Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Batch Build Part II

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Curtiss produced the P-40 with canvas covers in the wheelwells to prevent water and dirt from entering the wing.  These were often removed in the field, exposing the internal structure.  Special Hobby has molded in the structural detail.  This is good, as it is much easier to represent the covers than to scratchbuild the internal detail.  Here I have used masking tape for the canvas, seams can be eliminated with superglue and Mr. Surfacer 500.  Easy to do if you want the change.
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The fuselage is closed up with the instrument panel inserted.  The instrument panel is a tricky fit, I would recommend installing it at the same time the fuselage halves are joined to allow some wiggle room.  Modelers who wait to install the “dashboard cover” piece until later report that it is very difficult to get a good join.
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I experimented with glues on this build.  The P-40E was built with superglue.  This left a seam to be filled at the wing root, but ensured there was no danger of a sinking seam along the fuselage joint later.  The other kits were joined with MEK from the hardware store.  The MEK yielded a much better join at the wingroot, effectively liquefying any imperfections and allowing the parts to settle in properly without any gaps.  I was worried that the fuselage seams might draw in over time but that did not happen on this build.
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The biggest thing Special Hobby could do to improve these kits would be to include a set of Kabuki tape canopy masks.  Eduard does make some, but for some reason they are asking $7 – $10 per set, which is half again the cost of the kits.  Outrageous!  I masked the canopies the old-school way with Tamiya tape.  Not the most entertaining way to spend an evening but I saved $50.
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Hawks on a stick!  Seamwork was checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000, any problem areas filled and reprimed.   Ready for paint!

LS Yokosuka K5Y2 Akatombo 赤とんぼ (Red Dragonfly) “Willow” in 1/72 Scale

This is the old LS mold of the Japanese Akatombo primary float trainer first issued in 1977.  The kit has a few limitations but still goes together well and can be built into a nice model.  I scratchbuilt a cockpit as there is very little included in the kit.  The beaching gear is scratchbuilt, and I replaced the vertical stabilizer with a broad cord clone from the newer AZ kit as the floatplanes all had the wider stabilizers.  The decals are from the new AZ kit and are of a machine from the Otsu Kokutai in August of 1945.

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North American O-47 Color Photographs – Details and Crew

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A staged photograph of a group of officers studying a map on the tail of an O-47, showing details of the tail to good advantage. (Rudy Arnold)
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A good view of the main landing gear as this O-47 warms up.  Modelers note the variation of colors on the long exhaust running along the starboard side. (Rudy Arnold)
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Sgt. Mollowitz standing by the flexible .30 caliber gun in the rear defensive position. (Rudy Arnold)
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Pilot Lieutenant D. H. Schreiner in cold weather gear preparing to board the aircraft.  The red center in the national insignia was carried until May of 1942, when it was deleted to avoid confusion with the Japanese Hinomaru. (Rudy Arnold)
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The crew at their positions.  Note the position of the rear canopy glazing, which the gunner has rotated forward to deploy his weapon.  Unless the observer needed a picture of the upper wing as shown here, he would normally deploy his camera through cut-outs in the fuselage under the wing. (Rudy Arnold)
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Three officers posed to represent the aircrew.  This photograph shows their cold-weather flight gear to good advantage. (Rudy Arnold)
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Rear gun in the deployed position.
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Another view of the rear defensive gun position which also shows details of the exhaust opening.
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The camera being transferred to the aircraft.

IBG Models Chevrolet C15A Personnel Lorry in 1/72 Scale

This is the IBG Models 2009 release of the Canadian C15A Personnel Lorry.  The design is very distinctive and, like most trucks, a number of variations were produced to fulfill specialized roles.  IBG has released several versions and the aftermarket has served us well with a wide range of accessories and detail parts.  This is a nice kit, but one which has been made needlessly difficult to build by being over-engineered.  There were quite a few minuscule parts which were molded separately when they could have just as easily been molded as part of another assembly without sacrificing any detail.

The model represents a C15A assigned the Carlton and York Regiment, 1st Canadian Infantry Division, Sicily 1943.

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Albert Schwenn’s Memories of the Waffen-SS Book Review

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Albert Schwenn’s Memories of the Waffen-SS: An SS Cavalry Division Veteran Remembers

By Rolf Michaelis and Albert Schwenn

Hardcover, no dustjacket, 128 pages, illustrated

Publishered by Schiffer Military History May 2017

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0764352970

ISBN-13: 978-0764352973

Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches

Albert Schwenn was an 18-year-old recruit who joined the 8th SS Cavalry Division “Florian Geyer” in 1942.  He was trained as a machine gunner and was deployed on anti-partisan duties in the Pripyat Marshes in the Ukraine.  His division later engaged regular Soviet forced in the Kharkov area in 1943, where Schwenn was wounded.  After his recovery he was assigned instructor duty in Warsaw, where he participated in the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.  After the war he was imprisoned by the Soviets until 1955 for his part in the war crimes in the Pripyat Marshes.

Schwenn’s autobiographical account was originally four hundred pages of notes, which were condensed to seventy pages for this book.  The text is divided into four sections – recruitment and training, action in the Ukraine and wounding at Kharkov, instructor duty and action at Warsaw, and imprisonment in Soviet Gulags after the war.  There is a brief postscript, and then an additional forty pages detailing the history of the 8th SS Cavalry Division “Florian Geyer” during World War Two.  The text is illustrated with personal photographs, maps, and copies of documents.

I have recently become interested in the employment of horse cavalry units in World War Two so this volume caught my eye.  The cover photograph is not of Albert Schwenn but of his Regimental Commander, SS-Standartenführer Gustav Lombard.  Schwenn generally describes his experiences in broad and often vague terms.  The actions against regular Soviet forces around Kharkov – in which I was most interested – are brief and lacking in description and detail.  The account is disjointed and confusing.  While Schwenn was employed as a machine gunner in various capacities during this action, he appears to have wandered about the battlefield on foot, with no mention of the unit’s horses.

Overall I was a bit disappointed with this book.  The Cavalry formations were unusual for the Second World War, and I was hoping for a discussion of what made these units unique – the horses and the advantages and disadvantages of using them in combat.  There is very little of that.  The descriptions of combat engagements are also brief and vague, often only a few lines which described the action in the broadest terms.  This is not an immersive first-person account which puts the reader into the action, it reads as more of an outline waiting to be fleshed out.

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Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Batch Build Part I

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I usually build models in batches, I find this is much more efficient than just building a single kit.  It also helps compensate for my difficulties in deciding which paint scheme I like best.  This will be a small batch of five Special Hobby P-40 Warhawks.  I think of Special Hobby as more of a limited run manufacturer, but they continue to improve their game and are becoming more like Eduard in some ways.
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A sprue shot of the P-40E kit.  The top sprue is specific to the P-40E, the smaller parts sprue is common to the entire family.  Molding is crisp with finely recessed panel lines.  There are optional parts for the props, wheels, cockpit, and exhausts to account for the differences between variants.  Two styles of drop tanks and a 500 pound bomb give you some options for hangy bits.  Optional parts on the clear sprue provide the opportunity to pose the canopy open or closed.  Cartograph printed the decals, there are marking options for four different aircraft and complete stencils.  There is no P.E. and no canopy masks.
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To accommodate the different variants Special Hobby tooled alternate fuselage and wing sprues.  Here you can see the difference between the short fuselage P-40K (upper) and long fuselage P-40N (lower).  I bought two of each of these kits for this build, but my boxes included only one -K fuselage and three for the -N.  I contacted Special Hobby’s customer support and they sent me some parts for an A-20 Havoc, but eventually it all got sorted.
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The floor of the cockpit is the top of the wing box, as it should be.  Side panels are separate pieces so the depth can be properly molded without introducing sink marks.  I added seat belts from photographic paper.
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The cockpit again after detail painting and a wash.  I didn’t add anything here other than the belts, it all looks quite good right out of the box.
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There are different panel pieces for the different variants, so pay attention to the instructions. Instrument panels themselves are more photographic paper.  I have deviated from the build sequence by attaching the gunsight and top pieces to the panels in an attempt to avoid a fit problem with the canopy later.  This was partially successful; I did get the top piece secured but had to do a little trimming to get the canopy to seat well.
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The chaos on the bench due in no small part to the Recent Unpleasantness.  The two B-17s were nearing completion but some desired insignia masks were delayed by shipping issues related to  the Wuhan Flu.  The P-40s were held up by the fuselage parts mix-up so I started on the Tamiya P-47.  As that was nearing completion the correct P-40K sprue arrived so I got started on them.  Last week I received an email saying the Serbian Post was back in action so the B-17 masks are on the way.  Hopefully everything on the bench will be moving to the case in short order and I can get this mess cleaned up!