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Fonthill Media's Axis Suicide Squads - German and Japanese Secret Projects of the Second World War by Justo Miranda.
Author Justo Miranda has multiple books & publications out on Luftwaffe 'paper-projects' and late war designs. He is a tech drawer and Spanish Air Force Museum advisor.
This hardbound book is 224 pages and includes information on both actual aircraft used, and many "paper projects".
The cover flap reads "This book details the designs of all German and Japanese aircraft, examining the suicide bombers and aerial rammers deployed as desperate measures to counter the Allied advance. Axis Suicide Squads is an in-depth history of the tragic necessity for such drastic countermeasures; it contains comprehensive technical information relating to each machine and detailed, hand-drawn diagrams depicting the mechanics of how the aircraft functioned." This is a great summary of what this book is all about.
I have heard of Tru-Color Paints probably a year ago by now. They have an extensive line of railroad and car paints and they are continuously expanding their military line (aircraft, naval, armor). I've heard good things about them and I was interested to try them out. But honestly, the price was putting me off a bit. When I had the opportunity to review a few free samples, I jumped to it.
This review covers Tru-Paint TCP 1445 RAL 7021 Dunkelgrau, TCP-1446 RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb #1, TCP-1447 RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb #2, TCP-1448 RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb #3, TCP-1449 RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb #4 and TCP-1449 RAL 7008 Gray Green.
The first thing you notice about these paints is that the bottles are larger than the standard hobby bottles; they come in 1 oz and 2 oz. That means their smallest bottle has about twice (or more) the paint from most hobby paint manufactures. Consider that fact when you think on their price; I was not doing that while looking at the paints in the hobby store.
When I was younger my comics of choice were of the Military persuasion and one of my favorites was The Haunted Tank which initially featured an M3 Stuart blowing away Tigers with it's 37mm. I didn't realize the issue with that but I loved the stories and so started my love of the Stuart. As I got older I turned to more history books and read about the Honey used by the British in the desert and the US in Tunisia. When the new Tamiya kit showed up it just had to be built even though I haven't built a 35th scale tank in, cough, 40ish years.
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The Halberstadt CL.IV was a German ground attack aircraft of World War I.
The CL.IV was designed as a replacement for the CL.II. As the CL.II had proven to be particularly effective in the ground support role, the focus of an improved version was to create a specific ground attack aircraft.
The new CL.IV featured a shorter, strengthened fuselage and a horizontal stabilizer of greater span. These changes gave the CL.IV much greater maneuverability than its predecessor. After tests were completed of the prototype in April 1918, at least 450 were ordered from Halberstadt, and an additional 250 aircraft from a subcontractor, LFG (Roland), as Halberstadt CL.IV(Rol).
The Halberstadt CL.IV was one of the most effective ground attack aircraft of World War I, relying on its good maneuverability to avoid ground fire. It appeared on the Western Front towards the end of the German offensives in 1918. Flights of four to six aircraft flew close support missions, at an altitude of less than one hundred feet, suppressing enemy infantry and artillery fire just ahead of the advancing German troops. After these late German offensives stalled, Halberstadt CL.IVs were used to disrupt advancing Allied offensives by striking at enemy troop assembly points and night sorties were also made against Allied airfields.
Realistically, Mirage-Hobby has the market cornered in 1/48 Halberstadt CLs. They released a CL.II and CL.IV in 2012 and the only other kits of a CL.IV are from Tom’s Modelworks and Karaya. Mirage-Hobby reboxed the kit in 2013 with different decals and this boxing is from 2016 and contains new sprues for the early production shorter fuselage version.
Inside the box:
- 8 sprues with 202 parts of which 71 are not used.
- 1 PE sheet with about 78 parts
- 1 decal sheet
- 3 pages of colour painting instructions
- 1 page of background info
- 8 pages of black & white building instructions over 50 steps
The box is a top opening cardboard box and all the sprues inside are in a single plastic bag. The PE fret and decals are in resealable bags on the top of the box.
The plastic parts look good although the sprue attachment points look a little large on some of the smaller parts. You might need to take extra care in removing those parts. The level of surface detail is very good, especially on the wings. There is some detail inside the fuselage and also a few ejector pin marks although I think they will be impossible to see in the built kit. The engine is its own little 15 part kit and the detail on the parts looks good. You may well need to pin the lower wings though, there doesn’t seem to be much to hold them in place. The detail on the machine guns is exquisite and you can probably get away with not using the supplied PE parts. The PE parts look good and will add a fair bit of detail. One of the PE parts is a template for cutting holes in the engine cover, depending what decal option you decide to do.
The instructions are pretty straight forward and lay things out well. With there being 50 steps to the build you can see that each step is pretty small with just a few parts to be added. You will also end up with about 70 parts for the spares box as this kit is a development of the earlier CL.IV kit with new sprues.
I’m not going to go through all 50 steps in a bulleted list, but the general scheme is to first build the engine and cockpit before trapping both between the fuselage halves. Then you add small parts to the fuselage before adding the tail. You get to add some decals to the mid-upper wing section, then build the undercarriage before working on the lower wing. The join for the lower wing looks like it might need pining. Due to the decals, the wings will need special attention. You also get a guide as to where the wing tension cables go.
Paint & Decals
I can see the Vallejo paint numbering system is used throughout the build to identify colours, but there isn’t a list of exactly what those colours are anywhere. It’s not a big deal to look them up online, but it’s just a little unusual to not see them named or the fact that it’s using the Vallejo numbering system other than a little note that they recommend using Vallejo paints..
You get 3 colourful decal options:
- Halberstadt CL.IV (H.F.W.), (kurzrumpf, first production batch); Pilot Lt d.Res. Ferdinand Schulz; Herrsgruppe Rupprecht – 17th Army / Schlachtgruppe „A” (Schlasta 1, 8,10,14), Schlschtstaffel 10. The battle of Saint-Mihiel, September 1918.
- Halberstadt CL.IV (H.F.W.), C.4637/18, „2” „BRÜNHILDE”. Pilot Gef. Karl Prim; Herrsgruppe Rupprecht – 17 Army / Schlachtgruppe „S” (Schlasta 9, 11, 27b), Schlschtstaffel 27b. The battle of Cambrai, October 1918.
- Halberstadt CL.IV (H.F.W.) „2” „TONI / SABINE”; Herrsgruppe Gallwitz – 5 Army / Schlachtgruppe „2” (Schlasta 3, 13, 19, 26b, 29b), Schlschtstaffel 26b. The defence struggles, Mosel area, October 1918.
The decals are mentioned in a few places as you have to decal the tops and bottoms of the wings and the tail elevators in the lozenge pattern decals supplied. Some experience with large decals would be useful!
This kit is not for beginners with the large decal sheets to apply over the wings and a few little things that will need some experience. That being said you will end up with a very nice little kit. There are nice details on the parts and colourful decal options to choose from.
Many thanks to Mirage-Hobby for supplying a review sample.
The kit is available from their online store for about $48.00
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