IBG Models Chevrolet C15A Personnel Lorry in 1/72 Scale

This is the IBG Models 2009 release of the Canadian C15A Personnel Lorry.  The design is very distinctive and, like most trucks, a number of variations were produced to fulfill specialized roles.  IBG has released several versions and the aftermarket has served us well with a wide range of accessories and detail parts.  This is a nice kit, but one which has been made needlessly difficult to build by being over-engineered.  There were quite a few minuscule parts which were molded separately when they could have just as easily been molded as part of another assembly without sacrificing any detail.

The model represents a C15A assigned the Carlton and York Regiment, 1st Canadian Infantry Division, Sicily 1943.

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Albert Schwenn’s Memories of the Waffen-SS Book Review

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Albert Schwenn’s Memories of the Waffen-SS: An SS Cavalry Division Veteran Remembers

By Rolf Michaelis and Albert Schwenn

Hardcover, no dustjacket, 128 pages, illustrated

Publishered by Schiffer Military History May 2017

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0764352970

ISBN-13: 978-0764352973

Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches

Albert Schwenn was an 18-year-old recruit who joined the 8th SS Cavalry Division “Florian Geyer” in 1942.  He was trained as a machine gunner and was deployed on anti-partisan duties in the Pripyat Marshes in the Ukraine.  His division later engaged regular Soviet forced in the Kharkov area in 1943, where Schwenn was wounded.  After his recovery he was assigned instructor duty in Warsaw, where he participated in the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.  After the war he was imprisoned by the Soviets until 1955 for his part in the war crimes in the Pripyat Marshes.

Schwenn’s autobiographical account was originally four hundred pages of notes, which were condensed to seventy pages for this book.  The text is divided into four sections – recruitment and training, action in the Ukraine and wounding at Kharkov, instructor duty and action at Warsaw, and imprisonment in Soviet Gulags after the war.  There is a brief postscript, and then an additional forty pages detailing the history of the 8th SS Cavalry Division “Florian Geyer” during World War Two.  The text is illustrated with personal photographs, maps, and copies of documents.

I have recently become interested in the employment of horse cavalry units in World War Two so this volume caught my eye.  The cover photograph is not of Albert Schwenn but of his Regimental Commander, SS-Standartenführer Gustav Lombard.  Schwenn generally describes his experiences in broad and often vague terms.  The actions against regular Soviet forces around Kharkov – in which I was most interested – are brief and lacking in description and detail.  The account is disjointed and confusing.  While Schwenn was employed as a machine gunner in various capacities during this action, he appears to have wandered about the battlefield on foot, with no mention of the unit’s horses.

Overall I was a bit disappointed with this book.  The Cavalry formations were unusual for the Second World War, and I was hoping for a discussion of what made these units unique – the horses and the advantages and disadvantages of using them in combat.  There is very little of that.  The descriptions of combat engagements are also brief and vague, often only a few lines which described the action in the broadest terms.  This is not an immersive first-person account which puts the reader into the action, it reads as more of an outline waiting to be fleshed out.

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Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Batch Build Part I

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I usually build models in batches, I find this is much more efficient than just building a single kit.  It also helps compensate for my difficulties in deciding which paint scheme I like best.  This will be a small batch of five Special Hobby P-40 Warhawks.  I think of Special Hobby as more of a limited run manufacturer, but they continue to improve their game and are becoming more like Eduard in some ways.
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A sprue shot of the P-40E kit.  The top sprue is specific to the P-40E, the smaller parts sprue is common to the entire family.  Molding is crisp with finely recessed panel lines.  There are optional parts for the props, wheels, cockpit, and exhausts to account for the differences between variants.  Two styles of drop tanks and a 500 pound bomb give you some options for hangy bits.  Optional parts on the clear sprue provide the opportunity to pose the canopy open or closed.  Cartograph printed the decals, there are marking options for four different aircraft and complete stencils.  There is no P.E. and no canopy masks.
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To accommodate the different variants Special Hobby tooled alternate fuselage and wing sprues.  Here you can see the difference between the short fuselage P-40K (upper) and long fuselage P-40N (lower).  I bought two of each of these kits for this build, but my boxes included only one -K fuselage and three for the -N.  I contacted Special Hobby’s customer support and they sent me some parts for an A-20 Havoc, but eventually it all got sorted.
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The floor of the cockpit is the top of the wing box, as it should be.  Side panels are separate pieces so the depth can be properly molded without introducing sink marks.  I added seat belts from photographic paper.
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The cockpit again after detail painting and a wash.  I didn’t add anything here other than the belts, it all looks quite good right out of the box.
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There are different panel pieces for the different variants, so pay attention to the instructions. Instrument panels themselves are more photographic paper.  I have deviated from the build sequence by attaching the gunsight and top pieces to the panels in an attempt to avoid a fit problem with the canopy later.  This was partially successful; I did get the top piece secured but had to do a little trimming to get the canopy to seat well.
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The chaos on the bench due in no small part to the Recent Unpleasantness.  The two B-17s were nearing completion but some desired insignia masks were delayed by shipping issues related to  the Wuhan Flu.  The P-40s were held up by the fuselage parts mix-up so I started on the Tamiya P-47.  As that was nearing completion the correct P-40K sprue arrived so I got started on them.  Last week I received an email saying the Serbian Post was back in action so the B-17 masks are on the way.  Hopefully everything on the bench will be moving to the case in short order and I can get this mess cleaned up!

Fujimi Aichi B7A Ryusei 流星 “Grace” in 1/72 Scale

The Aichi Ryusei (Allied reporting name “Grace”) was a Japanese carrier-based attack aircraft which was intended to serve as a torpedo-, dive-, and level-bomber aboard the Taiho and Shinano.  Both ships were sunk before the Ryusei could be embarked, and the limited numbers produced operated from shore bases.  The gull wings gave it a distinct appearance, and performance was exceptional for an attack aircraft of the period.

This is Fujimi’s kit from the mid 1980s.  It is a decent kit for its time but could use a little extra work.  I rebuilt the cockpit using Evergreen, replaced the engine with resin from Engines & Things, and deepened the wheelwells. The model depicts an aircraft of the Yokosuka Naval Air Group to match a photograph, the dual horizontal tail stripes indicate a flight leader.

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North American O-47 Color Photographs

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An excellent study of O-47A Serial number 37-260 in flight in 1941.  Note the Wright Field arrowhead visible on the fuselage.  (Rudy Arnold)
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Another pre-war photograph, this O-47 displays an interesting design on the wheel hubs.
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With war looming, the USAAC adopted the Olive Drab over Neutral Gray camouflage which would become synonymous with Army aircraft.  This O-47A is part of “Red Nation” forces in the 1941 war games.
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Several aircraft types were painted in temporary camouflage schemes and were evaluated at Bolling Field in January 1940.  The paints were water-soluble so they could be easily removed and thus wore away quickly.  (LIFE Magazine)
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The O-47 carried a fixed .30 caliber gun in the starboard wing.  This example has a trestle under the fuselage while the gun is being sighted.
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38-306 in flight.  The terrain is consistent with the vast farmlands of the American Midwest.  (Rudy Arnold)
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38-306 again, posing for the camera.  Finish is the standard OD / NG with Orange-Yellow serials on the vertical tail.   (Rudy Arnold)
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A nice overhead view of 37-352.  (Rudy Arnold)
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The sudden entry of the U.S. into WWII found both the Army Air Corps and Navy unprepared for war.  While several aircraft types were obsolete in their designed roles, they were adequate for coastal patrol and ASW duties.  Here 37-327 Of the 107th Observation Squadron of the Michigan National Guard carries depth charges while patrolling for German U-boats.  She has been camouflaged in the USN standard Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme appropriate for her new role.
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Another O-47A carrying depth charges, this one is flying without the landing gear covers on her port gear.
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The O-47s soldiered on throughout the war performing ancillary duties.  This example carries the barred national insignia with blue border authorized from August 1943.
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Another late-war aircraft, this one has been stripped of her camouflage paint revealing the natural metal finish underneath.