Women Warriors 102

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IDF
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Ukraine
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Ukraine
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Norway
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Australia
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CAPT Kim Campbell inspects damage to her A-10 Warthog, Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003
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IDF
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Swiss F/A-18 pilot
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WASP with P-38 Lightning
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Major Charity Adams inspects WACs of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion in Birmingham, England, February 1945 (National Archives via Jim Pitts)
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Russia
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IDF
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Serbia
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ATA Pilot Maureen Dunlap in a Spitfire
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Russia
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IDF
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Finland
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WASPs
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Hasegawa Heinkel He 111 Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

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With major assembly complete I sprayed the model with Mr. Surfacer 1000 to check for flaws. Given the size of the underwing crosses I decided they would look best if painted. I painted these areas white and masked off the crosses with Tamiya tape.

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The uppersurfaces had a standard factory RLM 70 / 71 splinter scheme. The masking tape here is regular household tape.

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Here is the splinter scheme with the masks removed. Two hours of masking, fifteen minutes of painting. I laid this pattern out as it is shown in the Monogram Guide.

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The aircraft I’m modeling had black undersides for night missions. I have pre-shaded the panel lines with a scale black mixture, the same mix will be oversprayed in a light coat to bring out the highlights.

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Here it is with the black applied and the insignia masks removed. The panel highlighting is subtle but you do get some tonal variation between panels.

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This aircraft had “clouds” of RLM 76 Light Blue applied over the uppersurfaces. This photograph shows the colors used.

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Decals are in place and have been sealed with Future (Klear) in preparation for panel line washing and weathering. Decals are from Aims sheet 72D010.

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The kit pitot tube is easily broken off, at least by me. I have learned to replace this sort of thing with metal parts. I made this one with Albion Alloys tube and 0.005” Nitenol wire for the tip. The Nitenol wire does not break or bend, but returns to its original shape if bumped.

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There is a lot of glare from the lightbox in this photograph but even so you can still see much of the interior of the nose compartment. With the hatch open even more of the detail is visible.

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The finished model represents the aircraft of bomber “ace” Oberleutnant Dietrich Kornblum, Staffelkapitän of 4./KG 53.  Kornblum was awarded the Knight’s Cross after completing 400 missions.  The dorsal turret transparency was formed using the “plunge mold” technique.

Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 of Major Günther Lützow in 1/72 Scale

Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 of Major Günther Lützow Stab / JG3, Russia,  Summer 1941.  Fine Molds kit.

Günther Lützow scored his first five victories as a member of Germany’s Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War, including the first victory ever credited to the Bf 109.  During the Battle of France he added nine more to his score, with another nine during the battle of Britain.  When Operation Barbarossa began he was a Major and Geschwaderkommodore of JG 3, this is Lützow’s mount depicted in the model.

Lützow continued to score regularly against the Russians and on 24OCT41 he became the second Luftwaffe Jagdflieger to achieve the one hundred victory mark (after Werner Mölders).  He was outspoken in his beliefs and made no secret of his distaste for the SS and the National Socialist Party.  This resulted in his being transferred to various staff positions, but he was a central figure in the Fighter Pilot’s Muntity where he criticized Herman Göring directly, which resulted in his exile to Italy.  He returned to Germany to fly the Me 262 with Galland’s JV 44 and was credited with two additional victories, bringing his total to 110.  On 24APR45, just two weeks before the end of the war, Oberst Günther Lützow went missing in his Me 262 while intercepting USAAF B-26s over Donauwörth, Germany.

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Vought SB2U Vindicator Color Photographs Part I

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Filming is underway for the Warner Brother’s film “Dive Bomber” aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6) at San Diego, the following photographs are from that film. Enterprise has her flight deck stained Mahogany with yellow markings, she would have her deck stained Dark Blue in July 1941.

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An SB2U-1 of VB-3 “Black Panthers” displays the colorful “Yellow Wings” scheme in use prior to December 1940. The white tail indicates an aircraft assigned to USS Saratoga (CV-3).

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A close-up of the nose of a Black Panther SB2U-1, the solid red nose indicating the aircraft of the squadron commander. It would also carry a red fuselage stripe indicating a section leader and wing stripes in the section color.

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A view of the undersides showing placement of the wing insignia. Note the yellow upper wing color wraps around the leading edge of the wing to ensure smooth airflow. The elongated pods under each wing are practice bomb dispensers used for training.

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A fine shot of 3-B-3 from above showing the upper wing markings. The angled stipes on the vertical tail are to aid the Landing Signals Officer in determining the aircraft’s approach angle when landing aboard a carrier.

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3-B-3 landing at NAS North Island at San Diego. The Vindicator had semi-retractable landing gear which rotated 90 degrees into wells under the wings.

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The apron at NAS North Island packed full of carrier aircraft. In the left foreground is the squadron commander’s SB2U-1 Vindicator of VB-3 assigned to USS Saratoga. The first aircraft to the right is a Northrop BT-1 assigned to USS Enterprise as indicated by the blue tail.

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VB-3 Vindicators warm up on the apron at North Island. The top hat markings were carried for filing of the movie “Dive Bomber”.

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The VB-3 squadron commander’s Vindicator is in the foreground in this view, with a Northrop BT-1 in the background.

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In this scene from “Dive Bomber” SB2U Vindicators prepare to launch from the carrier while Douglas Devastators with folded wings warm up astern. The white tails indicate aircraft assigned to USS Saratoga, but the USS Enterprise was used for filming.

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Vindicators warm up on deck, revealing several details of the Yellow Wings paint scheme. In the background a Curtis SBC Helldiver is seen in the overall Light Gray scheme authorized on 30DEC40.

Tamiya Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 of Oberfeldwebel Heinz Marquart in 1/72 Scale

Here is White 11 of Oberfeldwebel Heinz Marquart, 13 /JG 51 at Schmoldow, Germany, May 1945.  He was shot down in this aircraft by an RAF 41 Squadron Spitfire XIV on 1 May 1945, the day before his unit surrendered.  His comrades assumed he was dead, but he survived and was in a hospital as the war ended.  Heinz Marquart finished the war with credited with a total of 122 victories.

There is considerable confusion concerning White 11, several sources attribute the White 11 surrendered to the RAF on 2 May at Flensburg as being Marquart’s mount.  That aircraft had unpainted gun covers, but it obviously cannot be the same White 11 shot down the day before. Jerry Crandall resolved the disparity during an interview with pilot Heinz Radlauer – mechanics had painted White 11 on two different 13 Staffel Doras!

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Hunter Killer Book Review

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Hunter Killer: Inside America’s Unmanned Air War

By LCOL T. Mark McCurley with Kevin Maurer

Hardcover in dustjacket, 368 pages, photographs

Published by Dutton, October 2015

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0525954430

ISBN-13: 978-0525954439

Dimensions: 6.25 x 1.13 x 9.25 inches

This book pulls back the curtain on America’s MQ-1 Predator “drone” program and the people who operate it.  LCOL McCurley was a U.S. Air Force instructor pilot who volunteered for transfer to the Predator program after the 9/11 attacks.  The transfer was not a normal request, the program was not a popular assignment within the USAF – “real” pilots flew fighters, and the Predator had become a dumping ground for officers who didn’t qualify for other assignments.

The term “drone”, though widely used in the press, is inaccurate.  A drone is an automatous vehicle, programmed to perform its mission without human intervention.  The U.S. Navy’s XM-47B is an example.   The MQ-1 Predator and its larger cousin, the MQ-9 Reaper, are more accurately described as Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPV) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), flown by a pilot and a sensor operator on the ground.  The crew is linked to the aircraft via satellite and can be physically located anywhere in the world.  RPVs operating over Afghanistan are routinely piloted by crews within the U.S.

One revelation for me was that it takes two separate crews to fly a mission – one where the aircraft is physically based to launch and recover the aircraft and one to fly the mission.   Many missions are flown in shifts due to the duration.  The crews operate under similar rules of engagement as any other U.S. unit.  Strike missions which eliminate high-value terrorist targets grab the headlines, but these are usually supported by weeks of routine 24/7 surveillance missions to establish the target’s patterns and minimize collateral damage.

The book is written from the first-person perspective and follows LCOL McCurley’s career in the RPV community.  It is an interesting insight into one of the USAF’s most-used platforms, and corrects many popular misconceptions.  It is an enjoyable read and an engaging story which I can recommend.

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Hasegawa Heinkel He 111 Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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I’ll be modifying this model to H-20 standard, the most obvious difference is the dorsal gun position of the H-20 was replaced with a turret mounting a 13.1 mm gun. Here I have inserted a section of PVC pipe to build up the base for the turret.

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The gaps in the opening were filled with superglue and the area smoothed with Mr. Surfacer 500.

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The turret ring was fabricated from various bits of Evergreen stock using the ring from a Revell of Germany He 177 kit part as a template.

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There is a tricky area on the Hasegawa kit which I have learned to respect from previous builds. The bomb bay at the heart of the aircraft is the junction of seven different parts and the fit is not optimal. There will be noticeable seams here if one is not careful. It is best to address the seams in stages to get the best result. Here you can see the wing to fuselage to bombay joint has been filled using superglue and Mr. Surfacer and smoothed.

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For my build the external racks are needed. Test fit these parts carefully, as the backs of these will need trimmed to get the best fit. Gaps at this point are filled with Perfect Plastic Putty and the excess wiped away with a damp swab.

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The Eduard canopy mask set is a big time-saver. The kit provides an overhead instrument panel with a decal for the dials but does not have the panel next to the sliding hatch, which is a PE part here. The canopy curtains were made from rolled up sections of masking tape.

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Aside from the bomb bay area the rest of the parts fit well. I use MEK from the hardware store which is the equivalent of the various “thin” cements on the market but vastly cheaper. This tends to melt any minor imperfections along the joining surfaces and results in a tight fit.

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Here is the canopy in place with the seam filled with Perfect Plastic Putty. The PPP is ideal for this application.

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The underside of the canopy join was not as tight as the upper side but close enough to fill with putty.

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The other major difference between the H-6 and the H-20 is the H-20 had fewer transparencies in the area of the ventral bathtub. The excess windows were simply sanded smooth. The fit of this clear part is extremely good.

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Here the RLM 66 interior color has been sprayed on the exterior of the canopy.