Women Warriors 106

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IDF
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Ukrainian soldier with 5.45 x 39 “Vepr” assault rifle
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US Navy Officer conns her ship from the bridge wing, JMSDF Fuyuzuki (DD-188) in the background
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Italian Army B1 Centauro Tank Destroyer
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Italian Helicopter pilot Carla Angelucci
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Kurdish YPG
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IDF
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USAF F-35 pilot Col. Gina Torch Sabric, CO of the 419th FW, Hill, AFB
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WAC SGT. Eleanora L. Johnson, 1944
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IDF
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Russian Paratrooper Yulia Kharlamov
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IDF
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Royal Navy WREN WWII
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IDF
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Australian Aircrew with CH-47
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WASP with P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang in the background
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Azure FRROM Martin B-10 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

B10_01
This is the new tool Azure FRROM Martin B-10B kit, one of three boxings they released in 2020. The B-10 was considered to be quite innovative when it first flew in 1932, featuring an internal bomb bay, enclosed crew positions, and retractable landing gear. For a time it was faster than the fighters which might oppose it. I ordered one in U.S. markings as soon as it became available and it went straight to the bench when the good people at Hannants delivered it to my door.

B10_02
The kit is a limited run effort and has all that implies, both plusses and minuses. The panel lines are fine and recessed. Locating pins and tabs are missing for the most part. Personally I think too big a deal is made over this, most parts can be aligned perfectly well without pins and sometimes the pins can cause sinkmarks which require filling.

B10_03
The fuselage halves reflect a bit of clever engineering, they are split along the sides instead of along the top and bottom. The B-10 had corrugations along the top and bottom which would be at risk of being sanded off while eliminating the fuselage seam, provided the mold angle would allow them to be formed at all. The cowlings and nacelle parts are separate to allow Azure to provide for the different versions they are kitting.

B10_04
The engines are crisp and nicely molded. There are mold seams and a bit of flash on some parts to clean up, a consequence of the limited run technology. A little extra work in parts preparation, but that is why we practice isn’t it?  Back to chorin’, pitter patter.

B10_05
No surprises in the cockpit, and one benefit of the horizontal fuselage split is the angles on the cockpit components are relatively easy to get right. The bulkhead pieces all fit into locating slots inside the upper fuselage, so take care that they are all square to avoid fit problems later. One thing to watch for is the back side of the instrument panel has what looks like a thick ejector pin stub. Be sure to file this off as it will interfere with the fit later.

B10_06
Another area which needs attention is the wheel recess inside the wing. The part is too thick to allow the wing halves to come together. The best solution is to thin the inside of the part until the plastic is just starting to become translucent, then the wings should come together. You can see where the parts are touching by looking through the wing root opening. I have also thinned the wing trailing edges with a file.

B10_07
The wing mating joint leaves something to be desired, but is not difficult to fill. The round inlet on the wing leading edge inboard of the engine can be drilled out.

B10_08
Here is the cockpit interior under a coat of Alclad and a wash. I’m building this one OOB so everything you see here is what is provided in the kit.

B10_09
The fuselage joint is a bad seam but in a good place. The relatively flat smooth sides mean little detail will be lost here in sanding.

B10_10
I cleaned up the wing and fuselage seams as separate assemblies before joining them together.  The wings just would not fit!  It turned out the alignment tabs which protrude from the fuselage sides into the wingroots are meant to fit into slots on the inner surfaces of the wings but are too thick.  I recommend leaving the wing support (part H16) off and just butt-jointing the wings in place.  I cut the tabs off and was then able to get the wings on, but there were seams to fill.

Boeing Stearman N2S PT-17 Primary Trainer Color Photographs

Stearman_01_N2S-2
Commonly called the Stearman, this aircraft was known by several names and designations depending on the contract, country, and engine type fitted. It was one of the major primary trainer types used by the United States and its Allies before and during the Second World War.

Stearman_02_Group_RA
This beautiful 1942 photograph from the NASM Rudy Arnold collection illustrates some of the major designations. Furthest from the camera is a Royal Canadian Air Force PT-27, the Canadians called them Kaydets. Next is a USAAC PT-17, which is almost touching wingtips with a Navy N2S-3. Nearest is a PT-17 in Chinese Air Force markings.

Stearman_03_NAS, Corpus Christi, Texas
The American pilot training program was a massive undertaking and utilized almost 10,000 Stearmans along with several other types. Here a group of Navy instructors and trainees walks along the apron at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.

Stearman_04_N2S Yellow Perils, 1942-43
Pilots of the Morning Wing get their flying assignments by class. The leather flight jackets were a status symbol. Undoubtedly hot in the Texas sun, they would be needed in the Stearman’s open cockpits.

Stearman_05_Rodd Field, Corpus Christi, Texas
Sailors wait atop the upper wings to fuel the aircraft in turn. The Stearman was a rugged design, fully aerobatic and simple to produce and maintain.

Stearman_06_N2S and N3N NAS Corpus Christi
One of the more derisive nicknames for the aircraft was the “Yellow Peril”. This swarm of N2S and similar N3N trainers taxiing for take-off at NAS Corpus Christi would certainly represent a significant hazard to air navigation once aloft!

Stearman_07_HG
This early 1943 photo shows USAAF PT-17s in overall aluminum dope. U.S. aircraft had previously carried the national insignia in six positions, but the insignia under the port and over the starboard upper wing were removed at the start of 1943. The removal job was perhaps a little overzealous on the higher aircraft, the “ARMY” lettering has also been painted over leaving only the “U.S.”. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)

Stearman_08_HG
A clear view of the undersides as this Army Stearman banks away. The single-strut landing gear is shown to good advantage. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)

Stearman_09_HG
The Stearman found its way into the civilian market, and they were sold off by the hundreds as surplus after the war. Their robust construction and simplicity make them very popular, often with the same pilots who had earlier learned to fly at their controls. Here a Stearman is being used for crop dusting, the forward pilot position having been converted into a hopper for the payload. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)

Stearman_10_HG
An atmospheric scene and an excellent diorama subject. Several Stearmans are still flying today, with many more preserved in museums. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)

Marine Corps Tank Battles in the Middle East Book Review

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Marine Corps Tank Battles in the Middle East

By Oscar E. Gilbert

Hardcover in dustjacket, 312 pages, photographs, references, and index

Published by Casemate February 2015

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1612002676

ISBN-13: 978-1612002675

Dimensions:  6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches

Like so many of the modern world’s current political problems, the on-going turmoil in the Middle East can be traced back to diplomatic missteps in the aftermath of the First World War.  Those decisions remain with us and are still costing lives on a daily basis over a century later.  In the first twenty pages of this book Oscar E. Gilbert traces the modern history of the Middle East which imparts on the reader an understanding of the basis for the conflicts which have plagued the region.  This chapter is concise and exceptionally well-written, it alone warrants the purchase of the book and is worthy of periodic re-reading.

The bulk of the book focusses on the use of Marine armor in Iraq and Afghanistan, both the M60 and M1 Abrams main battle tanks along with the lighter LAV-25.  The dominance of the better trained and equipped Marines during the conflicts with the Iraqi Army, even when outnumbered, are well described.  The use of armor in the drawn-out counter insurgency operations also offers many insights, such as the use of the vehicle’s impressive array of sensors.  Tactics used during the Battle of Fallujah illustrates the value of armor in clearing an urban environment, an arena where tanks are generally considered to be at a disadvantage.

The book is well researched and interspaced with first-hand accounts taken from interviews with the participants.  This is an engaging read, made somewhat more poignant by the recent decision to eliminate tanks from the Marine Corp’s inventory.  This is the second of Gilbert’s Marine tanks histories which I have read, and I can recommend them without hesitation.

Women Warriors 105

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IDF
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Royal Australian Navy Boatswains Mate Stephanie Went, HMAS Toowoomba (FFH-156)
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Ukraine
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Chinese soldier with Norinco QBZ-95
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Royal Australian Navy pilot Natalie Davies
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Kurdish YPG
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Columbia
ww419_USAF_pilot_Martha McSally
USAF A-10 Warthog pilot Martha McSally
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US Navy Nurse Jane Kendeigh on Okinawa, February 1945
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Air National Guard Major Nicole Mitchell, her civilian job is a TV news meteorologist
USAF CAPT Jennie Swiechowicz, 393 BG B-2 Spirit Pilot
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IDF with Merkava MBT
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WRAF of WWI
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IDF
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RAF Pilot
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Romania
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WASPs with B-17
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Arma Hobby General Motors FM-2 Wildcat Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

FM2_31
Wildcats on a stick! Here they are primed and re-scribed, ready to begin painting. The rudders and elevators are molded separately, I have attached them with random slight offsets.

 

FM2_32
Here is the beginning of the Atlantic scheme of Dark Gull Gray over White. The White is masked off with putty and tape. The front windscreens are attached at this point to check the seam which was good.

 

FM2_33
The graded scheme gets the same masking treatment. The foam protecting the cockpit is packing from Eduard aftermarket sets, something which you just knew would be useful for something someday.

 

FM2_34
Painting is done and a gloss coat applied in preparation for decals. Notice I have put on the wheels, I try to put on as many parts as I can before the clear coats to ensure an even finish. In addition, the clear will act as a weak adhesive and solidify the glue joints a little more.

 

FM2_35
The overall Gloss Sea Blue scheme is the easiest. I have added antenna wires from 0.004” Nitenol and IFF antennas from 0.005”. Outside of the rounded wingtips the build is OOB.

 

FM2_36
All three finished models together.  Arma includes six marking options, there are variations of these schemes plus a Royal Navy Wildcat VI in the Temperate Sea scheme which is very attractive.  I should have bought one more kit!