This aircraft is Tora (Tiger) – 110, the mount of the CO of the 261 Kokutai. This aircraft features prominently in Thorpe’s classic Japanese Naval Air Force Camouflage and Markings of WWII, being pictured on the cover, a photograph (below), and a color profile. Very attractive, but also problematic. The photograph shows a Type 21, with a dark finish on the forward fuselage and a lighter finish aft. Various people (all of whom know much more about this than me) have interpreted the difference in colors as two greens, discoloration due to primer, dirt or fading, or even as the aft fuselage being painted red matching the Hinomaru. Thorpe’s cover artwork depicts a Type 22 with the wing stripes and upper wing Hinomaru moved inward.
For my build I chose the primer interpretation and mixed the green a little lighter for the aft fuselage and sections of the upper wings, but I keep thinking it would look good in red. Fine Molds kit, all stripes are painted, tail codes are Hasegawa decals.
A diorama showing the arrival of an Northern Alliance T-55 being welcomed by Afghani militia. The tank transporter is Takom’s MAZ-537, the T-55 is from Trumpeter. Figures on the vehicle are from Paracel Miniatures, the rest are modified from various components to represent Afghanis. The structure is a 3D resin print.
Stryker Combat Vehicles
By Gordon L. Rottman, illustrated by Hugh Johnson
Series: Osprey New Vanguard 121
Softcover, 48 pages, index, well-illustrated
Published by Osprey Publishing July 2006
Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.1 x 9.8 inches
The Stryker family of armored vehicles is one of the most common types in U.S. inventory with more than 4,400 having been purchased. The standard configuration is the armored personnel carrier which carries a crew of two and nine infantrymen. Other versions include a reconnaissance version, a mobile gun system with an unmanned 105 mm gun turret, a mortar carrier, command vehicle, and various supporting functions such as engineering, ambulance, and forward observation.
While the U.S. Army has purchased the Stryker in large numbers, it still remains controversial. It is only nominally deployable using the USAF C-130, as it is a tight fit and so near the maximum permissible weight that the crew and combat load must be transported separately – up-armored versions cannot be loaded at all. The recoil of the mobile gun system commonly overturned the vehicle in tests and so has not been fielded. It is not amphibious like the Marines’ LAV-25; there are no firing ports or vision blocks provided for the infantrymen like the Army’s Bradly IFV. Perhaps most inexplicable is the cost – at $4.9 Million per vehicle the Army could purchase either four Bradlys or five LAV-25s for the same price, and both of the other vehicles were better armed and already in production.
This book is in the format familiar to readers of the Osprey New Vanguard Series. The descriptions are brief but adequate, the artwork and photographs are superb. It is an enjoyable and informative read. I was not familiar with the Stryker and picked up this volume in an attempt to figure out why it was purchased in such great numbers when there were some obviously superior alternatives already in service. Now that I am more familiar with the Stryker, I am even more mystified.
Photographs taken at the Air Zoo, Kalamazoo Michigan.
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The fifth leading Imperial Japanese Navy ace was Takeo Okumura with 54 victories. The model represents WI-108, an A6M3 Type 22 assigned to the 201 Kokutai at Buin in September 1943. The only profile I was able to locate of this aircraft was in Osprey Aces 22, IJN Aces 1937-45, which was depicted in a badly chipped paint job. Most photographs of operational Zeros show little or no chipping, so mine is rendered similarly. Okumura was credited with four Chinese aircraft prior to the start of the Pacific War. He was assigned to the aircraft carrier Ryujo during the Guadalcanal Campaign and was transferred to the Tainan Air Group at Rabaul. When operating from Buin in September 1943, he was credited with nine victories and one shared over five sorties, a record for the Pacific War. He was lost at the end of the month attacking a convoy off Cape Cretin, New Guinea.
All photographs from the NASM Hans Groenhoff collection.