Women Warriors 223

CAPT Jo Gordon Royal Army Air Corps Apache pilot in Afghanistan
American YPJ Volunteer
Lieutenant Amy Hannigan, 17th Brigade, Australian Army
Soviet Degtyaryov light machine gun crew WWII
Kurdish YPJ
Kurdish YPJ
IDF Iron Dome
USAF CAPT Zoe Katnic with T-38
USAF LCOL Christine Mau with F-35
WASP pilot Betty Wall
ATS anti-aircraft gun crew, London 1944
Italian Alpini on patrol in Afghanistan with VTLM
Women in Combat
US Army
ww491_Russia_National Guard
Russian National Guard
WAVES with SBD Dauntless dive bomber
RAF C-130 pilot Julie Gibson
Women’s Royal Naval Service WREN
South Korea
Russian Paratrooper
ATF pilot Veronica MacInnis in Spitfire

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Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet was arguably a successful aircraft design but not a success in terms of results achieved compared to resources expended. To this day it remains the only rocket-powered aircraft to have seen combat, and a fascinating modeling subject. The Academy kit can be found at most shows for reasonable prices, and often at “please take me home” prices. I managed to accumulate three of the Academy kits, which were first released in the year 2000. Hobby 2000 used the Academy plastic in their 2022 boxing, they also include masks and a set of Cartograph decals. The Hobby Boss 2007 kit is a different tool which I picked up at the Columbus show for $5 just to see what was in the box.
The Academy kit contains fuselage and cockpit parts to build either the “B” model Komet or the “S” model two-seat trainer. The kit is nicely detailed but is reputed to be a little on the underscale side. I’ll get some measurements of the finished model at the end and we’ll see.
The third sprue in the Academy kit is a unique tractor developed to recover the Komet after it landed on its skid. There is another adaptation which replaces the recovery apparatus with a third wheel and towing bar, this is not included but doesn’t look like too difficult of a conversion. This little vehicle is a bit crude but maybe it can be worked into something presentable.
The Hobby Boss kit is designed to be a quick-build kit, and sacrifices some detail for ease of construction. It is very robust with the wings and fuselage molded in only two pieces. Despite being anything but fragile, it is one of the most securely packaged kits on the market, the parts being nestled securely in a vacuformed tray.
Also lurking in the stash is this ancient Me 263 Huma kit from the early 1980s. This kit was issued in a bag and is definitely on the limited run side. I’m trying to clean out the stash so this one will go on the bench with the rest of the rocket fighters. I don’t need much of an excuse to add “just one more” kit to the bench, and what better time to build this one?
My favorite word this week is “abibliophobia”, which is the fear of running out of books. No worries on the topic of the Me 163, and I apparently have found the subject hard to resist over the years. Two specific things I have been looking to find are photos of the two-seat Me 163 in German markings, and the identity of the Me 163 which 110 victory Experte Franz Woidich was flying when he made his last kill.
Aftermarket instrument panels from an Eduard PE fret for the Me 163S on the left and the Yahu panel on the right. The Eduard panels are built up from several pieces, the Yahu panel comes ready to install just as seen here.
Here is a comparison of cockpits. The cockpit on the left is the Academy kit part with Eduard belts. One of my show purchases had the cockpit started and it proved to be impossible to remove. In the center is a CMK resin trainer cockpit with details from the Eduard PE set. On the right is the Hobby Boss cockpit. This is molded into the fuselage, and I really didn’t see anything which could be done to improve it from a practical level except adding tape belts. I’ll build this one with the canopy closed and hope the dark RLM 66 interior hides the lack of detail.
Here is a standard “B” CMK resin cockpit. The upper fuselage half has the resin sidewall pieces and Yahu instrument panel.

Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 of Major Kurt Brändle in 1/72 Scale

Kurt Brändle claimed a French M.S. 406 for his first victory on 10MAY40, and a further six RAF Spitfires on the Channel Front.  However, the majority of his 180 victories would be over Soviet opponents.  He achieved his 100th aerial victory on 23AUG42, earning the Oak Leaves.

In August 1943 II./JG 3 was transferred to the Western Front to oppose the ever-increasing American heavy bomber streams.  On 03NOV43 Brändle was credited with a pair of P-47 Thunderbolts while attacking a formation of American B-17s.  Later in the day his Gruppe was scrambled again, but Brändle was shot down and killed by Canadian Spitfires.

The model depicts the Bf 109G-6 of Gruppenkommandeur Kurt Brändle II /JG3, Schiphol, Netherlands, Oct 1943

Soviet Aircraft Wrecks Color Photographs

Most of these photographs were taken during the first weeks of Operation Barbarossa, which saw the Soviet Air Force sustain losses on an unimaginable scale.  On the first day the VVS lost over 2,000 aircraft, and by the end of the year that figure exceeded 21,000.

Here are a pair of Polikarpov I-153s disabled on their airfield.  While obsolete, it was a numerically important type which suffered enormous attrition during the opening hours of Barbarossa.
This is a lesser-known type, the R-10 reconnaissance aircraft.  This one appears relatively intact.
The Polikarpov I-16 was another important type, this one has attracted the attention of a group of Wehrmacht soldiers.
Another Polikarpov being souvenired. The soldier in the cockpit gives some idea of just how cramped the aircraft was.
A well-known photograph comparing the I-16 with the Messerschmitt Bf 109F. The Messerschmitt carries the markings of the Geschwader Adjutant of II./JG 54.
Another I-16 being examined by German troops.
These are the remains of an SB-2bis bomber. Many of the German Experten claimed their first aerial victories of Barbarossa over this type.
A much tougher opponent was the IL-2 Sturmovik, nicknamed the “cement bomber” by Jagdwaffe pilots due to its ability to absorb damage. This example was brough down during the Summer of 1942 in the Stalingrad area.

Challenge for the Pacific Audio Book Review

Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War

By Robert Leckie, Narrated by Kevin Foley

Audiobook, 13 hours and 32 minutes

Published by Tantor Audio

Language: English


Author Robert Leckie is best known to readers of military history for his autobiographical account of his experiences as a Marine in the Pacific, “A Helmet for my Pillow”.  This became one of the three primary sources for the HBO miniseries “The Pacific”.  In this book, Leckie gives an overview of the Guadalcanal Campaign.

The Japanese ambition was to spread their naval and air power east of Rabaul into the Soloman Island chain in an attempt to isolate Australia.  To this end they began constructing an airfield on the island of Guadalcanal.  Eager to go on the offensive after the victory at Midway, Guadalcanal was selected as the objective for the first American amphibious assault of the Pacific War.

The result was a series of battles on land and sea which raged between August 1942 and February 1943.  Guadalcanal was a meatgrinder.  Neither side could commit an overwhelming force and both were forced to deploy limited numbers of reinforcements.  The focus of many of the numerous actions was Henderson Field, the airstrip begun by the Japanese and captured by the Americans.  Assaulted by land, shelled from the sea, and bombed from the air, its strength was frequently reduced but never eliminated.  Marines were able to defend the perimeter of the airfield and inflict heavy losses on Japanese infantry, while the American and Japanese navies both suffered heavily in the numerous fleet actions offshore.

Leckie has an engaging writing style and demonstrates an expertise in providing a strategic overview of each of the actions while mixing in the personal anecdotes of the individual combatants with ease.  He has a deep personal connection with the Guadalcanal Campaign, having served there through the worst of it himself.  This is a great history, and well worth the time for anyone interested in the Pacific War.  Highly recommended.

Women Warriors 222

Christy Wise USAF C-130 pilot
WASP with P-39
WRENs loading radio aboard Lysander
Kurdish YPJ
USMC Sgt. Kirstie Ennis aboard CH-53 helicopter
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Kelsey Casey stands in front of an AV-8B Harrier at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, March 27, 2019.
USN WAVES with Devastator
ww485g_Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School
Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School, Russia
Kurdish YPJ
ww488_Soviet pilot Mariya Dolina_HSU_72missions_PetlyakovPe2
Soviet pilot Mariya Dolina HSU with Petlyakov Pe-2
US Air Force
US Army
USMC Sea Cobra pilot
WAC officers rescued after their ship was torpedoed off North Africa
Ukrainian sniper Olena Bilozerska
ATA pilot Maureen Dunlop

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Arma Hobby Hawker Hurricane Mk I Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

A coat of primer revealed no surprises so the model was ready for painting.
I stumbled across a set of AML paint masks for only $4 at the Indy show. I viewed that as the universe speaking to me, and who am I to argue with the universe?
One of the subjects included in the kit markings were a Hurricane in the Temperate Sea Scheme with a replacement cowling. Most of the colors I used were replacements or mixes as I generally find the Mr. Color callouts to be too dark for Royal Navy subjects, at least in 1/72 scale.
After a GlossCote the kit decals were applied. These performed flawlessly.
Here are the undersides in their Sky camo after a wash.
The finished product makes for a convincing model. The uppersurface camo colors are represented differently in the instructions and the box art, I didn’t discover this until I got to the decal stage of the build. My model follows the box art, the colors are reversed in the instructions. I’m not sure which is correct, but the build had gone too far to correct it if it is wrong.

More completed photos here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2023/06/06/arma-hobby-hawker-hurricane-mk-i-of-760-squadron-in-1-72-scale/

Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109G-4 of Oberleutnant Wolfgang Tonne in 1/72 Scale

Wolfgang Tonne scored his first victory over an RAF Blenheim during the Battle of France on 14MAY40, but was himself shot down later in the same day.  He fought with I./JG 53 during the invasion of Russia.  He was briefly transferred to the Mediterranean Theater, but returned to Russia where he continued to score steadily.  By September 1942 his total stood at 101.

Transferred back to the Mediterranean as Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 53, Tonne added a further 21 victories to his total before being killed in a flying accident on 20APR43.

The model depicts Tonne’s “Yellow 7” at Bizerta, Tunisia in February 1943.