Hasegawa 1/72 Kyushu J7W Shinden

The Kyushu J7W Shinden (Magnificent Lightning) was a unique canard configuration interceptor developed for the Imperial Japanese Navy.  It was undergoing flight testing in August 1945 right at the end of the Second World War.  From the beginning a jet-powered version was envisioned.  The Shinden was to be a short-range interceptor with a heavy armament of four 30 mm cannon grouped in the nose.

Tamiya produced a 1/72 Shinden kit in the 1960s, this is Hasegawa’s excellent version.  It builds up with no surprises into an accurate representation of the aircraft.  This is an unusual and attractive design.  It is no surprise that it is a favorite of the Japanese manga industry, alternative Anime and Japan ’46 boxings abound.  I rather like the aircraft, and finished mine as the camouflaged but unmarked prototype.

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Stridsvan103 Swedish S-Tank, Trumpeter 1/72 Scale

The Stridsvagn 103, also known as the Strv 103 or S-Tank, was an indigenous Swedish design for a main battle tank produced during the 1960s. It was fully amphibious, and was the first MBT design to utilize a gas turbine engine for main propulsion.  It was armed with a Bofers 10.5 cm L/62 main gun and three 7.62 machine guns and carried a crew of three.  A total of 290 were produced.  The S-Tanks were replaced in Swedish service in 1997 by a variant of the German Leopard 2.

This is Trumpeter’s kit no. 07298 of the Strv 103C in 1/72. A rather straight-forward build, it only needed a bit of sanding around the rear stowage boxes.  Tracks were single pieces molded in a vinyl type material which reacted well to superglue.  Antennas are Nitenol wire.  This was another vehicle assembled while allowing for drying time on other projects, I find that makes for a nice change of pace while painting.

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Gunboats of World War I Osprey New Vanguard 221 Book Review

Gunboats of World War I

By Angus Konstam

Series: New Vanguard 221

Paperback, 48 pages

Publisher: Osprey Publishing, April 2015

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1472804988

ISBN-13: 978-1472804983

Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.9 inches

“While these little gunboats were small, vulnerable and often poorly armed, they were able to operate where more conventional warships were unable to venture, and could insert a considerable influence in the campaigns they participated in.  Put more simply, these little gunboats punched above their weight.  This then, is their story.”

Few, if any, readers of this blog are unfamiliar with Osprey Publications and their New Vanguard series.  This is a typical volume with the content we have come to expect – numerous but small photographs, several very nice illustrations and profile artwork, and specification tables giving the technical specifications of the subjects.  Crammed in between all that is a general overview of the histories and designs of the various gunboats, necessarily brief due to space restrictions.  These books make an excellent introduction to the topic and can be easily read in a single evening, or while waiting for an appointment.

The title “Gunboats of World War I” is perhaps a bit narrow, as several classes of monitors are also covered.  In fact, the classification of gunboat and smaller monitor displayed considerable overlap, in practice there was often no differentiation between the two types.  The text also covers the developmental and operational histories of several designs preceding WWI.  The section dealing with “Gunboats in Action” was fascinating, although far too brief.  Overall a good quick read on the subject which inspires further research.

I look into the subject of small combatants such as these with an eye for potential modeling subjects.  These gunboats (and monitors) would make interesting subjects for a scratchbuilding project, most being relatively small at around 200 feet in length and of a relatively uncomplicated design.  In 1/72 scale that is about 3 feet in length, a little less for some classes.  Several have interesting histories as well which makes them all the more attractive.  This book is a good place to start for those with a desire to explore the topic.

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Hawaiian Air Depot Camouflage Scheme Batch Build Part IV

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I really expected to be further along with this build by now.  Some progress has been made, but construction always seems to slow down during the sanding phase.  Here is the Special Hobby B-18, showing some obvious fit problems along the wing / fuselage joint.  What is more serious and not obvious in the picture is that the canopy is undersized in width.  I am using the kit canopy as a master and attempting to plunge mold a replacement out of thick clear plastic in the hopes that will increase the width enough to match the fuselage.  Stay tuned!
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The wing joint was filled with 0.015″ square stock and superglue, and then sanded back down.  I also shimmed the interior of the wing before it was attached to match the upper and lower fuselage contour.  This eliminated any steps and left me with a straight-forward fill job.
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The Academy B-17s have not been neglected, here the C/D is taking shape.  Fit of the clear parts left a lot to be desired, and the smaller windows all had distortion due to shrinkage and were not used.  The larger windows were coated with Future on the interior surfaces, then superglued in place, with more superglue added on the surface to fill any seams.  Then everything was filed and sanded down smooth.
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The clear parts were buffed out with a 8000 grit sanding cloth to restore clarity.  The one drawback to this method is fine sanding dust infiltrates the interior.  This can be removed by blowing out the inside with a clean airbrush.  Persistent specks can be mitigated by pipetting in some more Future and covering the inside of the transparency.
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This is a comparison of the Academy Fortress engine and main wheel on the left and the Quickboost engine and True Details wheels on the right.  A big improvement!
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A similar shot of the Special Hobby B-18 kit parts and resin replacements on the right.  The engine is another Quickboost set intended for the Revell B-17, the wheels are intended for C-47s.
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The landing gear components for all three kits were taped to cards and sprayed with Alclad Aluminum.  Shiny!  Painted wheels are in the foreground.
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Here are the props for both Fortresses.  After looking at the films, I determined that neither of my Fortresses had props marked with the expected yellow tips.  The C/D certainly has polished natural metal hubs, so I went with the pre-war standard of polished blades and Maroon rear surfaces.  The props of the B-17E were all black, photographs show some HAD scheme Fortresses with yellow prop tips and some without so the all-black blades were more common than I would have thought.  Something to check if you’re building one for sure!
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These are the Quickboost engines all painted up.  Push rods were made from 0.015 rod.  The upper pair have ignition wiring made from solder and beading wire, the lower pair’s harnesses are from the Eduard PE sheet.

Jo-Han 1/72 Nakajima A6M2-N Rufe

The Nakajima A6M2-N Rufe was a floatplane development of the famous Zero fighter.  It met with success early in the Pacific War, but like most Japanese aircraft was soon outpaced by the rapid improvements in its Allied opponents.

This is the old Jo-Han kit, which still can be built up into a presentable model today.  I built this one in the late 1970s.  It is one of the oldest kits still in my collection and was my first attempt at a scratch-built cockpit.  The camouflage was inspired by a magazine article on “purple Rufes”, which at the time I concluded must have actually have been brown.  Consensus now is that they were most likely dark green like other IJN aircraft of the time.  Many years later I constructed a beaching dolly from Evergreen to give it a proper display.  Despite some errors, I am still a bit nostalgic about this one.

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USS Ward (DD-139 / APD-16)

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The USS Ward (DD-139) was a Wickes-class destroyer, one of 273 “flush deck” or “four-piper” destroyers built for the United States Navy in WWI.  She was constructed in record time using a construction technique which would later be called “pre-fabrication”.  Her keel was laid on 15MAY18 and she was launched on 01JUN18 – a mere 17 1/2 days.
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Here is Ward alongside at the Mare Island Shipyard.  Ward was commissioned into the US Navy on 24JUL18.  During her sea trials she made an impressive 37 1/2 knots.
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A nice view of Ward underway in her WWI dazzle camouflage.  If you look closely you can make out her hull number 139 painted under the bridgewing at the deck line. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph)
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A good view of the port side showing the WWI camouflage pattern.  Wickes class destroyers were armed with four 4″/50 guns, twelve torpedo tubes, and depth charges for anti-submarine work.  Note that the after 4″ gun is mounted on the main deck, later this gun was moved to the top of the after deckhouse.  Ward was decommissioned and place into reserve on 21JUL21, and recommissioned out of reserve on 13FEB41.
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The USS Ward is most famous for firing the first shot of the US involvement in the Second World War.  Ward was patrolling the approaches to Pearl Harbor when she received a report from the USS Condor (AMC-14) that a periscope had been sighted in the area.  Ward found the submarine attempting to follow the USS Antares (AKS-3) into the harbor.  The submarine was a Japanese “Target A” mini sub, one of five launched as part of the Pearl Harbor attack.  Ward engaged the submarine and claimed it as destroyed.  Her Commanding Officer, LT William W. Outerbridge reported,  “We have attacked, fired upon, and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area.”  This was 70 minutes before the first Japanese aircraft arrived over Hawaii.  (Painting by Tom Freeman)
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A publicity photograph of Ward’s No. 3 gun crew.  The first shot from No. 1 gun missed but the second shot from No. 3, fired at minimum range, was seen to hit the submarine’s sail.  Most of the crew of the Ward were reservists from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Ward’s No. 3 gun is preserved today in the courtyard at Minnesota’s state capitol building in  St. Paul.  (US Navy Photograph)
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Some skeptics doubted the Ward’s claim.  Those doubts were put to rest on 28AUG02 when researchers from the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory discovered the Japanese mini sub on the seafloor within four miles of the entrance to Pearl Harbor in 1,200 feet of water.  The hole made by Ward’s 4″ projectile is clearly visible at the center of the base of the sail – a perfect shot.
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The “four pipers” were obsolete as fleet destroyers by the standards of WWII and many were converted to other roles such as seaplane tenders, convoy escorts, minelayers, minesweepers, or fast transports.  Ward was one of 32 flush deckers converted to the fast transport role and was reclassified as APD-16 in FEB43.  In this new configuration she could land 120 troops along with small vehicles using four LCP(R) landing craft.  The 4″/50 guns were replaced by 3″/50 dual-purpose guns and augmented with five 20mm cannon.  Ward lost her torpedo tubes but retained her depth charges which allowed her to still function as an escort.
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Ward participated in frequent landing operations both large and small during the better part of 1943/44.  Typically the APDs would land their troops and then provide anti-aircraft and anti-submarine protection of the landing area, and be on-call for Naval Gunfire Support of the troops ashore.  They were also useful for hauling and landing supplies.
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On 07DEC44 – exactly three years after the Pearl Harbor raid, Ward landed 108 Army troops at Ormoc Bay, Philippines and was providing ASW screening of the landing area when she was attacked by three Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bombers.  Two attempted kamikaze runs but missed, the third struck Ward squarely amidships on the Port side. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph)
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Ward lost power and was unable to control her fires.  Here the destroyer USS O’Brien (DD 725) moves in to assist the stricken Ward. (US Navy Photograph)
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O’Brien is alongside with her firehoses at work.  Even with her assistance it was clear that the fires were uncontrollable and the Ward was doomed.  Less than half an hour after the kamikaze hit her Captain, LT Richard E. Farwell, ordered abandon ship.  O’Brien and other vessels took aboard Ward’s crew, then O’Brien moved off 800 yards to sink Ward with gunfire.  Her first salvo detonated Ward’s after magazine.  When the smoke cleared, Ward was slipping beneath the surface stern first.
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In a strange twist of fate, the Captain of the O’Brien that day was William W. Outerbridge, now a Commander.  He was the Captain of the USS Ward during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and commanded the destroyer which sank her exactly three years to the day later.  O’Brien was later hit by a kamikaze herself off Okinawa and was damaged.  Outerbridge survived the war, among his decorations was a Navy Cross for Ward’s actions off Pearl Harbor, and a Purple Heart earned at Okinawa. (US Navy Photograph)

Japanese Target A Mini-Sub in 1/72 Scale

The Japanese Target A mini-sub (Ko-hyoteki ko-gata) was a two-man submarine which carried two torpedoes.  Their name was part of a deception plan to pass off the type as an ASW training vessel.  They were designed to be transported to the target area on the deck of a fleet submarine, then to infiltrate an enemy harbor and torpedo the ships within.  Five participated in the Pearl Harbor attack, where one may have torpedoed the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37).  On 30MAY42 three mini-subs infiltrated Sydney Harbor, on firing on the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29).  Both missed Chicago, but one sank the depot ship HMAS Kuttabul.  Two mini-subs attacked Royal Navy ships in Madagascar on 30MAY42, damaging the battleship HMS Ramillies and sinking the tanker British Loyalty.  Mini-subs were also active in the Aleutians and the Solomon Islands.

This is the fine Molds kit in 1/72 scale.  It is a simple build with no vices.  The kit comes in two boxings, the Pearl Harbor version as built here, and a Sydney attack version which has a cable cutter on the sail.

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