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Old 11-19-2015, 12:19 PM   #101
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Default Re: Gone but Not Forgotten

Aiken's still has it for a good price The Finnish F-18C HA3509

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Old 11-21-2015, 11:21 AM   #102
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I admit it: I've got a thing for the IAF; I dig its cool desert camouflage schemes and gutsy, gifted pilot cadre. As for the Kfir, it's one of my favorite IAF warbirds. I really like her sharp little nose, her canards, her delta wings—the whole fetching package. Love those yellow/black identification triangles emblazoned on her wings and tail, too.

The Kfir's first recorded combat action occurred on November 9, 1977, during an Israeli air strike on a training camp at Tel Azia, Lebanon. Only one Kfir claimed an air kill, however, which took place on June 27, 1979, when a C.2 smoked a Syrian Mig-21. The IAF withdrew the warbird from active duty in the second half of the '90s, but not before developing the type into an exceptional fighter-bomber.

I’ll say it right out loud: Altaya's Kfir C.2 version is a remarkably good model (better than that, even). Altaya became a byword, often undeservedly, for substandard quality, the dreck of diecast models. But to everybody’s astonishment it produced several exceptional examples, too, one of which was this bird. Both in rendering and accuracy, Altaya’s Kfir is extraordinary.

I can't find this model anywhere on the net, so it likely dried up for good. If you can find one at a reasonable price, get it. Altaya’s prowess will impress the desert daisies out of you.
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Old 11-21-2015, 02:06 PM   #103
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on ebay you will find one... started at 0,99 £
otherwise, some are sold in france at 15 euros...
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:32 AM   #104
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When first introduced, the Curtiss SB2C was anything but a big splash. The beast handled so poorly and posed such a hazard to crews that Captain Joseph J. Clark, Captain of USS Yorktown, recommended the Navy kick the plane to the curb and outright cancel production. Things got so touchy that pilots took to calling the SB2C the "Son of a B*tch, 2nd Class.” But luckily for everybody, Curtis engineers mostly cured the dive bomber’s hiccups, and matters improved dramatically.

Indeed, the improved SB2C flew faster than its predecessor, the Douglas SBD Dauntless, kept up with fighters, flew farther, lugged torpedoes, hefted twin 20mm cannons (4 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns in earlier production models), and snuggled between hangar buddies with folded wings. Things went so swimmingly that by war's end pilots and gunners actually praised the beefy steed. LT Bob Barnes USN (Ret), penned a fairly typical tribute to the Helldiver …

"The SB2C-3's that came out were much improved. From my experience it was a great dive bomber. It was faster than the SBD, easily carried 1000 lb. bombs, could carry drop fuel tanks for long range missions. On one mission they needed more fighters to strafe an airfield, so they hung two pods of dual 50 cal. machine guns under the wings. These were in addition to the two 20mm cannons and the 500 lb bomb already on our Helldivers. It was a very versatile aircraft."

Operators of the type included the United States, Australia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Many collectors feel Hobby Master's SB2C Helldiver represents one of the best military diecast models ever produced. Everything about it shouts excellence, from its shape and contour to its dive breaks, tampo insignia, and blue camo. The HA2202 represents one of many planes that flew from the USS Intrepid (among other carriers), pounded the IJN Musashi to a blazing wreck, and then sank her, throwing horror into the crew of its nearby sister ship, IJN Yamato.
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:09 AM   #105
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"The Messerschmitt Me 262's most dangerous opponent was the British Hawker Tempest - extremely fast at low altitudes, highly-maneuverable and heavily-armed."
—Hubert Lange, Me262 pilot

Is it heresy for a red-blooded American boy to favor the Hawker Tempest Mark V over the North American P-51D Mustang? 'Cause for my money, the Tempest, on looks alone, was the best dang fighter of WWII. Bar none.

Before my fellow yanks run my keister up to the yardarm, let me say that I'm only too familiar with the 'Stang's incredible success, its celebrated stamina and legendary prowess, etc, etc. The P-51 was a gifted warbird in every respect, and I get all excited just thinking about it (love her voluptuous bullet schnozzle and belly air scoop). But for chiseled, robust looks and blistering speed, the Tempest stood taller.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. The Tempest’s gargantuan open-mount scoop beneath the prop and its Spitfire-evocative elliptical wings are awe inspiring. So is its Napier Sabre II engine and short-barreled Mark.V Hispano series cannons. What really won me over was the fighter's beefy, raw toughness, rock-hard looks, and blazing speed: The Tempest V entered the war in '43 as the fastest fighter in the world (at that time) and proved it downing 1,771 V-1 terror rockets, (roughly one-third of the RAF's total) between June and September of 1944. As an afterthought, she demolished no fewer than 20 Messerschmitt 262 Schwalbe jet fighters—all during dog fights. But that’s not all. The Tempest was just as successful at ripping German armor columns apart as her predecessor, the Hawker Typhoon, racking up staggering tallies of trains, tanks, and troops.

So I ask: How could you not love a plane like that?

Ol' SkyMax Models amazed the world with its exceedingly beautiful, ridiculously accurate Hawker Tempest MK.V., sending collectors scrambling for them. In fact, I know of only one vendor who still stocks the SM4001 (pictured below), and his name rhymes with and sounds like Planecrazy, www.planecracy.biz).

I tell you true: If you don't own this masterwork already and don’t snatch one, the avenging angels of diecast will rightly come and spank your little patootie!
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:44 AM   #106
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Quote:
...The Tempest was just as successful at ripping German armor columns apart as her predecessor, the Hawker Typhoon, racking up staggering tallies of trains, tanks,....
Indeed. The Tempest and Typhoon were both very effective and much feared by the Germans in a ground attack role. For all their heavy armor and fearsome reputation, German tanks were very vulnerable to attacks on the rear engine deck areas, hits from the 20mm cannons (or rockets) would usually start uncontrollable fires that would completely destroy the tank, and dozens if not hundreds of German tanks fell victim to marauding "Tiffy" and Tempest attacks. Needless to say, an attack by either one on a train would result in devastating damage to the train, and carnage to anyone unlucky enough to be on board.
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:36 AM   #107
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It's unpardonable, but this little honey of a superstar remains comparatively obscure, a bird so adept at its job that onlookers stood spellbound as it took off in less than 200 feet, hovered over the ground in a fresh breeze, and landed on a dime. We're talkin' about the Fieseler Fi-156 Storch (stork), a liaison, reconnaissance, and ambulance platform that many experts rightly consider a genuine aeronautical wonder.

This critter was so far ahead of its time and rendered such yeoman service to its Nazi masters it's a wonder it didn’t receive more renown. Germany employed it virtually everywhere: Field Marshall Erwin Rommel flew in one throughout the North African Campaign, landing everywhere along that front; a Storch brilliantly flew Mussolini to safety from a mountain-hotel prison; another transported the bomb Clause von Stauffenberg planted in the Wolf's Lair; and test-pilot Hanna Reitsch fearlessly flew a Storch into besieged Berlin, landed near the Brandenburg Gate, and flew out again unscathed. Even the Allies loved it: Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery flew in captured Fi-156s; French, Polish, and Russian commanders did, too. Heck, everybody commandeered at least a couple of Storches and flew 'em silly. Seventy-plus years later they’re available as immensely popular build-it-yourself kits.

Falcon Models (now deceased) did itself proud with this model, though some collectors (including me) quibbled that the canopy braces were too thick. Everything else on this bird shouts finesse: It features a detailed cockpit with glazed windows and a rear-mounted MG 15 for defense, a wing-mounted pitot tube, realistic supports, struts and landing gears, and (on the FA724002) authentic splinter camouflage with razor-sharp Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 markings. I love the thing. Can't get enough of it.

The example below represents an Fi-156 flown by III./NJG1 out of Belgium's Saint-Trond airfield in May, 1944. And I'm truly sorry to report that it's hopelessly unavailable. But if you find one, buy it; hold on to it for dear life, ‘cause you never know: Someday you might need one to spirit you away from an Italian prison/hotel.
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Old 11-26-2015, 11:44 AM   #108
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I have a hunch that had this little scrapper gone toe to toe with the Japanese it would have far outshone its USN contemporaries and won everlasting fame. As it was, the Bearcat arrived in theatre just as the war ended, leaving it to sit forlorn on a bar stool and cry in its beer.

The last, most powerful of Grumman's prop-driven fighters, the F8F Bearcat was, almost literally, an engine with a saddle strapped on. The beneficiary of grueling carrier experience and combat, the F8F was smaller and 2,000 pounds lighter than its F6F forerunner, hefted the same enormous Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine which provided 2,000 horsepower, could hit a whopping 455 mph, and flew loops around other fighters. It could also operate from smaller escort carriers (or “Baby Flattops”), something beefier Hellcats and Corsairs couldn’t manage.

Armament wise, this character packed four Browning M2 .50 caliber guns as opposed to the Hellcat’s six, Grumman Chief Engineer William Schwendler considering this package adequate against less rugged and under-protected Japanese fighters. Given a chance, it's a good bet the Bearcat would have scorched more than a few Nipponese feathers.

All said, the Bearcat was the most powerful single-engine aircraft ever built, outperforming others in all aspects of combat maneuverability, something not lost on the French, who flew it hard in Indochina (later Vietnam) from 1953-55. The French were ultimately defeated, but the Bearcat wasn’t to blame.

I love SkyMax Model’s rendition, though the wings seem a bit droopy (might be just mine). All I can say is, the model is a honey (all but the droopy wings); and for history buffs jonesing to enhance their Southeast Asia collections, the SkyMax Sm1002 Bearcat makes for a terrific addition.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:16 AM   #109
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It was August 1, 1943, and the Vagabond King, B-24 Liberator #42-40787, was getting shelled up one side and down the other over Ploesti, Romania. German gunners had found their mark, anti-aircraft fire raking the bomber fore to aft, smashing windows, shredding the fuselage and wings, mercilessly ventilating the aircraft. One explosion had come too darn close to ripping off the bomber's entire starboard wing.

Lt. John McCormick’s eyes narrowed and hardened as he flew unnervingly close behind Hitler's Hearse, Captain R.C. Mooney's plane, the two massive Liberators hugging the deck at 225 miles per hour. Their target suddenly appeared, a boiler house partly shrouded behind curtains of black smoke and burning hydrocarbons. At that instant another shell tore into the Vagabond's port side and burst exactly where Radioman Martin Van Buren sat, disintegrating the young man into a crimson loogy of gore and jelly. All at once, 1st Lt. Marvin Mosco, bombardier, pickled the bomber's AN-M64s and yelled, "Bombs away!" The Liberator lurched, almost buoyant, as the lethal stick hit their mark and blew the edifice and everybody in it to smithereens.

McCormic pitched the nose down and practically dug a trench attempting to keep marauding Bf 109s off the bomber’s ever-lovin' back. By the time the crew reached Nocosia Airfield in Cyprus, it had grown dark and feelings aboard the ship were sullen. Three of the crew had caught shards of flak and were bleeding profusely; Van Buren was little more than clots of cherry gelatin weeping from the bulkheads.

Unbelievably, the Vagabond King was one of the lucky ones: Hitler's Hearse had cartwheeled in a ball of fire fleeing the target. Of the 178 B-24s that took off that morning, 54 didn't return.



..............

We as collectors seldom concern ourselves with the horrors of battle, the guts spilled, the blood and agony spent, the valor and heroism exhibited by men thrust into the maw of war. I think it altogether fitting to remember these souls and, in our own way, honor their sacrifice.

I’ll leave it to you to Google more information on the B-24. She wasn’t pretty; she couldn’t hold a candle to the Boeing B-17's sultry good looks. Crews often ridiculed her; few praised her. Among the B-24’s weaknesses was its inability to withstand heavy damage and remain in flight. The wings in particular proved susceptible to enemy fire and if hit in vital areas could disintegrate entirely: It wasn’t unusual to see a B-24 plunging from the sky with its wings folded upwards like a butterfly. The aircraft was decidedly prone to fires, and it possessed but one exit, located near the tail, making escape tricky to hopeless. And yet …

Here was a warbird that did everything asked of her, performed brilliantly in multiple roles on every war front. Liberators played a decisive role in closing the “air gap” in the middle of the Atlantic and defeating the German U-boat threat (credited with sinking 72 U-boats). The bomber saw extensive maritime service in the Pacific, where it wreaked pandemonium on Japanese shipping. And working side-by-side with the B-17, the B-24 hammered targets across Axis-controlled Europe, rendering service so adeptly that some vociferous B-24 aficionados insist the Liberator was a better plane than the Fortress. (Check this out: Consolidated B-24 Liberator ... a look inside)

The B-24D (AA34003) and B-24J (AA34006) Liberators depicted below represent some of Corgi’s best efforts. I’m not a fan of trench-like seams, and Corgi surely created a few on these models (especially the B-24J); but overall these warbirds rock. All I can say is, if you find either one (or any of Corgi’s B-24s), do yourself a favor and grab ‘em. They’re worth every penny.
Attached Thumbnails
Gone but Not Forgotten-consolidated-b-24d-liberator.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-consolidated-b-24j-aa34006.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-b-24.jpg  
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Old 12-01-2015, 10:21 AM   #110
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"All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics. TSR2 simply got the first three right." - Sir Sydney Camm.

The BAC TSR.2 (British Aircraft Corporation, Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance) was a cutting-edge strike bomber equivalent to or (according to RAF devotees) marginally better than the F-111. It was designed to penetrate well-defended forward battle areas at low altitudes and high speeds and then attack high-value targets in the rear with nuclear or conventional weapons. According to some enthusiasts, the TSR.2, deployed with its American analog, might have hastened the USSR's eventual arms-race-induced demise. As it turned out, escalating costs and vexing technical challenges strong-armed this magnificent warbird to the chopping block, where Prime Minister Harold Wilson swung the killing blow, egged on by Lord Louis Mountbatten (CDS) and Sir Solly Zukermann, the Ministry’s Chief Scientific Advisor. To this day, many TSR.2 aficionados feel the British Government’s decision to cancel the aircraft bordered on criminal, a move that very nearly crippled the UK aerospace industry.

The RAF, given little choice, flew the Buccaneer instead, which provided sterling service for many years but never enjoyed the TSR-2’s envisioned capabilities. Only with the introduction of the Tornado in 1982 did the RAF finally acquire an aircraft equivalent to the TSR-2.

Personally, I like this bird. I like Corgi’s rendition of it, too, except that all that white anti-radiation camo (though accurate) is kinda tedious. I’d love to see the Pooch issue several “what-if” examples like the two illustrations below. The good news is, you can still find this baby if you look hard enough. Grab one and sit it next to your Canadian Heritage Museum CF-105 Arrow: It’ll make a nice addition to your “Might Have Been” collection.
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Gone but Not Forgotten-bac-tsr-2.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-43130_1.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-tsr2_5.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-2015-11-19_115506.jpg  
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:37 AM   #111
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An aeronautical truism suggests that if an aircraft doesn’t serve well in one capacity, it undoubtedly can in another—and excel. You need only look at the Hawker Typhoon, which was meant to fly circles around and wallop German fighters but instead served meritoriously as a ground-attack aircraft. Or Messerschmitt Bf 110s that were intended to annihilate Spitfires but rose to distinction knocking down nocturnal British bombers. Likewise, the North American F-100 was designed to outfly and outfight Russia's deadly MiGs but never downed a single enemy plane. Rather, the jet hauled bombs, napalm, and rockets in a stinking Southeast Asia backwater—but did a yeoman’s job at it.

What an irony, eh? The F-100 was billed as the world's first fighter able to maintain supersonic speed in level flight, the heir-apparent to the Korean War-era F-86 Sabre. It was long, sleek, and sensual with low-set wings and tail, propelled by a 16,950 lb thrust Pratt & Whitney turbojet. Its hungry snout bristled with four 20mm cannon intended to make mincemeat of opposing MiGs. But cruel fate turned this thoroughbred into a milk-wagon mare, swapping the warbird's lustrous, bare metallic skin for the green-brown color of a Vietnamese swamp. After a few missions into North Vietnam in 1965, F-100s spent the remainder of the war south of the 17th Parallel dragging dumb bombs. Which is not to say they didn’t perform well. Ironically, the F-100 killed gobs more Vietnamese that it would have as a pure dog fighter: The Hun’s bombing accuracy was legendary, killing enemy and friendly forces alike.

Starting in 1966, "Wild Weasel" F-100Fs carried AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles and used the weapon against "Fan Song" anti-aircraft radars. But sadly, the combination of aircraft and missile never proved fully satisfactory.

The last combat F-100 departed Vietnam in 1971 after nearly seven years of combat. According to official figures, Super Sabres flew 360,283 combat sorties. The Air Force lost 186 F-100 Super Sabres to anti-aircraft fire, none to MiGs, seven during View Cong assaults on its air bases, and 45 to operational incidents. The Hun was more a maid than a movie star, but it served well.

I can say categorically that Hobby Master F-100s are first-rate. This particular bird (HA2103) looks awesome decked out in its shiny metal suit, trimmed with fancy insignia and emblems. HM’s simulation of burnt-metal around the aft end doesn’t especially work, but overall the model pops; and if you don’t own it, get it. The HA2103 shows up now and again on eBay.
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Gone but Not Forgotten-f-100d-super-sabre-ha2103.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-f-100d.jpg  
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:52 AM   #112
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During the Cold War (and after), the USAF’s SR-71 was a speedy little demon that outran every plane, anti-aircraft battery, and guided missile the Soviets could chuck at it—until the Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound took the stage. Beginning in 1986 (though you don't read about it), this butt-ugly monster intercepted the Blackbird on numerous occasions.

Make no mistake about it, the Foxhound is a rampaging gorilla that will rip your head off given the chance. It flies straight and blistering fast and can intercept and annihilate marauding enemy aircraft with ease (especially those flying nap-of-the-earth missions—a vast improvement over its formidable predecessor, the MiG-25 Foxbat). The MiG-31's efficient and fierce low-bypass-ratio turbofan engines push it to Mach 1.23 at low altitudes and Mach 2.83 at high altitude, which is extremely impressive. But like its forerunner, it’s not even close to being agile: The Foxhound sucks at making high-speed or tight turns, which limits its use as a dogfighter or air superiority platform. Instead, the MiG-31 relies on hit ‘n’ run, flyby tactics.

To do that effectively, the warbird carries both a phased array antenna and passive electronically-scanned array radar, which allow it to paint as many as 24 individual targets at a range of 200 km and track eight of them simultaneously as the onboard computer locks on R-33 long-range air-to-air missiles. Which means, for you F-35 jocks out there, if you fly within 124 miles of a MiG-31, you’re dead meat, stealth technology notwithstanding. Nor do cruise missiles or aircraft akin to the SR-71 Blackbird stand any better chance against it. Defense analysts still grouse that nothing in the USAF's or other nations' inventories rival this remarkable beast—nor will for at least another decade.

Model wise, as of a year or so ago, you could still find Altaya’s Foxhound on eBay from Portuguese and Spanish vendors, but supplies seemingly dried up. If I’m wrong and you can find one, I highly recommend it to you. It's the only existing 1/72 MiG-31 diecast model out there (along with its blue-liveried doppelgänger). And though it's not perfect (no model is), it'll set your head spinning; even the most jaundiced collector will love it. Buy one if you can.
Attached Thumbnails
Gone but Not Forgotten-altaya-mig-31-c-.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-mig-31.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-mig-31b-foxhound-32-red-tc-107.jpg  
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:17 AM   #113
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Offspring of the Northop YF-17 "Cobra," the F/A-18 Hornet proved itself a hard-drivin’, superbly capable warbird in the hands of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The RCAF cast wonton eyes on this twin-engined wonder, too, prizing the warbird’s survivability over vast distances in cold climes, broad air-to-air and air-to-surface war load (including mixed loads), and AGP-65 radar suite, capable of tracking and engaging targets above and below the aircraft in varied terrain. The RCAF loved it so much, in fact, the F-18 won Canada's "New Fighter Aircraft Program" (NFA) project and became the CF-188 Hornet, the RCAF’s newest, finest fighter, 138 examples delivered between 1982 and 1988.

The CF-188 retained its American cousin’s folding wings and arrestor hook (though the Canadian version is land-based). All models feature a false canopy painted beneath the nose section to dupe an enemy, if only for a second, as to the exact position/attack angle of the fighter (the USMC liked the idea so much they borrowed it). The RCAF also mounted a night identification spotlight on the fighter’s port side; but in all other ways, the CF-188 is identical to Hornets flown by the USN and USMC.

Deployment wise, twenty-six Canadian Hornets participated in the 1991 Gulf War. Later, the warbird reinforced coalition forces over former Yugoslavia. And more recently, the jets were deployed over Libya in 2011 as part of the U.N.'s enforced No-Fly Zone.

Just weeks ago, Justin Trudeau confirmed that his newly elected Liberal government will ditch the F-35 in favor of “more affordable” fighter jets, a decision that renders the Hornet’s future a bit uncertain. It remains to be seen if Super Hornets (or some other aircraft) will eventually augment or succeed existing CF-188s.

Model wise it’s safe to say this particular Hobby Master "No Fly Zone" CF-188 (HA3502 pictured below) is long gone. You're more apt to find the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine than snag this little prize. Hobby Master initially produced 1000 then kicked that number up to 1600—which did little to satisfy demand. But find one anyway: You'll love it!
Attached Thumbnails
Gone but Not Forgotten-cf-18-ha-3502-c-.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-cf-18.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-cf-18-ha3502-art.jpg  
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:51 AM   #114
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The Nakajima B5N 'Kate' was Japan’s best torpedo bomber of the Second World War and the world's best in 1941. This nasty little cuss played a major part in every victory following Pearl Harbor (for at least a year afterward) and remained a thorn in America’s side to the end of the war.

In 1935, the Japanese Navy issued a 10-Shi specification for a carrier attack, single-engined bomber, requiring a wing span not to exceed aircraft carrier elevator dimensions. It had to fly 205mph, stay aloft for seven hours maximum, carry a crew of three, and heft either the Nakajima Hikari or Mitsubishi Kinsei radial engine.

Plied with sake and feelin' oh so good, the Nakajima design team got down to business and fabricated an advanced aircraft featuring a hydraulic wing folding mechanism, Fowler flaps, and a variable-pitch propeller—all of which the IJN rejected out of hand for less risky, sensational innovations. The Kate wound up with a circular fuselage that quartered three crew sitting beneath a long cockpit covered by a greenhouse canopy. It also boasted of a hydraulically operated retractable undercarriage (that stunk to high heaven until the kinks were ironed out). On its maiden flight, the warbird reached a top speed of nearly 230mph, well above the Navy's requirements. And to increase its range, engineers shoved integral fuel tanks in its wings.

Service Record

The B5N played hell with the United States Navy on 7 December 1941. Kates were armed with improvised weapons for the Pearl Harbor attack: The torpedoes wore wooden fins to prevent them from striking the harbor’s shallow bottom, while the 'bombs' were actually 16in naval shells with tail fins. Forty torpedo-armed B5Ns and fifty bomb-armed B5Ns attacked in the first wave, fifty-five bomb-laden Kates in the second. And the results were predictably shattering: The torpedo versions claimed a 90% hit rate (how could they miss?).

Over the next twelve months, the B5N frolicked all over the Pacific, playing havoc with and sinking the carriers Lexington, Yorktown and Hornet, earning the everlasting hatred (and grudging respect) of the USN. Following the battles around the Solomon Islands, the festivities took something of a sabbatical. When carrier battles resumed in '44, American assets outnumbered Japanese carriers and aircraft (not to mention, USN air crews were better trained). Soon, Kates became one-way tickets to the Yasukuni Shrine: Hellcats and Corsairs shot the livin’ snot out of the hapless Nipponese warbirds. In response, the B6N Tenzan took the field but arrived too late and in too few numbers. The B5N simply soldiered on and died in droves, outdated, vulnerable, and laughably outnumbered. Casualties, to say the least, were astronomical.

In a defiant final gesture, B5N pilots donned hachimakis (headbands or bandannas emblazoned with graphics of the rising sun), bowed to the Emperor, and dove into USN carriers and other ships in a blaze of Kamikaze glory. Other not-so-adventurous Kate crews flew maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft comfortably beyond Allied fighters’ reach.

Hobby Master's HA2008 B5N2 Kate is yet another shining example of model-making prowess. And, as you'd guess, it plunged face first into the yawning "it ain't around anymore, so don't waste your time trying to find one" hole. But if by chance you do stumble over this treasure, grab it before somebody else does. Swing your samurai katana sword and give your competition a taste of its blade. They won't mind, 'cause this model’s to die for.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:35 AM   #115
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Experts agree that the Fokker D VII was the best fighter of World War One. It weighed just under 2,000 pounds, measured 23 feet in length, with a wingspan of 29 feet 4 inches. Late models, powered by a 185 hp BMW IIIa engine, could hit 125 MPH. (though due to engine shortages, there were never enough BMW-powered Fokkers.) It could climb to 16,400 feet in 18 minutes and to 19,700 feet (its operational ceiling) in 28 minutes. And it carried twin, synchronized, rip-‘em-apart 7.92mm Spandau machine guns.

When this zany demon reached the battlefield, Allied pilots were horrorstruck. Though the fighter was noticeably boxy and graceless, it could literally "hang on its prop" and fire directly upwards into the unprotected guts of Allied two-seaters. The fighter’s engorged upper wing gave it near-magical stall capability, allowing it to maneuver behind and below an enemy airplane, pitch up under full throttle, and eviscerate it with a torrent of led.

Fokker produced over 1000 D.VII's, 775 surviving the war. The Allies dreaded this deadly aircraft so much the Treaty of Versailles expressly forced Germany to surrender them to the French, British, and Americans for frenzied evaluation. European countries like Hungary, Netherlands, Lithuania, and Latvia used them for their air forces through the 1920s. And Anthony Fokker himself (the designer) smuggled 220 of them to his native Netherlands.

Snapshot of Oberleutnant Ernst Udet …

Ernst was the second-highest scoring German ace of World War One (62 victories), the leading surviving ace, and the youngest, age 22, when the war ended. He started as a flying Private, was promoted to officer, and flew with Jasta (Jagdstaffel) 15, and later commanded Jastas 37, 11, and 4. Germany eventually presented the young warrior with its highest military honor, the Ordre pour le Mérite, the "Blue Max."

You’ll find this interesting …

Udet arrived at Habsheim fighter command in December, 1915, one of only four pilots stationed in the unusually quiet billet. Within days he faced off with a French Caudron (a French biplane with twin engines) and froze in abject fear. He simply couldn't fire his weapons, especially after the French gunner shot off his goggles, lacerating his face with glass splinters. Mortified by his own cravenness, Ernst later worked ceaselessly to perfect his gunnery skills, shooting up a mock Nieuport until it disintegrated.

On a Sunday afternoon, March 18, 1916, word arrived that enemy airplanes were headed toward Muelhausen. Udet hopped in his Fokker D.III, flew to 9,000 feet, and singlehandedly attacked over twenty French bombers. This time he kept his nerve while stalking a Farman F.40, holding his fire until he closed within yards, and then pumping a short burst into the French plane. As he climbed away, the Farman plunged in a ball of flame and smoke as its observer tumbled out and hurtled earthward. Infuriated French fighters witnessed this horror and tore after the German as he sharply dove through the formation.

Pulling out, Ernst spotted several of his comrades tearing into the enemy with gusto. He observed a lone Caudron and winged toward it, firing a burst at long range. Ernst approached to 300 feet and fired again, this time demolishing the plane’s port engine. But as he closed for the kill, his gun jammed. The French plane gleefully escaped, belching black smoke all the way home.

Later that night, Sergeant Ernst Udet and the Habsheim Jagdflieger celebrated their victory. They’d thrashed the French, downing five aircraft while losing none of their own. Udet went on to shoot down three more planes days later.



Corgi's WWI 1/48 fighters are literally second to none (nobody else currently produces their like). I own the entire collection (most of them, anyway), and I can say unequivocally that they’re downright fantastic. This particular bird (Udet’s mount) is absolutely stunning, a real keeper. It's still available on eBay, but be warned: nobody's giving it away. For those hankering for a genuine WWI wunderplane accompanied with a consummate pilot, Ernst Udet's barber-pole liveried Fokker DVII makes for a great choice.
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:54 PM   #116
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Thank you Richtofen for this thread...you inspired me to get the Slovakian MiG-29 bird and it arrived today! It's sooooooo awesome.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:03 PM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kangaroo View Post
Thank you Richtofen for this thread...you inspired me to get the Slovakian MiG-29 bird and it arrived today! It's sooooooo awesome.
Thanks for the "thanks," Kangaroo. Means a lot.
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Old 12-14-2015, 09:54 AM   #118
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Remember Top Gun, when Goose and Maverick inverted their Tomcat over that Ruskie jet and flipped an uproarious middle-finger salute at the pilot? The fictitious "Mig-28" the Russian flew was actually an F-5E Tiger II (as if you didn't already know). And brother, did I love that bird's oleaginous black finish and nasty crimson stars or what?! Cool. Very cool. Why they didn’t ask me to star in that film I’ll never know.

The F-5's history is kind of convoluted, so I'll simplify …

The bird was born out of a 1950s US Navy requirement calling for a small, lightweight, jet-powered fighter to operate from Escort Carriers. When that concept croaked, Northrop engineers forged ahead anyway, spawning two distinct aircraft forms—the single-seat "N-156F" fighter and the two-seat "N-156T" combat trainer.

The USAF favored the twin-seat design, evolving it into the T-38 Talon jet trainer. The fighter version, however, took a dirt nap until Cold War circumstances forced a second look. Politicos felt the F-5A could take a big, wet bite out of the Mig-21's burgeoning market by providing an affordable alternative to receptive foreign air forces.

By 1965, Vietnam presented the perfect opportunity to prove the diminutive fighter’s grit; so the United States Air Force sent over a single squadron of F-5As, christening the bird the "Skoshi Tiger" (Little Tiger), which proved an unqualified successes both in air-to-air and air-to-ground actions. Of 2,600 missions over Vietnam and Laos, only one F-5 was lost to action. Mystifyingly, the USAF didn’t give a fig. It’s diminutive alter-ego, however, the South Vietnam Air Force, loved the jet—until it lost every single one to the North Vietnamese with the fall of Bien Hoa.

Years passed and a vastly improved version, the F-5E Tiger II (see below), flew in the USAF’s 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron and 20 other air forces, including Israel, South Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan. Even the US Navy bought a few for its "Top Gun" pilot school at Miramar, California, where Hollywood discovered the handsome little brute—and (cue the orchestral music)—a star was born.

Hobby Master did a bang-up job on this bird: It’s accurate; the paint job excels, and the tampo motif is first-rate. Problem is, this particular model (HA3314) left the building long ago; it’s genuinely, hopelessly rare. So if you can find one, kill for it. Hindus worldwide agree: To own one is to experience true karmic bliss.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:12 AM   #119
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History, they say, brims with irony, and WWII was definitely no exception. Alfred Gassner, an American (in concert with a German associate) designed the fabulous and entirely successful two-engined Junkers Ju-88 (bet you didn’t know that). Edgar Schmued, a German national turned American citizen, courteously returned the favor and designed America's premier fighter, the P-51 Mustang. And no, I'm not kidding.

Edgar Schmued was born in Hornbach, Germany, 30 December 1899. The moment he saw a biplane in flight at age eight, he went crazy nutz. Conscientious if not impassioned, young Schmued commenced a rigorous self-study program to become an aeronautical engineer, eventually landing a job as an apprentice in a small engine factory. The guy was so gifted he invented several engine mechanisms and secured patents for each. But by 1925, the German economy was in the toilet, which prompted Schmued to ditch his native Bavaria for Brazil. Management at General Aviation, the air branch of General Motors Corporation in Brazil, recognized his potential and eagerly hired him. By 1931, word of his exceptional work reached the USA, where the boys at Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America (owned by General Motors and based in New Jersey) summoned him. There he began his career as an aircraft design engineer and eventually found himself working for North American Aviation.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Remarkable, isn’t it? An American designed Nazi Germany’s brilliant Schnellbomber? And a German (by blood) designed the hellaciously excellent P-51 Mustang that probably shot down at least a couple of Ju-88s?

Wanna hear another interesting tidbit?

The Mustang wasn’t entirely American.

Turns out the Brits sired it (largely). North American designed the Mustang for the British Royal Air Force, not the good ol’ USAAF. The RAF needed a high-speed fighter to augment its already exceptional warbird stable. Originally, the British asked North American to build the P-40 (Curtis Aircraft was at full capacity). But Schmued and James H. (Dutch) Kindelberger, then president of North American, convinced the British Purchasing Commission that the P-40 was a decrepit old biddy. Better to go with a newer, more modern design, they argued, to which the Brits agreed, and the company straightaway scrambled for their drafting tables.

The prototype NA-73X airframe rolled out on 9 September 1940, 102 days after the contract was signed and first flew on 26 October. And a star was born.

Noteworthy facts:

1) The RAF, not the USAAF, dreamed up and insisted on the name “Mustang” for its new mount.

2) Engineers originally shoved an Allison V-1710 engine under the Mustang’s hood, which delivered less-than impressive high-altitude performance. In April 1942, Ronald W. Harker, a test pilot with Rolls-Royce, flew the Allison-powered Mustang I and was amazed with its performance up to medium altitudes. Harker thought the Allison-powered Mustang was a disappointing performer at higher altitude, though, and proposed marrying the fabulous (and I do mean fabulous) Rolls-Royce Merlin to the potential thoroughbred. The resulting roll in the hay was magic, and because of that, Harker rightly deserves credit for suggesting the all-important engine change.

3) The Merlin/Mustang installation required 223,000 engineering hours, compared to the 78,000 engineering hours required to produce the original airframe.


And there you have it. The Mustang was, in every respect, a war winner. It had the legs to carry the fight deep into Germany, kick Nazi tuschie, and still buy groceries for the Misses on the way home. It doesn’t get better than that.

The captured P-51B below represents an unwilling participant in Zirkus Rosarius (also known as the Wanderzirkus Rosarius), an élite Luftwaffe test unit tasked with assessing captured British and American aircraft. Armed with this information, German pilots developed tactics to counter these planes’ strengths and exploit their weaknesses. Such aircraft were repainted deep yellow below with German markings topside.

Personally, I like Gemini Aces models. They stood up well to Corgi and Hobby Master and other manus, producing accurate, quality product (but getting precious little credit for it). You can find this mini-masterpiece now and again on eBay, so keep your eyes open—unless, of course, you loathe turncoats.
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:00 PM   #120
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Dave, I love the history you provide each plane. Thank you. I always look forward to your posts.
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:56 PM   #121
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I am also a fan of your writing. You should start putting out an email newsletter to fans.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:30 PM   #122
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Thank you, cjg476 and Rmac757, for your kind comments. So glad you're enjoying these nutty little narratives.

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Old 12-16-2015, 09:18 AM   #123
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Jimmy Collins, they say, had a wicked sense of humor and a taste for fine women. As he climbed into a prototype F3F "Flying Barrel," Jimmy smiled easily, gave a smart salute, and flew his mount to 18,000 feet, where he magnificently performed nine test dives without mishap. Feeling lucky, he nosed over for a tenth dive, pulled 14 Gs, lost his engine and wings, and smacked the earth so hard rescuers retrieved little more than bits of the pilot’s bones and teeth, the rest of his body carbonized and minced beyond recognition.

A second prototype also crashed, this one on May 17, 1935, same result. Undeterred and totally fearless, Lee Gehlbach, the third test pilot, put the bird into a hard right spin and presently found himself in deep kimchi, too, but miraculously managed to bail out just before the Barrel hit the ground like a bomb.

The boys at US Naval Air Station at Anacostia salvaged some of the unlucky bird’s parts (several survived intact, unbelievably) and built them into the forth prototype, which, incredibly, flew without accident. Test flights went so smoothly, in fact, that Grumman produced it in number, the little goblin becoming the most agreeably flyable single-place fighter developed for the US Navy to date. Ain’t that a kick?!

By 1939, F2Fs and F3Fs equipped all US Navy and Marine Corps fighter squadrons and were not withdrawn from service until 1941, serving in training duties until November, 1943. If you look closely, you can see a family resemblance between the F2F-2, the F4F Wildcat, and the F6F Hellcat (but I bet you can’t tell what it is).



Honest to Pete, if you don't own this 1/48 scale wonder, reconsider. It's truly one of Hobby Master's greatest efforts, everything about it a masterwork of accuracy and rendering. A cursory look on eBay shows it’s still available. So if you’ve got the cheddar and you want a mean, snappy little biplane, BUY ONE!!!
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Old 12-17-2015, 09:08 AM   #124
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"One Lancaster is to be preferred to four Halifaxes. That Halifaxes are an embarrassment now and will be useless for the bomber offensive within six months if not before. That all attempts to boost up the Halifax to Lancaster class will fail – if only because the Lancaster will by then be boosted beyond the class at which the Halifax has long aimed and always fallen far short of. I issued the same warning about the Stirling. It is now useless and flooding the market. I cannot too strongly warn you yet again that a continuance on Halifaxes leads us straight and soon for disaster."
—Bomber Harris

Ever catch Rodney Dangerfield’s act, where he said, “I don’t get no respect!”? Pity the Handley Page Halifax, the superb four-engined bomb truck, which the RAF appallingly treated as a second-stringer to the Avro Lancaster—despite the fact that it served with distinction in British, Polish, and Canadian hands.

Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris, head potentate of Bomber Command, jeered at the Halifax's performance against the Avro Lancaster, primarily for its comparatively marginal bomb-carrying capacity: Experts calculated that an average Halifax would drop 100 tons of bombs in its lifetime compared to a Lancaster's 154. It didn’t matter that later Hercules-engined Halifaxes boasted of lower loss and higher crew survival rates than Lancasters and nearly equaled the Lancaster’s speed and altitude performance. Harris remained mulish, carping (among other things) that the Halifax's bomb bay couldn’t accommodate his prized 8,000 pound, high capacity "Cookie" bomb, indispensable for destroying harbors, ships in shallow waters, canals and land targets such as oil plants. As the Lancaster hogged the limelight evermore, the Halifax was progressively relegated to secondary theatres such as North Africa and Italy, where it proved enormously serviceable parachuting agents and commandos into enemy territory, transporting troops, tug-towing, hunting U-boats, laying mines, jamming enemy radar, and conducting weather and maritime reconnaissance.

The Brits weren’t too keen on the Halifax, but the Canadians definitely were: Halifax bombers of No. 6 (RCAF) Group, Bomber Command, accounted for more than 77 percent of the group’s wartime operations, RCAF squadrons flying no fewer than 29,000 missions in “Halibags” out of 37,000 total, dropping 67,000 tons of ordinance.

Here’s a rousing tidbit: A growing chorus of Halifax enthusiasts insist the Halifax III was unforgivably marginalized. It was, they argue, the Lanc’s equal—or superior (except for bomb load): It gave its crews a better chance at survival, was far more versatile, and boasted of a lower overall loss rate. Not to mention it just looked cool.

For my money, Corgi smacked the “Friday the 13th” Halifax clean out of the park. It’s excellent through and through, camo application, tampo insignia, paint application—the works. Seems accurate, too. The problem is, this particular model is a teeny-weeny bit difficult to find. If you can grab one at a reasonable price (which you most certainly can’t), buy it. Be considerate, though: If you’ve got a glass display, don’t park it next to its superstar sibling, the Lancaster. It might get a complex.
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Old 12-18-2015, 10:50 AM   #125
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"The Bf-109 always brought to my mind the adjective’sinister.’ It has been suggested that it evinced the characteristics of the nation that conceived it, and to me it always looked lethal from any angle, on the ground or in the air; once I had climbed into its claustrophobic cockpit, it felt lethal!"
—Eric Brown, Royal Navy pilot/test pilot

Even before Bf 109Es launched their ultimately failed melee over Britain, work had begun on a new, aerodynamically enhanced model in the spring of 1940. German engineers mounted a 1,300-hp DB 601E-1 engine to a Bf 109E, setting the supercharger air intake farther back to boost the ram effect. They also fitted a larger, rounded spinner to the propeller, shallower radiators with boundary layer bypasses under the wing, and swapped the strut-braced tail plane for a cantilever version. The new type wore new wings with rounded tips, a smaller rudder, and a fully retractable tail wheel.

Designated the Me-109F, the new Messerschmitt reached operational units in January 1941, and German pilots went absolutely giddy over their new mounts, the “Franz,” as they called it. And luckily for them it appeared just in time. The Spitfire Mk.V had gotten the upper hand over the Bf 109E in cross-Channel duels following the Battle of Britain, a rather humiliating predicament that the Bf 109F put right, at least for the short run. And just to underscore its growing prowess, Bf 109F-4/Bs, equipped with fuselage racks for a single 551-pound SC 250 bomb, repeatedly scurried across the Channel on hit-and-run Jagdbomber, or ‘Jabo,’ missions.

Elsewhere, veteran Me-109E and Me-109F pilots ran up astronomical scores against outdated Russian I-16s and newer LaGG-3s and Yak-1s. Bf 109F-4/Trop variants inflicted an equally crippling toll on British aircraft over North Africa and the Mediterranean, among whom stood top-scoring German ace Hans-Joachim Marseille, who piled up 158 victories, including 17 in one day, before his death on September 30, 1942.

For my money, Gemini Aces models are outstanding (were outstanding), Corgi’s and Hobby Master’s unheralded nemesis. This particular Bf 109F is a fine example of GA's dexterity and devotion to detail. It’s Hans Van Hahn’s mount, a particularly effective Luftwaffe ace, who prized beer-simmered bratwurst and big bosomed Fräuleins.
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:46 AM   #126
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During the Korean War, the United States Navy wasn’t entirely enthused with its less-than-dazzling carrier jets; so in 1952 it submitted a request for a fighter that could top Mach 1.2, climb at a rate of 25,000 feet per minute and dogfight like there was no tomorrow. Vought responded with a kick-tail, rubber-burnin’ hotrod that employed nearly the identical Pratt & Whitney powerplant jammed into the North American F-100 “Super Sabre.”

Among other sexy, exciting features, the single-seat Crusader, or F-8, featured a gaping jet intake, a long, voluptuous fuselage, and a variable-incidence wing that allowed for exceptional visibility during slow takeoffs and landings. Plus, the bird could operate from smaller WWII Essex-class carriers, a huge advantage.

By then, military know-it-alls insisted that guns and cannons on fighters were passé, promoting air-to-air missiles as the preferred offensive weapon. The Vought boys, to their credit, regarded that notion as a reeking pile of mule-flop and armed the F-8 with 20mm cannon anyway, prompting observers to call it the "Last of the Gunfighters." Which was quite true: The Crusader was the last fighter to use machine guns as its primary weapon. Later on the Navy lumbered the warbird with sidewinder missiles and dopey-looking bombs.

Through its career, the F-8 earned a stack of laurels for combat prowess but first gained distinction as a photo recon platform (RF-8A) flying high-speed, unarmed, tree-top-level missions over Cuba to confirm the presence of Soviet ballistic missiles. Several years later, F-8s logged strike and combat air patrol flights throughout the Vietnam War, downing eighteen MiGs in aerial combat, the best kill ratio of any jet in that war—19:3. The F-8 flew for the Marines, too, in countless low-altitude, close air support missions.

Century Wings’ F-8s are undeniably excellent, right down to their tampo emblems. So if you’re looking for an impressive little pistol-packin’, rootin’ tootin’ cowboy, this one will do nicely. I wouldn’t wait too long, though: stock is thin and getting thinner.
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:52 AM   #127
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The Douglas A-26 "Invader," though a doughty, lethal light/medium bomber and high-speed assault platform, was available only in limited numbers by 1950 and could fly only in clear-weather. The Korean War placed severe and sometimes barely doable demands on this warbird, sending top brass screaming for a speedy new bomb-laden attack aircraft.

Enter the British English Electric Canberra, a record-setting, twin-engine, multi-crew bomber that excelled the USAF’s demands. The Glen L. Martin Company won a license to produce these fine warbirds (in the USA), reducing crew from three to two and installing 2 x Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojets instead of Rolls-Royce Avons. Combat radius exceeded 950 miles, service ceiling 45,110 feet, and rate-of-climb 6,280 feet per minute. Armament included 4 x 20mm M39 autocannons with 290 rounds per gun. The bomb bay hefted up to 4,500lbs of bombs (including nuclear payloads) while external hardpoints lugged up to 2,800lbs of ordnance and underwing unguided rockets.

No big surprise, the B-57 arrived too late for the Korean War. Martin produced 403 examples anyway from 1953 to 1957, roughly half being sent to Vietnam, 1965, bombing, strafing, and rocketing the snot out of enemy combatants, losing 58 against 94 deployed.

I really, really like my Corgi Canberra AA37404. Corgi swatted this model out of the park with a first-rate satin finish and superb tampo insignia. And (drum roll, please) … the AA34704 is still available, at least in Europe. You can find the AA34705 (British Canberra) at Aikens for $79.95 (as of this writing).
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:56 AM   #128
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Corgi should put out way more Canberras. Gorgeous bird and many (fairly modern) liveries to be made.

Also a heavily modified version could be made into a NASA WB-57. Now that would be the star of my collection.
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Old 12-20-2015, 01:51 PM   #129
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A few more graphics for your viewing pleasure ...
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Old 12-20-2015, 03:51 PM   #130
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What a great thread this is! Thanks for getting us to discover these treasures.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:17 PM   #131
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Thank you, checking6. The pleasure is mine.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:06 AM   #132
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Lost on a bidding war for the P-51B mustang GALFT2007 (captured)...crazy stupid price...
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Old 12-21-2015, 08:50 AM   #133
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In April of 1934, the Reichluftfahrtministerium (RLM or State Air Ministry) issued a spec for a Zerstörer, or "destroyer," a long-range, two-engined, two-seater aircraft intended to accompany German bombers on long missions and "destroy" enemy fighters. As envisioned, this Wunderplane's speed and heavy armament would offset its marginal maneuverability, while two engines, two crew members, and ample fuel capacity would drive it deep into enemy territory.

Wilhelm Emil "Willy" Messerschmitt (German aircraft designer and manufacturer) had serious doubts about the proposed warbird, certain the two-engine design (and subsequent range issue) would compromise its survivability; but Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring was insistent, obliging Herr Messerschmitt to produce the Bf 110 regardless.

Unfortunately, the Battle of Britain proved Willie right. While the forward-firing armament of the Eisenseiten ("Ironsides" as Göring called the Bf 110) was undeniably lethal, its maneuverability was lethargic (the plane could hardly turn inside opposing fighters to engage them), its single defensive MG 15 was impotent, and the warbird’s acceleration and speed were disappointing. To demonstrate this, the RAF shot down 120 Bf 110s during August 1940; within weeks the Zerstörer Gruppen had lost 40% of its strength, losses rising to 303 by the end of the Battle of Britain.

Not exactly encouraging news to fatso Göring, yet …

By 1943, the air war had shifted to Germany, where the Allies bombed Germany day and night. To better resist this onslaught, the Luftwaffe equipped Bf 110 G and H versions with radar and sent them aloft as night-fighters. And presto! The Bf 110 swiftly redeemed itself by batting British bombers out of Germany’s skies with ease. Luftwaffe night fighter ace Heinz-Wolfgang Schnauffer, "The Night Ghost of St.Trond," ended the war with 121 aerial victories, nearly all achieved with the Bf 110.

A short note on terminology …

In 1938, the Air Ministry suggested Herr Messerschmitt change his company's name from Bayerische Flugzeugwerke to Messerschmitt A.G., the Ministry’s way of honoring Willi’s accomplishments. Subsequent aircraft would be identified with the "Me" prefix; but those already in production, the 109 and 110, would retain the "Bf" designator. Even so, those in the USAAF (and other air forces), incorrectly referred to the Bf 109 as the "Me 109" and the Bf 110 as the "Me 110."

All I can say is, Corgi's Bf 110 AA38502 is a tour de force. The model represents Schnauffer's old mount; and folks, let me tell ya, it honest to goodness rocks. Paint application, shape and color accuracy, tampo application, bristling radar—it's extraordinary. Hobby Master's HA1805 ain't so bad, either, though I'm not too fond of the seam circumscribing its schnoz.

I can't find a single AA38502 anywhere, so you might experience more than a little trouble finding one. Aikens, I'm told, still has a few Hobby Master HA1805s in stock for $59.95. (A word of advice: If you fly either of these superlative models against your Corgi Lancs or Hallibags, sneak up on the Brits from below and behind and aim for their engines. One stray cannon round to their bellies might hit a bomb and blow you and your dog out the front door.)
Attached Thumbnails
Gone but Not Forgotten-bf110g-4-aa38502.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-bf110g-4-ha1805a.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-me-110.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-messerschmitt_bf_110.jpg  
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:21 PM   #134
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A few more graphics, sans narratives, for your viewing pleasure ...
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:58 AM   #135
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Most experts agree that "Heinemann's Hot Rod," the A-4 Skyhawk, was among the best jet aircraft to ever serve with the US Navy and Marine Corps. It was small, light weight, speedy, could lug some stinking, hefty ordinance—and looked amazingly frosty doing it.

Navy higher-ups were concerned the A-1 Skyraider was getting a bit long in the tooth way back in Korean War days and fancied a suitable replacement. The A-1’s heir-apparent, the piston-engined A-2D Skyshark, proved to be a big, steaming pile of cowplop, forcing the Navy boys to cast about for another alternative. Ed Heinemann, chief designer at Douglas, stepped up and produced a cute little bug of a jet, shoved a Pratt & Whitney J65 engine up its can, and voilà! A star was born.

The “Scooter” was a conventional post-WWII design, sporting a low-mounted delta-like wing, tricycle undercarriage, and intakes on the fuselage’s sides. It carried two 20mm Colt Mk 12 cannons, one in each wing root lumbered with 200 rounds per gun, plus a large variety of bombs, rockets, and missiles slung from hardpoints beneath the fuselage centerline and wings. The last Skyhawk model, the A-4F, introduced a host of enhancements, much of it stuffed inside an avionics-housing "hump" squatting just behind the cockpit and running along the fuselage’s dorsal spine.

Combat wise, the Bantam Bomber was the Navy's primary light bomber during the early years of the war in Vietnam. It flew some of the first air strikes and, fittingly, dropped the last US bomb on Vietnamese soil. The US Navy eventually replaced the Skyhawk with the A-7 Corsair II.

Years later, Israeli Air Force Skyhawks served as the principal ground attack aircraft in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War, suffering the majority of losses to state-of-the-art SA-6 missile batteries. During the Falklands Conflict with dumb bombs only, Argentine Air Force Skyhawks sank the HMS Coventry (D118), HMS Antelope (F170) and RFA Sir Galahad (1966) besides inflicting heavy damage to several others like HMS Glasgow (D88), HMS Argonaut, HMS Broadsword and RFA Sir Tristram. Argentine Navy A-4Q's also sank a British ship, the HMS Ardent (F184). To return the favor, the Brits shot down 22 Skyhawks.

One of the two models you see below, Hobby Master’s HA1405 Australian Navy A4-G, is among my favorite Scooters, mostly for its exceptional Aussie livery. If you can find one at this late date, more power to you. The other Skyhawk, Lady Jessie, is a treasure, too, selling on eBay weeks ago for over $185. They’re definitely expensive but worth every penny.
Attached Thumbnails
Gone but Not Forgotten-australian-4-c-.jpg   Gone but Not Forgotten-4f-skyhawk-lady-jessie-c-.jpg  
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:20 AM   #136
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Richtofen, I'm a fan of this thread and its a blast to revisit older models and reading up on your write up. Its too easy to overlook and put them on the backburner with the endless chase of new releases. Two thumbs up for you
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:32 PM   #137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richtofen288 View Post
Models have the unconscionable habit of slipping away forevermore, here one day, gone the next. And unless we throw a little love their way and remember them, they tend to get ignored.

So to pay tribute to these honored treasures, those that are no longer in production and no longer available—anywhere, I offer you several graphics to celebrate their greatness. It’s my way of thanking Corgi and Hobby Master and other manus for enabling our zinc addiction.

No reply is necessary (unless you wish to share your enthusiasm, too, which is more than welcome).

Let’s start with Hobby Master's superlative, showstopping CF-104 RCAF, HM1011 …

The color combo is stunning: The metallic finish is near perfect; its white wings, red wing tanks, red horizontal stabilizers, and striking RCAF emblems really—and I mean really—pop.

Canadians have a penchant for elegant, if not dazzling, aircraft paint schemes, and this hot rod jet is no exception. If you can find one (and that'll prove difficult, believe me), don't hesitate. Pull the trigger. You'll thank yourself.
I was at my LHS last weekend to pick up some paints and saw they have the above plane on the shelf. I could not see the sticker price on the box though. What would be a good price for it new ?
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:10 PM   #138
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Gouch, thank you for you kind comment. I very much appreciate it, believe me.

cng123, a "good price" depends on how desperately you covet a particular model and the size of your savings account. "Good" to me might be absolutely horrifying to you—or visa versa. I've wanted models so badly in the past I well-nigh raided Fort Knox to purchase them, though on reflection I spent waay too much.

As for Hobby Master's CF-104 RCAF, HM1011, I'd pay big bucks for it (within reason). I own one (thank goodness), so I don't have to worry about it. But if I didn't, I might kick out around $150 (USD), maybe more, considering they're all but impossible to find. I've gotta add, though, that the model and box would have to be MINT.

Like I said in that blurb, Canadian warbirds are downright stylish, even classy, the CF-104 HM1011 being no exception. It's tough to find, it's striking, and a lot of collectors would kill their mother-in-law to snatch one if they could only find it.

You might want to buy that puppy ASAP. Don’t walk to your store—RUN!!!
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:25 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by Richtofen288 View Post
Gouch, thank you for you kind comment. I very much appreciate it, believe me.

cng123, a "good price" depends on how desperately you covet a particular model and the size of your savings account. "Good" to me might be absolutely horrifying to you—or visa versa. I've wanted models so badly in the past I well-nigh raided Fort Knox to purchase them, though on reflection I spent waay too much.

As for Hobby Master's CF-104 RCAF, HM1011, I'd pay big bucks for it (within reason). I own one (thank goodness), so I don't have to worry about it. But if I didn't, I might kick out around $150 (USD), maybe more, considering they're all but impossible to find. I've gotta add, though, that the model and box would have to be MINT.

Like I said in that blurb, Canadian warbirds are downright stylish, even classy, the CF-104 HM1011 being no exception. It's tough to find, it's striking, and a lot of collectors would kill their mother-in-law to snatch one if they could only find it.

You might want to buy that puppy ASAP. Don’t walk to your store—RUN!!!
Thanks for the info. This store sometimes has old inventory of good stuff left. For example I picked up the FOV F14 Black Knights 1/72 brand new for $40 US from this store 2 months ago.
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:39 AM   #140
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It's downright mindboggling that a group of men designed the B-52 over a weekend in a hotel room binging on Dr. Pepper sodas, but it happened just that way. On October 21, 1948, Boeing Chief Engineer Ed Wells and his design team were in Dayton, Ohio, when the Air Force's chief of bomber development told them to design a new eight-engine jet bomber—and quickly. Which they did. And how!

The boys submitted not only the plans for the beast but a balsa wood scale model, too, along with a 33-page report. USAF reps were so gobsmacked they ran screaming from the room with delirium, and the first B-52A flew years later on August 5, 1954, a brilliant exhibition of good ol' American know-how. Naturally, the B-52 swiftly chalked up a stack of distance and speed records. It almost immediately chopped the round-the-world speed record in half; and in January 1962 it flew 12,500 miles nonstop from Japan to Spain without refueling (breaking 11 distance and speed records in the process).

With each variant, the B-52 improved in range, power, and facility. In all, Boeing produced 744 B-52s between 1952 and 1962. And—get this—experts say the B-52 will continue to serve up to and beyond 2040 (schlepping along on crutches, no doubt).

This massive, magnificent monster (known affectionately as BUFF or big ugly fat fellow) served right through the Cold War as a nuclear deterrent, a dedicated bomber and reconnaissance platform in the Vietnam War, and a carpet-bombing maniac against the Iraqi Army in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. More recently, the B-52 flew in the 2001 assault on Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom). And … she currently maintains the title of the longest serving bomber in United States' military history. TAH-DAH!

In other words, the B-52 is an unapologetic, kick-‘em-in-the-nutsack superman able (and willing) to stomp an enemy to bits and do it over and over again.

The only mistake Corgi made producing this little treasure is it didn’t make nearly enough versions: So far the manu has issued eight separate B-52s, each a tribute to the company’s model-making genius. Unearthing these models is flat-out impossible, though you might be able to find two or three. They’re colon-evacuating awesome by any standard, but caution: If you buy one, you'll want the rest and go insane trying to dig them up. So I lift my can of Dr. Pepper and wish you loads of luck!
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Old 12-23-2015, 07:29 PM   #141
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More graphics, sans narratives ... enjoy!
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:26 AM   #142
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Any sane military diecast collector will tell you, the Century Wings F-14 Tomcat is by far the most cherished, coveted, sought-after USN jet model in the entire universe (at least until the Hobby Master version shows up). And why not? This gorgeous jet oozed with intimidation; one glance from its virile, fierce eyes sent other jets screaming for mercy (I’m not kidding; I saw it happen).


Think you know everything about F-14s? I'll bet ya don't. I'll even prove it: Here are 16 things you didn't know about the Tomcat …


1. The F-14 borrowed its remarkable variable sweep wings from a legendary X Plane

We're talking about the Bell X-5, which could reposition its wings, too—years before the F-14 was even conceived. The Bell boys swiped the idea from the Messerschmitt P-1101, which itself had a, ahem, need for speed.


2. The very first F-14 crashed on its second flight

On December 30, 1971, the prototype suffered a hydraulic failure shortly following takeoff and mimicked a lawn dart, making a whopping, smoking hole in the ground. Fortunately, both crew members ejected safely. Unfortunately, a year and a half later, the pilot died in a separate F-14 crash.


3. With afterburners, the engines produced over 55,000 pounds of thrust

That’s a lot, considering the Tomcat weighed 43,000 pounds (sans bombs and stuff).


4. Flat out, the F-14 could top 1,500 mph

Purty fast, huh? Problem was, it then had to come to a dead stop on a tossing, heaving building, otherwise known as an aircraft carrier. Lots of Tomcat pilots walked away with stiff necks.


5. Engineers constructed a custom street rod Tomcat that could rocket from Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.8 in 90 seconds

That’s basically 600 mph to nearly 1,400 mph. Grumman engineers were bored one day and crammed two honkin', powerful engines up an F-14's rear just to watch the fireworks. The result was a blistering fast mega-monster that routinely circled the earth four times a second, but the Navy opted against producing more (nobody knows why).


6. The wings had a special setting for parking

“Tucked” was the operable word, the wings pushed waay back to accommodate sardine-like accomodations aboard ship.


7. The F-14 helped Paul Newman win his first SCCA Championship

Folklore has it that Newman was experiencing brake issues with his Triumph TR6 race car and asked a friend for help. At the time, said friend (working at GM) had access to a promising new F-14 brake fluid developed by DOW and Grumman. Fortunately for Paul, his TR6’s brake system used mineral oil, which was pretty much compatible with the stuff. Numerous calls, much cussing, and a little name-dropping later, one gallon of the substance found its way to Newman, who danced a jig and eventually won the national championship.


8. An Iranian F-14 pilot aced his USN counterparts

Jalil Zandi of the IRIAF shot down 11 Iraqi planes during the Iran-Iraq war. USN F-14 pilots, by comparison, shot down but four Libyan Air Force aircraft in two aerial engagements between 1980 and 1989. Embarrasing.


9. F-14 pilots hunted Soviet bombers for sport

During the Cold War, Soviet bomber crews habitually flew too close to USN carrier groups, which was like waving a red flag (get it?) at a bull. F-14s took the bait, launched, and lovingly escorted these creeps away, taking note of the Soviet bombers’ new armaments. No bull!


10. The Tomcat's radar could simultaneously track up to 24 different targets

…which required a very big platform to accommodate the radar (which explains the Tomcat’s sizeable size). When the F/A-18 stepped in, the radar system was downsized.


11. It was lethal at a range of over 115 miles

The AIM-54 Phoenix missile was linked to the F-14’s radar and had a range of 100 nautical miles, or 115 regular miles. Splash one Ruskie!


12. A test pilot once fired all six missiles simultaneously

The Navy was itching to see what a Tomcat/Phoenix fusillade could do. So an F-14 fired off its six missiles within a span of 38 seconds, hitting four targets and missing two. Oops!


13. The F-14 was a US Navy staple for 32 years to the day

Officially, the Tomcat flew from September 22, 1974 to September 22, 2006.


14. Only Iranian F-14s still fly

The current state of Iran’s Tomcat fleet remains a mystery (officially, wink, wink). Iran deployed nearly 80 F-14s back in the day.


15. And the reason Iran bought them? Unparalleled showmanship!


Eons ago when Iran was an ally, America treated the Shah to a fly-off between the F-14 and F-15, praying he’d choose one of the two for his air force. As the F-15 performed its demo, the Tomcat's crew passed the time burning off excess fuel to make the jet appear lighter, faster, and more sprightly. Flying past, they nudged the jet’s wings back and forth to enhance its "Wow!" factor, which wildly impressed the Shah, who straightaway ordered 80 Tomcats.


16. Most American F-14s were shredded upon retirement

Later, when Iran chewed on America’s wazoo, the USN did everthing possible to keep spare Tomcat parts out of the Ayatollah's hands. The concern was, Iran would somehow finagle these parts through the US boneyard in Arizona, which prompted authorities to destroy the livin’ crap out of the planes. Only museum centerpieces remain today.


Century Wings' "Black Aces" Tomcat, No. 588684, is one of my favorite Century Wings F-14s. Something about its black raccoon face and black/red ace-of-spades tail emblems really does it for me; by every standard she's an absolute livin' doll. AND, hold your breath, it's still available; but be prepared to sell your mother-in-law for one (a not-so terrible prospect). Prices these days often start north of $400.
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Old 12-24-2015, 03:14 PM   #143
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Oy. I really regret not bidding higher for the Gemini Aces P-51B Mustang (captured) that was up for bid on eBay last week. Oh well, hopefully I'll have some good luck in the next couple of months hunting this bird.
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Old 12-24-2015, 03:52 PM   #144
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Century Wings SR-71: SRW 61-7960 The 50th Anniversary Signature Edition Limited to 500 models.



Century Wings came out with the SR-71 and they flew off the shelves almost as fast as the real aircraft. This model done in a 1:72 scale is an awesome piece, pushing the envelope in size for most dies cast manufacturers. Made up of both metal and plastic, it still is a very nice model and coveted among aviation collectors. You will see most of these on the secondary market within a year at double the original retail price. This model celebrated the 50th anniversary of the SR-71 flights from 1964 to 2014. This particular model is made famous by pilots Brian Shul & RSO Mr. Walter L. Watson, who flew this particular aircraft and then wrote a few books which are considered classics in aviation market. His web site: Welcome to SledDriver.com, where you can see his books selling in the hundreds and well worth it. Given the popularity of his books, this particular release by Century Wings is almost assuredly going to be a sought after collectors piece down the road and well worth getting in your collection before the prices really skyrocket. As is, they are sold out now and are already gaining in price as such.

The SR-71 Blackbird is still the fastest plane that has ever flown and served an important role in history as a spy plane. It's first test flight was on December 22, 1964 and was never once hit by a missile during its 25 years of service. Though these awesome planes haven’t left the ground since before the turn of the century, they’re still worth all the recognition of being the fastest manned plane on Earth. I was born just as these started flying and as a kid, there was an emphasis on technologies that would drive the future. Watching Apollo at the same time as aviation hit the fourth generation of fighter jet design, it was an awesome time to see sleek fighter aircraft as well this come out of wraps to the public view. The SR-71 SCREAMED power and speed. Each engine produced 160,000 horsepower, the two together produced four times the power of the ocean liner the Queen Elizabeth. I was lucky to see one take off and the sound of those engines reverberate in your chest, just as powerful as watching the space shuttle launch. Ears shattering, those who witnessed it never would forget the experience of seeing it roar by.
It is the fastest air breathing aircraft that has ever taken to flight. The official fastest record it holds is 2,193.13 mph on July 1976. No SR-71 was ever lost to hostile activities although the Russians tried shooting over 1,000 missiles in an many efforts to knock it down. The Mig-31 Foxhound was created (started flying in 1981) to be a threat and said to be a serious one to the SR-71, although most in the SR-71 community deny that claim, noting the Foxhound flights never came close to threatening the aircraft. However, given the amount of resources and tries by Russia, by 2001, most felt it was an opportune time to look to other ways to accomplish it's intended spy missions.
The SR-71 was retired Late in 2001 due to political infighting on budgets as the CIA, NASA and USAF both shared in cost to keep it flying. There are no designated SR-71s still flying although the USAF is said to keep three of them in flight worthy condition and available if needed for the future.

Some numbers from the Blackbird family of planes:

35 miles per minute or 3,100 feet per second is how fast the SR-71 could fly
170,000 pounds was how much a fully fueled and outfitted Blackbird weighed
59,000 pounds was what one weighed empty
107 feet, 5 inches is the length of a Blackbird
85,000 feet is the official Blackbird ceiling, although it supposedly could fly higher
34,000 pounds of thrust were what each of the SR-71’s J-58 engines put out in afterburner
17,300 total sorties were flown by the Blackbird family of aircraft
3,551 of these sorties were operational missions
11,675 hours were spent over mach three
53,490 total flight hours were amassed on the fleet
Just 8 crew members had more than 1,000 hours in the jet
Only 86 SR-71 pilots and 86 RSOs flew operational missions
385 total persons have reached mach three in a Blackbird, including 105 VIPs
478 total people have flown in Blackbirds
32 SR-71s were built
50 total Blackbird family aircraft were built (A-12, YF-12, SR-71, M-21)
1 hour and 4 minutes was how fast the SR-71 could go from Los Angeles to Washington D.C.
$33,000,000 was the cost to build a single SR-71 Blackbird
900 degrees Fahrenheit was how hot the SR-71’s skin got during high-speed runs
3,200 degrees Fahrenheit was the temperature of the J-58 engine’s exhaust at maximum output
Over 1,000 missiles were launched at the SR-71 without any losses
5 pounds is how much weight a SR-71 crew member could lose in their pressure suit during a four our mission
85 percent of the Blackbird’s skin is titanium, the other 15 percent is carbon composites
2.5G was the SR-71’s structural stress limit
About 16 “starts” per engine worth of Triethylborane (TEB) were carried on an SR-71 mission as the Blackbird’s engines could not be restarted in the air without the TEB accelerant.
140 degrees Fahrenheit was the flash-point of the SR-71’s JP-7 fuel. Normal jet fuel has a flash-point of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
56 KC-135s were converted to KC-135Q/Ts that could refuel Blackbirds
20 of the 50 Blackbird aircraft family were written off in crashes and mishaps
6 inches is how much longer the SR-71 would grow at high speed due to heat expansion
Zero was the number of computers used to design the Blackbird, all done by slide rulers.

Century continues to make the SR-71 models, but this particular one, with it's celebrated pilots and missions, is undeniably the one to add for serious collectors and is sure to gain value over the years.
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Old 12-25-2015, 08:59 AM   #145
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As implausible as it sounds, the Ju-88 had American roots. Though credited to Junkers chief designer, Dipl. Ing. Zindel, American Alfred Gassner and German associate W. H. Evers actually designed the Schnell Bomber. Read that again ...

An AMERICAN designed the Junkers Ju-88—the best, most accomplished, most elegant all-around German bomber ever!

Hugo Junkers, always on the lookout for aeronautical talent, discovered the duo touring Germany in the mid ‘30s and forthwith engaged them to design his new bomber. Work began on January 15, 1936 and ended on December 21, 1936, when the JU-88V1 took to the air on its inaugural flight. Junkers chief test pilot Flugkapitän Kinderman totally raved about the aircraft’s handling characteristics and robustness, sure the bomber would not only impress the Führer but fulfill his crazy, world-conquering designs, too. Gassner and Evers, in the mean time, returned to the United States, receiving not even a smidgeon of official recognition.

Either to Gassner’s credit or everlasting shame (depending on how you look at it), the Ju-88 became one of the most versatile Nazi combat aircraft of the war, operating in nearly every kind of combat role, including dive bomber, level bomber, night fighter, day interceptor, photographic reconnaissance, tank destroyer, and even unpiloted missile. The assembly line ran continuously from 1936 to 1945, where more than 16,000 Ju-88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout production, the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged, confirming the brilliance of the original design. Gassner and Evers, apparently, knew their stuff.

Corgi’s night-fighter version, the Ju-88 C-4, is downright sinister, black garb and all (kind of reminds me of Darth Vader). I can only imagine what flying the real thing was like, chasing down and obliterating Hallibags and Lancasters in the dark. You can still find this winged wonder on eBay, but sellers usually demand lots of Cheddar for it. When the next one pops up (if it ever does), give it a look; it’s worth the cheese. The Corgi AA36705 Ju-88 A-1 “Adler Tag” is just as cool, just as desirable—and just as difficult to bag.

Oh, and Merry Christmas, everybody!!!
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Last edited by Richtofen288; 12-25-2015 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 12-26-2015, 09:48 AM   #146
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Default Re: Gone but Not Forgotten

Five more graphics ... enjoy!
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:58 AM   #147
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Quick: Can you name the one Allied warbird the Luftwaffe respected (and feared) more than any other?

I can: The de Havilland Mosquito.

And what makes me think so? German fighter pilots were allowed to claim two "kills" for each Mosquito they shot down, a distinction accorded no other Allied aircraft—fighter or bomber. Meaning, the Germans considered the Mosquito Satan incarnate and worth zwei (two) kills. Why did the Mosquito scare the livin' crap out of the Nazis? ‘Cause catching and swatting a Mosquito was nearly impossible; getting your tail shot off by this hell spawn was considerably more likely. Historians agree: This two-engined killing machine literally sapped the Luftwaffe’s morale; the Germans had nothing like or equal to it. (Fatso Göring was so awestricken with the Mosquito he commissioned the Focke-Wulf Ta 154—and called it the "Moskito").

And there you have it: My favorite WWII warbird, the Mossie, in all its plywood glory, the “Wooden Wonder,” the “Timber Terror,” the best fighter/bomber that ever was. And no, I’m not tryin’ to blow smoke up your caboose. A whole world of warbird aficionados agree (read Sir Max Hastings’ remarks below): The Mossie was the most versatile and accomplished airplane produced by any nation fighting on any front during WWII. It beat out the Spitfire, the Mustang, the Fw-190 Dora, the Lanc, the Me-262—the list goes on and on. Consider these proofs:

1) The Mosquito, designed by the British aviator pioneer Geoffrey de Havilland (somebody should have given this guy a medal), was originally conceived and served as a superlative fast bomber but won further distinction as a day fighter, U-boat hunter, night fighter, reconnaissance platform, and pathfinder for large-scale bombing attacks.

2) As a long range, high altitude reconnaissance platform, the Mosquito was the first Allied plane to photograph war-time Berlin, and the first to photograph the V-2 rocket.

3) As a night fighter, the Mosquito attacked German bombers and later V-1 Buzz bombs over England, and as an offensive night fighter over Europe, relentlessly harassed German night fighters.

4) Because of its nimbleness, the warbird executed some of the most stunning, low-level precision bombing ever—including a precision strike on Gestapo headquarters in Oslo, Norway, and an assault on a prison in Amiens that breached the walls, giving condemned resistance fighters a chance to escape. Mosquitos also harried a Berlin radio station where Hermann Göring was about to deliver a speech. The British newsreel triumphantly reported later that the “fat Field Marshal” had been delayed by one hour.

5) The Mossie also intercepted long-range German anti-shipping bombers and were later armed with a 6 pounder canon, then 60 pound rockets, to punch holes in U boats.

6) The RAF modified some Mosquitoes to carry 4,000 pound cookie bombs on diversionary raids.

7) The Mosquito could carry the equivalent load of a B-17, reach the target in half the time, evade flak and marauding enemy fighters with comparative ease, hit the target with more than twice the accuracy, and fly home with a 50% or better chance of survival. And, if it did get shot down, only two crew members were lost compared to ten on a Fortress.

The horrifying thing is, this starlet nearly got the axe. With the fall of France and the Dunkirk evacuation, the Ministry of Aircraft Production provisionally dumped the Mosquito. But given urgent need and the fact that the warbird used “non-strategic” materials (read: wood), it escaped an early grave. The Allies owed a lot to the carpenters and joiners (erstwhile furniture and cabinet-makers) who shaped and glued this wonderkid together. (The paradox is, this unique characteristic (wood) became the Mosquito’s principal weakness: While metal-framed aircraft endured, most Mosquitos eventually rotted away in their hangars.)

Sir Max Hastings, the eminent historian, feels strongly about the Mosquito's place in history: “The Mosquito helped transform the fortunes of the bomber offensive. It was obvious that this was a real game changer. In many ways, from the outset it became plain that the Mosquito was a much more remarkable aircraft than the Lancaster. Yes, the Lancaster is the aircraft that everybody identifies with Bomber Command, but in many ways the Mosquito, although it has received much less attention, was a much more remarkable aircraft.”

He added: “You’ve got the range, the height, the speed. It can do anything and in that sense, I think some of us would argue this is a more remarkable design achievement than the Spitfire."

A total 7,781 Mosquitoes were built; 6,710 during WWII.

Little more need be said except that Corgi did a bang-up job on its Mossies, though the mold is a bit dated. Corgi Mosquitos are exceptional by every standard and rightly deserve a place in your WWII collection. A few are still available.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:24 PM   #148
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Three more graphics for your viewing pleasure ...
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:28 AM   #149
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Default Re: Gone but Not Forgotten

Excellent thread and writing Richtofen, thank you!

Agree about the Mossie. Probably the world's first true multirole fighter, a very common type today. It was better at doing certain jobs than aircraft specifically designed for that purpose. Speed + decent payload just made it good at everything.
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:50 AM   #150
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The AT-6 Texan put the “He” in “Hero”! This grand old warrior not only transitioned pilots from biplanes to monoplanes in the USAAF, the US Navy, the RAF, and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during WWII through the ‘70s, the USAF also deployed it as a forward air control aircraft during the Korean War and, to a lesser extent, the Vietnam War.

Not to mention …

The Syrian Air Force employed it in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, providing ground support for Syrian troops and launching strikes against Israeli airfields, ships, and columns.

And the Israeli Air force (IAF) flew nine of them in the final stages of the same punch-up—against Egyptian ground forces.

The Royal Hellenic Air Force employed T-6D and G Texans for close air support, observation, and artillery spotting duties during the Greek Civil War.

And the RAF used the Texan (Harvard) against the Mau Mau in the 1950s. In fact, a Harvard became the longest–serving aircraft in the RAF, having flown for that noble air force from 1945 through the ‘90s (yep—you read that right) as a trainer and finally a chase plane for helicopter test flights.

France deployed Texans during the Algerian War, arming them with machine guns and bombs.

And Portugal used more than a hundred T-6Gs (souped-up versions of the Texan) in the counter insurgency role during the Portuguese Colonial War.

The Argentine Navy, in 1955, dispatched Texans against government troops during La Revolución Libertadora.

And the Spanish Air Force dispatched T-6s as counterinsurgency aircraft in the Ifni War, armed with machine guns, iron bombs and rockets. The Spaniards praised the Texan for its dependability, safety record, and resistance to damage.

And … the Pakistan Air Force deployed T-6Gs in 1972 against Indian Army transport vehicles.

Whew! We’re talkin’ a hardworkin’, hard-charging warhorse of an airplane.

As for WWII, many old-timer pilots can claim (and rightly) that the “Pilot Maker” ably readied them to hop into the cockpit of their Mustang or Hellcat (or whatever fighter), the majority of American pilots in WWII winning their wings in the beast. She was a hard-boiled, no-nonsense, kick-'em-in-the-butt aircraft that justifiably earned the Allies’ everlasting praise.

The AT-6 wasn’t pretty (she was, in fact, fiercely unappealing), but she did everything asked of her and more. U.S. Navy pilots flew the trainer extensively, calling it the SNJ (just to be contrary). Two generations of Naval Aviators trained in the SNJ, and a number of aviators made their first carrier landings in it.

RAF interest in the Texan (or Harvard Mk I, as the Brits called it) sprouted as early as 1938 when it ordered 200 through the Commonwealth Air Training Program. These and subsequent Harvards trained cadets on instrument flying in inclement British weather (among other ghastly conditions). Senior officers fell in love with the monster, ofttimes gallivanting over the English countryside logging required airtime in it (sometimes in company with adoring females).

Some say Hobby Master’s AT-6 Texan represents the best in military diecast model making, and I tend to agree. This model really is a masterwork of accuracy, paint work, attention to detail, and downright artistry (just take a gander at the frames on its greenhouse canopy). The Texan (SJN or Harvard) didn’t shoot up Messerschmitts or Zeros, but it ably trained pilots to fly fighters that did, and it went on to kick a few heinies here and there just for fun. For that and its many exploits, these models deserve a place in your collection. So buy one. BUY THEM ALL!!!
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