This is the Tamiya F-16CJ Block 50, in the markings of the Commander 5th Air Force, Misawa Air Base Japan, 2010. This one was built entirely out of the box.
Tamiya initially released this kit without the weapons, and it was not received well by the modeling community. The later boxing included the full load of external stores missing the first time around. The parts are very finely detailed. Care has been taken to minimize the size of the sprue gates and to locate them on hidden surfaces whenever possible. You really get the feeling that the designers are guys who build models themselves. If you’ve seen a Tamiya Zero you will get the same appreciation for the engineering with this kit.
This is the Dragon Hummel (early version). This is a gem of a kit and a fun build. The Revell version is said to be more accurate, the Dragon is said to be more finely molded. This is an intricate model but an easy build and everything fits like it should. No complaints, I really enjoyed building this one.
Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret’s Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines
By Eric Blehm
Audio CD Read by Fred Sanders
Published by Random House Audio April 2015
Eight compact disks, approximately nine hours
In 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War, Cambodia was officially neutral and neither side in the neighboring struggle was to operate within its’ borders. Unofficially, Cambodia was a major base and supply route for the NVA and Viet Cong and a safe haven from which to strike the South. U.S. operations into Cambodia were officially forbidden and publicly denied by U.S. politicians. They were also a daily occurrence for the Studies and Observations Group (SOG) and the Army Aviation units which supported them.
In May of 1968, one of these operations went bad. A twelve-man SOG team had been inserted near a busy section of the Ho Chi Min Trail with the mission to capture a Russian truck and return it to South Vietnam, thus conclusively proving the NVA presence. Unknown to them, their insertion point was right on top of the lager area of a large NVA unit with overwhelming numbers and numerous defensive positions. The SOG team was surrounded by a superior enemy force, cut off from extraction and had soon taken casualties.
As the title implies, Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez is a legend. While not assigned to the mission, he monitored the engagement by radio and boarded a helicopter which was departing in one of the many attempts to rescue the survivors. Benavidez jumped into the landing zone the team was trying to get out of, armed only with a knife and a medical bag. For the next six hours he organized and fought with the team, providing medical aid and calling in airstrikes until the men could be rescued. He was shot seven times, bayoneted, clubbed, and had numerous fragmentation wounds, but was credited with saving the lives of eight men.
The first two disks detail Benavidez’ hard childhood and early Army service life, including his 1965 deployment to Vietnam which almost left him paralyzed. Disk three provides the political background to the situation in Cambodia. Disk four begins with the insertion of the SOG team. Author Blehm has obviously done a vast amount of research and interviews with the surviving team members and aviation personnel involved, the descriptions of the actions are detailed and from several perspectives. The book concludes with the efforts of journalists and supporters who campaigned to have Benavidez’ Distinguished Service Cross upgraded to the Congressional Medal of Honor, which was eventually awarded by President Ronald Regan in 1981.
This book is a great tale of bravery and personal determination in overcoming incredible obstacles, recommended without reservation.
Here is Revell’s Tiger Ausf. E which is another really nice kit. This kit had both styles of wheels, the early rubber rimmed type and the steel wheels which I used here. Tracks are link and length, another dozen links would have been nice to cover the extra links carried on the front of many Tigers. I liked this one a lot, it got some help from an old Eduard PE fret. Camo is airbrushed freehand and marked as one from another Claes Sundin profile.
This is the AMT / Ertl X/YB-35, a very large kit when built, but a unique subject. This kit takes some work, think of it as a limited run effort and you will be well prepared. I opened up the wing leading edge inlets and the wing slots at the tips. I also detailed the interior and wheel wells. The starboard drag rudder was scratchbuilt so it could be displayed in the opened position. All the gun stations were armed with Quickboost barrels. The finish is Alclad, six different shades in total. A build thread is posted to this blog for anyone wanting to see details of the construction process.
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson