Revell Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a of Walter Nowotny in 1/72 Scale

Walter Nowotny scored his first two victories on 19JUL41 against Soviet Polikarpov I-153s but was shot down by a third.  He subsequently spent three days in a raft in the Gulf of Riga until he washed ashore in Latvia.  Most of his subsequent victories came while flying the Fw 190 with JG 54.  He became the first Luftwaffe pilot to be credited with 250 victories, and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.  Nowotny was given command of a unit tasked with developing tactics for the new Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.  The type had been rushed into service and suffered from several “bugs”.   On 08NOV44 Nowotny claimed an American P-51 and B-24, but crashed in his Me 262, possibly due to an engine fire.  He was 23 at the time.

Nowotny had a superstition and insisted on wearing his lucky “victory pants” whenever he flew, the same pants he had worn after his first victories and three days afloat in the raft in the Gulf of Riga.  The only time he failed to wear them was on his last sortie when he was killed.

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Shigetoshi Kudo, the First Nightfighter Ace of the Pacific War

Shigetoshi Kudo was trained as a reconnaissance pilot and was assigned to the famous Tainan Kokutai in October 1941.  When the Pacific War began he supported the Kokutai by performing reconnaissance and navigation duties over the Philippines and Dutch East Indies.  The unit eventually moved to Rabaul, where Kudo was credited with his first aerial victories using air-to-air bombs.  Kudo returned to Japan in the fall of 1942 where he trained to fly the Nakajima J1N1 Gekko (“Irving”) nightfighter.

The Tainan Kokutai was redesignated the 251st Kokutai in November 1942, Kudo rejoining the unit in May 1943.  On strength were two J1N1 nightfighters which had been modified with the addition of oblique-firing 20mm cannon on the orders of the squadron commander, CDR Yasuna Kozono.  These guns were angled to fire 30 degrees above and below the line of flight, similar to the Schräge Musik installation on German nightfighters.  Kudo flew the J1N1 defending Rabaul against American B-17s, eventually claiming six plus an Australian Hudson and becoming the first nightfighter ace of the Pacific War.  Japanese sources credited him with nine victories.

Kudo returned to Japan in February 1944 and was assigned to the Yokosuka Air Group.  He was injured in a landing accident in May 1945.  He survived the war but died in 1960.

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Chief Petty Officer Shigetoshi Kudo poses with his Mitsubishi C5M “Babs” reconnaissance plane. On August 29, 1942 Kudo intercepted a formation of eight B-17s attacking Rabaul. He flew above the formation and dropped air-to-air bombs, reporting claims for one destroyed and one probable. American records did not show any losses.

 

Kudo_02_Kozono_at_Rabaul
251 NAG commanding officer CDR Yasuna Kozono on the left, CPO Shigetoshi Kudo on the right at Rabaul. Kudo holds a presentation sword inscribed “For Conspicuous Military Valor”, Kozono ordered the modification of the J1N1 Gekko to carry the oblique cannons.

 

Kudo_03
A J1N1 Gekko “Irving” nightfighter showing the 20mm cannon installations above and below the fuselage. This aircraft carries an overall black or dark green finish and the tail codes of the Yokosuka Naval Air Group. The Gekko flown by Kudo over Rabaul was camouflaged in dark green over light gray-green and carried the tail codes UI-13.

 

Kudo_04_41-9224HoniKuuOkole
On May 21, 1943 Kudo claimed his first night victories in the J1N1, both B-17Es. The first was 41-9244 “Honi Kuu Okole”, the second an unnamed Fortress, 41-9011. Neither aircraft was seen to go down, the Americans attributing their losses to a mid-air collision. Only seven crewmen of the twenty carried by the two aircraft survived the crashes. Six were executed by the Japanese at Rabaul, bombardier Gordon Manual evaded capture with the help of natives and was eventually rescued by the submarine USS Gato (SS-212) eight months later. Honi Kuu Okole was originally requisitioned from a Royal Air Force order and was one of four Fortresses in the Pacific camouflaged in the RAF Temperate Sea scheme. Model of Honi Kuu Okole here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/10/08/airfix-boeing-b-17e-conversion-honi-kuu-okole-in-1-72-scale/

 

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B-17F “Georgia Peach” 41-24454 was downed by Kudo on June 13, 1943. One of eighteen B17s attacking the airfield at Vunakanau, her loss was attributed to anti-aircraft fire by the Americans. Two of her crew survived the crash, Navigator Philip Bek was executed at Rabaul, Bombardier Jack Wisener survived the war as a POW.

 

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Seen here taking off from Townville, Australia is B-17E “Naughty But Nice” serial number 41-2430. Kudo shot her down on June 26, 1943, her loss again being attributed by the Americans to flak. 41-2430 was finished in the Hawaiian Air Depot camouflage scheme.

 

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The nose art of “Naughty But Nice” is currently on display at the Kokopo War Museum at Rabaul, New Britain. The remains of the Fortress and her crew were discovered in 1982 by a team including the sole survivor of her crash, Navigator Jose Holguin, who returned the remains of his crewmates to the United States.

 

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Kudo’s second victim on the night of June 26, 1943 was B-17F “Taxpayers Pride”, serial number 41-24448. Waist gunner Joel Griffin was the sole survivor from the crew of ten, he survived the war as a POW. (Australian War Memorial photograph)

 

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B-17F “Pluto II” serial number 41-24543 was claimed by Kudo on June 30, 1943, his sixth Flying Fortress. All ten members of her crew were lost, including Australian William MacKay who was sent to operate a new radar set. Kudo also put in claims for a B-24 but American records only show one B-24 loss on that date, B-24D 42-40254 which was sent on a weather reconnaissance mission and never checked in. Other sources credit another J1N1 nightfighter pilot, LTJG Satoru Ono, with her destruction.
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Kudo’s final victory was a Lockheed Hudson of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No. 3 Squadron, NZ 2033 serial number 3856 operating from Guadalcanal. She was lost with all four of her crew on 13 July 1943 on flare dropping mission. Pictured is another No. 3 Squadron Hudson, NZ 2035.

Eduard Bf 110G-4 of Oberst Helmut Lent in 1/72 Scale

Bf 110G-4 of Oberst Helmut Lent, IV /NJG1, Leeuwarden Netherlands, Spring 1943.  Eduard kit, Aimes decals.  FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 array replaced with the turned brass aftermarket version from Master Model, the small FuG 218C antenna is scratchbuilt. Helmut Lent began the war flying the Messerschmitt Bf 110 with Zerstörergeschwader 76 in the heavy fighter role.  He participated in both the Polish and Norwegian Campaigns, during the latter he landed his damaged Bf 110 at Fornebu and negotiated the surrender of the Norwegian forces there.  He participated in the Battle of Britain and had achieved eight day victories before being trained as a night fighter pilot.  As a Nachtjagder he scored steadily, eventually reaching the total of 110 victories and being awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.  He was killed on 05OCT44 when his Junkers Ju 88 crashed while attempting to land at Paterborn after the runway was damaged by USAAF B-17s.

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Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II Book Review

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Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II

By Ikuhiko Hata and Yasuho Izawa, Translated by Don Cyril Gorham

Hardcover in dustjacket, 432 pages, appendices, and index.  Illustrated with photographs throughout.

Published by Naval Institute Press November 1989

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0-87021-3156

ISBN-13: 978-0-87021-3151

Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.4 x 10.3 inches

Even today, it is comparatively difficult to find detailed information about Japanese military units in the Second World War.  The Pacific Theater was vast, the ocean or jungles swallowed up entire units with their ultimate fates being inferred only after the war by comparison with Allied records.  Most original wartime records and photographs were ordered destroyed by the Japanese government, whether officially held or in private collections.  This periodically results in the re-discovery of some lost detail of interest of historians and modelers, such as the recent revelation of the shape of the stern of the battleship Yamato as revealed by photographs of her wreck.

This work is the result of years of research by the authors, who originally published their findings in Japan in 1975 as Nihon Kaigun Sentoki-tai.  Translator Don Gorham removed another major obstacle for the Western reader by translating their work into English.  What results is a unique insight into the fighter arm of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and is likely to be the definitive reference on the subject for some time to come.

The book is divided into two major sections.  The first is comprised of histories of all the IJN fighter groups whether assigned to aircraft carriers or ashore.  These are supplemented by portraits of the pilots and aircraft where available, and artwork consisting of line drawings illustrating the markings carried by the aircraft.  The second section is biographies of the aces, what is known of their combat records, and their photographs.  These are rarely more than a single page but there are many names here which are virtually unknown in the West.

Historians researching American, German, or British have several volumes detailing the history of aviation units and multiple biographies of notable figures.  Those interested in Japanese aviation have only a few print references to rely upon.  This book fills a major informational void and is a valuable addition to a reference library.  Recommended.

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Women Warriors 104

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IDF
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Ukraine
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IDF
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US Air Force
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Norway
Seen here -  Air Trooper (A Tpr) Lauren Morgan
British Air Trooper Lauren Morgan with AH-64 Apache Longbow
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Russia
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U.S. Army Captain Elizabeth McNamara with AH-64 Apache, Iraq 2011
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First Aid Nursing Yeomanry dispatch riders
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Ukraine
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IDF
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ATA Pilot Maureen Dunlop with Royal Navy Fairey Barracuda
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Norway
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Indian Pilots with MiG-21
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Nancy Harkness Love in the cockpit in 1928, she would lead the WASPs in WWII
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Arma Hobby General Motors FM-2 Wildcat Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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The landing gear on all Wildcats is complicated and there is really not a painless way to represent the intricate strut arrangement. I followed Arma’s instructions and had no major issues, but you do have to proceed carefully. Here is the first step with the firewall and internal bracing mounted.

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Here it is with the fuselage closed up. Technically there should be engine accessories protruding into the gear bay, but the view is obscured by the strut assembly so it would be very difficult to notice.

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This is the stage in the construction which is causing some confusion amongst modelers, I would advise studying the instructions carefully and making sure the arrangement of these parts is clear before proceeding. Part A18 is molded flat and has to be bent down to the proper angle, as can be seen by comparing the upper left and upper center assemblies here. Parts A11 and A12 are molded with a connecting bar which must be removed before the ends can be joined, seen in the lower left and lower center of this picture. In the end you want everything to look like the assembly on the right.

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The gear struts snap into place from below, the fit at the rear of the well was tight on mine but I was able to press it in (firmly) with a little MEK. The main gear legs (parts A28 and A29) mount to the firewall and then there are three attachment points to each leg for the struts. Just follow the instructions and let the glue set up firmly and you’ll have good alignment and a surprisingly strong assembly when you’re done.

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A valid criticism of this kit is the shape of the wingtips, they should be more rounded than they are molded. I was hoping for an out of the box build but felt obliged to fix this with some plastic stock. If you don’t want to go that route you could get an improved profile by rounding off the front and back edges of the wingtip.

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The engine from the front. The cowling will sit about a millimeter too far forward if you don’t do something, and this will be apparent as the exhaust stubs will protrude too far past the cowling when viewed from the side. I shaved off the mounting ridges inside the cowling and thinned the trailing edge which allowed the cowling to be pressed back enough. An easy fix but a trap for the unwary.

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Fit of the parts is excellent.  I used a little Mr. Surfacer 500 along the fuselage seam lines to counter the tendency of the seams to draw in when using thin glues.

Heller Bachem Ba 349 Natter in 1/72 Scale

The Bachem Ba 349 Natter was a single-use point defense interceptor.  It was a desperate attempt to defend Germany against Allied bomber streams.  The Natter was powered by a Walter HWK 109-509C-1 liquid rocket engine supplemented by four Schmidding SG 34 solid rockets for take-off.  The Natter was constructed of wood and was designed to be disposable.  Armament consisted of 33 R4M rockets in the nose.  It was to be launched vertically when Allied bombers were overhead, flying into the bomber formation and launching its rockets.  The pilot was then to glide clear, the aircraft separating and both the pilot and rocket engine were to return by parachute.

The first manned launch resulted in the death of the test pilot, Lothar Sieber.  Subsequent manned launches were successful.  Several Natter were produced.  Most were expended in testing, none were used operationally.

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New York City Vintage Photographs Part IV

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A Douglas DC-3 of The Great Silver Fleet over Manhattan before the war. The DC-3 is a classic design, adapted as the primary air transport type of the U.S. and Allied services under a wide variety of designations. Many still fly today.

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A fireboat welcomes the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) to New York Harbor in 1958. Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, and the first submarine to travel submerged to the North Pole under the arctic ice sheet.

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Another submarine from a different era, USS Plunger (SS-2) underway off the Brooklyn Naval Yard. In September 1905 Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to submerge in a submarine aboard Plunger. In 1909 she was commanded by Ensign Chester Nimitz, who would rise to the rank of Fleet Admiral in the Second World War.

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A Y1B-17 flies over New York with Manhattan in the background. The US Army Air Corps almost did not order Boeing’s B-17 into production, some officers favoring the less expensive and less radical Douglas B-18 Bolo instead.

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A beautiful photograph of the ill-fated French liner SS Normandy entering New York Harbor with the Manhattan skyline in the background. This view would be seen by thousands of U.S. soldiers and sailors leaving for and returning from the war in Europe.

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A NYC police officer directs traffic as a US Army M-7 Priest self-propelled howitzer navigates an intersection. The M-7 received its nickname because of the round “pulpit” with machine gun for the vehicle commander.

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The USS Saratoga (CV-60) seen leaving New York Harbor. The automobiles on the flight deck indicate she is transiting to a new home port, the crew being allowed to take their cars with them as deck cargo.

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The crew musters on the deck of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) for her commissioning ceremony on Navy Day, 27OCT45. She was the second of three Midway class aircraft carriers, which were half again as big as the previous Essex class carriers but too late to see action in WWII.

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The Iowa class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) silhouetted against the Manhattan skyline. Missouri was the site of the formal Japanese surrender which ended the Second World War on 02SEP45.

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The Douglas DC-4E prototype over Manhattan. This aircraft was evaluated by United Airlines during 1938-39. The design was later refined with a shorter wingspan and more conventional tail as the DC-4, and was adopted by the USAAF as the C-54 transport. Japanese Airways bought the DC-4E prototype, which was reverse-engineered by Nakajima as the unsuccessful G5N “Liz” bomber.

Revell Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a of Johannes Steinhoff in 1/72 Scale

Johannes “Macky” Steinhoff was one of the legends of the Luftwaffe, having flown throughout the entire war on every major front.  He flew a total of 993 sorties and was credited with 176 victories.  He was shot down himself on twelve occasions but only bailed out once, preferring to crash land his aircraft due to a mis-trust of parachutes.  He scored six of his victories while flying the Me 262 with JV 44, but two weeks before the end of the war his jet crashed during take-off, leaving Steinhoff with severe burns.  After the war he became a General in the West German Air Force.  He died in February 1994 at the age of 80.

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