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.

Tankenstein Vehicles of the Russia Ukrainian War Part II

For their part, the Ukrainians have also been busy modifying their vehicles.  The Ukrainian vehicles appear to be a bit more refined than their Russian counterparts and do not utilize the same degree of obsolete components.  They are usually described as being based upon captured Russian vehicles, but both armies operate the same types so this may be just an extra propaganda flourish rather than fact.

First up is a modified MT-LB carrying a 14.5 mm KPVT in a turret. The troop compartment roof has been removed and has been replaced with the superstructure from another vehicle, perhaps a BDRM or something similar. Slat armor has been added for protection against RPGs.
The ZU-23-2 twin mount has been given extra mobility by the simple expedient of fixing it on top of a standard MT-LB.
This appears to be a common modification. These vehicles are from a national guard unit and carry an interesting, though non-standard, camouflage pattern.
The gun crew is obviously very exposed, but the combination would provide a useful anti-air capability against ground attack aircraft and helicopters.
A close-up view showing details of the gun and mounting.
The MT-LB tractor was often utilized as the towing vehicle for artillery and anti-tank guns, so this modification which allows the MT-12 100 mm anti-tank gun to be mounted aboard the tractor is a natural progression.
The roof of the troop compartment has been removed and the tractor has been fitted with spades at the rear which can be lowered hydraulically to help absorb recoil.
The MT-12 was introduced in the early 1960s. While the blast is impressive, the 100 mm gun eventually became unable to defeat the frontal armor of the new generation of modern main battle tanks and was phased out of general use by the late 1980s. However, the gun is able to fire HE shells which makes it useful for infantry support, and as the Russians are re-introducing older tank designs the gun may get another lease on life.
Although a poor-quality picture, this shows an interesting variation of the MT-LB with MT12 anti-tanks gun. This vehicle has been fitted with armor protection around the fighting compartment, reminiscent of German assault guns from WWII such as the Nashorn.

Part I here:

Tankenstein Vehicles of the Russia Ukrainian War Part I

So far during their “Special Military Operation” in the Ukraine Russia has lost more than 10,000 vehicles or pieces of heavy military equipment, with tanks comprising over 2,000 of these losses.  Obviously, this kind of attrition is unsustainable in the long term.  The Russians have attempted to make good these losses by re-activating old vehicles from storage.  In addition, there have been several attempts to convert existing vehicles by adding armor or new weapons systems to make them more capable on the battlefield. These modified vehicles are interesting in themselves and would make for some unique modeling conversions.

This conversion was seen in Transnistria and consists of an MT-LB with a BTR-70 turret fitted with twin 12.7 mm machine guns.
The MT-LB is considered to be a reliable vehicle, if somewhat dated. The space in the rear troop-carrying compartment makes it an attractive design for conversions.
The machinegun turret seen firing on the range.
Sporting an unusual choice for a gun turret is this MT-LB with a naval 2M-3 23mm system. This turret was designed shortly after WWII and fitted to several classes of small warships in the Soviet Navy during the Cold War.
Apparently, this was not a one-off conversion. Here are two being shipped by rail into Ukraine.
Another older gun system is this S-60 57mm gun from the 1950s, seen here mounted to a T-55 tank chassis.
Another view of the same vehicle. The gun crew is completely exposed and the vehicle has a tall silhouette.
Seen through the window of a passing car is a transporter carrying this odd conversion – another 2M-3 naval turret mounted on an old Soviet ATS-59G artillery tractor.
Trucks of many sorts have been seen with improvised armor, this one also carries a small anti-tank gun. Not sure what they’re thinking with this one.
The conversions work the other way as well, this is the frigate Admiral Grigorovich with a Tor-M2KM air defense system chained onto her helicopter deck.
The Tor-M2KM system was intended to provide the ship with an enhanced air defense capability after the Ukrainians demonstrated the effectiveness of their cruise missiles by sinking the cruiser Moskva. A system intended for land operations would face considerable challenges when operating from a ship.

Part II here:

Douglas SBD Dauntless Color Photographs Part 4

Mechanics work on the Wright R-1820-60 engine of an SBD-5 in the graded camouflage scheme.
A gunner test-fires the .30 caliber defensive armament. The yellow border to the national insignia was added to aircraft participating in the Torch landings in 1942.
A deck load of aircraft are spotted aft of a Bouge-class aircraft carrier. Visible are Dauntlesses, Hellcats, and Avengers. A close examination reveals large yellow “buzz numbers” and red bordered national insignia, indicating a training carrier during the Summer of 1943.
A Dauntless taxis into position aboard the USS Ranger (CV-4). The Dauntless is armed with a depth charge on the center rack. In the foreground is the tail of an FM-2 Wildcat.
A formation of Dauntlesses in the Atlantic ASW scheme patrols the Caribbean in 1944. These SBDs are from Marine Scouting Squadron Three.
Another view of the VMS-3 Dauntlesses. They display the anti-submarine scheme of Dark Gull Gray over White.
The squadron commander’s Dauntless as seen from a carrier’s island gives a good view of her faded Blue Gray uppersurfaces and placement of the national insignia. Note the black tread paint at the wing joint is nearly worn away.
A similar view as aircraft 5 is spotted on the flight deck. Lots of grime on the wings from servicing the engine.
An atmospheric view of the SBD-1 of Commander, Marine Air Group Eleven. The SBD-1 had a limited range and lacked self-sealing fuel tanks, all 57 were issued to the Marines.
Ordinance men load a bomb on the deck of a carrier. USN aircraft carriers had two squadrons of Dauntlesses at the beginning of the war. The Bombing Squadrons carried 1,000 pound bombs on the fuselage rack, Scouting Squadrons carried a 500 pound bomb under the fuselage and a 100 pounder under each wing.

Dauntless color photographs Part 1 here:

Star Wars Walkers Filming Models

Happy Star Wars Day, May the Fourth be with you!

These are photographs of the actual models used in filming of the original Star Wars trilogy.  The models were part of a display of props and costumes which toured various museums throughout the United States, I took these pictures while the collection was at the Indiana State Museum in July of 2013.

The Star Wars models are known for their weathered and worn appearance.  This was in stark contrast to the squeaky-clean appearance of most science fiction ships up to that time, and lent an air of authenticity to the production.  The weathering and chipping techniques on display are worthy of note for all modelers regardless of subject matter. 

AT-TE All Terrain Tactical Enforcer from the Clone Wars

AT-AT All Terrain Assault Transport

AT-ST All Terrain Scout Transport

Princess Leia’s Tantive IV filming model here:

Battle of Moscow Color Photographs – Artur Grimm Collection Part I

Here are a series of photographs taken by German photographer Artur Grimm during the Battle of Moscow during October 1941 – January 1942.  These show elements of the 11th Panzer Division in action assaulting a small village in the Wolokolamsk / Klin area.  Panzer III “14” is central to this series, note the second storage bin on the engine deck.

Part II here:

Douglas C-47 / R4D Skytrain / Dakota Color Photographs Part IV

C-47 43-15972 loads cargo on the ramp at Patterson Field, Ohio. Unusual is the repetition of the aircraft serial on the port upper wing, and in a slightly different font as well. Medium Green was specified to be applied along the edges of the wing and tail surfaces to help break up the hard edges of the outline.
A C-47 crew poses in front of their aircraft at Goose Bay in Labrador, Canada during December 1942. The aircraft in the background displays a common anomaly. While the camouflage specification called for Medium Green to break up the outline of the wings and tails, it did not spell out which side of the wings and tails were to be painted, and many overzealous painters applied Medium Green to both the uppers and the lowers.
A C-47 Skytrain (I7-T, serial number 42-92879) of the 442nd Troop Carrier Group at Mount Farm, 1944. Image by Robert Astrella, 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group .
Paratroopers of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne at Altavilla, Italy in September 1943. The red surround to the national insignia was changed to Insignia Blue by AN-I-9b on 14AUG43, but some units complied faster than others.
British Paras inside an RAF Dakoda during a practice jump prior to D-Day, showing some details of the cargo compartment interior.
A useful view for modelers of engine and propeller details.
In U.S. Navy service the Skytrain was designated R4D. Here are three sporting faded Blue Grey uppersurfaces, a change from the Olive Drab.
Another Navy R4D, this Natural Metal example is assigned to the Naval Air Transport Service and loads cargo from a civilian truck. A Beechcraft GB-2 Staggerwing is parked on the ramp in the background.
A Naval Air Transport Service R4D of VR-5 on the Marston Mat shows off the NATS insignia on the nose. Note the position of the HF/DF loop.
“Saylor’s Trailer” was photographed in Burma, and shows off variety of antenna. Modelers note the tonal shifts of the “standard” Olive Drab finish.

C-47 Walk Around here:

Italian Fleet Review Color Photographs, Hugo Jaeger Collection Part VIII

On 05MAY38 the Italian Navy conducted a review off Naples.  These are photographs of the Fleet in port with crews manning the rails.

These are color photographs of the review taken by German photographer Hugo Jaeger.  They are currently held in the Life Magazine archives.

All four Zara class heavy cruisers in port. The ships are Zara, Pola, Gorizia, and Fiume.
Details of the Zara class superstructures and bows as the crews man the rails.
Beautiful view of the superstructure details.
Midship details.
An Abruzzi class light cruiser from the bow.
Midships of an Abruzzi class light cruiser showing floatplanes and torpedo tubes.
A slightly different angle.
The Abruzzi class cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi underway.
A nest of Spica class torpedo boats. The Italian navy commissioned 32 ships of this class.
Flying boats pass over the training ships Christoforo Colombo and Amerigo Vespucci.

Hugo Jaeger Collection Part I here:

Italian Fleet Review Color Photographs, Hugo Jaeger Collection Part VII

On 05MAY38 the Italian Navy conducted a review off Naples.  The review was widely covered by the international Press, the New York Times ran the following headline:

“ITALY’S NAVY HOLDS REVIEW FOR HITLER, BIGGEST SINCE WAR; 190 Fighting Ships Parade and Drill on Blue Bay of Naples in Show of First-Rank Power 85 SUBMARINES SUBMERGE Destroyers Burst From Smoke Screen in ‘Attack’-Crowds–Cheer King and Chancellor 190 Ships Take Part Weather Is Ideal Fanfare of Trumpets War Manoeuvres Begin ITALY’S NAVY HOLDS REVIEW FOR HITLER Hitler Dines With King; Hitler Is Pale at Opera; Fails to Give His Salute”

These are color photographs of the review taken by German photographer Hugo Jaeger.  They are currently held in the Life Magazine archives.

The Italian Fleet gets underway from Naples, as seen from the battleship Conti Di Cavour, which served as the reviewing platform.
A line of heavy cruisers passes the Conti Di Cavour, led by an 8-inch gun cruiser of the Zara class.
The Zara passes close abeam and fires her main battery.
Zara again, firing while passing at speed.
Zara class cruisers in line.
Some details of Conti Di Cavour as the cruisers pass by.
Maneuvering room during the review was restricted.
Italian destroyers were known for their speed, here two pass by with pronounced bow waves.
An atmospheric shot of a Zara class heavy cruiser.
A group of destroyers passes between lines of cruisers at high speed.

Newsreel footage of the Italian Fleet review here:

Hugo Jaeger collection Part VIII here: