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Updated: 1 hour 55 min ago

F-104G/J, CF-104 Landing Gear

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 10:27
Product Image Review Author:  Michael A. Turco Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) is a Texas based company that has been marketing resin and white metal parts for scale model aircraft for over 20 years.  They endeavor to be accurate in their moldings, claiming to correct inaccuracies if found.  I have bought about a half dozen of their metal landing gear sets in the past, all of which have turned out to be excellent replacements for the plastic kit parts.

SAC's two-piece landing gear set #72180 is labeled for the '60s vintage 1/72-scale Hasegawa F-104G/J, CF-104 kit but I find that the set matches the more recent 1990-issued F-104G/S landing gear as well.  A comparison photo of the metal SAC main gear with the F-104G/S gear is shown herewith. 

The main gear piece has what appears to be curved, protective outer framing that will need to be carefully removed before gluing the gear to the model.  This framing protects the thin, secondary (V-patterned) struts attached to the main strut during shipping and handling.  I consider the latter to be a benefit as I had a set of SAC metal gear for the Revell/Monogram 1/48-scale B-26B/C Marauder in which one of the main landing gear pieces was bent in its package.  Using the kit-supplied piece as a reference, I carefully bent the gear back to the correct shape. 

The flexibility of metal landing gear affords an additional bonus.  It allows the modeler to make a slight adjustment to equalize the level of the wingtips after construction should that be necessary.  You can't do that with plastic.  Metal gear is also better suited if you have a heavy model, such as one with a lot of nose weight to prevent it from being a "tail sitter".

Based upon experience and the benefits it provides, I can recommend this product.

Trinidad 1990: The Caribbean’s Islamist Insurrection

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 09:44
Product Image Review Author:  Luke R. Bucci PhD Helion & Company

 

Sanjay Badri-Maharaj is the author of this book but also was there when it happened. As such, he has a personal stake in getting this book a wide audience. Sanjay is a native TTer (TT stands forTrinidad & Tobago, as they say on the islands), an Indo-Trinidadian. He studied at Kings College London, and received a PhD from the Department of War Studies, focusing on India's nuclear capabilities. He has authored other books on modern-day military topics from the Caribbean and India, including an upcoming review of English-speaking Caribbean militaries. Sanjay was a visiting International Fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. Sanjay has also served as a Consultant to the Ministry of National Security in Trinidad, a key player in this particular book. Thus, when Sanjay explains how things are really done in Trinidad, it is not speculation, but eye-witness observation and experience, with the keen eye of a practicing lawyer.

 

This book is No 19 of the Latin America @ War series by Helion, covering the last 100 years of conflicts from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. Trinidad 1990 explores the only Islamist Insurrection in the Western Hemisphere. Little attention was given in 1990 and it seems to have been a bad dream to all involved.

 

What You Get

This 11.7 X 8 1/4 inch (297 X 210 mm) softbound book is only 3 mm thick, but packs a lot of information. The covers are in color with four pages of color illustrations of personnel, equipment and a map. Production quality is good; however, there were many minor editorial mishaps - missing words/letters, misspelled words, and some awkward grammar. Nevertheless, these minor issues do not detract from the story. There are 68 pages, with small print - making this book appear small but actually having a lot of info. There is one Table, 4 maps, 71 B&W photos, 7 color profiles of military equipment and 3 color illustrations of personnel.

 

After a list of Abbreviations (do take note of these, they are used often), there are 7 sections to this book, followed by and Appendix of the Defence Force Today, a Bibliography, Notes and About the Author. Sections are: 1) Background; 2) Rival Forces; 3) Planning the Attack; 4) The Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Strikes; 5) Hostages and Negotiations; 6) The TTDF Responds; and 7) The Endgame, Amnesty, Surrender and Conclusions.

 

Trinidad and Tobago are small tropical islands off the coast of Venezuela, with a population of almost 1.5 million in 2011, the latest census, increased from under 0.5 million in 1946. The Introduction sets the stage for what how Trinidad & Tobago (TT) experienced a government takeover from endogenous radical Islam elements. TT is rich in oil and gas, but this bounty was sequestered by an oligarchy after the British left in 1962 and TT became a sovereign nation. Sanjay pulls no punches, points fingers and names names in describing how TT went from a comfortable, affluent country to a den of thieves, corruption and poverty by 1990. Disenchantment of poorer Afro-Trinidadians led to conversions to Islam, and the growing population of Indo-Trinidadians (now the largest ethnic group in TT) clashing with different mindsets about home, government and life in general.

 

There are so many things that went wrong by every party to the sordid story that this book was painful to read. Disparity of wealth led to a bloated and corrupt government and police force, disenfranchising the majority of the population. In the 1980s, the oil crisis plunged TT into an economic depression. South American drug cartels found easy business in TT as a shipping point for drugs to the USA and other Caribbean destinations. Crime lords actually ran the country from behind the scenes, using uneducated youth as heavies and hooligans.

 

African Muslims came from slaves and later, British Colonial military personnel, but most Muslims were Indian Indentured immigrants. Sunni is the predominant sect. The 1970s saw a change in the well-integrated Muslim communities by African militants, with funding by Saudi Arabia and Libya. The Black Power movement in the USA helped to radicalize Muslims, and led to a bizarre revolt of an Army regiment in 1970, which was quickly put down without loss of life. This revolt led successive governments to neuter the military and police forces to ensure no armed rebellions from within would upset their oligarchy. Lenox Phillip changed his name to Yasmin Abu Bakr and proceeded on a campaign to restore his version of radical Islam, targeting the Indo-Trinidadian Muslims as well as the establishment. He formed the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen in 1982 and found funding from foreign sources. He and other members went to Libya for terrorist training, and began accumulating arms. The government hassled him over improper use of land (he simply took over some land and built a mosque), which was a sticking point for Abu Bakr increasing his anti-government rhetoric and actions.

 

Meanwhile, the TT military and police forces were rife with political corruption and were decayed vestiges of law and order, with little resources or funding. This is a Military Book Series, but TT had very little in the way of military or police forces. Their Intelligence was nonexistent, and nobody in the government felt they were threatened by any group.

 

Eventually, Abu Bakr decided to overthrow the government, assured that the population would follow and install him as the leader of a new Islamic nation. He smuggled arms from the USA by paying off a Customs Inspector, and through his religious teachings, attracted a following of young, rebellious youths. Finally, on July 27, 1990, he loaded up carloads of men with guns and simultaneously took over the only television station (TTT, Trinidad Tobago Television), the main Police station and the Parliament Building. Abu Bakr sent out one TV message that he had overthrown the government. His men shot and killed eight unarmed people in these places, including a women who bled to death from a gut shot in front of them and their captives. They also shot the Prime Minister, and forced him to abdicate, but not before signing a letter of amnesty to the attackers. Police were unarmed and fled as fast as they could. However, the TTDR (Trinidad Tobago Defence Force) took immediate action, mostly because most of them were watching a soccer match in a nearby stadium, and quickly contained Bakr's forces, and ended TV broadcasts by simply turning off their electricity.

 

The insurrection was poorly planned by any standards, and mostly succeeded in downtown Port of Spain being looted by the local population and insurgents, causing 16 additional deaths, and enormous economic losses to an already impoverished area. The military was also poorly coordinated, but to their credit, did their job and kept the insurrection from spreading. The negotiations for release of hostages at the three government facilities took three days, all the time with no food, water or facilities in the buildings. Amnesty was granted and holds to this day, despite revisits by TT. Abu Bakr continued his rhetoric and tried politics without results, and is alive to this day. No reparations were demanded or given to those killed or injured in the insurrection. It seemed to just have been a bad memory shortly after everybody went home, except for a devasted downtown district. The Indo-Trinidadians took over control of the government, and have continued to be the majority of TT and its controlling interest.

 

The whole situation would have been a comedy of errors on all sides, but nothing serious has happened to the government or country since. The military continues to be funded poorly and is in a state of torpor, except for its small Coast Guard, which still maintains a collection of small patrol boats and out of service helicopters.

 

Summary

The subject of this book is not well known in the USA, but the author gives a moving analysis of why and how it happened. The author, Sanjay, is passionate about telling the facts regardless of any political correctness, probably because he lived through the events and the anticlimactic aftermath. People were killed in cold blood, and the killers were let off scot free. Lawlessness abounded for a few days in the immediate area, but did not spill over into nationwide anarchy or unrest. The small, underfunded and undertrained military upheld the Constitution and allowed the civilian government to determine the outcome through proper channels, keeping the insurrection from becoming a serious bloodletting. Ineptitude abounded on all fronts, but somehow the government takeover became just another house-cleaning with different faces. Not much changed afterwards.

 

There are lessons from these events, but it really shows what happens when personal integrity is mostly lacking in government institutions, and how the sinister specter of organized crime can quietly manipulate outcomes favorable to their cause. One has to ask themselves the question: what would TT look like now if the military did not do their job? Perhaps everything that happened was for the good of the many, regardless of what outsiders might think.

 

Thanks to the author for this overlooked and unusual event into scrutiny, Helion Books for publishing this history, and Casemate Publishers for getting this book to us.

 

Figures:

Figure 1: Front cover of Trinidad 1990. The Caribbean's Islamist Insurrection.

Figure 2: Back cover of Trinidad 1990. The Caribbean's Islamist Insurrection.

Figure 3: A color map of Trinidad and Tobago, showing Port of Spain, the capitol where the insurrection occurred.

Figure 4: After the unarmed Police Constable was shot and killed, a car bomb was exploded in front of Police Headquarters, and then was occupied by the insurgents.

Figure 5: Photo showing destructive looting and arson in Port of Spain encouraged by the insurrectionists.

Figure 6: Screenshot of Abu Bakr's TV broadcast to the nation that the government was overthrown.

 

Thanks to Casemate Publishing & IPMSUSA for the review copy!

A-26C Invader

Tue, 04/06/2021 - 10:01
Product Image Review Author:  Mike Kellner Hobby Boss

The A-26 is a lesser known twin engine bomber from World War II which got its ancestry from the A-20 Havoc. After World War II it was re-designated B-26 and also served in Korea. At first glance Hobby Boss's 1/32 scale A-26C Invader is impressive. 

The kit is molded in light gray plastic, with crystal clear transparencies and rubber tires. There are decals for two options, a night black Invader and a natural metal one.  All parts were nicely wrapped in plastic but on my sample, the trim control wheel was badly damaged.

Assembly was straightforward and went fairly quickly. The kit recommends 150 gm of weight to keep it on its nose so I decided to use the cast-metal nose gear and wheel well from Scale Aircraft Conversions (Kit #32155), which supplied 42 gm of ballast.  I filled the space between the wheel well and cockpit floor with lead, put lead in front of the instrument panel and also hid more lead under the nose platform behind the Norden bombsight, and the model still barely sits on its nose.  I also modified the nose platform; as issued, it covered the bombsight, but looking at pictures, the Norden was shown exposed, so I cut the deck back one section.   

All interior parts fit great until I went to glue them together---then I had a little trouble around the nose section (I'm assuming that's due to some slight misalignment of the metal nose gear well box.)  I had at first reversed part C-3, the interior support deck for the belly turret.  It looks nearly square but actually has a slight taper and its narrower end goes aft.  There is an extra set of rudder pedals included in the kit so I assume there'll be a different version of the kit issued at some point.

Because of the airplane's size and the visibility of its interior, I decided to leave the bomb bay doors open so I built up the kit-supplied 500-pound bombs for the inside load. The bomb fins were tricky to fit and I got some with slightly misaligned fins. For underwing stores there are two choices: additional 500-pound bombs or gun pods, so the builder needs to drill the appropriate holes for each....they're clearly laid out in the instructions.  Having decided on bombs for the bomb bay, I opted to use two double .50-caliber gun pods beneath the wings instead. 

I needed to file the landing gear stubs that mounted into the wheel wells to get them to fit into the square sockets provided.  Parts K-28 and K-29, the back sides of the firewalls under the cowl flaps at the front of the nacelles needed to be sanded a bit to blend in with the nacelles and their tops have shallow sink marks that I was almost able to sand out. Each cowling also had a sink mark on the inside.

The engines are somewhat simple for a model of this size and are the wrong kinds as well---they have a double row, seven-cylinder engine when the real A-26 had R-2800 engines with two rows of nine cylinders. The kit is tight enough to enable me to just snap the engines and cowls to the firewalls with thoughts of maybe changing them out at a later date.

The glass fit fine until I went to glue it in place, then one side of the canopy moved off to one side. Part L-12, the center dash cover, needed some sanding to fit, and that may have contributed to the windshield problem. 

I painted the airplane with flat paint, and in hindsight that was a hindrance to applying the decals.  I overcoated it with gloss clear but it never really got glossy enough to suit me.  The decals went down OK but were very brittle and several of the square red wing boxes broke up. Also, each decal had a number by it and when I put them in the water, those would disintegrate and I had to be very careful so pieces of them didn't get under the decal. I overcoated the decals with Future floor wax which blended most of them in.  I believe the full-size airplanes were a gloss or at least a semi-gloss finish, so I left a sheen on mine.  Overall I liked the kit, but if I built another one I would paint it with gloss paint. 

Thanks to MRC and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this kit. 

A-26B Invader Landing Gear Set

Tue, 04/06/2021 - 09:45
Product Image Review Author:  Mike Kellner Scale Aircraft Conversions

The SAC replacement gear seems to be an exact replica of the parts from the Hobby Boss A-26 Invader kit. The metal is soft but easy to clean and file. The set consists of main gear, nose gear, and nose wheel well. I decided to use the nose gear and its well to help balance the model since I have never tolerated tail sitters.

The nose gear well needs a little filing to fit. Even after adding more weight, the airplane barely stood on its nose, so I am glad I used it. I don't believe you could get enough weight in the nose without it. The SAC set claims it weighs 42 grams and the kit recommends 150 grams, so the builder has to make up the 108 gram difference.

After finishing the model, because of its weight I might've been better off using the metal main gear also.

I want to thank Scale Aircraft Conversions and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this accessory.

Pacific Profiles, Volume Two: Japanese Army Bombers, Transports & Misc. Types, New Guinea & The Solomons 1942-1944

Mon, 04/05/2021 - 14:17
Product Image Review Author:  Keith Gervasi Casemate Publishers

The Author: Michael Claringbould spent his formative years in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s, where he became fascinated by the many WWII aircraft wrecks which still lie around the country. He has served overseas as an Australian diplomat including South East Asia and throughout the South Pacific where he had the fortune to return to Papua New Guinea for 3 years starting in 2003. Mr. Claringbould has authored & illustrated various books (at least 15) on Pacific War aviation. His history of the Tainan Naval Air Group in New Guinea 'Eagles of the Southern Sky' received worldwide acclaim as the first English-language history of a Japanese fighter unit, which was also translated into Japanese.

This book covers 9 Sentai's plus HQ, Recon, Transport & Liaison units and where they were based during this campaign. The main aircraft covered in this book are: Mitsubishi Ki-21 I & II Sally, Mitsubishi Ki-46 II Dinah, Kawasaki Ki-48 II Lily, Nakajima Ki-49 I & II Helen, Mitsubishi Ki-51 Sonia, Kawasaki Ki-58 Thalia and the Mitsubishi Ki-57 / MC-20 and MC-21 Sally transport. With 66 B&W, 12 color photos and 22 pages of color profiles (covering 100 different aircraft), if you have any of these kits in your stash, you're going to have quite a few ideas to help with your build.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  • About the Author
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 JAAF Bombers and Support Types in the South Pacific
  • Chapter 2 Technical Notes
  • Chapter 3 The 7th Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 4 The 14th Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 5 The 26th Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 6 The 34th Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 7 The 45th Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 8 The 60th Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 9 The 61st Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 10 The 75th Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 11 The 208th Hiko Sentai
  • Chapter 12 Headquarters and Command Units
  • Chapter 13 Reconnaissance Units
  • Chapter 14 Transport and Liaison Units
  • Sources
  • Index of names

Each chapter has a short history of the units but is well researched and even includes when possible names of unit commanders and some of the pilots. This book is well written and a very easy read and is a welcome addition to any library.....mine especially, since I recently picked up Ki-21 and Ki-49 kits.

I highly recommend this book for anyone with these aircraft in their stash or anyone with an interest in JAAF units in the South Pacific.

I'd like to thank Casemate publishers for providing this book and the review Corps for letting me review it.

SAAB Viggen Landing Gear (Tarangus/Special Hobby)

Mon, 04/05/2021 - 12:14
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Scale Aircraft Conversions

This set is designed to provide replacement parts for the landing gear on the Tarangus/Special Hobby SAAB Viggen kits.  The set includes replacement parts for the nose gear and both main gear assemblies and as with most of SAC's landing gear sets, the metal parts are intended to be one-for-one replacements for the kit parts. 

The nose strut assembly includes the gear strut, the scissor link and the retraction/extension actuator.  The parts in my set were very well cast and after just a little clean-up of the casting seam where the casting plugs attach, the parts will be ready to go.

The main gear sets each include the gear strut, both parts of the retraction/extension strut and the smaller strut/actuator that attaches to the rear base of the main gear struts. Unfortunately, as shown in the photographs, the scissor links for both main gear struts in my set appear to be bent or twisted sideways so I will need to take a little time to straighten them out before painting and attaching them.  The replacements for parts A13 and A14 will also need a little work to spread the open ends apart a little in order to fit around parts A15 & A16 (or their metal replacements).   The main struts themselves will also require some clean up and slight reshaping as it appears that the casting molds were not exactly lined up on my set as there is a prominent mold seam on the smaller sections of the main struts, however, the struts do correctly portray the offset leg which attaches to the main gear door.

This looks like a nice set from Scale Aircraft Conversions and once cleaned up will make a nice addition to your Viggen. Thank you to Scale Aircraft Conversions for the review set and to IPMS-USA for letting me review it.

Tu-22 Blinder Landing Gear (Trumpeter)

Mon, 04/05/2021 - 11:44
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Scale Aircraft Conversions

This set is designed to provide replacement parts for Trumpeter's Tu-22 Blinder kit.  As with most of SAC's landing gear sets, the metal parts are intended to be one-for-one replacements for the kit parts. 

The set includes replacement parts for the nose gear and both main gear strut assemblies and some of the associated actuators. However, it appears that a couple of parts are missing as the nose strut has two small parts to be fitted to the sides of the strut (parts E1 and E2) that are identical, but there is only one of them provided in the SAC set.  In addition, the kit includes a small secondary retraction arm (part E3) which attaches to the triangular retraction arm, but this actuator is not included in the SAC set.  As noted in the photos, my nose strut was slightly bent to one side when I opened the package, however, being white metal, it was easily straightened.  It also appears that my set has an extra triangular casting in it that does not match any of the parts in the kit, but it took me some time to figure this out by comparing the part to all the kit parts.

For the main gear, the set includes both the main strut and the actuator that is attached to each strut.  Unfortunately, as shown in the photos, on my set the retraction arm and the small bracing strut on each main strut were bent and would need to be straightened before being painted.  A bigger issue, however, is that the Blinder has four wheels for each main gear, two on each side, but both main gear legs in the set have axles only on one side when there should be axles on both sides! 

I have used SAC gear in quite a few builds and as the Blinder is a pretty bit kit, I was looking forward to counting on this set to help support the weight of a large aircraft, unfortunately as the main gear struts only have axles on one side, I will be using the kit parts instead of the ones in this set. 

Thank you to Scale Aircraft Conversions for the review set and to IPMS-USA for letting me review it. Hopefully, SAC has discovered the error of the missing axles on the main struts and recast the main struts correctly.

North American P51-D Mustang (Filletless Tails)

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 10:56
Product Image Review Author:  James Kelley Airfix

 

History

 

     Colonel Thomas J.J. "Jack" Christian's personal mount was an early P-51D-5-NA, serial number 44-13410, Code E2-C, with "LOU IV" painted on the port side of the engine cowling, forward of the cockpit and just rearward of the exhaust manifolds. The aircraft was named after his wife, Marjorie Lou Ashcroft Christian. The name "ATHELENE" was painted on the starboard side of the fuselage forward of the cockpit and below the exhaust manifolds. LOU IV was the most photographed P-51 Mustang of World War 2, and was an early P-51 D-5-NA (with the "bubble" canopy) without the stabilizing tail fin addition of the later definitive -D models. Additional photographs better indicate LOU IV's colors and markings, including a yellow propeller spinner, a yellow engine cowling, a bare metal fuselage with a mottled camouflage pattern of dark green and /or black on the top surfaces, and "invasion stripes" beneath the fuselage roundel and on the bottom of the wings. On 12 August 1944, at 1505 hours, 361st Fighter Group commanding officer Colonel Thomas J.J. Christian, Jr., flying the lead plane, Lou IV, was killed and his Mustang destroyed in a dive-bombing attack against the Arras railroad marshaling yards in Boisleux-au-Mont, France.

 

 

Instructions

 

     The instructions are what one would expect from Airfix these days. Printed in colour, colour callouts for Humbrol paints, and each previous completed step being highlighted in red. Interior decal callouts as the build progresses, and two full-colour paint schemes. One thing I really liked is that if the modeler wishes to paint the invasion stripes, there is a notation for exactly how wide to paint each stripe (9.5085mm) and how wide each wings' section should be when completed (47.5435mm). The dimensions are based on the real stripes having been painted 18" apiece in WWII. To me, this is a much-appreciated attention to detail. I will point out that Airfix thanks Christian Alamy and Roy Sutherland for their assistance in the development of this kit on the first page. Mr. Sutherland, you may know, is the owner of Barracuda Studios and produces aftermarket resin and decal sets. His line includes several P-51 improvements, and I believe his input is evident in this kit.

 

Construction

 

     Construction, of course, starts in the cockpit. The pilots seat has the side braces and harness belts molded into it in such a way that in 3 pieces, the seat, harness, and braces are perfect. Some careful painting and washes, and the seat looks great. The completed cockpit is very nicely-detailed, and aftermarket parts are not really needed. The cockpit then sits on the supercharger assembly, which goes back to the tail wheel well. There's a fair number of parts involved, and getting one out of line leads to big ripple-effect problems down the line. Once everything was said and done, it all fit perfectly into one side of the fuselage. When I closed it all up, however, there was a large gap along the underside from the supercharger intake back to the wheel well. No amount of manipulation corrected it. As a result, this model has way more filler putty on it than I think it ever should have. I may have misaligned something further up the line, but regardless, this design feature is rather poor. Fortunately, Airfixs' soft blue plastic allows for easy sanding. The rest of the build went pretty smoothly. Multiple options are in the build, included posable flight surfaces, wheels up/down, etc. Be careful with the propeller assembly. I painted it, then glossed and decaled the wrong side! It only fits one way into the spinner plate, and I neglected to test fit it first. There are numerous heavy sprue gate attachment points, seemingly on the more delicate and most important parts. The fuselage halves and wing parts were carefully removed with a micro saw to preserve the integrity of the molding. There is a tiny rear-view mirror that attaches to the top of the windscreen. I tried several times to mount it, to no avail.

 

 

Decals

 

     Primary Scheme: North American P-51D-5-NA Mustang 'Lou IV' flown by Colonel Thomas Jonathan Jackson Christian Jr, 37 5th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, United States Air Force Station F-374 (RAF Bottisham) Cambridge, England July 1944.

 

     Scheme 2: North America P-51D-5-NA Mustang Aircraft flown by Major George Earl Preddy Jr, 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group, United States Air Force, RAF Bodney, Norfolk, England August 6th, 1994.

 

     The decals are one of this kits' high points. They are in perfect register, and include cockpit data plates and something I've never seen in a P-51 kit prior to this-an instrument panel decal with the yellow demarcation separating instruments. I think that Mr. Sutherland's input is evident here. The decals responded very well to Micro-Sol. The decal sheet is not without a head-scratcher, like other aspects of this project, though. The modeler is instructed to trim 3mm from the port & starboard fuselage invasion stripe decals. Why not just print them to fit correctly in the first place??  I was unable to get the bottom edges to meet congruently, so maybe I didn't trim them straight. The underwing invasion stripes don't fit quite well either. When lined up perfectly with the wheel wells, they creep into the wings' leading edges unevenly. Again, maybe it's me. I do appreciate how well they reacted to the Micro-Sol, especially around the compound curves of the fuselage.

 

 

Paint & Finish

 

Paints used were a mix of Tamiya and Gunze acrylics. The bare metal is AK Extreme Metal Flat Aluminum.

 

 

Conclusion

 

PROS:

  • Clever engineering for the pilot's seat.
  • Overall cockpit detail level.
  • 2 radios included.
  • Finely engraved instrument panel with a correct instrument decal.
  • Engine cowling is one, separate part.
  • Parts for in-flight or wheels-down configuration.
  • Correctly-molded .50 caliber guns/blast tubes.
  • Positionable flying surfaces.
  • Two types of weighted wheels- diamond tread or linear tread patterns.
  • Clever engineering for the main gear doors.
  • Two types of drop tanks.
  • Two windscreens (that appear exactly the same to me).
  • Three bubble canopies (that appear exactly the same to me).
  • The clear parts are absolutely crystal-clear.
  • Overall excellence of the decal sheet.

 

CONS:

 

  • Cockpit/supercharger intake/tail wheel bay are all one, modular construction subset & can lead to potential, major fit issues.
  • Main wheel well detail is soft.
  • Fit is dubious in several areas.
  • Cleverly-engineered main gear doors don't fit well.
  • Tailwheel fits poorly to hub.
  • Filletless tail design leads to potential fit issues.
  • Invasion stripe decals are curious.

 

 

     For a few bucks more than Tamiya's 1/48 counterpart, and for about $23-25 less than Eduard's Pony, this kit from Airfix is a solid contender in the quarter-scale Mustang market. Despite having some fit issues (which may have been my own doing), and those invasion stripes, this kit produces a gorgeous Mustang at a fair price point. Definitely recommended.

 

My thanks to IPMS/USA and Hornby Hobbies LTD for the opportunity to build this kit.

 

 

Staff Cars in Germany WW2 Vol.2

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 10:43
Product Image Review Author:  Phillip Cavender MMP Books

Staff Cars in Germany WW2 Vol. 2, is number 23 in the "Camera On" series published by MMPBooks/Stratus. The author, Alan Ranger, has written over 20 books in the Camera On Series dealing with German and Japanese armour specializing in soft skin and armoured vehicles. With Volume 1 Staff Cars in Germany WW2 # 9 published in 2019, the author presented photographs of passenger cars used by the German armed forces namely the line of Opel vehicles including the Admiral, Kadett, Kapitan and others. A lengthy article on the history of the Opel was presented in his first volume.

This 11.7 x 8.3 inches A4 format paperback has 80 pages with 150 period b/w photographs from the author's personal collection not the propaganda ones generally seen. The author, in vol. 2 concentrates on the remainder of the Opel passenger cars not covered in Vol. 1. Most are previously unseen and taken by ordinary German soldiers before and during the war. The book begins with a brief forward and a short introduction of the history of the Opel Company whose beginnings in 1862 was the manufacturer of sewing machines, then the production of bicycles in 1886 before introducing the first passenger car in 1899.

The author divides Vol.2 into eight sections with a brief description of each.

  • Opel P4
  • Mock-Up Training Tanks
  • Opel 2L
  • Opel Kadett Model 1937
  • Opel Kadett K38
  • Opel Super 6
  • Opel Kapitan
  • Opel Admiral

 

Opel P-4

The Opel P4, introduced in 1935, replaced the Opel 1.2-liter vehicle which had been in production since 1931. It was a 1073cc 4 cylinder in-line engine having 23hp with a top speed of 53mph. The images in this first section are spread over 4 pages with several clear black and white images and a noteworthy image on page 9 of a P4 taken by its owner presumably before it's confiscation by the army. The images are printed with mostly two to a page. Even though a few are a bit grainy, most of the detail is noticeable. The author describes in detail with each image what the reader is seeing.

Mock-Up Training Tanks based on the Opel P-4

In the late 1920's and early 1930's many of the Opel P-4s were fitted by the German army with metal and a rotating turret to resemble tanks. These were used as training tanks for the Panzer division as tanks couldn't be produced by the Treaty of Versailles after WWI. The author includes numerous images with detailed captions many with German soldiers on or near the vehicle. Page 15 depicts one of the training Opel P-4's in a Buntfarbenanstrich camouflage scheme.

Opel 2 L

Another Opel car manufacture for civilian use was the Opel 2 however, most were requisitioned for military use during the war. The author includes several images of the 2 L along with captions. An interesting photo on page 21 shows a garrison of vehicles including the 2 L painted in Panzer Grey.

Opel Kadett Model 1937 and Kadett K38

The next section examines the Opel Kadett used in the German army. Entering production as the first generation Kadett in early 1937, it had a unibody construction and was offered in two options, either the two-door sedan or the two-door soft top Cabriolet both having a 23 hp engine as the earlier P-4.  The second generation Kadett entered production in December 1937 with only minor changes.  From 1938 onward two versions were offered, the KJ38 and K38. Over 100,000 Kadett were manufactured many of which were in the hands of the German military. Page 29 (top image) shows a well maintained K38 painted in Panzer Grey with typical German markings of the Heer.

 

Opel Super 6

The Opel Super 6 manufactured in 1937 with a production run of only one and a half years had a 2500cc engine developing 71hp. Three versions were offered, a 4-door sedan, a 2-door coupe, and a 2-door carbriolet soft top. As with the other Opel models the Super 6 became a military vehicle seeing service in all areas of the war, however it did have problems in Russia due to its inability to traverse the muddy conditions. The Super 6 was eventually replaced with the Kapitan. The author has included 29 images on the Super 6 in various surroundings including summer, winter with wet and muddy conditions.  A clear profile image of the carbriolet taken on June 14th, 1943 is printed on page 40.

Opel Kapitan

Introduced in April 1939, the Kapitan was a replacement for the Super 6. The Kapitan had a unibody construction with the same powerplant as the Super 6. Unlike its predecessor the Super 6 it was also offered in the same 3 versions. Page 59 is an image of a doctor's car having the medical aid symbol on the driver's door.

Opel Admiral

The last vehicle the author writes about is the Opel Admiral. By far the most luxurious vehicle Opel manufactured, it had a separate body and chassis with a 3,626cc 74hp engine. Available in two models, the 4-door sedan and cabriolet. Production was stopped in 1939 due to the use of the engine in the Opel Blitz 3-ton truck. As in his previous sections, the author includes vehicles in a vast array of environments. The author also, includes on page 74 a full-page photo of the same picture used on the book front cover with an interesting caption explaining this vehicle was "Smiling Uncle Albert's".

Conclusion:

The author, as in his previous books, presents a history of military vehicles using images all containing ordinary soldiers in their surroundings. This undoubtedly is a great resource for the historical buff as well as an excellent reference for the modeler, beginner or skilled. Given the time frame the photos were taken, most are of high quality with an exorbitant amount of detail which the modeler or historian will enjoy. The various environmental settings will be of particular interest to the modeler giving another avenue of inspiration.

This book will make an excellent addition to any modeler or military historian's library. I highly recommend it. Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishers and MMPBooks/Stratus for this review sample.

Operation Crossbow 1944 Hunting Hitler’s V-weapons

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 09:01
Product Image Review Author:  Phil Peterson Osprey Publishing

Operation Crossbow was the Allies attempt to destroy Hitler's new Vengeance weapons, the V-1 and V-2. This book focuses on the bomber campaign rather than the defenses deployed in England to counter the attacks.

The usual soft cover book consists of 94 pages filled with Mr. Zaloga's usual well documented and written information. There are lots of photographs of not only the allied attacking aircraft but also the German weapons and their launch sites. The photos are supported by some colored artwork, drawings, diagrams, and charts and tells the story in a fitting manner.

The book contains an Introduction and Chronology chapters before giving the Attackers and Defenders Capabilities. The Campaign Objective is followed by the bulk of the book in the Campaign chapter. An Analysis and Conclusion chapter finishes off the format.

Crossbow was developed to protect the capital of London which was the main target. To do that the Allies used the RAF's Bomber Command and 2nd Tactical Air Force along with the US's 8th and 9th Air Forces. The campaign itself was split into two main Phases. The first phase was mainly attacks against the V-1 launch sites located within striking distance of London while also hitting some of the heavy bunkers and storage sites. Phase 2 focused more on destroying the enemy's ability to make the weapons and to get them to the launching sites.

I enjoyed this book and really liked all the information and photos regarding the V-1 sites as I have plans to build part of one at some time in the future. This book will be a great help in that endeavor.

Thanks to Osprey and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

South Pacific Air War: Buna & Milne Bay, September 1942

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 11:40
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Avonmore Books

Avonmore Books is an Australian publisher specializing in military and aviation history, with a particular interest on the early period of the Pacific War. Avonmore prides itself in being the only mainstream Australian military history publisher producing full colour, illustrated books. While expensive to produce, we strive to produce titles that are a pleasure to own and read, and which incorporate first-class profiles, illustrations, and maps. To date, Avonmore Books has published 25 aviation books.

Raised in Port Moresby, pilot Michael Claringbould is a globally recognized expert on the New Guinea air war and Japanese aviation in particular. In 1976 he conducted numerous surveys of crash sites in Papua New Guinea while based at Lae. The following year he continued his survey of crash sites in the Solomon Islands. In 1984 he was a key member of a RAAF salvage team, which recovered an intact Douglas A-20G "Hell'N Pelican II". From 1995 to 2001 he conducted fourteen surveys of crash sites in the Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Michael is an established author in this field as well. His books include Helluva Pelican, The Forgotten Fifth, Forty of the Fifth, and Black Sunday.

Peter Ingman is an author specializing in aviation and WWII Pacific War history. Peter has co-authored five widely acclaimed Australian WWII history books: Zero Hour in Broome, Carrier Attack Darwin 1942 and four volumes of the South Pacific Air War series. Through his publishing business Avonmore Books, Peter has also had extensive input into further military history books by a variety of authors. An award-winning essayist, Peter is the Chairman of the History Group at the South Australian Aviation Museum. He lives in Adelaide with his two young children.

The front cover features a color illustration of an ex-RAF P-400, still in its RAF camouflage scheme. This 80th FS Airacobra struggles to gain altitude over Port Moresby in July 1942. The rear cover depicts a color illustration of Buntaciho Lieutenant Sasai Junichi lining up a 3rd Bomb Group B-25C Mitchell over the Huon Gulf in June 1942. I counted 17 color side profiles, 15 color illustrations, and three color maps by Michael Claringbould. There are also 56 period black and white period photographs, three modern color photographs, along with ten tables.

Michael Claringbould and Peter Ingman describe the battles between June and September 1942 over Buna and Milne Bay from both sides. The previous three volumes cover the first six months of the Pacific Sea, leading into the Battle of the Coral Sea. Volume four starts off with an overview of both the Allied and Japanese sides to get the reader orientated. The rest of the book provides detailed operational accounts of the air reconnaissance, air strikes, and air battles; both in overview along with detailed first person accounts. The authors provide details of both sides claims aligned against actual battle damage that clearly displays the fog of battle. The period of June through September 1942 saw no major sea battles as carriers from both sides were otherwise occupied, so most of the action was from land based aircraft.

The Chapters include:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Overview
  • Chapter 2 Night Raids: Regional Operations 19-30 June [Page 29]
  • Chapter 3 Independence Day: Regional Operations 1-7 July [Page 43]
  • Chapter 4 The Lull Before the Storm: Regional Operations 8-20 July
  • Chapter 5 Buna Landing: New Guinea 21-31 July
  • Chapter 6 Target Townsville: Solomons & North Queensland 21 July-1 August
  • Chapter 7 150 Bombers Destroyed! New Guinea 1-8 August [Page 91]
  • Chapter 8 D-Day: The Solomons 1-8 August
  • Chapter 9 Prelude: Milne Bay 4-22 August
  • Chapter 10 Buna Resupplied: New Guinea 9-22 August [Page 125]
  • Chapter 11 Emergency: Milne Bay 23 August - 8 September [Page 143]
  • Chapter 12 Tainan Ku Annihilated! New Guinea 23 August - 8 September
  • Chapter 13 Conclusion
  • Appendix 1 Allied Aircraft Losses & Fatalities
  • Appendix 2 Japanese Aircraft Losses & Fatalities
  • Appendix 3 Cumulative Losses
  • Sources
  • Index

There are a plethora of tidbits and first person accounts that make this book an easy read. One of the more memorable operations for me addressed two Consolidated Catalina nuisance raids on 27-June-1942 over Lae and Salamaua. Circling for over four hours, they both randomly unloaded eight 500-lb bombs while the crew dropped 20-lb fragmentation bombs by hand. To spice things up, they also dropped empty beer bottles which made a whistling sound as they descended.

Michael Claringbould's color side profiles and color illustrations add a lot to the period black and white photographs to this tale. This was an easy read over four nights that was hard to put down. Now I just need to go back and grab the first three volumes!

My thanks to Casemate, Avonmore Books, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

In the Claws of the Tomcat: US Navy F-14 Tomcats in Air Combat Against Iran and Iraq, 1987-2000

Mon, 03/29/2021 - 14:02
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Helion & Company

The book is Volume 29 of Helion & Company's Middle East@War series.  The book includes over 80 black and white photographs which include not only photographs of some of the US Navy F-14 squadrons that were engaged in operations in the Persian Gulf and over Iraq, but also quite a few good photographs of Iraqi Air Force aircraft, surface-to-air missiles and other defenses systems, as well as Iraqi pilots.  The photographs are supplemented by 21 color profiles of various F-14s and Iranian and Iraqi aircraft that were involved in the actions discussed in the book.  There are also several charts setting forth the order of battle for the two forces along with maps of the theater of operations.  

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and author with extensive contacts both within the US military and with many current or former senior officers of air forces across the Middle East and he has taken advantage of these sources to put together a much more balanced look at the employment of the F-14 Tomcat in the Persian Gulf region, before, during and after Desert Storm.  Mr. Cooper's portrayal of how the F-14s were employed during Desert Storm demonstrates that they played a much bigger and more integral role in US Navy air combat operations during the conflict than has previously been published.

The book begins with an overview of the genesis of the F-14 Tomcat, including a good discussion of how the sale of F-14s to Iran in the mid 1970's saved Grumman from bankruptcy and forced the US Congress to continue authorizing the purchase of more F-14s for the US Navy.  He also discusses the problems encountered with the TF30 engines that the F-14A was equipped with, problems that were only solved with the replacement of the TF30 with F110 engines in the F-14A+/B and F-14D.

The author also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the variety of fighter aircraft flown by the Iraqi Air Force as well as its reliance on ground control during intercept operations.  He points out that many of the Iraqi pilots faced by the Coalition air forces in Desert Storm were not only very experienced, but also had much more combat experience than the Coalition pilots.  Unfortunately, they were not able to take advantage of this experience due to the Coalition's control of the airspace over Iraq and the degradation of the Iraqi ground control network.

Like many others, my impression has always been that the F-14s were relegated to secondary roles far away from the action during Desert Storm due to their lack of the non-cooperative target recognition features built into the F-15 and later aircraft which allowed them to distinguish between friendly and enemy aircraft independent of outside sources.  Mr. Cooper puts this myth to rest by showing that rather than being on the sidelines, Tomcats were in the thick of the fray, doing what they had trained to do for years - protecting the strike group from enemy aircraft.  He discusses several instances where F-14s were actively engaged with bandits but were unable to fire on them due to the Rules of Engagement which required two types of identification to confirm the target as hostile.  He also points out that despite these shortcomings, the F-14s did what they were there to do and prevented the Iraqi fighters from engaging the strike aircraft. 

Due to his contacts on both sides, Mr. Cooper is able to provide both sides of many of the engagements or near engagements that occurred during this period and in some instances, to finish an unfinished story by telling the other side of the encounter, such as the confrontation between 2 VF-21 F-14s and an Iranian F-4E Phantom II in 1987 and fairly conclusively showing that the VF-103 F-14A+ lost over Iraq was actually shot down by an Iraqi Air Force MiG-29, not an SA-2 SAM as has been previously reported.  He also explains that despite having well trained, seasoned pilots, since the Iraqi leadership decided that preservation of its aircraft was more important than opposing the Coalition's air campaign, Iraqi pilots were not often given opportunities to engage Coalition aircraft but were instead either kept on the ground or vectored away from threats instead of towards them.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I felt it gave a much more balanced presentation of the F-14's employment during the Gulf War and offered a glimpse of what could have been had the Tomcat's radar system and software had received the upgrades that the newer aircraft such as the F-15 & F-18 had.

Highly recommended.  Thank you to Casemate Publishing for the review sample.

Kagero Super Drawings in 3D SMS Derfflinger

Mon, 03/29/2021 - 12:07
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Kagero Publishing

The book provides great 3D style detail drawings of the German Battle Cruiser SMS Derfflinger. The Derfflinger was built in early 1910 and was considered to be the best of the Battle Cruisers up until the end of World War One.

The book is pack full of amazing pictures of the ship from all angles and showing all the finer details of the ship's make up. The details are fantastic and provide much for any modeler who wishes to super detail a model of the ship.

There is also a pull out outline drawing of the ship in 1/350 scale including a hull "cut-through "for the length pf the ship.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in the SMS Derfflinger or any war ship for that matter, and this is a must for anyone going to build a model of this ship. In fact, I am now off to build my Flyhawk 1/700 Model of this ship with the book as all the reference material I will need.

Thanks to Casemate Publishing for providing this book for review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet- Kit Build 5

Sat, 03/27/2021 - 11:33
Product Image Review Author:  Phil Pignataro Kagero Publishing

The F/A-18E Super Hornet is the US Navy's truly ubiquitous aircraft. It's their main fighter and attack platform as well as its electronic warfare aircraft, the E/A-18G Growler. Model manufactures followed the Navy's lead and have produced numerous kits of this aircraft in all the popular scales. Consequently, Kagero recently released a publication in their "Kit Build" series about this fighter. The paperback chronicles model builds of two Super Hornet kits: Academy's 1/72 scale and Eduard's 1/48 scale F/A-18E's. Color photos document progress of the build while short paragraphs of text offer further explanations. The last four pages of the book contain eight color profiles of "E" and "F" versions - four apiece. As a bonus, a small masking sheet for the canopies of 1/72 and 1/48 models is included in the book. The publication is divided into two equal parts with the first half dedicated to the 1/72 build by Adrian Wolnicki and the second to the 1/48 build by Sebastian Piechowialk. It is further divided by language: text is in English first then followed immediately by Polish.

First, Wolnicki briefly describes his kit, Academy's 1/72 F/A-18E (12565) and notes the resin and photo-etched aftermarket products he will use. Since this is a relatively straight-forward build, he states he will concentrate more on painting the model.  At each step, Wolnicki shows the paints he uses (Alclad, AK, Mig, etc.) and the various techniques to apply them. Weathering is a big part of this build as the author replicates a worn, operational machine. Again, he shows the products he used. There are several photos of the finished model and you can see he definitely achieves his weathering goal. He produces an excellent model.

In the 1/48 scale section, Piechowiak builds Eduard's F/A -18E (11129). Though he follows the same format as in the first half, he takes a slightly different approach by concentrating a little more on the actual construction. He goes through the initial assembly steps starting with the cockpit, then the intakes, and finally the gear bays. Piechowiak additionally shows the aftermarket products he added for more detail. Comments about painting these sections are secondary to the build. When the model is assembled, he then concentrates on the painting and weathering. He shows several techniques and the products he employs to achieve a slightly weathered look. The various external stores which were resin aftermarket products also receive attention regarding their painting and weathering.  Overall, he also produces an awesome model.

I have several Kagero publications in my library and I have always enjoyed them since they provided a lot of relevant information via text, pictures, drawings, etc. This is my first exposure to the "Kit Build" series and I have to keep that in perspective. This publication has a definite "magazine" feel because of its size, page layout, and photos with descriptions near them. I was inspired by the two builds and learned a little from each section. Both models are really well done. Also, I used the 1/72 mask on my Revell F/A-18E and it was easy to apply and worked perfectly.

However, I do have some issues keeping me from giving a hearty, "must have" recommendation. Here they are: several pages in each section (about 10) are filled with large photos of the completed models taken at slightly different angles. This felt very repetitive. The four pages of eight profiles didn't really grab me as they showed rather plain, generic markings. Finally, the information and photos do not come cheaply - $24.95. I would recommend this publication to those of you interested in the late model Super Hornet, but with the aforementioned reservations.  

My thanks to Casemate Publishers for providing this publication and IPMS USA for the chance to review it.

Republic F-105 Thunderchief

Sat, 03/27/2021 - 01:43
Product Image Review Author:  Phil Peterson Specialty Press

The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was designed to deliver a tactical nuclear weapon against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.  However, it gained it's fame over the jungles of Vietnam where they flew 159,795 combat missions from which 334 failed to return home. 

This hard cover book contains 300 pages and 575 pictures in black and white and color. It covers the full history of the plane from preliminary designs and competitors through the Vietnam War, and ending with the Thud Out which was flown at Hill AFB, Utah, about 45 minutes north of me.

The chapters are broken down mainly by version with Chapter One covering the development and the YF-105A.  Chapter Two takes a look at the initial Production version, the B model, and it's brief usage by the Thunderbirds.  Chapter Three covers the D/F versions which leads to the war in Vietnam in Chapter Four.  Chapter Five covers the Wild Weasel versions with the last chapter looking at the Airframe and Systems.  The Thud Out is covered in the Epilogue and there are 3 Appendices which contain a Serial Number List, Loss List and finally Notes and Citations.

The book does a good job covering the Thud with lots of information and some great pics.  For the history buff you get the whole story only missing pilot anecdotes.  For the model builder there are great detail pictures including cockpit and weapon options.  Some great pictures with paint scheme and diorama possibilities and some detailed drawings though there are no scale plans or profiles.

For me the details in the combat section were my main focus and there was lots of interesting information including a list of the 27.5 kills the 105 recorded, including the first kill of the new 20mm Vulcan cannon.  Details regarding the different campaigns the Thud flew in and the defenses it faced, including the SA-2 SAM system, bring a sense of what the pilots had to endure in this long, frustrating war.

If you are interested in the F-105 this is a great book to pick up.

Thanks to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the review sample. 

 

 

Paradise Afire Volume 3: The Sri Lankan War 1990-1994

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 11:08
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Helion & Company

The book is volume 17 of Helion & Company's Asia@War series and, as noted in the title, is the third volume of its coverage of the civil war in Sri Lanka.  The book includes over 50 black and white photographs, both of government and LTTE forces, 7 pages of color profiles depicting the aircraft, ships and vehicles of the security forces as well as the uniforms of both military and LTTE participants.  There are also several maps of some of the more significant operations and a color map of Sri Lanka.

Adrien Fontanellaz is a military researcher and author who has written several volumes for Helion & Company.  Using official government histories and published autobiographies of some of the leading figures in the Sri Lankan security forces, as well as interviews with some former senior members of LTTE, he has created a good reconstruction of the major events of the Eelam War II and discusses the successes and failures of both sides.  The author discusses not only the ground operations conducted by both sides, but also each side's use of the ocean and the development of their respective naval capabilities.  As the government only had a few combat capable aircraft and helicopters, while the LTTE did not possess any aircraft and had limited anti-aircraft capabilities, the role of aviation in the conflict was limited to ground support activities and helicopter resupply, troop transport and evacuations.   

This volume begins after India withdrew its troops in March 1990 and continues through the end of 1994, the end of the so-called Eelam War II between the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  When the war started, the Sri Lankan security forces were unprepared for such a conflict and many facilities were not only undermanned, but poorly positioned.  While in general the security forces were better armed than their LTTE opponents, in many cases they were poorly trained in how to use their equipment or lacked sufficient ammunition for sustained operations.  When the war began, in many locations, the security forces controlled the area during daylight, but the LTTE controlled it at night.  As the security forces increased their size and capabilities, they undertook many operations in LTTE controlled areas attempting to break the LTTE.  Some of these operations were highly successful, but others were outright disasters. 

Initially the LTTE conducted a standard guerilla type of campaign, harassing government and police units as it gradually increased its capabilities.  As the Eelam War continued, the LTTE became bolder and engaged in several more traditional military type operations, in several cases overrunning government positions and in one case capturing a couple of government T-55 tanks.  Other operations were failures.

Despite continuing for 4 years, the Eelam War II ended much as it began as a stalemate between the government security forces and the LTTE. 

While I vaguely recall hearing about the Sri Lankan civil war over the years, I did not realize how brutal it actually was.  The LTTE made it known early in the conflict that it had a no prisoners taken policy and, in several instances, it executed captured police officers and security forces.  The author points out that this policy was a double-edged sword for the LTTE as in some cases it caused government forces to break and withdraw early, but in others it resulted in fights to the last man/last bullet.  In addition, both sides engaged in atrocities against civilians that they felt were sympathetic to the other side.  The author also discusses the LTTE's suicide units, both land based and sea-going.

As I did not know much about the Sri Lankan civil war before reading this book, I found it very interesting, and I have since acquired Volume 2 to read next. 

Recommended.  Thank you to Casemate Publishing for the review sample.

Churchill Tank Light Cast Resin Tracks

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 10:58
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov

This product is replacement resin tracks for any 1/72 Churchill Tank kit that you want to use the Light Cast tracks on.

The set includes 6 light grey resin strips of track more than enough for a single tank.

The detail is excellent and vey little flash and a breeze to cut of the runners.

The tracks are easily formed using a hair dryer to apply heat then form the track on the track rollers, wheels and Sprockets.

They are a great replacement for the rubber tracks supplied with the majority of the 1/72 scale kits on the market.

I recommend these parts are a great addition to any 1/72 Churchill tank model kit.

 

Thanks go to OKB Grigorov for providing this set to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

 

Churchill Tank Heavy Cast Resin Tracks

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 10:54
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov


This product is replacement resin tracks for any 1/72 Churchill Tank kit that you want to use the Heavy Cast tracks on.

The set includes 6 light grey resin strips of track more than enough for a single tank.

The detail is excellent and vey little flash and a breeze to cut of the runners.

The tracks are easily formed using a hair dryer to apply heat then form the track on the track rollers, wheels and Sprockets.

They are a great replacement for the rubber tracks supplied with the majority of the 1/72 scale kits on the market.

I recommend these parts are a great addition to any 1/72 Churchill tank model kit.

 

Thanks go to OKB Grigorov for providing this set to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

 

Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe, Heinkel He 162

Mon, 03/22/2021 - 13:45
Product Image Review Author:  Chris Smith Tempest Books

This book takes an in-depth look at the development, selection, and early flight tests of the Volksjager (people's fighter) concept or what became known as the He 162. In the waning years of WWII, the Luftwaffe was desperate for a point defense fighter that could be produced in great numbers with a minimum of strategic materials. Although Germany had a jet fighter in the form of the Me 262, it required a lot of materials to build the airframe and two engines. The philosophy of a small single engine fighter was to build enough to station them close to all the potential Allied targets. This requirement meant the Volksjager could be a small aircraft with limited range. With a minimum of training, it was hoped that He 162 would provide the defense Germany so desperately needed.

It's not surprising that Heinkel ultimately won the contract to build the He 162, especially when you consider they built and flew the world's first jet powered aircraft, the He 178 in 1939. If you compare that aircraft to the He 162, it's not hard to see the family resemblance. I'll leave the details of how the He 162 design was chosen for you to discover. Of interest to me was the amazingly short time it took from approval of the construction contract on September 24, 1944 to first flight on December 6, 1944! The first aircraft was a design-build process in which production drawings were issued as the prototype was built. Tragically, the second flight ended in disaster when the aircraft came apart in flight killing test pilot, Gotthold Peter. What followed were a number of modifications to the airframe to improve roll stability and longitudinal stability mainly by shifting fuel tank locations in the fuselage. For a number of reasons, the potential of this design was never realized. The He 162 was not an easy aircraft to fly and the allied tactical air campaign made it difficult to transport subassemblies. That limited the production rate. Of interest was the cooperation of Heinkel employees with the allied forces after the war. They wanted the allies to produce the aircraft. The book does not address the He 162 combat record.

As a modeling reference, there are some good resources in this volume. The author has included copies of production drawings as well as black and white photos of the prototype under construction. For those "Luftwaffe 46", fans the book explores numerous configuration studies including some beautiful color renderings on the cover and in the center of the book depicting those variations flying under other nations markings. In conclusion, this volume is a good balance of historic facts and references coupled with what could have been some interesting aircraft. What comes through for this reader was just how remarkable an airplane the He 162 was and how important it is to preserve the record of how it came to be. Highly recommended. Thank you to Casemate for the sample and to IPMS for yet another great reference book for a kit in my stash.

Kagero Top Drawing 108 The German Night Fighter Heinkel He 219 Uhu by Marek Rys

Mon, 03/22/2021 - 11:06
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Kagero Publishing

The book provides great detail drawings of the German WWII night fighter Heinkel He 219 Uhu, which was introduced in November 1942 to the Luftwaffe. The first interesting fact I found was that the He 219 was never officially ordered due to dislike of Heinkel by the Luftwaffe officials. So the 274 that saw service were all officially trail aircraft.

I found the drawings in this book to be fascinating and show many of the variants of this very interesting aircraft. Along with the many outline drawings in 1/72 scale. there are also some very nice profile drawings. There is also a pull out outline drawings in both 1/48 and 1/32 scale.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in the He 219 Uhu and consider it a "must" for modellers. I am now off to the work bench to start on my 1/32 kit using this book!

Thanks go to Casemate Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.