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Friday, August 18, 2017

Focke Wulf Fw 190 F-8

Here are some images of Revell's 1/32 scale Focke Wulf Fw 190 F-8.
This is an excellent kit especially for the price. With the exception for a few minor fit issues the detail is fantastic.
This model bares the markings of Feldwebel Eugen Lorcher, II./SG2, 5 Staffel, Aufthausen, 8th May 1945, Fiancée Rescue Flight.
As regards the decals I couldn't find a proper "3" in my font list, so as a result I was forced to make my own. I think I came pretty close.

From Wikipedia"
 

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger (English: Shrike) is a German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s and widely used during World War II. Along with its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Focke-Wulf 190 Würger became the backbone of the Luftwaffe's Jagdwaffe (Fighter Force). The twin-row BMW 801 radial engine that powered most operational versions enabled the Fw 190 to lift larger loads than the Bf 109, allowing its use as a day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft and, to a lesser degree, night fighter.
The Fw 190A started flying operationally over France in August 1941, and quickly proved superior in all but turn radius to the Royal Air Force's main front-line fighter, the Spitfire Mk. V, especially at low and medium altitudes. The 190 maintained superiority over Allied fighters until the introduction of the improved Spitfire Mk. IX. In November/December 1942, the Fw 190 made its air combat debut on the Eastern Front, finding much success in fighter wings and specialised ground attack units called Schlachtgeschwader (Battle Wings or Strike Wings) from October 1943 onwards. The Fw 190 provided greater firepower than the Bf 109, and at low to medium altitude, superior manoeuvrability, in the opinion of German pilots who flew both fighters.
The Fw 190A series' performance decreased at high altitudes (usually 6,000 m (20,000 ft) and above), which reduced its effectiveness as a high-altitude interceptor. From the Fw 190's inception, there had been ongoing efforts to address this with a turbosupercharged BMW 801 in the B model, the much longer-nosed C model with efforts to also turbocharge its chosen Daimler-Benz DB 603 inverted V12 powerplant, and the similarly long-nosed D model with the Junkers Jumo 213. Problems with the turbocharger installations on the -B and -C subtypes meant only the D model would see service, entering service in September 1944. While these "long nose" versions gave the Germans parity with Allied opponents, they arrived far too late in the war to have any real effect.
The Fw 190 was well-liked by its pilots. Some of the Luftwaffe's most successful fighter aces claimed a great many of their kills while flying it, including Otto Kittel, Walter Nowotny and Erich Rudorffer.

 Fw 190 F-8
Based on the A-8 Fighter, having a slightly modified injector on the compressor which allowed for increased performance at lower altitudes for several minutes. Armament of the Fw 190 F-8 was two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in the wing roots and two 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns above the engine. It was outfited with an ETC 501 Bomb rack as centerline mount and four ETC 50 bomb racks as underwing mounts.

The Bf 109, called "the lean" (the Soviet nickname for the series) was widely considered by Soviet airmen as a more agile and potent adversary than the Fw 190, which was viewed as "heavy and slow..." especially when climbing. The Fw 190F and G ground attack versions essentially replaced the obsolete Ju 87 on the Eastern front during the latter part of the war. These heavily armoured versions of the Fw 190, piloted by ex-Stuka air crew, were indistinguishable in the air from the fighter versions and thus Soviet pilots may have miscorrectly attributed characteristics of attack versions to pure fighter ones.
Soviet pilot Nikolai G. Golodnikov claimed the Fw 190 to be inferior to the Bf 109; "It did not accelerate as quickly and in this aspect was inferior to most of our aircraft, except for the P-40, perhaps." Goldonikov noted that German pilots appreciated the Fw 190 radial engine as a shield, and frequently made head-on attacks in air-to-air combat. "The plane", noted Golodnikov, "had extremely powerful weapons: four 20 mm guns and two machine guns. Soon, however, the Germans started evading frontal attack against our "Cobras". We had a 37 mm gun, so no engine would save you, and one hit was enough to kill you."
The general rule for Soviet airmen in the latter war years was to take advantage of their turning ability, acceleration, and rate of climb to force the adversary into entering a horizontal or vertical manoeuvre. Likewise, the fuel-injected Shvetsov ASh-82 radial-powered, Lavochkin La-5FNs freely took up the challenge as an "energy or angles" fighter against all Fw 190As, and as "angles" fighters against the Fw 190D, which was considered by the Soviet pilots as a fighter that "burned as well as other aircraft, and was easier to hit.

Fiancée Rescue Flight
From Corgi" - As Allied forces closed on Germany from all sides and the war in Europe was coming to an end, there was one thing that frightened German servicemen more than anything else – capture by the Red Army.  Luftwaffe pilot Eugen Lorcher had no intention of letting this happen and on the evening of 8th May, he fuelled up his Focke-Wulf and prepared to escape to the west. Taking off from their home airfield in the Czech Republic, Lorcher had also bundled his fiancée into the radio compartment of the aircraft and they made their bid for relative safety. The aircraft was flying at very low level, to avoid being shot down by Allied fighters, but Lorcher feared destruction at any moment, as they were taking ground fire and in danger of simply striking the ground. Gaining height at the last moment, in an attempt to find a suitable landing spot, the Focke-Wulf belly-landed in a field near the parental home of Lorcher – both he and his future wife walked away from this incredible incident, with their war finally over. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Messerschmitt Me 262 B-1a/U1

Here are some images of Revell's 1/32 scale plus some scratch work of the Messerschmitt Me 262 B-1a/U1 night fighter.
This is a great kit for the price. The fit is pretty good over all with the exception with a bit of difficulty when attaching the main wing to the fuselage. Beautiful cockpit interior.
I decided to go with the number "11" decals from the Trumpeter kit as opposed to using the "12" or "8" decals that came with the kit. The reason for this is that I wanted to have the mottled pattern on the wings instead of the splinter pattern as with the kit.
The engine detailing needed a bit more detailing so I added to it. I also created some detail in the area under the nose cap. Plus I added some cabling to the machine gun bay.
Another minor complaint I have about this kit is that when I first saw pictures of the prototype sprues, the paneling detail was far more intense than what came with the actual kit release. Overall though it produces a nice model. Certainly worth the price.


From Wikipedia"
The Messerschmitt Me 262, nicknamed Schwalbe (German: "Swallow") in fighter versions, or Sturmvogel (German: "Storm Bird") in fighter-bomber versions, was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but problems with engines, metallurgy and top-level interference kept the aircraft from operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944. The Me 262 was faster and more heavily armed than any Allied fighter, including the British jet-powered Gloster Meteor. One of the most advanced aviation designs in operational use during World War II, the Me 262's roles included light bomber, reconnaissance and experimental night fighter versions.
Me 262 pilots claimed a total of 542 Allied aircraft shot down, although higher claims are sometimes made. The Allies countered its potential effectiveness in the air by attacking the aircraft on the ground and during takeoff and landing. Engine reliability problems, from the pioneering nature of its Junkers Jumo 004 axial-flow turbojet engines—the first ever placed in mass production—and attacks by Allied forces on fuel supplies during the deteriorating late-war situation also reduced the effectiveness of the aircraft as a fighting force. In the end, the Me 262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war as a result of its late introduction and the consequently small numbers put in operational service.
While German use of the aircraft ended with the close of World War II, a small number were operated by the Czechoslovak Air Force until 1951. Captured Me 262s were studied and flight tested by the major powers, and ultimately influenced the designs of a number of post-war aircraft such as the North American F-86 Sabre and Boeing B-47 Stratojet. A number of aircraft survive on static display in museums, and there are several privately built flying reproductions that use modern General Electric J85 engines.

 Me 262 B-1a trainers converted into provisional night fighters, FuG 218 Neptun radar, with Hirschgeweih (eng:antler) eight-dipole antenna array.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Curtiss SB2C Helldiver

Here are some images of HPH Models 1/32 scale Curtiss SB2C Helldiver bomber.
With over 250 resin parts and hundreds of photoetched parts this kit is not for the weak. The resin parts fit was reasonably OK with no real issues other than the ones one would expect with a resin kit.
The most difficult part was building the all photoetched dive brakes. If ever there was a new term for the word fiddly this was it .
My only real complaint about the kit are the decals. For reasons best known to themselves they made the interior decals possible to remove individually with each decal having its own clear coat which is what one would naturally come to expect with decals in pretty much any kit nowadays. However as for the rest of the same decal sheet it was covered entirely with a clear coat forcing one to cut out each of the remaining decals to form, including the hundreds of stencil decals. A very tedious experience I assure you. However it turned out to be a fairly decent model worthy of any collection.

From Wikipedia"
The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was a carrier-based dive bomber aircraft produced for the United States Navy during World War II. It replaced the Douglas SBD Dauntless in US Navy service. The SB2C was much faster than the SBD it replaced.
Crew nicknames for the aircraft included the Big-Tailed Beast (or just the derogatory Beast), Two-Cee and Son-of-a-Bitch 2nd Class (after its designation and partly because of its reputation for having difficult handling characteristics). Neither pilots nor aircraft carrier captains seemed to like it.
Delays marred its production—by the time the A-25 Shrike variant for the USAAF was deployed in late 1943, the Army Air Forces no longer had a need for a thoroughbred dive bomber. Poor handling of the aircraft was another factor that hampered its service introductions; both the British Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force cancelled substantial orders.
The Truman Committee investigated Helldiver production and turned in a scathing report, which eventually led to the beginning of the end for Curtiss. Problems with the Helldiver were eventually ironed out, and in spite of its early problems, the aircraft was flown through the last two years of the Pacific War with a fine combat record.[3]

The Helldiver was developed to replace the Douglas SBD Dauntless. It was a much larger aircraft, able to operate from the latest aircraft carriers and carry a considerable array of armament. It featured an internal bomb bay that reduced drag when carrying heavy ordnance. Saddled with demanding requirements set forth by both the U.S. Marines and United States Army Air Forces, the manufacturer incorporated features of a "multi-role" aircraft into the design.
The Model XSB2C-1 prototype initially suffered teething problems connected to its Wright R-2600 Twin Cyclone engine and three-bladed propeller; further concerns included structural weaknesses, poor handling, directional instability and bad stall characteristics. In 1939, a student brought a model of the new Curtiss XSB2C-1 to the MIT wind tunnel. Professor of Aeronautical Engineering Otto C. Koppen was quoted as saying, "if they build more than one of these, they are crazy". He was referring to controllability issues with the small vertical tail.
The first prototype made its maiden flight on 18 December 1940. It crashed on 8 February 1941 when its engine failed on approach, but Curtiss was asked to rebuild it. The fuselage was lengthened and a larger tail was fitted, while an autopilot was fitted to help the poor stability. The revised prototype flew again on 20 October 1941, but was destroyed when its wing failed during diving tests on 21 December 1941.
Large-scale production had already been ordered on 29 November 1940, but a large number of modifications were specified for the production model. Fin and rudder area were increased, fuel capacity was increased, self-sealing fuel tanks were added and the fixed armament was doubled to four 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in the wings, compared with the prototype's two cowling guns. The SB2C-2 was built with larger fuel tanks, improving its range considerably.
The program suffered so many delays that the Grumman TBF Avenger entered service before the Helldiver, even though the Avenger had begun its development two years later. Nevertheless, production tempo accelerated with production at Columbus, Ohio and two Canadian factories: Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada), which produced 300 (under the designations XSBF-l, SBF-l, SBF-3 and SBF-4E), and Canadian Car and Foundry, which built 894 (designated SBW-l, SBW-3, SBW-4, SBW-4E and SBW-5), these models being respectively equivalent to their Curtiss-built counterparts. A total of 7,140 SB2Cs were produced in World War II.
The U.S. Navy would not accept the SB2C until 880 modifications to the design and the changes on the production line had been made, delaying the Curtiss Helldiver's combat debut until 11 November 1943 with squadron VB-17 on Bunker Hill, when they attacked the Japanese-held port of Rabaul on the island of New Britain, north of Papua New Guinea. The first version of the SB2C-1 was kept stateside for training, its various development problems leading to only 200 being built. The first deployment model was the SB2C-1C. The SB2C-1 could deploy slats mechanically linked with landing gear actuators, that extended from the outer third of the wing leading edge to aid lateral control at low speeds. The early prognosis of the "Beast" was unfavourable; it was strongly disliked by aircrews due to its size, weight, and reduced range compared to the SBD it replaced.
In the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 45 Helldivers were lost because they ran out of fuel returning to their carriers.
Among its major faults, the Helldiver was underpowered, had a shorter range than the SBD, was equipped with an unreliable electrical system, and was often poorly manufactured. The Curtiss-Electric propeller and the complex hydraulic system had frequent maintenance problems. One of the faults remaining with the aircraft through its operational life was poor longitudinal stability, resulting from a fuselage that was too short due to the necessity of fitting on to aircraft carrier elevators. The Helldiver's aileron response was also poor and handling suffered greatly under 90 kn (100 mph; 170 km/h) airspeed; since the speed of approach to land on a carrier was supposed to be 85 kn (98 mph; 157 km/h), this proved problematic. The 880 changes demanded by the Navy and modification of the aircraft to its combat role resulted in a 42% weight increase, explaining much of the problem.
The solution to these problems began with the introduction of the SB2C-3 beginning in 1944, which used the R-2600-20 Twin Cyclone engine with 1,900 hp (1,400 kW) and Curtiss' four-bladed propeller. This substantially solved the chronic lack of power that had plagued the aircraft. The Helldivers would participate in battles over the Marianas, Philippines (partly responsible for sinking the battleship Musashi), Taiwan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa (in the sinking of the battleship Yamato). They were also used in the 1945 attacks on the Ryuku Islands and the Japanese home island of Honshū in tactical attacks on airfields, communications and shipping. They were also used extensively in patrols during the period between the dropping of the atomic bombs and the official Japanese surrender, and in the immediate pre-occupation period.
An oddity of the SB2Cs with 1942 to 1943-style tricolor camouflage was that the undersides of the outer wing panels carried dark topside camouflage because the undersurfaces were visible from above when the wings were folded.
In operational experience, it was found that the U.S. Navy's Grumman F6F Hellcat and Vought F4U Corsair fighters were able to carry an equally heavy bomb load against ground targets and were vastly more capable of defending themselves against enemy fighters. The Helldiver, however, could still deliver ordnance with more precision against specific targets and its two-seat configuration permitted a second set of eyes. A Helldiver also has a significant advantage in range over a fighter while carrying a bombload, which is extremely important in naval operations.
The advent of air-to-ground rockets ensured that the SB2C was the last purpose-built dive bomber produced. Rockets allowed precision attack against surface naval and land targets, while avoiding the stresses of near-vertical dives and the demanding performance requirements that they placed on dive bombers 
U.S. Navy Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldivers of Attack Squadron 1A (VA-1A) "Tophatters" roll into dives to support amphibious forces during postwar landing exercise (1947)
The SB2C remained in active postwar service in active duty US Navy squadrons until 1947 and in Naval Reserve aviation units until 1950. Surplus aircraft were sold to the naval air forces of France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Thailand. Greek SB2Cs served in combat in the Greek Civil War with additional machine guns mounted in wing pods. French SB2Cs flew in the First Indochina War from 1951 to 1954.
Built at Curtiss' St. Louis plant, 900 aircraft were ordered by the USAAF under the designation A-25A Shrike. The first ten aircraft had folding wings, while the remainder of the production order omitted this unnecessary feature. Many other changes distinguished the A-25A, including larger main wheels, a pneumatic tailwheel, ring and bead gunsight, longer exhaust stubs, and other Army-specified radio equipment. By late 1943, when the A-25A was being introduced, the USAAF no longer had a role for the dive bomber, as fighter aircraft such as the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt had shown their ability to carry out tactical air support missions with great success.
After offering the Shrike to Australia, only ten were accepted before the Royal Australian Air Force rejected the remainder of the order, forcing the USAAF to send 410 to the U.S. Marines. The A-25As were converted to the SB2C-1 standard, but the Marine SB2C-1 variant never saw combat, being used primarily as trainers. The remaining A-25As were similarly employed as trainers and target tugs.