The T-34/85 is arguably the best medium tank design of World War Two, armor aficionados either generally prefer this design or the German Panther. Trumpeter’s kit is well designed and goes together without any drama. The result is nice model right out of the box, or a good place to start tweaking for a detailing project. Either way a fun build!
By Jamie Prenatt and Mark Stille, illustrated by Paul Wright
Paperback, 48 pages
Published by Osprey Publishing June 2014
Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
This is a typical Osprey New Vanguard volume and follows their well-established format. The authors have organized the presentation by nationality, with the major Axis powers of Italy, Germany, and Japan each having their own sections. The sections detail the developmental history of the various types of small submersibles employed by each nation and then gives a brief overview of their operations.
The various designs had inherent limitations imposed by their size which influenced the scope and effectiveness of their employment and chances for success. Several types are marginal vessels at best, and while not strictly suicide missions, the odds are decidedly against the safe return of the crews.
Italian submersibles mainly fall into a category which we would call “Swimmer Delivery Vehicles” today. The SLC delivered two divers to an enemy harbor, where the crew would attach large mines and then hopefully evade capture. Their most notable success was the mining of the British battleship HMS Valiant at Alexandria. The Italians also employed CB-type mini subs in support of German Operations against the Russians at Sevastopol.
The Germans came late to the midget submarine game but developed several types in anticipation of the Allied invasion of Europe. The vast majority of these designs were ineffective, being much more a threat to their own crews than to Allied shipping. The one successful design was the Type XXVII Seehund which accounted for 120,000 tons of shipping. Like most German wonder weapons, this was another case of too little too late.
The Japanese were arguably the most successful of midget submarine operators, most famously employing five “Target A” as part of the Pearl Harbor Raid. The authors’ view is that these submarines achieved no results at Pearl Harbor, although Japanese sources maintain one did hit the USS Oklahoma. Target A submarines were also used at Sydney Harbor, the Aleutians, the Guadalcanal campaign, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Diego Suarez. The latter is the least well known operation but is arguably the most successful, the battleship HMS Ramillies being damaged and the tanker British Loyalty being sunk on 30MAY42.
The space constraints of this series limits the narrative to only a brief discussion of each nation’s midget submarine programs but the space is used well. Three very interesting books could easily be written by simply expanding upon this information and covering the operations in detail. This book provides a quick introduction to the topic which leaves the reader wanting more. Recommended.
Very little needs done to improve Eduard’s Hellcat. The bar which supports the shoulder straps is molded as a ridge on the aft cockpit bulkhead. I shaved that off and replaced it with a wire bar. Simple fix, and the detail is prominent. I also replaced the center canopy section with vacuform. I re-used a set of Eduard canopy masks from an earlier build, they will work fine if they are removed carefully and placed on their backing sheets.
I didn’t originally plan to build an FAA bird, but I liked the markings on Xtradecal’s Yanks with Roundels sheet. They worked like a champ, and the sheet includes several other schemes which I plan to use at some point. The kit is one of the very best in our scale, and just about anything needed to build any service variant of a Hellcat is included in the box. If you haven’t built one yet, give yourself a treat and try one!
The model represents the Hellcat Mk. I of Sub. Lt. Spencer, , 800 NAS, HMS Emperor, Southern France, September 1944.
The KV-2 was basically a huge turret with a 152 mm howitzer mounted on a KV-1 hull. The Germans had few weapons which could defeat the KV-2, and there are numerous stories of KV-2s holding up entire German armored columns when they were used properly and fought stubbornly. Trumpeter’s kit is a good representation of the type, it goes together well and fit is good. Most modelers will want to shave off the grab handles and mud guard bracing and replace them as these are molded solid, but this is an easy improvement.
Hardcover in dustjacket, 328 pages, profusely illustrated
Published by Monogram Aviation Publications April 2000
Dimensions: 12.5 x 9.2 x 1 inches
Robert C. Mikesh is a name known to all aviation enthusiasts. A former USAF Officer, he was the Senior Curator for Aeronautics with the U.S. National Air and Space Museum. Fortunately for modelers and others interested in aviation history, he used his unparalleled access to surviving examples of Japanese aircraft to document them from a unique perspective – the cockpit interiors and crew positions.
This book is exceptional for its presentation and its thoroughness. Included are examples of nearly all aircraft types operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy and Air Forces during the Second World War. Each type receives a brief introduction, and then the reader is treated to several photographs and illustrations documenting the interiors and equipment. The photographs are clearly explained and thoroughly captioned, with the purpose of each component being identified and explained. Both archival photographs from Allied technical evaluation units and contemporary color photographs are utilized – whichever best illustrates the subject. Some surviving aircraft are completely restored, others are untouched and unseen since the war having been stored for potential future display. Many types have perspective artwork showing the layout and identification of the various components.
Several of the aircraft types are unique, and Mikesh presents information on the only examples left in existence. For example, the only surviving J7W1 Shinden prototype is in storage at the NASM, the book contains several full color photographs of the original cockpit. For this and the other types, Mikesh has gone to great lengths to measure the colors of the airframe interiors and installed equipment and presents that research to the reader. Refreshingly, he also describes any obstacles in acquiring accurate measurements, and informs the reader when he is forced to relate his opinion or best guess. In many cases his position and contacts gave Mikesh access to all the surviving artifacts and documentation, so his best guess is likely to be the best guess going forward.
This book is a treasure, and an unrivaled reference for modelers of Japanese aircraft. It is the authoritative work on the topic, it is highly doubtful to ever be rivaled. Currently out of print, it can command collector prices on the used book market but is an indispensable reference for modelers. Highly recommended.
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