Friday, April 29, 2016

Dave Porter's Walker Bulldog

Here is an image of Dave Porter's AFV's 1/35 scale Walker Bulldog, and in his own words is his description.
This a good and accurate kit. The only problem I had was fitting the wheels. It was finished with the color modulation technique and lots of washes and pigments. I splattered the finish with diluted pigment to simulate running through mud and the effects of shelling.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mk.A Whippet

Here are some images of Takom's 1/35 scale Mk.A Whippet WWI medium tank.
This vehicle displays the markings that served in the Freidkorps Service, Berlin, Janurary 1919.

From Wikipedia"
The Medium Mark A Whippet was a British tank of the First World War. It was intended to complement the slower British heavy tanks by using its relative mobility and speed in exploiting any break in the enemy lines. Whippets later took part in several of the British Army's postwar actions, notably in Ireland, North Russia and Manchuria.
 The Whippet was first produced in 1917. On 3 October 1916 William Tritton, about to be knighted for developing the Mark I, proposed to the Tank Supply Department that a faster and cheaper tank, equipped with two engines like the Flying Elephant, should be built to exploit gaps that the heavier but slow tanks made, an idea that up till then had been largely neglected. This was accepted on 10 November and approved by the War Office on 25 November. At that time the name for the project was the Tritton Chaser. Traditionally the name Whippet is attributed to Sir William himself. Actual construction started on 21 December. The first prototype, with a revolving turret taken from an Austin armoured car — the first for a British tank design, as Little Willie's original turret was not yet revolving — was ready on 3 February 1917 and participated (probably without one) in the famous "tank trials day" at Oldbury on 3 March. The next day, in a meeting with the French to coordinate allied tank production, the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces Field Marshal Haig ordered the manufacture of two hundred vehicles, the first to be ready on 31 July. Although he was acting beyond his authority, as usual, his decisions were confirmed in June 1917. The first production tanks left the factory in October and two were delivered to the first unit to use them, F Battalion of the Tank Corps (later 6th Battalion), on 14 December 1917. In December 1917 the order was increased from 200 to 385 but this was later cancelled in favour of more advanced designs.
 This armoured fighting vehicle was intended for fast mobile assaults. Although the track design appears more "modern" than the British Tanks Mark I to V, it was directly derived from Little Willie, the first tank prototype, and was unsprung. The crew compartment was a fixed, polygonal turret at the rear of the vehicle, and two engines of the type used in contemporary double-decker buses were in a forward compartment, driving one track each.
 When driving in a straight line the two engines were locked; turning the steering wheel gradually closed the throttle for the engine of one track and opened the throttle for the engine driving the other. The two engines were joined at their cross-shafts, from which the final drive to the tracks was by chains to sprockets on either side. When steering the clutches joining the cross-shafts were released, one engine sped up while the other slowed down, the turn being on the side opposite to that of the faster running engine. The steering effect could be increased by use of the brakes on one engine or another. This arrangement had the advantage over that of earlier tanks of being controlled by one man only, but called for great skill on the part of the driver, because one or both of the engines could be stalled if care was not exercised. Although in theory a simple solution to give gradual steering, in practice it proved impossible to control the speeds of the engines, causing the vehicle to take an unpredictable path. Drivers grew wary and stopped the vehicle and locked one track before every turn; this caused many track breaks, as the movement became too abrupt.
 The fuel tank was in the front of the hull. The sides featured large mud chutes which allowed mud falling from the upper treads to slide away from the tank, instead of clogging the track plates and rollers.
 Armament was four 0.303 in Hotchkiss Mk 1 machine guns, one covering each direction. As there were only three crewmen, the gunner had to jump around a lot, though often assisted by the commander. Sometimes a second gunner was carried in the limited space, and often a machine gun was removed to give more room, as the machine guns could be moved from one mounting position to another to cover all sides.

Major Philip Johnson, the unofficial head of Central Tank Corps Workshops in France, as soon as he received them began fitting one of the Whippets with leaf springs. Later, in 1918, he fitted this vehicle with sprung track rollers, Walter Gordon Wilson's epicyclical transmission from the Mark V and a 360 hp V12 Rolls-Royce Eagle aero-engine. A top speed of about 30 mph (48 km/h) was reached. This project made Johnson the best qualified man to develop the later fast Medium Mark D, which looks like a reversed Medium A. Other experiments included the fitting of a large trailing wheel taken from an old Mark I tank and attaching a climbing tail, in both cases attempts to increase trench-crossing ability.
For a time it was assumed that after the war some Whippets were rebuilt as armoured recovery vehicles, but this was not the case.
The Medium Mark B, a completely different design by Wilson, also had the name "Whippet". For a time it was common to describe any of the lighter tank designs as a Whippet, even the French Renault FT. It had become a generic name.
The German Leichter Kampfwagen — developed from December 1917 — being also a turret-less tank with the engine in front resembled the Whippet, but was a smaller vehicle with thinner armour.

Whippets arrived late in the First World War, at a time when the entire British Army, crippled by the losses in Flanders, was quite inactive. They first went into action in March 1918, and proved very useful to cover the flight of the infantry divisions recoiling from the German onslaught during the Spring Offensive. Whippets were then assigned to the normal Tank Battalions as extra "X-companies" as an expedience. In one incident near Cachy, a single Whippet company of seven tanks wiped out two entire German infantry battalions caught in the open, killing over 400. That same day, 24 April, one Whippet was destroyed by a German A7V in the world's second tank battle, the only time a Whippet fought an enemy tank.
British losses were so high however that plans to equip five Tank Battalions (Light) with 36 Whippets each had to be abandoned. In the end only the 3rd Tank Brigade had Whippets, 48 in each of its two battalions (3rd and 6th TB). Alongside Mark IV and V tanks, they took part in the Amiens offensive (8 August 1918) which was described by the German supreme commander General Ludendorff, as "the Black Day of the German Army". The Whippets broke through into the German rear areas causing the loss of the artillery in an entire front sector, a devastating blow from which the Germans were unable to recover. During this battle, one Whippet – Musical Box – advanced so far it was cut off behind German lines. For nine hours it roamed at will, destroying an artillery battery, an Observation balloon, the camp of an infantry battalion and a transport column of the German 225. Division, inflicting heavy casualties. At one point, cans of petrol being carried on Musical Box's roof were ruptured by small-arms fire and fuel leaked into the cabin. The crew had to wear gas masks to survive the fumes. Eventually, a German shell disabled it and as the crew abandoned the tank one was shot and killed and the other two were taken prisoner.
The Germans captured fewer than fifteen Whippets, two of which were in running condition. They were kept exclusively for tests and training purpose during the war, but one of them saw action afterwards with the Freikorps in the German Revolution of 1918–1919. The Germans gave them the designation Beutepanzer A.

Japanese Whippets in Manchuria, early 1930s
After the war, Whippets were sent to Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War as part of the British forces there, serving with 17th Battalion, Royal Tank Corps. Seventeen were sent with the Expedition Forces in support of the Whites against Soviet Russia. The Red Army captured twelve, using them until the 1930s, and fitted at least one vehicle with a French 37 mm Puteaux gun. The Soviets, incorrectly assuming that the name of the engine was "Taylor" instead of "Tylor" (a mistake many sources still make) called the tank the Tyeilor. A few (perhaps six) were exported to Japan, where they remained in service until around 1930.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dave Porter's Panther II

Here are some images  of Dragon's 1/35 scale Panther II by Dave Porter, and here in his own words is his description.

This is a  1/35  Dragon Panther II loaded up with some night gear stolen from a Tamiya late Panther G. The model is painted in an experimental scheme that was not seen on production armor.   The idea is to give the piece that “1946” look to it. That is also why I added the girl tank commander. She is part of a duo figure set.  A pistol, gauntlets, hat, headphones, mike and SS crest on her tank top (pun intended) were added to make her look the part. The kit was finished in Tamiya acrylics, artist oils, and pastel chalks.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dave Porter's Deuy MP-2 Attack Helicopter

Here are some images of Dave Porter's 1/72 scale Deuy MP-2 Attack Helicopter, and here in his own words is his description.

This is the 1/72 Deuy MP-2 attack helicopter from the anime series Dougram from the early 1980's. The model was later released as part of two kit set called "Strike force" under Revell's Robotech label. I finished the model with Tamaya acrylics and I used some extra Macross decals as markings.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Work Of Dave Porter

Here are a couple of fantastic offerings brought to us by Mr. Dave Porter, and here in his own words is his descriptions.

Here is a 1/72nd model of the ME-209 speed record breaking aircraft.   The allies were rather concerned about its performance  but their concern was unfounded.  The aircraft did not have much range, the engine cooling was a ‘boil off’ system,  the handling was not great,  and it wasn’t fitted for combat (armour, guns, self sealing tanks, etc).  The Germans created a ‘fighter’ version of the aircraft  to use as a propaganda tool. The propeller aircraft speed record of 469 mph was set by the ME-209  and it was not broken until 1969 by Daryl Greenamyer and his Bearcat.

The kit is from Huma and its finished in Tamiya acrylics.

Next  here is Rick Mears 1979 Penske PC-6. He drove this car for the entire USAC season. The kit is AMT and it was very demanding to build.  I had to create a lot of new parts and detail items. The decals are from Indycal and they’re really good. The model is finished in Tamiya acrylics.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

USS Missouri BB-63 (1945)

Here are some images of Trumpeter's 1/200 scale USS Missouri BB-63 as seen at the time of Japan's surrender in 1945. This is a repost I did a while back.
Another fantastic ship kit from Trumpeter, and at 54 inches is no slouch in size.

From Wikipedia"
USS Missouri (BB-63) ("Mighty Mo" or "Big Mo") is a United States Navy Iowa-class battleship and was the third ship of the U.S. Navy to be named in honor of the US state of Missouri. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the United States and was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II.
Missouri was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. In the Pacific Theater of World War II she fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and shelled the Japanese home islands, and she fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. She was decommissioned in 1955 into the United States Navy reserve fleets (the "Mothball Fleet"), but reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and provided fire support during Operation Desert Storm in January/February 1991.
Missouri received a total of 11 battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf, and was finally decommissioned on 31 March 1992, but remained on the Naval Vessel Register until her name was struck in January 1995. In 1998, she was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Missouri was one of the Iowa-class "fast battleship" designs planned in 1938 by the Preliminary Design Branch at the Bureau of Construction and Repair. She was laid down at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on 6 January 1941, launched on 29 January 1944 and commissioned on 11 June with Captain William Callaghan in command. The ship was the third of the Iowa class, but the fourth and final Iowa-class ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy. The ship was christened at her launching by Mary Margaret Truman, daughter of Harry S. Truman, then a United States Senator from Missouri.[5]
Missouri's main battery consisted of nine 16 in (406 mm)/50 cal Mark 7 guns, which could fire 2,700 lb (1,200 kg) armor-piercing shells some 20 mi (32.2 km). Her secondary battery consisted of twenty 5 in (127 mm)/38 cal guns in twin turrets, with a range of about 10 mi (16 km). With the advent of air power and the need to gain and maintain air superiority came a need to protect the growing fleet of allied aircraft carriers; to this end, Missouri was fitted with an array of Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns to defend allied carriers from enemy airstrikes. When reactivated in 1984 Missouri had her 20 mm and 40 mm AA guns removed, and was outfitted with Phalanx CIWS mounts for protection against enemy missiles and aircraft, and Armored Box Launchers and Quad Cell Launchers designed to fire Tomahawk missiles and Harpoon missiles, respectively.
Missouri was the last U.S. battleship to be completed. Wisconsin, the highest-numbered U.S. battleship built, was completed before Missouri; BB-65 to BB-71 were ordered but cancelled.
After the Japanese agreed to surrender, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser of the Royal Navy, the Commander of the British Pacific Fleet, boarded Missouri on 16 August and conferred the honour of Knight of the British Empire upon Admiral Halsey. Missouri transferred a landing party of 200 officers and men to the battleship Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo on 21 August. Missouri herself entered Tokyo Bay early on 29 August to prepare for the signing by Japan of the official instrument of surrender.
High-ranking military officials of all the Allied Powers were received on board on 2 September, including Chinese General Hsu Yung-Ch'ang, British Admiral-of-the-Fleet Sir Bruce Fraser, Soviet Lieutenant-General Kuzma Nikolaevich Derevyanko, Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey, Canadian Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave, French Général d'Armée Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque, Dutch Vice Admiral Conrad Emil Lambert Helfrich, and New Zealand Air Vice Marshal Leonard M. Isitt.
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz boarded shortly after 0800, and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allies, came on board at 0843. The Japanese representatives, headed by Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, arrived at 0856. At 0902, General MacArthur stepped before a battery of microphones and opened the 23-minute surrender ceremony to the waiting world by stating, "It is my earnest hope—indeed the hope of all mankind—that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice."
During the surrender ceremony, the deck of Missouri was decorated with a 31-star American flag that had been taken ashore by Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853 after his squadron of "Black Ships" sailed into Tokyo Bay to force the opening of Japan's ports to foreign trade. This flag was actually displayed with the reverse side showing, i.e., stars in the upper right corner: the historic flag was so fragile that the conservator at the Naval Academy Museum had sewn a protective linen backing to one side to help secure the fabric from deteriorating, leaving its "wrong side" visible. The flag was displayed in a wood-framed case secured to the bulkhead overlooking the surrender ceremony. Another U.S. flag was raised and flown during the occasion, a flag that some sources have indicated was in fact that flag which had flown over the U.S. Capitol on 7 December 1941. This is not true; it was a flag taken from the ship's stock, according to Missouri's Commanding Officer, Captain Stuart "Sunshine" Murray, and it was "...just a plain ordinary GI-issue flag".
By 09:30 the Japanese emissaries had departed. In the afternoon of 5 September, Admiral Halsey transferred his flag to the battleship South Dakota, and early the next day Missouri departed Tokyo Bay. As part of the ongoing Operation Magic Carpet she received homeward bound passengers at Guam, then sailed unescorted for Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 20 September and flew Admiral Nimitz's flag on the afternoon of 28 September for a reception.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the absence of a perceived threat to the United States came drastic cuts in the defense budget, and the high cost of maintaining and operating battleships as part of the United States Navy's active fleet became uneconomical; as a result, Missouri was decommissioned on 31 March 1992 at Long Beach, California. Her last commanding officer, Captain Albert L. Kaiss, wrote in the ship's final Plan of the Day:

Our final day has arrived. Today the final chapter in battleship Missouri’s history will be written. It's often said that the crew makes the command. There is no truer statement ... for it's the crew of this great ship that made this a great command. You are a special breed of sailors and Marines and I am proud to have served with each and every one of you. To you who have made the painful journey of putting this great lady to sleep, I thank you. For you have had the toughest job. To put away a ship that has become as much a part of you as you are to her is a sad ending to a great tour. But take solace in this—you have lived up to the history of the ship and those who sailed her before us. We took her to war, performed magnificently and added another chapter in her history, standing side by side our forerunners in true naval tradition. God bless you all.

—Captain Albert L. Kaiss

Missouri facing the sunken Arizona.
Missouri returned to be part of the reserve fleet at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, until 12 January 1995, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. She remained in Bremerton, but was not open to tourists as she had been from 1957 to 1984. In spite of attempts by citizens' groups to keep her in Bremerton and be re-opened as a tourist site, the U.S. Navy wanted to pair a symbol of the end of World War II with one representing its beginning. On 4 May 1998, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract that transferred her to the nonprofit USS Missouri Memorial Association (MMA) of Honolulu, Hawaii. She was towed from Bremerton on 23 May to Astoria, Oregon, where she sat in fresh water at the mouth of the Columbia River to kill and drop the saltwater barnacles and sea grasses that had grown on her hull in Bremerton, then towed across the eastern Pacific, and docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor on 22 June, just 500 yd (460 m) from the Arizona Memorial. Less than a year later, on 29 January 1999, Missouri was opened as a museum operated by the MMA.

Plaque commemorating the surrender of Japan to end World War II
Originally, the decision to move Missouri to Pearl Harbor was met with some resistance. The National Park Service expressed concern that the battleship, whose name has become synonymous with the end of World War II, would overshadow the battleship Arizona, whose dramatic explosion and subsequent sinking on 7 December 1941 has since become synonymous with the attack on Pearl Harbor. To help guard against this perception Missouri was placed well back from and facing the Arizona Memorial, so that those participating in military ceremonies on Missouri's aft decks would not have sight of the Arizona Memorial. The decision to have Missouri's bow face the Arizona Memorial was intended to convey that Missouri now watches over the remains of Arizona so that those interred within Arizona's hull may rest in peace.
Missouri was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 14 May 1971 for hosting the signing of the instrument of Japanese surrender that ended World War II. She is not eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark because she was extensively modernized in the years following the surrender.
On 14 October 2009, Missouri was moved from her berthing station on Battleship Row to a drydock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to undergo a three-month overhaul. The work, priced at $18 million, included installing a new anti-corrosion system, repainting the hull, and upgrading the internal mechanisms. Drydock workers reported that the ship was leaking at some points on the starboard side. The repairs were completed the first week of January 2010 and the ship was returned to her berthing station on Battleship Row on 7 January 2010. The ship's grand reopening occurred on 30 January.
Missouri received three battle stars for her service in World War II, five for her service during the Korean War, and three for her service during the Gulf War. Missouri also received numerous awards for her service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Caterpillar D9R Armored Bulldozer

Here are some images of Meng's 1/35 scale Caterpillar D9R Armored Bulldozer in United States Marine Corps markings, Iraq 2004.

From Wikipedia"
 The Israeli Armored CAT D9—nicknamed Doobi (Hebrew: דובי‎, for teddy bear)—is a Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer that was modified by the Israel Defense Forces, Israeli Military Industries and Israel Aerospace Industries to increase the survivability of the bulldozer in hostile environments and enable it to withstand heavy attacks, thus making it suitable for military combat engineering use. The IDF Caterpillar D9 is operated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Combat Engineering Corps for combat engineering and counter-terrorism operations.

The D9R, the latest generation of Caterpillar D9 bulldozers in IDF service, has a power of 405–410 horse power and drawbar pull of 71.6 metric tons (about 716 kN). Older generations, such as D9L and D9N are still in service, mainly in the reserve forces. The D9 has a crew of two: operator and commander. It is operated by the TZAMA (In Hebrew: צמ"ה‎ = ציוד מכני הנדסי, mechanical engineering equipment) units of the Combat Engineering Corps.
The main IDF modification is the installation of an Israeli-made vehicle armor kit which provides armor protection to the mechanical systems and to the operator cabin. The operator and commander are protected inside an armored cabin ("the cockpit"), with bulletproof glass windows to protect against bombs, machine guns, and sniper fire. The IDF also developed and installed slat armor add-on to deflect rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) rounds. The fitted armor package adds roughly 15 additional tons to the production-line weight of the D9. The modified D9 bulldozers can be fitted with disparate features, such as crew-operated machine guns, smoke projectors, or grenade launchers. The Israeli armor and durable construction of the D9 makes it impervious to landmines, IED and large belly charges.
The IDF uses the D9 for a wide variety of combat engineering tasks, such as earthworks, digging moats, mounting sand barriers, building fortifications, rescuing stuck, overturned or damaged armored fighting vehicles (along with the M88 Recovery Vehicle), clearing land mines, detonating IEDs and explosives, handling booby traps, clearing terrain obstacles and opening routes to armored fighting vehicles and infantry, as well as structures demolition, including under fire.

The Caterpillar D9 bulldozer was introduced in 1954 by Caterpillar Inc. and quickly found its way to civilian engineering in Israel and from there it was recruited to military service by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Unarmored D9 bulldozers took part in the Sinai War (1956), Six Days War (1967), Yom Kippur War (1973) and Operation Peace for Galilee (1982).
During Yom Kippur War D9 bulldozers opened routes to Israeli forces, clearing landmines and other anti-tank obstacles. In the southern front, D9s towed bridges and breaching equipment and helped General Ariel Sharon to cross the Suez canal and determine the war with Egypt. The D9s razed the sand barrier around the canal and cleared mines near it. In the northern front, the D9 was the first motorized vehicle to reach the summit of Mount Hermon as it paved the way for IDF Engineering Corps, Golani Brigade and Paratroopers Brigade to claim the summit and prevent it from falling in the hands of Syria.

During Operation Peace for Galilee D9s were employed in breaching and paving ways through mountains and fields in the mountain landscape of southern Lebanon. The D9s also cleared minefields and explosive belly charges set on the main routes by Syrian army and Palestinian insurgents. Because the D9 served as front-line tools, the IDF developed armor kits to protect the lives of the soldiers operating them.
Between the wars, D9 bulldozers were employed in earthworks, fortifications buildings, opening routes and clearing explosive charges. During the late 1980s Israeli-made armor was installed on the D9L bulldozers that were in IDF service. Improved armor kits were designed and installed on the D9N bulldozers during the 1990s.[citation needed]
During the Second Intifada (2000 and henceforth) the armored D9 bulldozers gain notoriety as being an effective tool against Palestinian militants, as they were almost impervious to Palestinian weapons and withstood even RPGs and Belly charges with more than 100 kg and even half a ton of explosive. Therefore, they were used to open safe routes to IDF forces and detonate explosive charges. The bulldozers were used extensively to clear shrubbery and structures which was used as cover for Palestinian attacks. In addition they razed houses of families of suicide bombers.
Following several incidents where armed Palestinians barricaded themselves inside houses and killed soldiers attempting to breach the entries, the IDF developed "nohal sir lachatz" (נוהל סיר לחץ "pressure cooker procedure") in which D9s and other engineering vehicles were used to bring them out by razing the houses; most of them surrendered because of fear of being buried alive.
During the Battle of Jenin 2002 armored D9 bulldozers cleared booby traps and improvised explosive devices, and eventually razed houses from which militants fired upon Israeli soldiers or contained possible IEDs and booby traps. A translated interview with one of the drivers was published by Gush Shalom. After the deadly ambush in which 13 soldiers were killed the D9s razed the center of the camp and forced the remaining Palestinian fighters to surrender, thus finishing the battle with an Israeli victory.
In Rafah and near the Philadelphi Route the D9s razed thousands of buildings according to human rights reports; Israel claimed it is a security measure necessary to discover and destroy smuggling tunnels and destroy firing positions that threaten the forces in the area, while Palestinians claimed it was to create a "buffer zone" and punish Palestinians for IDF casualties.
While Palestinians saw the D9 as a devastating weapon, and human rights groups criticized it for the massive damage it caused to Palestinian infrastructure, Israelis and military experts saw the D9 as a necessary tool for combatting insurgency and terrorism and a key factor in reducing IDF casualties.
During the early 2000s, the new D9R entered IDF service, equipped with a new generation armor designed by the IDF's MASHA (Hebrew: מש"א‎, lit. Restoration and Maintenance Center), Israel Aerospace Industries and Zoko Shiloovim (Caterpillar Inc. importers in Israel). Due to the increasing threat of shaped charge anti-tank rockets and anti-tank missile, the IDF introduced in 2005 a slat armor, installed in large numbers on the IDF D9R dozers in 2006. The slat armor proved to be effective and life-saving; its developers and installers won the IDF's Ground Command award.
The IDF also operates armored remote-controlled D9N bulldozers, called "Raam HaShachar" (Hebrew: רעם השחר‎, lit. "thunder of dawn") often incorrectly referred as "black thunder". The remote-controlled bulldozer is used when there is a great risk for human life, mainly when opening dangerous routes and detonating explosive charges.
Armored D9R bulldozers and unmanned "Raam HaShachar" D9N bulldozers played important role in the Second Lebanon War (2006) and Operation Cast Lead (2008–2009). Both bulldozer types were involved in opening routes, clearing explosives and IEDs, building sand mounds to protect AFVs and infantry camps, and demolishing structures such as rigged buildings, HQs, warehouses, outposts, bunkers and tunnels – often concealed in civilian structures. One D9 was abandoned by IDF during battles near Al-Tiri and was captured by Hezbollah fighters. In total, 100 D9s were deployed during Operation Cast Lead.
Armored D9R bulldozers took part in the effort to extinguish 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire. The armored bulldozers opened route to fire trucks and fire fighters into the heart of the fire. They also created buffer zones by clearing shrubbery and mounting soil barriers in order to prevent the fire from spreading. They also helped extinguish fires by burying them in dirt and soil.
In 2014 the IDF Caterpillar D9 was recorded in Guinness Book of Records as the most armored bulldozer in the world.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

U.S. Tractor D7 w/Towing Winch D7N

Here are some images of MiniArt's 1/35 scale U.S. Tractor D7 w/Towing Winch D7N.

The Good -
This is easily one of the most detailed model kits I've seen. I would guess that It builds up practically much like the real thing.

The Bad - A major problem I've found with this kit, as I have seen with other MiniArt kits is their tendency to have too many tree attachments for really small delicate parts.This increases the chances of the part being broken upon removal.

The Ugly - The worst problem is related to the problem above, and that the plastic is noticeably brittle especially when dealing with the smaller thin parts. Which means the rod and cable/hose parts will definitely break upon removal. Even if you try and cut them out with a heated knife. This of course will mean replacing the rods and cables with wiring. I would recommend that you do not remove them from their trees, and instead use them as shaping templates.

From Wikipedia"
The Caterpillar D7 is a medium bulldozer manufactured by Caterpillar Inc.. The first D7 appeared in 1938. The D7C came next in 1955. The D7D came in 1959. The 160 hp D7E in 1961. The 180 hp D7F 1969.The 200 hp D7G in 1974.The 215 hp in 1986.The D7H was the first D7 to come with the exclusive elevated drive sprocket undercarriage.The D7R replaced the D7H in 1996 with the current D7R Series 2 replacing that.
In March 2008, at Conexpo 2008 held every 3 years in Las Vegas, Caterpillar introduced the D7E. This 235 hp D7E comes with an electric drive system powered by a 537cid C9.3 diesel engine. The C9.3 powers a generator that turns out electricity that will supply power to a pair of AC drive motors. Compared to the Caterpillar D7R Series II, the D7E is projected to deliver 25 percent more material moved per gallon of fuel, 10 percent greater productivity and 10 percent lower lifetime operating costs.
The D7R Series II at 240 hp power and an operating weight of 25 tons, is in the middle of Caterpillar's track-type tractors, which range in size from the D3 57 kW (77 hp), 7 t (8 short tons), to the D11 698 kW (935 hp), 112 t (124 short tons). It is primarily used to move material short distances or through challenging terrain. The vehicle is powerful, yet small and light 16 to 20 t (18 to 23 short tons) depending on configuration). This makes it ideal for working on very steep slopes, in forests, and for backfilling pipelines safely without risking damage to the pipe.
An agricultural version without the blade and rippers is commonly used by farmers.
Specially modified D7E's fitted with Rome plows were used to clear forest in the Vietnam war.
The US Army used armored D7G to clear mine fields and unarmored D7G and D7H for earthworks. The armor was developed by the Israel Military Industries (IMI). Later, the US Army developed a remote controlled version of the D7G for mine-clearing applications.
The United States Marine Corps has replaced its fleet of D7Gs with John Deere's 850J MCT in 2009
The Egyptian Army operates an unknown number of armored D7R II.
The current model is the D7R Series 2 Track-Type Tractor and will be replaced by the D7E in early 2009.

M1 Heavy Tractor was a term used by the US Army for several tractors prior to and during the second world war. Under the Ordnance Corps these "off the shelf" tractors were meant to tow artillery pieces so were not equipped with blades like their Engineer counterparts. Eventually these were replaced by purpose built "High Speed Tractors" (HST). Some tractors were equipped with crane attachments for ammunition, and material handling.
More than 1000 were leased to the Soviet Union. They mostly used them to tow 152 mm guns, 122 mm guns, even 203 mm guns. It saw good service as a prime mover for artillery.

Friday, April 8, 2016


Here are some images of Hobby Boss's 1/35 scale Landwasserschlepper.

From Wikipedia"
Ordered by the Heereswaffenamt in 1935 for use by German Army engineers, the Landwasserschlepper (or LWS) was intended as a lightweight river tug with some capacity to operate on land.
Intended to aid river crossing and bridging operations, it was designed by Rheinmetall-Borsig of Düsseldorf. The hull was similar to that of a motor launch, resembling a tracked boat with twin rear-mounted tunnelled propellers and twin rudders. On land, it rode on steel-shod tracks with four bogies per side.
By the autumn of 1940 three prototypes had been completed and were assigned to Tank Detachment 100 as part of Operation Sea Lion. It was intended to use them for pulling ashore unpowered assault barges during the invasion and for towing vehicles across the beaches. They would also have been used to carry supplies directly ashore during the six hours of falling tide when the barges were grounded. This involved towing a Kässbohrer amphibious trailer (capable of transporting 10-20 tons of freight) behind the LWS.
The Landwasserschlepper was demonstrated to General Franz Halder on 2 August 1940 by the Reinhardt Trials Staff on the island of Sylt and, though he was critical of its high silhouette on land, he recognized the overall usefulness of the design. It was proposed to build enough LWSs that each invasion barge could be assigned one or two of them, but difficulties in mass-producing the vehicle prevented implementation of that plan.
Due to protracted development, the Landwasserschlepper did not enter regular service until 1942 and, though it proved useful in both Russia and North Africa, it was produced in only small numbers. In 1944 a completely new design was introduced, the LWS II. This vehicle was based on a Panzer IV tank chassis and featured a small raised armored driver's cabin and a flat rear deck with four fold-down intake and exhaust stacks.
Landwasserschleppers remained operational until the end of the war in May 1945.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

VsKfz 617 Minenräumer

Here are some images of Meng's 1/35 scale vskfz 617  Minenräumer.

From the Instructions - (in all its broken English glory).
In order to reverse the tide. German troops developed the minesweeper - VsKfz 617 Minenräumer for the loss caused by the intensive mines of USSR in World War II. This vehicle was jointly designed by Alkett, Krupp and Daimler - Benz. The first prototype VsKfz was completed in 1942.
The VsKfz 617 is a kind of vehicle which cracks mines directly. It's hull is covered by variable shielding between 10 and 40mm. The power of the Maybach HL - 12 engine which used the power systems is 300 horsepower. The power is transmitted to the drive wheel by chains. During these ground displacements the changes of direction were accomplished by an orientation of an aft wheel controlled by a system of chains actuated by a wheel. The tracks which are called shoes are installed on the three wheels. Because of the rugged structures, the shoes are hard to blow off by anti tank weapons. The superstructure possesses a turret of the Pz. Kpfw I tank which is equipped with two 7.92mm MG-34 machine guns.
Now only one VsKfz 617 exists. Legends are circulating about it, hundreds of specialists , big and small, wrote and said strange things about its history and design, basing on hearsay, hypothesis and outright lies. According to some of these (already published abroad), the vehicle was captured during the battle for the Kursk Salient. Others say "No, That's an absurd" and then tell a tale of a vehicle excavated after the Germans evacuated Belarus. Not Belarus says another story, but in Poland, where it was found after the war by de-mining teams. In April 1945, during their advance, Soviet troops captured this vehicle in the center of the testing grounds of Kummersdorf. Stored a few times in Dresden, it was then dispatched to the USSR. The vehicle underwent several evaluation tests after capturing by Soviet troops, the results of the tests showed that the operational effectiveness of this vehicle was rather low and could not rule out the mines over rough terrain. The weak armor failed to provide the effectively protected and could easily be perforated  by various weapons. Its ponderous weight and awkward size made it incapable  of moving fast and the gearing was very uncertain. Maybe that was the result why German troops stopped to product and use it on a large scale. The VsKfz 617 now resides in the Kubinka Museum outside Moscow.