U.S. Joint Intelligence Committee for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January 1948 estimated the Soviet Navy then had 15 Type XXIs operational, could complete construction of 6 more within 2 months, and could build another 39 within a year and a half from prefabricated sections, since several factories producing Type XXI components and the assembly yard at Danzig had been captured by the Soviets at the end of World War II. U 3538U 3557 (respectively TS-5TS-19 and TS-32TS-38) remained incomplete at Danzig and were scrapped or sunk in 1947. The four boats assigned by Potsdam were used in trials and tests until 1955, then scuttled or used for weapon testing between 1958 and 1973. The Type XXI design formed the basis for several Soviet design projects, Projects 611, 613, 614, 633, and 644. These became the submarine classes known by their NATO codes as Zulu, Whiskey and Romeo submarine classes.
 The U-3017 was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS N41. She was used for tests until being scrapped in November 1949.The United States Navy took over the U-2513 and U-3008, operating them both in the Atlantic. In November 1946 President Harry S. Truman visited U-2513; the submarine dived to 440 feet (130 m) with the President on board. The U-2513 was sunk as a target in 1951; U-3008 was scrapped in 1956.

The only boat to survive intact is Wilhelm Bauer (ex-U-2540). The wrecks of other Type XXI boats are known to exist. In 1985, it was discovered that the partially scrapped remains of U-2505, U-3004, and U-3506 were still in the partially demolished "Elbe II" U-boat bunker in Hamburg. The bunker has since been filled in with gravel, although even that did not initially deter many souvenir hunters who measured the position of open hatches and dug down to them to allow the removal of artifacts. The wrecks now lie beneath a car park, making them inaccessible.
U-2513 lies in 213 feet (65 m) of water 70 nautical miles (130 km) west of Key West, Florida. The boat has been visited by divers, but the depth makes this very difficult and the site is only considered suitable for advanced divers. Four other boats lie off the coast of Northern Ireland, where they were sunk in 1946 as part of Operation Deadlight. Both U-2511 and U-2506 were found by nautical archaeologist Innes McCartney during his Operation Deadlight expeditions between 2001 and 2003. Both were found to be in remarkably good condition.
 The Type XXI design directly influenced advanced post-war submarines, the GUPPY improvements to the American Gato-, Balao-, and Tench-class submarines and the Soviet submarine projects designated by NATO as the Whiskey, Zulu and Romeo classes. The Chinese built Romeo-class submarines were based on Soviet-supplied designs. The subsequent Ming class, some of which are still in operation in 2013, is in turn based on the Romeo.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Orion III Space Clipper

Here are some images of Atomic City's studio scale Orion III Space clipper from the movie 2001 a space odyssey.
This is definitely the most accurate Orion III one will find. The kit was made from the original blueprints and painstaking photographic study. When this monster is a whopping 42 inches long. A big mighty tip of the hat to you Scott! If you wish to get your own Orion III kit you may do so here.
The Earth I used in the composites are from the movie.
The landing gear I got from Revell's 1/48 scale B 1 bomber kit and I made them in such a way that I just stick them to the bottom of the model without any harm done to the Orion.

From Wikipedia"
 The Orion III is a fictional passenger spaceplane seen in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is a two-stage space shuttle launched on a reusable winged booster. It is equipped with aerospike rocket engines and jet engines for atmospheric flight. Pan American World Airways operates the Orion III, just as it operates the Aries Ib. In early stages of planning for the film, the spaceplane's engines on the back were designed to break away from the passenger section of the plane.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Fiat Mefistofele

Here are some images of Italeri's (Protar molds?) 1/12 scale Fiat Mefistofele.
When researching this model on the ole interweb, I discovered that pretty much anyone who had built this kit always did it in the shiny clean fully restored variation. For me building this kit in the clean restored variety didn't match the character of the car. so I decided to do this kit with a slightly weathered and more used look of which to me is somehow more fitting for this vehicle.

From Wikipedia"

The FIAT Mefistofele (sometimes known simply as Mefistofele) is a one-off racing car created by Sir Ernest A.D. Eldridge by combining a Fiat racing car and aeroplane engine in 1923. The name is from the demon of the same name, and the name refers to the infernal noise emitted from the unmuffled engine, and it was "Baptised" by the Frenchmen.
Eldridge broke the World Land Speed Record on 12 July 1924 with the Mephistopheles, by driving at 234.98 km/h (146.0 mph) in Arpajon, France.
The Mephistopheles was created by combining the chassis of the 1908 Fiat SB4 with a 6-cylinder, 21.7 litre (21706 cc) Fiat A.12 aeroplane engine producing 320 PS (235 kW; 316 bhp).
The engine named Fiat A.12 is a six-cylinder liquid-cooled in-line engine with a bore of 160 mm and a stroke of 180 mm, giving a capacity of 21,7 litre, with variants producing between 245 and 300 horsepower at 1,700 rpm. The A.12 was a rather large aero engine at the time and its dimensions were more typical of a marine engine, but it was efficient and reliable. No doubt Fiat's experience with large racing engines contributed to its success. A total of 13,260 A.12s were produced between 1916 and 1919.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Willys MB 1/4 Ton 4x4 Jeep

Here are some images of Dragon's 1/6 scale Willys MB 1/4 Ton 4x4 Jeep.

From Wikipedia"

The Willys MB (commonly known as a Jeep, formally as the U.S. Army Truck, 1/4 ton, 4x4) and the Ford GPW are four-wheel drive utility vehicles that were manufactured during World War II. Produced from 1941 to 1945, it evolved post-war into the civilian Jeep CJ, and inspired both an entire category of recreational 4WDs and several generations of military light utility vehicles.

Advances in early 20th-century technology resulted in widespread mechanisation of the military during World War I. The United States Army deployed four-wheel drive trucks in that war, supplied by Four Wheel Drive Auto (FWD) and the Thomas B. Jeffery Company. By the eve of World War II the United States Department of War had determined it needed a light, cross-country reconnaissance vehicle.
Anxious to have one in time for America's entry into World War II, the U.S. Army solicited proposals from domestic automobile manufacturers for a replacement for its existing, aging light motor vehicles, mainly motorcycles and sidecars, and some Ford Model T's. Marmon-Herrington presented five 4×4 Fords in 1937, and American Bantam delivered three Austin roadsters in 1938. Recognizing the need to create standard specifications, the Army formalized its requirements on July 11, 1940, and submitted them to 135 U.S. automotive manufacturers.
By now the war was under way in Europe, so the Army's need was urgent and demanding: Bids were to be received by July 22, a span of just eleven days. Manufacturers were given 49 days to submit their first prototype and 75 days for completion of 70 test vehicles. The Army's Ordnance Technical Committee specifications were equally demanding: the vehicle would be four-wheel drive, have a crew of three on a wheelbase of no more than 75 in (1,905 mm) – that was later upped to 80 in (2,032 mm) – and tracks no more than 47 in (1,194 mm), feature a fold-down windshield, 660 lb (299 kg) payload and be powered by an engine capable of 85 lb·ft (115 N·m) of torque. The most daunting demand, however, was an empty weight of no more than 1,300 lb (590 kg).
Initially, only two companies entered: American Bantam Car Company and Willys-Overland Motors; Ford Motor Company joined the competition later. Though Willys-Overland was the low bidder, Bantam received the bid, being the only company committing to deliver a pilot model in 49 days and production examples in 75. Under the leadership of designer Karl Probst, Bantam built their first prototype, dubbed the "Blitz Buggy" (and in retrospect "Old Number One"), and delivered it to the Army vehicle test center at Camp Holabird, Maryland on September 23, 1940. This presented Army officials with the first of what eventually evolved into the World War II U.S. Army Jeeps: the Willys MB and Ford GPW.
Since Bantam did not have the production capacity or fiscal stability to deliver on the scale needed by the War Department, the other two bidders, Ford and Willys, were encouraged to complete their own pilot models for testing. The contract for the new reconnaissance car was to be determined by trials. As testing of the Bantam prototype took place from September 27 to October 16, Ford and Willys technical representatives present at Holabird were given ample opportunity to study the vehicle's performance. Moreover, in order to expedite production, the War Department forwarded the Bantam blueprints to Ford and Willys, claiming the government owned the design. Bantam did not dispute this move due to its precarious financial situation. By November 1940, Ford and Willys each submitted prototypes to compete with the Bantam in the Army's trials. The pilot models, the Willys Quad and the Ford Pygmy, turned out very similar to each other and were joined in testing by Bantam's entry, now evolved into a Mark II called the BRC 60. By then the U.S. and its armed forces were already under such pressure that all three cars were declared acceptable and orders for 1,500 units per company were given for field testing. At this time it was acknowledged the original weight limit (which Bantam had ignored) was unrealistic, and it was raised to 2,160 lb (980 kg).
For these respective pre-production runs, each vehicle received revisions and a new name. Bantam's became the BRC 40. Production began on March 31, 1941, with a total of 2,605 built up to December 6. As the company could not meet the Army's demand for 75 Jeeps a day, production contracts were also awarded to Willys and to Ford.
After reducing the vehicle's weight by 240 pounds, Willys changed the designation to "MA" for "Military" model "A". The Fords went into production as "GP", with "G" for a "Government" type contract and "P" commonly used by Ford to designate any passenger car with a wheelbase of 80 in (2,032 mm).
By July 1941, the War Department desired to standardize and decided to select a single manufacturer to supply them with the next order for 16,000 vehicles. Willys won the contract mostly due to its more powerful engine (the "Go Devil"), which soldiers raved about, and its lower cost and silhouette. The design features in the Bantam and Ford entries which represented an improvement over Willys's design were then incorporated into the Willys car, moving it from an "A" designation to "B", thus the "MB" nomenclature. Most notable was a flat wide hood, adapted from Ford GP.
By October 1941, it became apparent Willys-Overland could not keep up with the production demand and Ford was contracted to produce them as well. The Ford car was then designated GPW, with the "W" referring to the "Willys" licensed design. During World War II, Willys produced 363,000 Jeeps and Ford some 280,000. Approximately 51,000 were exported to the U.S.S.R. under the Lend-Lease program.
A further roughly 13,000 amphibian jeeps were built by Ford under the name GPA (nicknamed "Seep" for Sea Jeep). Inspired by the larger DUKW, the vehicle was produced too quickly and proved to be too heavy, too unwieldy, and of insufficient freeboard. In spite of participating successfully in the Sicily landings in July 1943, most GPAs were routed to the U.S.S.R. under the Lend-Lease program. The Soviets were sufficiently pleased with its ability to cross rivers to develop their own version of it after the war, the GAZ-46.

One account of the origin of the term "jeep" begins when the prototypes were being proven at military bases. The term "jeep" was used by Army mechanics for any untried or untested vehicles.
"Jeep" was also used for several types of heavier equipment. In the armor branch, "jeep" generally referred to a 1/2 or 3/4 ton truck, with the 1/4 ton called a "peep." The militarized Minneapolis-Moline tractor was known as a "jeep," named for the cartoon character. Finally, heavy equipment transporters -gooseneck lowbed trucks for oversize, overweight cargoes, were known as "jeeps" by 1940.
Although folk etymology claims it due to slurring of an unused acronym, "GP" for "General Purpose", a more likely part of the jeep name came from the fact that the vehicle made quite an impression on soldiers at the time, so much so that they informally named it after Eugene the Jeep, a character in the Popeye comic strip and cartoons created by E. C. Segar as early as mid-March 1936. Eugene the Jeep was Popeye's "jungle pet" and was "small, able to move between dimensions and could solve seemingly impossible problems".
In early 1941, Willys-Overland staged a press event in Washington, D.C., having the car demonstrate its prowess by driving up the Capitol steps. Irving "Red" Hausmann, a test driver on the Willys development team who had accompanied the car for its testing at Camp Holabird, had heard soldiers there referring to it as a jeep. He was enlisted to go to the event and give a demonstration ride to a group of dignitaries, including Katherine Hillyer, a reporter for the Washington Daily News. When asked by the reporter, Hausmann said "it's a Jeep". Hillyer's article appeared in the newspaper on February 20, 1941, with a photo showing a jeep going up the Capitol steps and a caption including the term "jeep". This is believed to be the most likely cause of the term being fixed in public awareness. Even though Hausmann did not create or invent the word "Jeep", he very well could be the one most responsible for its first news media usage.

Willys made its first 25,000 MB Jeeps with a welded flat iron "slat" radiator grille. It was Ford who first designed and implemented the now familiar and distinctive stamped, vertical-slot steel grille into its Jeep vehicles, which was lighter, used fewer resources, and was less costly to produce. Along with many other design features innovated by Ford, this was adopted by Willys and implemented into the standard World War II Jeep by April 1942.
In order to be able to get their grille design trademarked, Willys gave their post-war jeeps seven slots instead of the original Ford nine-slot design. Through a series of corporate takeovers and mergers, AM General Corporation ended up with the rights to use the seven-slot grille as well, which they in turn extended to Chrysler when it acquired American Motors Corporation, then manufacturer of Jeep, in 1987.