Revell HMCS Snowberry Flower Class Corvette Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

Here the major superstructure components have been added to the hull. If you think of building a large ship model as a single kit the process can seem overwhelming, it is better to think of each component as its own little model.
More of the major subassemblies have found their way to the hull. No matter what the instructions might say, start with the large, robust components and build your way out to the detail parts last.
At this point I chose to add the decals to the hull, mainly because I wanted to reduce handling the model as much as possible after the smaller parts started going on. While it looks like it is mostly done, construction is actually just beginning when you reach this point.
The wooden deck on the fo’c’sle was washed and drybrushed to bring out the detail. Note that the wood does not go all the way to the bow. The seam will be hidden by the breakwater which will be added later.
The pilothouse was divided into three compartments, which I simulated with card to eliminate the see-through effect. I decided not to try to detail the bulkheads as the deck around this area gets very busy and it would be difficult to see anything inside.
The grid structures are racks for the four Carley floats. I added wire grab bars to the skylights over the engineering spaces. The skylight should be rebuilt as it should have ten windows instead of eight. What was Matchbox thinking? This type of thing was a constant problem, I corrected several errors but had to draw the line at other times or the project would not have gotten done.
The fantail area will get crowded. This is another place where it pays to check references, as several Flowers were completed with a more squared-off stern profile. Many also carried mine sweeping gear in addition to depth charge racks.

Hasegawa Focke-Wulf 190A-8 of Oberst Walther Dahl in 1/72 Scale

Walther Dahl claimed his first victory on the opening day of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union.  He continued to score against the Soviets, his total reaching 51 victories by July 1943, when he was assigned to the West as Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 3.  He successfully made the transition from East to West, although he was shot down by RAF Spitfires on 17AUG43 had had to make a belly landing in his Bf 109.  The Luftwaffe became more and more desperate to stem the flow of Allied bombers, and Dahl took command of JG 300 in June, 1944.  JG 300 was formed as a special unit whose pilots were to close in on American bomber formations to point-blank range, ramming their targets if necessary.  While these tactics were sometimes successful, they were also costly to the Luftwaffe, especially if Allied escort fighters were present.  Dahl was one of several prominent Jagdflieger who locked horns with Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, being relieved of command on 30NOV44 for refusing Göring’s order to intercept an American raid in poor weather, only the intervention of Adolf Galland preventing his court martial.  Dahl was quickly reinstated and promoted, and continued to fly combat missions until the end of the war.  He was credited with his last victory, a P-51 Mustang on 26APR45, bringing his total to 128.

The model depicts Dahl’s Fw 190A-8 of Stab /JG 300, at Jüterbog, Germany, December 1944.

Vultee Vengeance Color Photographs

The Vultee Vengeance was an American dive bomber produced in Nashville, Tennessee. While it did not see front-line service with the USAAF, it did see combat over Burma with the RAF and in the South Pacific with the Australians.
An error in calculating the wing’s center of lift was corrected by a unique reverse sweep to the outer wing panel, resulting in the appearance of a gull wing from certain angles. Another unusual (but less apparent) feature was the wing was mounted with zero incidence to the fuselage on early versions to enable a vertical dive-bombing run.
In the USAAF the type was designated the A-31. It was used for training, liaison, and target-towing duties in U.S. service.
The Vengeance had a heavy gun armament for a dive-bomber, with four .30-calibre machine guns in the wings and another pair on a swivel mount facing the rear. Even so, it was expected to be vulnerable to fighter interception and was assigned to theaters where enemy air opposition was light.
Vultee increased the engine horsepower and changed armament to .50 caliber machine guns, the most obvious external difference being the switch to a four-bladed prop. In USAAF service the redesigned Vengeance was designated A-35, the RAF called it the Vengeance IV.  (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
In RAF service the Vengeance gained a reputation as an effective dive-bomber, rugged and easy to fly. It served in the direct support role against the Japanese in Burma and was deemed to be very effective. It was phased out in mid-1944 in favor of fighter-bomber types, which were more versatile.
The Vengeance was also popular with the RAAF, where it was valued for the high accuracy of its dive-bombing attacks. The RAAF withdrew its Vengeances from front-line service in the spring of 1944, the units converting to the B-24 Liberator.
A total of 1,931 Vengeances were produced, the vast majority at Vultee’s Nashville, Tennessee facility.
There have been several Vultee Vengeance kits produced in 1/72 scale, the most recent from Special Hobby. AZ Model and Dora Wings offer kits in 1/48 scale, and Combat Models made a vacuform kit for 1/32 scale modelers.

Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 of Leutnant Max-Hellmuth Ostermann in 1/72 Scale

Max-Hellmuth Ostermann began the war flying the Bf 110 twin-engine fighter with ZG 1 during the Invasion of Poland.  He transferred to JG 21 flying the Bf 109 in time for the Battle of France, where he scored his first victory, a Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 on 20MAY40.  By the close of the Battle of Britain he had achieved eight victories.

Ostermann continued to score against the Soviets from the start of Operation Barbarossa, being awarded the Knight’s Cross at the beginning of September 1941 for 29 victories.  His score had risen to 70 by February 1942, when he was granted leave to get married.  Because of his small build and youthful appearance, he was briefly arrested for impersonating a Luftwaffe Officer on his wedding day.

He achieved his 100th victory on 12MAY42 but was wounded in the engagement.  He was presented with the Swords while recuperating.  Ostermann was shot down and killed on 09AUG42 by Arkady Ivanovich Sukov flying a LaGG-3.  His final score was 102. Max-Hellmuth Ostermann’s Bf 109F-2, 7. / JG54 at Dno, Russia, September 1941


Rising Tide Book Review

Rising Tide: The Untold Story of The Russian Submarines That Fought the Cold War

By Gary E. Weir and Walter J. Boyne

Hardcover in dustjacket, 354 pages, photographs, appendices, notes, bibliography, and index

Published by Basic Books, October 2003

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎0-465-09112-1

ISBN-13: ‎978-0-465-09112-6

Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches

The submarine service of any nation is generally cloaked in secrecy, and with good reason.  The primary advantage of a submarine is stealth – leave port, pull the plug, and disappear.  The submarine is then free to operate anywhere her speed and endurance can take her, and perform any task desired.  But if a submarine is detected it is suddenly vulnerable.

Rising Tide pulls back the curtain on Soviet submarine operations during the Cold War.  The authors base the book on interviews with several former Soviet submarine Captains.  While not widely known outside of naval circles, the Soviet boats were notoriously unreliable and several of the anecdotes in the book deal with fires and accidents, a number of which resulted in loss of life and / or sinking of the submarine.  There was a callousness towards the lives of the crews not seen in Western navies, and Soviet submarines employed technologies and design practices which would have not even been considered in other navies.  Adding to the problems were substandard maintenance and training practices.  These are illustrated by the deployment of several Foxtrot-class attack submarines during the Cuban Missile Crisis, none of which were completely operational after crossing the Atlantic.  A second example is the loss of the Oscar II class submarine Kursk, which was attributed to an explosion of a practice torpedo.  Subsequent investigation revealed the torpedo had not been properly maintained and that the crew had not actually fired a torpedo in years.

The book concludes with an analysis of Gorshkov’s History of the Soviet Navy and a brief comparison of American and Soviet submarines.  Gorshkov’s writings are at times insightful, and at other times almost laughable.  Overall, I found this book offered an interesting (though by necessity, incomplete) perspective on how the “other side” did things.  Recommended.

Women Warriors 149

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IDF
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Kurdish YPG
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Norway
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US Navy sentry, DDG 78
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France
IDF
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Australia
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US Navy
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Unidentified signallers of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) at the signal training school at HMCS St Hyacinthe, located in St. Hyacinthe, Québec, September 1944. (dnd, library and archives canada, pa-150940)
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Israeli Defense Force
Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren J. Singer, USO Sailor of the Year
US Army AH-64 pilot Capt. Leyla Zeinalpour
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British ATS unloading Winchester rifles from the USA
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Russia
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Russian police
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Great Britain
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Australian WAAAF
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Revell HMCS Snowberry Flower Class Corvette Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

This is an older build of the Revell Flower Class Corvette. The kit was initially released by Matchbox in 1979 and has been re-released repeatedly since, often with upgrades or bonus parts. The kit was built for a friend who wanted to use it for wargaming, and paid me in beer for building it! Now how could I refuse that? He asked for an out of the box build, but several of the parts were quite crude, so much so that I couldn’t let them go and felt obliged to make some improvements.
The first step was to mount the hull to a base. This is not only for the final display, but to steady the hull during construction. Using four mounting points instead of two on the centerline ensures a solid structure and prevents the hull from flopping about.
The hull comes in four sections with a few lateral supports. Fit was not great but easy to fill and sand. I painted the underside of the hull scale black and then bolted it to the base. The bolts were locked in place with 5-minute epoxy, if a bolt ever worked loose during construction it would be impossible to fix. The hull was masked with tape and Saran wrap.
A layer of off-white was next. This was applied thinly in vertical bands to allow some streaking to show through. I want the ship to look a little weathered, but not a “rust bucket”.
The Western Approaches scheme used areas of light sea blue and light sea green. The camouflage was said to be very effective in overcast and low-light conditions.
The painted hull. Models with large flat areas look like toys if there is not some variation in intensity or tone to the colors so it’s good to vary the shades a little.
Here the decks have been added. The dark gray areas of the deck were airbrushed using slightly different shades to break up the monochrome effect. If you’re building one of these be sure to check a good set of plans, the kit has large areas of molded-in wood deck detail where the decks should be steel. The only wood decking should be on the fo’c’sle and the small areas of the quarterdeck.

Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4 of Erich Leie in 1/72 Scale

This is Erich Leie’s Bf 109F-4 assigned to Stab / JG2 at St. Pol-Brias, France during the Summer of 1941.  His best day was on 23JUL41 when he claimed six Spitfires.   He was eventually credited with 118 victories (some sources say 122) and over 500 combat sorties.  He survived through most of the war, but was killed on 07MAR45 when he collided with a Yak-9 which he had just shot down.

Brewster SB2A Buccaneer Color Photographs

The Brewster SB2A Buccaneer has the dubious distinction of being regarded as one of the worst aircraft designs of the Second World War. Its performance was unspectacular, its structure weak, it lacked maneuverability, and it was overweight.
Desperate for aircraft to combat the German invasion, several countries placed orders for the design before the prototype had made its first flight. France ordered 250, the Dutch 162, Britain 500, the US Navy 140, and Australia 243. The British named the type the “Bermuda”, shown here are FF841 and FF840 in British colors. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
Australia cancelled their order in favor of the Vultee Vengeance when the Bermuda’s problems became obvious. Britain took over the French order, the USAAF took over part of the British order as the A-34. Shown are a flight of Buccaneers in the U.S. Navy camo of Blue Gray over Light Gray and 1942-43 markings. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
Brewster suffered from poor management, unskilled labor, and worker strikes. The problems interfered with production and became so bad that the Navy seized Brewster in April 1942, but even this did not completely rectify the deficiencies. Brewster-produced aircraft gained a reputation for poor construction and workmanship among pilots and ground crew throughout the war. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
Buccaneers were deemed unsuitable for combat. Most were used in second-line duties as trainers, target tugs, or hacks. Several were scrapped right off the assembly line or left derelict instead of being repaired. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
Wartime propaganda efforts tried to give the impression of serviceability, but no Buccaneers or Bermudas ever saw combat.
Despite its dismal record and obscurity, kits are available of the SB2A. 1/48 scale modelers have a vacuform kit from Vac Wings, and Special Hobby offers a 1/72 scale kit.