USS Missouri (BB-63) WWII Color Photographs Part I

Commissioning day, 11JUN44 at the New York Naval Yard. The crew and distinguished guests are gathered on Missouri’s fantail for the formalities. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned into the U.S. Navy, and the last remaining battleship in the world to be decommissioned in 1992. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-3858)
A classic photograph of Missouri underway in her Measure 32/22D camouflage. She was the only battleship to wear this pattern, which consisted of Light Gray (5-L), Ocean Gray (5-O), and Dull Black (BK) bands. Decks were painted Deck Blue (20-B) and Ocean Gray (5-O). (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4575)
A profile view of Missouri’s port side camo pattern, with a Navy K-Type blimp on anti-submarine patrol overhead. Missouri only wore her Measure 32 camouflage for the first few months of her service, by the time she deployed for combat duty in the Pacific she had been repainted in the more common Measure 22. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4576)
A slightly different angle from the previous photo, with the Large Cruiser USS Alaska (CB-1) in the background. The two ships went through their shakedown cruises in the Atlantic together in August 1944. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4523)
Missouri firing her forward 16”/50 caliber guns during her shakedown cruise. To the right of the photograph all six projectiles can be seen in flight. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4515)
An OS2U Kingfisher observation plane on Missouri’s port catapult. The Kingfisher, like other Navy floatplanes, could be easily converted to land operation by substituting conventional wheeled landing gear for the floats. In this case this has resulted in an anomaly which is generally missed by modelers – the main floats on Missouri’s Kingfishers appear to be in the pre-war Light Gray and don’t match the graded scheme of the aircraft. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4528)
Another Kingfisher on the starboard catapult revealing several details. The Kingfishers were carried for Missouri’s work-ups in the Atlantic, but were replaced with Seahawks before her combat deployments in the Pacific. For modelers, the Kingfishers go with the Measure 32/22D camouflage, Seahawks go with the Measure 22. Also note that in the two photographs showing the Kingfishers the teak deck has not yet been stained. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4597)
This view of Missouri’s fo’c’sle reveals details of the camouflage pattern applied to the decks and turret tops. USS Alaska (CB-1) maneuvers ahead. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-5584)
The Iowa-class battleships displaced 58,000 tons fully loaded. Her eight boilers could produce 212,000 horsepower, which could drive the ship at over 30 knots. Here Missouri throws off a bow wave while at high speed during her sea trials. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4533)
A leadsman prepares to take a depth sounding as the ship approaches an anchorage. The bottom of the weight was hollow, which allowed the leadsman to report the type of material on the seabed below. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4542)

Part II here:

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” of the 102nd Sentai in 1/72 Scale

Late in 1944 Nakajima began finishing their aircraft in a dark brown, as seen here.  IJA aircraft were not generally primed, and photographs show the paint had totally sloughed off the upper fuselage on this aircraft.  This aircraft was photographed at Miyakonojo Airfield in Miyazaki Perfecture on 12APR45, piloted by 2Lt Jiro Ito.

Lieutenant Dangerous Audio Book Review

Lieutenant Dangerous: A Vietnam War Memoir

Authored and Narrated by Jeff Danziger

Audiobook, 5 hours and 43 minutes

Published by Steerforth

Language: English

ASIN: B0979N77JY

Jeff Danziger is probably better known as a political cartoonist, but earlier in life he was drafted into the U.S. Army and did a tour in Vietnam.  Like many draftees, he was a reluctant participant.  His story is not an epic tale of combat heroism, Danziger readily volunteers that one of his primary motivations was to wait out his term of service without having to deploy to Vietnam.

To that end, he parlayed his high aptitude scores into assignments to a series of specialized training schools, all of which he hoped would preclude him having enough time left to actually be sent overseas.  He attended a year-long program to learn to speak Vietnamese, an irony not lost upon him.  While he was able to master the basics, Vietnamese is a tonal language and his instructors spoke the Southern dialect, not the version predominantly used in the North by the NVA.  An opportunity for Officers’ training presented itself after language school, and Danzinger was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.  Then on to more training as an Officer.

Rotations to Vietnam were to last a year, and with a year left in his time in the Army Danzinger’s machinations failed and he was sent to Vietnam as an ordinance officer.  Eventually he sent a letter to his Representative questioning why the Army trained him in the Vietnamese language but employed him replacing artillery tubes, which resulted in some chewing-outs but reassignment as an Intelligence Officer.

In the wide range of Vietnam memoirs in print today, this one is unique as it was written by someone who had no real desire to serve and makes no bones about it.  It is cynical but honest, and Danzinger’s style is very tongue-in-cheek which makes it an enjoyable read.  There are several “why are we doing this?” moments which will be familiar to anyone who has been in the military.  This is a different perspective on military service, written by someone who was just trying to get through their enlistment.  If you’re looking for a combat memoir this is not your book, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Women Warriors 183

Norwegian Jegertroppen
USAF Captain Sheila Koebel, ICBM Officer
AV-8B Harrier
Capt. Lyndsey Goodman is a C-17 pilot with the 317th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. (Staff Sgt. Jeff Kelly)
WASPs_Eloise Huffines Bailey, Millie Davidson Dalrymple, Elizabeth McKethan Magid, and Clara Jo Marsh Stember with B-24 Liberator
US Army Nurses on Guam, 1945
US Air Force
Kurdish YPJ
US Coast Guard
Royal Navy WRENs with Signal Lamp
Lea Gabrielle, US Navy F/A-18 Pilot
WASP Pilots checking out parachutes
A 4400
People’s Liberation Army
Maureen Dunlop, ATA with Spitfire

To see more Women Warriors, click on the tags below:

Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Rebuild

This is an older build of the Hasegawa Ki-84, which was first issued in 1987 according to ScaleMates. I recall building this one in 1985, so now I’m not sure when I originally completed it but it has been in the display case for years. It was painted to match a profile in Thorpe, but neither the model nor the research has aged well. Thorpe identified it as an aircraft from the 52nd Sentai, but current thinking is that the tail markings indicate it was actually from the 102nd Sentai and that the camouflage was a solid color, not mottled.
Somewhere along the line the tail wheel was lost, so that’s definitely something which needs repaired. Since I was building a batch of the new Arma Hayate I decided to dress this one up as I went along.
At the time the conventional wisdom was that everything inside a Japanese aircraft was supposed to be painted transparent blue, so that is what was done. I managed to pop off the canopy in one piece and repaint the interior green, adding masking tape seatbelts and an instrument panel while I was at it. I also added a landing light made from clear sprue to the leading edge of the wing. I blended this with superglue and filed it to shape before polishing it clear again.
I was also able to sand off the canopy framing and polish it clear. The canopy was then masked and put back into position, with any visible seams addressed with Perfect Plastic Putty.
I primed everything with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and this is where the Hasegawa kit shows its age. This must have been one of the last molds Hasegawa cut with raised panel lines before switching to recessed ones. The shape looks good, rescribing the panel lines would really make this kit pop.
I wanted to use the Brown over Gray Green scheme from the last months of the war. The browns were mixed with a few drops of Red and applied in thin layers with variations in the density to alter the tone.
I replaced the guns and pitot tube with Albion Alloys. The mask has been removed from the landing light on the wing. One thing I didn’t replace is the landing gear – the legs are much too thick.
I found a suitable replacement for the tail wheel in the spares box, the missing tail wheel was the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent which originally started the whole idea of a re-build. The bomb and drop tank are spares from the Arma Hayate, which was also the source for all the decals except for the tail markings, those are from a SuperScale sheet.
Here’s the old kit under a fresh coat of paint. While there’s no comparison to the new Arma kit, I couldn’t bear to throw this old bird away after all these years, and it will look just fine in the case with the others.

More photos here:

Siebelfähre (Siebel Ferry) Color Photographs

The Siebelfähre (Siebel Ferry) were conceived as one of several types of landing craft intended to support the German invasion of England, Operation Sea Lion.  They were constructed by combining two large bridging pontoons with a cargo deck to form a catamaran arrangement.  Power was provided with either truck or aircraft engines located within the pontoons, and a small pilothouse was constructed in the center.  The ferry could carry any vehicle in the German inventory, including Tiger tanks.  The stability of the catamaran configuration was not lost upon the Luftwaffe, who converted several into flak barges after the cancellation of Sea Lion.

Here is a beautiful series of color photographs taken by Carl Rosenquist on 13AUG42.  The occasion was a review of several Siebel Ferries on Lake Ladoga by German and Finnish officers.  Photographs are held by SA-Kuva, the Finish National Archives.

Reviewing officers in place on the fo’c’sle of a small gunboat, the second officer from the left is a Finn. Behind them is a 20 mm flak gun.
Further aft other members of the crew are seen around the pilothouse as a signalman communicates via semaphore. MG 34s are ready with mounts on either side.
The Luftwaffe employed two basic versions, the SF40 Leichte (light) and SF40 Schwere (heavy). This is the light version, armed with four 2cm/65 Flakvierling 38, one at each corner, and a 3.7 cm Flak-Lafette C/36 atop the pilothouse.
The armament of the heavy version was even more impressive, up to four 8.8 cm Flak 36 and two 2 cm/65 C38. Here an SF40 plows by the reviewing boat giving a good view of the pontoon’s construction.
Here is another heavy SF40 with her crew manning the rail. When configured as flak barges they carried a compliment of 40 to 50 men. The Luftwaffe was responsible for anti-aircraft defense in the German military and provided the crew. This one is still in her winter camouflage.
The same barge seen from astern. There was variation in the configuration and armament of these ferries, this one only carries three 8.8 cm guns. Close inspection reveals none of these vessels are exactly alike.
Another ferry passes the reviewing boat with her crew at the rail. This view shows details of the armored gun mount construction. Note the starboard 2 cm mount is missing two of its barrels.
A stern view which reveals details of the engine room access and exhausts. The gun mounts on this ferry each have their own rangefinder. The nearest mount is also missing two of its barrels.
Another ferry approaches with her crew at the rails. The pontoon hulls were originally designed to be bridging units, and while rugged and easy to construct, they were not very hydrodynamic as evidenced by the excessive bow spray.
A view as the flotilla passes by. The Siebels were designed from the outset to be transported by road or rail, and could be disassembled to be hauled overland if needed.
Another Siebel seen in the Black Sea in July 1941. This one is armed with two 8.8 cm guns on the bows and two 2 cm amidships and has a different superstructure configuration. (Bundesarchiv)
Generalleutnant Kurt Steudemann, Inspector der Flakartillerie, talks to Luftwaffe crewmen manning the rangefinder of a SF40 Schwere. The heavy Siebels mounted a rangefinder for the 8.8 cm guns atop the pilothouse. (Bundesarchiv)

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” of the 47th Sentai in 1/72 Scale

This aircraft is from the 3rd Chutai, 47th Sentai at Narimasu, Japan, February 1945.  The white bands under the Hinomaru are Home Defense bands, applied to aircraft operating from the Home Islands during the last year of the war.  The drop tanks were also associated with units based in Japan, they were painted yellow to allow for easier location and potential re-use.

Construction posts here:

Japanese Army Air Force Aces 1937-1945 Book Review

Japanese Army Air Force Aces 1937-1945

Series:  Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 13

By Henry Sakaida, Illustrated by Grant Race

Softcover, 96 pages, appendices, 40 color profiles

Published by Osprey Publishing, April 1997

ISBN-10: ‎1855325292

ISBN-13: 978-1855325296

Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches

The Osprey Aircraft of the Aces currently numbers over 140 volumes and is still growing.  This volume on the JAAF is one of the early efforts in the series and was published twenty-five years ago.  It is noteworthy for two reasons; First, English language references on the Japanese military during World War Two are comparatively rare.  This is especially true of histories of individuals or even specific units.  Second, the format of this book deviates from most other books in the OAoA series.  The typical formula is a chronological narrative with anecdotes from pilots or official reports interspersed with a general history of the war.  In this book the text is comprised of individual biographies of the pilots, each approximately one page in length.  Photographs of the pilots and their aircraft accompany each subject.

In some ways author Henry Sakaida has provided us with a poor man’s version of Hata and Izawa’s Japanese Army Air Force Units and Their Aces, 1931–1945.  This is not entirely accurate, as Hata and Izawa offer a more comprehensive history, while Sakaida’s work is a more accessible introduction, and adds aircraft profiles which are of great interest to modelers.  Both works are valuable additions to a reference library and complement each other nicely.

Illustrator Grant Race has rendered forty excellent aircraft profiles, almost half of which depict the most common JAAF fighter type of the Pacific War, the Ki-43 Hayabusa “Oscar”.  These are particularly useful for modelers who are interested in building aircraft flown by ace pilots and are provided with captions with all the relevant details.  There are also six color renderings of JAAF pilots in a variety of uniforms and flight gear.

The book is still easy to find today, and often at very reasonable prices.  It represents an excellent value, especially considering the general lack of information on Japanese aircraft available to English readers.  Highly recommended for all JAAF enthusiasts.