Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/R2 of Hermann Graf in 1/72 Scale

This is the 500th blog post on Inch High Guy!

Here is one of the aircraft flown by Major Hermann Graf while in command of JGr. 50, his Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/R2.  The unit was set up as a specialist high-altitude interceptor group to counter the RAF Mosquito but was also tasked with intercepting American bomber formations.  The markings of this aircraft include Graf’s personal red tulip marking on the nose and the white vertical fin of a formation leader.  His scoreboard is seen on the rudder.  Graf survived the war with 212 victories.

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ModelShows

American Commander Audiobook Review

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American Commander: Serving a Country Worth Fighting for and Training the Brave Soldiers Who Lead the Way

By Ryan Zinke and Scott McEwen, read by Daniel Butler

Audiobook, 10 hours and 39 minutes, 10 disks

Release Date November 2016

Published by Thomas Nelson

Unabridged

Language: English

ISBN: 9780718092887

ASIN: B01IAIPX3C

Ryan Zenke was a Navy SEAL for twenty-three years, rising to the rank of Commander.  After leaving the service he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Congressman from Montana.  He was later appointed as the Secretary of the Interior in March of 2017.

I often check out audiobooks from the local public library to have something to listen to while driving to model shows or while working at the bench.  It’s a good way to make some constructive use of the time and hopefully learn something new.  SEAL memoirs are often action packed and offer interesting insights into Special Warfare tactics and operations.  This one promised the additional perspective of how military experience could translate into a political career in Washington.

Zinke served in the SEALs from 1986 through 2008, which meant that he had fewer opportunities for combat at the operational level than SEALs who began their service fifteen years later.  Most of the book relates to training, exercises, and planning & coordination.  Still interesting, but not the firsthand combat stories which are standard fare for the majority of the Special Operations autobiographies.  The narrative also jumps around without regard to chronological order or thematic continuity which made the book unnecessarily hard to follow at times.  While Zinke does offer commentary on many political issues throughout the book (President Obama was very unpopular among most military Officers who served during his tenure) there is little offered of Zinke’s term as a Congressman nor how his military service prepared him for Washington.

Zinke relates one negative incident from his time on the SEAL Teams, he was found to have committed a small transgression regarding travel funds and was forced to make restitution.  He described this as a learning experience in the book.  Ironically, he was forced to leave his post as Secretary of the Interior in January 2019 over ethical concerns regarding his travel expenditures.

Not necessarily a bad book, but one which never really grabbed my interest.  The jumping from period to period was an unnecessary distraction and did not add to the narrative in any way.  Pick it up if you are curious about SEAL training or operational planning and haven’t already read enough accounts of that in other books.

Airfix Standard Light Utility Vehicle Build in 1/72 Scale

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This is the Airfix Standard Light Utility Vehicle which is part of the WWII RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set.  It is essentially a light truck, and a quick build in 1/72 scale.  Many of the kit parts are molded on the clear sprue, but mine suffered from the dreaded Airfix flow lines so I cut them off.  Saves on the masking anyway!
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The forward part of the canvas cover is also molded on the clear sprue in order to provide for the small side windows.  I masked those off both inside and out.  In this picture you can also see some of the small added details – door handles, side mirrors, and gear shift levers.
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The underside is blessed simplicity, molded as a single piece with only the forward axle to add.  This did take a little time to remove mold lines but I prefer the one-piece frames.
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A coat of Mr. Surfacer revealed some issues.  There was a gap at the forward edge of both doors and the clear firewall part was concealing two ejector pin marks in a prominent location.  These were filled with Perfect Plastic Putty and smoothed with a wet Q-tip.  An easy fix for a potentially tricky problem.
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Both vehicles were painted in the Dark Earth and scale black camouflage.  Seats and benchtops were painted Olive Drab.
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The window frames were replaced with 0.02” Evergreen stock.  I had to make new side mirrors as I managed to knock off the originals during painting.
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There are a few decals provided in the kit, which I used.
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Windshields were made from acetate dipped in Future, wipers were made from stretched sprue.
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I weathered one vehicle but left the other relatively clean.  The weathering was intended to be a light misting of dust but I didn’t pull it off well and so the effect is not quite like I intended.  I may play with it a bit more but I’m calling it done for now.

Hasegawa Fw 190A-8 of Leutnant Heinz Wernicke in 1/72 Scale

This rather anonymous Fw190A-8 is the aircraft of Heinz Wernicke of 1. / JG 54.  Wernicke was credited with 117 victories, but died in a collision with his wingman in December of 1944.

This is the Hasegawa kit.  While it has been recently overshadowed by the excellent Eduard Focke Wulf Fw 190 family, Hasegawa’s Fw 190A-8 kits are accurate in shape and easy to build.  They are still worth picking up if you can find them at a good price!

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Curtiss SBC Helldiver Color Pictures Part 2

Here is a selection of beautiful in-flight color photographs of SBC Helldiver aircraft in the overall Light Gray scheme.  This scheme was introduced effective 30DEC40 and ended the Yellow Wings era.  Blue Gray was added to upper surfaces of carrier-based aircraft types on 20AUG41 so this scheme was only authorized for a short time.  The first two pictures show a Helldiver with red cross wargame markings and come from National Air and Space Museum Archives, Hans Groenhoff Photo Collection.  The remainder are of SBC-4 Helldivers of VMO-151, a Marine unit which was one of the last operational units on the type.  These pictures are from NASM’s Rudy Arnold Photo Collection.  Enjoy!

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Panzerwaffe Series Book Review

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Panzerwaffe Volume One:  The Evolution of the Panzerwaffe to the Fall of Poland 1939

Classic Colours Series

By Rainer Strasheim, John Prigent, Carlos Caballero Jurado, Lucas Molina Franco, and William Russ, edited by John Prigent

Paperback, 96 pages, profusely illustrated, color profiles

Published by Ian Allan Publishing November 2007

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0711032394

ISBN-13: 978-0711032392

Dimensions: 9.0 x 0.4 x 12.0 inches

 

Panzerwaffe Volume Two: The Campaigns in the West 1940

Classic Colours Series

By Mark Healy, edited by John Prigent

Paperback, 96 pages, profusely illustrated, color profiles

Published by Ian Allan Publishing June 2008

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0711032408

ISBN-13: 978-0711032408

Dimensions: 9.0 x 0.2 x 12.0 inches

 

This is a review of a series which never was.  Ten volumes were planned, the first two volumes were actually printed.  The subject was and is in demand as evidenced by the continuing popularity of other publications and issuance of new model kits in all the major scales.  If it’s a Panzer it sells, even the what-if napkinwaffe types.

The format is identical to that of the excellent Jagdwaffe series from the same publisher.  96 pages jamb-packed with excellent photographs, beautiful color profiles, and authoritative text.  The Jagdwaffe series ran for 20 volumes with another 15 covering additional Luftwaffe types.  This series had the potential to be just as successful.

Volume one begins with German tank development during the First World War and concludes with the end of the Polish campaign, volume two ends with the fall of France.  The major revelation for me was the camouflage of German armor is shown to be not just the expected overall Panzer Gray but one third of the vehicle surface was painted brown.  The color separation is invisible to my eye in black and white photographs, even when the captions call it out in the book.  I may be coming late to the dance but this is the first time I have encountered this and will have to look into it further.

So why did the series end with the second volume?  It is a mystery to me.  Almost certainly some combination of high production costs and low sales.  I found both volumes at a model show for the princely sum of $10 each and didn’t think twice about snatching them up.  If you can find them pick them up – they are nice books.  I only regret the series stopped at two.

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