Women Warriors 109

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Finland
ww433_Norwegian_Army_2
Norway
ww433b_USArmy
US Army
ww433c_Ukraine
Ukraine
ww433d_Ukraine
Ukraine
ww433e_Russia
Russia
ww434_Sweden
Sweden
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Tally Case, South Carolina ANG F-16 pilot
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Women’s Reserve Ambulance Corps, June 1916
Women Urgently Wanted for the WAAC
Women Urgently Wanted for the WAAC
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Serbia
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Israel
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China
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WAVE exits a 5″/38 Gun Mount aboard the Battleship USS Missouri (BB-63)
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Swedish soldier in Afghanistan
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IDF
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IDF
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WASPs with AT-6 Texan
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A6M Zero Aces Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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These are the A6M2 kit engines from the three manufacturers – Hasegawa (upper left), Fine Molds (upper right), and Tamiya (lower). Push rods from 0.010″ round stock were added to the Hasegawa engines. The cases were painted RLM 65 blue-grey, the ignition ring is light gull grey. Ignition wires are roughed in with very fine Copper wire. The Hasegawa engine is definitely smaller when seen with the others, but looks the part inside it’s cowling.

ZeroAces_014
The Fine Molds kit comes with separate flaps, a nice option. I decided to drop the flaps on one of the Hasegawa A6M3s (top) and the Tamiya A6M5 (bottom) as well. The Tamiya A6M2 is engineered with the entire flap molded into the upper wing piece, while their A6M5 flap is split into halves with the upper & lower wing parts, so I went with the easier job of the two.

ZeroAces_015
The underside of the wings of the Hasegawa kits were cut out for the resin castings. A bit of a gap on this one, but nothing which can’t be filled and the wheelwells are much deeper now. I like the deep wells a lot better. In this picture you can also see the boattail where the wing underside joins the fuselage. The Hasegawa kits all had small gaps at this joint, and even the Fine Molds & Tamiya kits needed some smoothing there.

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A “conversion” from a Type 22 to a Type 32 – cut off the wingtips and reshape the ends to represent the aerodynamic fairing. I had managed to acquire three Type 22 kits but no 32s, easy enough to fix.

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Construction is almost complete, just have to add the canopies and mask. Now is a good time to mention some of the considerations involved in doing a batch build. The main advantages lie in the efficiencies gained in building kits of same construction and / or color pallet, but that can also lead to confusion in the detail differences between the individual models if you’re not careful. The key is establishing a system to account for the differences between the models. Organization is crucial, just come up with a system which makes sense to you, and stick to it. In this case, I have used the kit boxes as trays, and arranged the model variants in chronological order, from left to right. A post-it note also helps to remind me of the final markings for each kit. This is important, as details such as spinner colors and other painted markings often vary between aircraft. The airframes on the stand are arranged in the same order.

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Sub-assemblies and other parts prepared for painting are kept in front of their respective boxes. Where there are important variations in the camouflage or markings, good notes or pictures are very useful. Notice that the post-it for Tiger 110 says “Nakajima” – many of the colors on Nakajima-made Zero components are different than those manufactured by Mitsubishi.

ZeroAces_019
The small cards contain parts specific to each model, and are labeled with the pilot’s names like the post-its. They will be sprayed with Alclad lacquers and contain the parts which will be black, silver, or Aotake. The engines are in order on their card, left to right matching the sequence of the boxes. The drop tanks and landing gear covers all get the same color, four are identical parts from Hasegawa kits, the ones on the right of each group are Tamiya.

Martin PBM Mariner Color Photographs Part I

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The Martin PBM Mariner was a two engined flying boat which supplemented the Consolidated PBY Catalina In U.S. Navy service during the Second World War. The first Mariner was delivered to the Navy in September 1940, the last came off the production line in April 1949. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

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A fine side profile of PBM-1 Bureau Number 1259. Twenty PBM-1 were built, distinguishable by their round gun positions on the fuselage sides. The first Mariners were issued to Patrol Squadrons VP-55 and VP-56, this is a VP-56 machine. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

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A PBM-1 pictured in the yellow wings and aluminum dope finish. VP-56 received their Mariners in December 1940, just in time for the Yellow Wings era which officially ended in January 1941. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

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A PBM-3 on the ramp in the Dark Gull Gray over White Atlantic scheme. This camouflage was found to be more effective for anti-submarine patrols.

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A PBM seen from the rear being towed. Note the mix of camouflage schemes carried by the PBMs in the background, both the Atlantic ASW scheme and the graded scheme are represented.

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The most famous Mariner was the PBM-3C “Nickle Boat” of VP-74, so named because of her formation number “-5”. She was credited with helping to sink two German U-boats of the coast of South America, U-128 on 17MAY43 and U-513 on 19JUL43.

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A close up of the forward hatch of Nickle Boat showing her U-boat kill markings. U-128 had sunk twelve Allied merchant ships, U-513 had sunk six.

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A PBM-5 in overall Sea Blue finish is hoisted aboard the seaplane tender USS Norton Sound (AV-11). The Mariner is assigned to VPB-26. The Norton Sound supported Mariners operating from Saipan before moving to Okinawa.

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A PBM-5 on the deck of the Norton Sound. The seaplanes could be hoisted aboard the tender for maintenance, but took off and landed from the water.

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A service boat refuels a Mariner. The flying boats would moor to a buoy in a sheltered anchorage, the crews and aircraft would be supported by a tender anchored nearby.

Condor V-2 Missile and Special Armor Trailer in 1/72 Scale

I built the Condo V-2 (A-4) missile many years ago.  I painted it in a spurious three-tone gray camouflage, now I’m not sure if I was following an erroneous reference or if I just thought it would be attractive that way.  It was problematic to display, too tall for the distance between shelves in the display case and it just didn’t look right laying on its side.  When Special Armor released their transport trailer I took the opportunity to correct the camo and finally had a proper way to display the model.

The concept for the design began before the war as a way to get into space. When the first V-2 hit London, the project’s chief engineer Wernher von Braun was quoted as saying, “The rocket worked perfectly, except for landing on the wrong planet.”

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Messerschmitts Over Sicily Book Review

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Messerschmitts Over Sicily: Diary of a Luftwaffe Fighter Commander

By Johannes Steinhoff

Softcover, 271 pages, bibliography, and index

Published by Stackpole Books August 2004

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0811731596

ISBN-13: 978-081173159

Dimensions: 6.0 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches

Johannes “Macky” Steinhoff was one of the legends of the Luftwaffe, having flown throughout the entire war from beginning to end on every major front and surviving.  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 achieved most of his successes flying with JG 52 against the Soviets in the East but in March 1943 he was transferred to North Africa to lead JG 77 as Geschwaderkommodore.  He arrived just in time to move what remained of the Geschwader (Wing) from North Africa to Sicily.

Messerschmitts Over Sicily is Steinhoff’s autobiographical account of JG 77’s fight against the Allies during the summer of 1943.  The Luftwaffe faced over 5,000 American and British aircraft with only 350 of their own.  The German airfields were well within range of Allied fighters and were subjected to almost daily bombings by medium bombers.  This kept the German fliers on the move and resulted in material shortages, the Germans were often forced to utilize improvised landing fields to escape the attentions of prowling Allied aircraft.

A problem which the Luftwaffe never solved in the Italian Theater was how to deal with the American heavy bomber formations.  While Jagdwaffe units defending the Reich enjoyed some notable successes, American Flying Fortresses operated over Italy with relative impunity.  The proximity of Allied bases greatly reduced warning times which frustrated German attempts to mass and direct intercepting fighters, and the bomber boxes were able to be escorted by defending fighters all the way to their targets.  These obstacles, exasperated by the generally poor logistical situation, were not appreciated by the Luftwaffe high command.  Reichsmarschall Göring attributed the lack of success to cowardice on the part of his pilots which only served to reduce morale further.

This is an interesting study of command and leadership under adversity.  It reveals the complexities of managing the daily administrative responsibilities of managing a military unit while dealing with unrealistic expectations from superiors and also leading men in combat.  An interesting book and well worth a read, recommended.

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Women Warriors 108

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US Air Force
ww429c_GermanyAFV
German AFV with MG 3
ww429d_Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School
Russian Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School
ww429e_Norway
Norway
ww429f_IDF
IDF
ww429KurdishYPG
Kurdish YPG sniper team
ww430_RussianPara
Russian Paratrooper
ww431_USAF_Capt_Sara_Shot_Ferrro_100FS
USAF Capt. Sara “Shot” Ferrro, 100th FS F-16 pilot
ww432_WASP
WASPS, their “Fifinella” logo was designed by Walt Disney.
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Russia
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Chinese People’s Liberation Army
Estonia
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WASPs Barbara London and Evelyn Sharp with P-51B Mustang
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IDF
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IDF
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Polish Soldier with MRAP
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WASP Pilots training on AT-6 Texan at Sweetwater
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A6M Zero Aces Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

This is a resurrected work-in-progress build log of a batch build comparison of seven kits from Hasegawa, Fine Molds, and Tamiya.  For me the gains in efficiency from building in batches outweigh the burdens of repetitive construction.  It also helps keep the number of kits in the stash down to reasonable levels.  Thanks to a few “deals I could not refuse” at the shows I discovered I had managed to accumulate several Hasegawa Zeros.  Added to a Fine Molds A6M2 and a couple more from Tamiya, there was a small pile of Zeros waiting to be built.  This is also a good opportunity to compare the kits.

ZeroAces_001
Fine Mold’s kit is spectacular. It is incredibly detailed, and includes options such as dropped flaps and folded wingtips. It comes molded in four colors approximating the finished colors of the different components. FM produced three variants, an A6M2, A6M3, and an A6M5. Each was distributed by bundling half the sprues with an issue of Model Graphics magazine. The magazines featured references, a gallery of finished Zeros, a build article, kit instructions, and even a cut-out for those wishing to make their own box! All in Japanese, of course, but still useful.

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Here is a comparison of the interior components of the three kits. At the top is Hasegawa. While not as detailed as the Fine Molds or Tamiya offerings, the older Hasegawa kits offer every Zero variant except the -K trainer, and are generally accurate in shape. The liabilities are typical for Hasegawa – Spartan cockpits and shallow wheelwells. The middle components in the green plastic are from Fine Molds, an outstanding kit in every respect. At the bottom Tamiya’s Zeros, are some of the best kits ever produced in 1/72 scale.

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The lower wing parts are finely engraved and feature recessed panel lines on all three kits. The Hasegawa offering at the top has shallow wheel wells molded into the part, the other two have deep wells which go all the way to the upper wing part. Note the cut-outs on the Fine Molds wing in the center which allow for variations.

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The lines of FM and Tamiya’s A6M2’s are a very close match, with just a few differences in engineering. Here is a shot of the FM (near) fuselage taped up with the Hasegawa. The vertical stabilizer is a bit too broad on the Hasegawa Zero, but this is easy enough to correct.

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To update the Hasegawa kits, I decided to substitute castings of superior components from the other two. Here are the wheelwells cut from the Fine Molds kit and prepared for casting.

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The borrowed components are ready for the pouring of RTV rubber molding material. The frames are made from Lego blocks, with masking tape underneath. The masking tape seals the bottom of the molds, and allows the masters to be fixed in place. I mainly used FM parts because the cockpit floors were slightly narrower than those in the Tamiya kit, which fit the Hasegawa fuselage better. The Tamiya kit parts would also work. The white assembly in the upper left corner is made from Evergreen stock, and will fit behind the horseshoe-shaped frame aft of the pilot’s seat. When the castings are completed I will have the parts needed to update the Hasegawa kits, and add a little more detail to the visible area behind the pilot’s seat on all the builds.

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Once the RTV molds have cured, the actual casting doesn’t take much time. Pour, wait, pop, repeat. In between pours, stringer detail and other details can be made from 0.010″ square Plastistruct and added. Here is a shot of the progress on a Hasegawa, Fine Molds, and Tamiya cockpits, from top to bottom. The Hasegawa kits will get a whole new cockpit, the others get a few enhancements.

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Here are the basic colors in place, which allows some of the detail to show. The interiors were first primed with Alclad black. The Aotake translucent protective coating could vary in shade from blues to greens, mine is a 50 / 50 mix of Alclad transparent green and transparent blue over Aluminum. I used Model Master Interior Green FS 34151 for the Mitsubishi cockpit green. This was misted down over the black primer to leave a shadow effect in the nooks and crannies. Two additional lighter mixes were sprayed from directly above to enhance the highlights.

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Here’s all seven cockpits in the basic colors, no washes or detail painting have been added at this point. These assemblies are about 1.25 inches long (32 mm), much smaller than shown in the picture. The cockpit in the upper left was painted with mixes of Model Master Interior Green, Light Gull Gray, and Radome Tan to represent the early Nakajima color. From above, the effect of misting the color layers on to leave the black shadowing is more subtle, but still provides the definition needed to show detail.

ZeroAces_011
I have added pads for the seats, painted as either canvas or leather. Seat belts are Eduard PE, and Eduard provides different style belts for each manufacturer. Most of the wire detail was added with 32 gauge beading wire from the craft store, levers are 0.010″ & 0.015″ Plastistruct rod. Instrument decals are from the kits and the spares box, Fine Molds provided the most comprehensive decal sheet of the three.

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This is a tub posed with the sidewalls from a Hasegawa kit. Everything was sealed with Future (Kleer), then given a wash of thin black enamel. Switches were drybrushed with silver to bring out details.