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Old 03-07-2017, 12:42 PM   #351
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Vicky still appears to be out there for reasonable prices and availability, but good luck finding any of the older models.
fortunately i'm not looking. well at least not yet
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:08 AM   #352
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To my collector friends out there who didn’t begin military diecast collecting until relatively recently: Grab some oldie-but-goldie models while they last—if and when and where you can.

Why?

Because the old stuff is growing ever more precious and desirable (depending on the model), which means many are correspondingly harder to find and higher in costnot to mention they're downright gorgeous and you might not see their like again. So if you’re looking to flesh out your growing collection, you might consider grabbing one or two of the classics rather than, say, the latest, ubiquitous F-14 Tomcat.

Might add that times are a changin’ in the diecast world. Talk abounds that Hornby, weary of revenue loss, plans to kick Corgi to the proverbial curb (the latest rumor); and other companies, I won’t say which, are cheerlessly eyeing their ever-shrinking bottom lines and making adjustments. Nobody knows where this is going.

Buy the old stuff if you can. You’ll thank yourself.
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:31 AM   #353
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To my collector friends out there who didn’t begin military diecast collecting until relatively recently: Grab some oldie-but-goldie models while they last—if and when and where you can.

Why?

Because the old stuff is growing ever more precious and desirable (depending on the model), which means many are correspondingly harder to find and higher in costnot to mention they're downright gorgeous and you might not see their like again. So if you’re looking to flesh out your growing collection, you might consider grabbing one or two of the classics rather than, say, the latest, ubiquitous F-14 Tomcat.

Might add that times are a changin’ in the diecast world. Talk abounds that Hornby, weary of revenue loss, plans to kick Corgi to the proverbial curb (the latest rumor); and other companies, I won’t say which, are cheerlessly eyeing their ever-shrinking bottom lines and making adjustments. Nobody knows where this is going.

Buy the old stuff if you can. You’ll thank yourself.
sound advice indeed. well not all old releases (some are awful duds) but generally there was a time the manus took pride in what they churned out. they had their eyes on quality and some of the engineering work they did bordered on ingenious. i had the great fortune of getting hm's early release brewster buffalo and that twisty gear mechanism is awesome. i don't collect bombers specifically and hence my stance about the halifax. but i understand exactly where monsieur richtofen is coming from. monsieur ukrainian falcons once said that the hobby may be seeing its twilight years... and i'm beginning understand why. you just have to see the popularity of the modern day jets to see the trend... how many f22s/f35s have hm made? compare this with say the f4s or even the f14s. then again, there may be a change in collection habits, perhaps? who knows? but again, the manufacturers will not likely do a similar scheme... unless perhaps anniversary releases
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Old 03-08-2017, 05:35 PM   #354
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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.
Alas, seeing this opening photo makes me kind of sad. It confirms again that I may never be able to find one of these beauties
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:56 PM   #355
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Another great post R888, cheers
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:15 PM   #356
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Alas, seeing this opening photo makes me kind of sad. It confirms again that I may never be able to find one of these beauties
Don't despair, Brent. I just tonight discovered and purchased a rare Dragon Armor tank I've been looking for for three years. So keep your chin up; you might be surprised and delighted someday soon.

And tomcatter, tker76, and Kruse, thanks so much for your support. It makes producing these write-ups all the more fun!
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:23 PM   #357
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Don't despair, Brent. I just tonight discovered and purchased a rare Dragon Armor tank I've been looking for for three years. So keep your chin up; you might be surprised and delighted someday soon.

And tomcatter, tker76, and Kruse, thanks so much for your support. It makes producing these write-ups all the more fun!
on the contrary... i think it is we who should be thanking you for providing such excellent write ups. keep 'em coming!
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:43 AM   #358
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Thank you Richtofen888 I appreciate the words of encouragement.
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Old 03-13-2017, 04:20 AM   #359
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Thank you Richtofen888 I appreciate the words of encouragement.
guess that'll be your holy grail of diecast. they do appear now and then... just be prepared to pay the price
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:22 AM   #360
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guess that'll be your holy grail of diecast. they do appear now and then... just be prepared to pay the price
I'm sure there will be a big price tag, when/if I find one that is available. Having a focused collecting theme allows one the freedom to rationalize the expensive ones right?...
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:44 AM   #361
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I'm sure there will be a big price tag, when/if I find one that is available. Having a focused collecting theme allows one the freedom to rationalize the expensive ones right?...
lol... only if you gotto catch 'em all. only if you gotto catch 'em all
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Old 03-13-2017, 10:28 AM   #362
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Flight Lieutenant Jules Pankhurst, 101 Squadron, received last-minute orders to replace his squadron leader, Harry Sopel, who’d suddenly taken ill. He was instructed to fly Sopel’s VC-10C, loaded with gravely wounded British military personnel, to Cyprus, two hours away. It was 2003, days following the occupation of the Basra airbase, and Flt Lt Pankhurst wasn’t entirely keen about this duty. His younger brother, Percival, was serving in the 1st Armoured Division and had escaped several close calls. Flying these poor, miserable souls to a distant medical facility brought the horror of war too close to home.

The morning was already so hot the VC-10’s aircrew were soaking in their jump suits. The poor casualties fared worse in the airless fuselage, cooking like sausages. Two dutiful medics tended to their needs.

A little more than half-way to Cyprus, flight engineer James Wright excused himself for the toilet, leaving Pankhurst and his co-pilot, Flt Lt David Coppock, alone. Cruising at 480kts at 25,000 ft, the erstwhile airliner flew steady and smooth until turbulence kicked it in the ribs, brutally jostling passengers and crew alike. Manhandling the controls, Jules steadied the plane again, irritated that the tumult caught him unawares. Surely the bouncing was rough on the stretcher-bound invalids, he thought.

With a glint of bother in his eyes, he glanced to his right rear to see if his flight engineer had returned in one piece—only to find a sergeant standing betwixt him and the cabin door adorned in battle dress. Oddly, neither Coppock nor Pankhurst had heard him enter nor had he made his presence known, a wholly irregular affair. This person was tuned halfway round and remained so until he pivoted sedately and stared directly at the pilot.

Pankhurst froze solid.

Percival, his brother, gazed back, eyebrows arched mischievously, the beginnings of a smile tipping the corners of his mouth. He said nothing as he studied his pilot brother for a long moment, his expression quickly turning to stone
then the apparition slowly, languidly, vanished into thin air. The cabin door opened at that instant, and Wright took his place behind Pankhurst and Coppock, taking little notice of the rattled pilot. Neither he nor the co-pilot had seen anything unusual.

Pankhurst swallowed hard, felt his heart beating violently, and said nothing of the sighting, choosing instead to remain quiet for fear of ridicule and/or possible psychiatric evaluation.

Upon landing at Cyprus, a medic approached the pilot with news that one of the severely wounded aboard had expired, no doubt assisted by the brutal buffeting encountered earlier. He was curious to know if Pankhurst and the deceased were related, seeing how they shared the same surname. Receiving no reply, the medic briskly handed the pilot a clip board complete with list and stomped away.

Pankhurst paused and nervously ran his hands through his hair, quite unable to view the roster. Then holding the clip board with trembling hands, he flinched as his eyes found the name of the dead man underlined on the listSergeant Percival Pankhurst of the Royal Armoured Corps, 1st Armoured Division. No one had told the pilot his wounded brother was aboard.

True story.



Collectors too often turn a blind eye to Corgi’s fabulous Vickers VC-10C Mk.1K. It doesn’t bristle with guns, cannons and/or bombs, making it, in some eyes, uninviting and in some insupposable way undesirable. But those who see this beauty up close and personal swiftly change their minds. I’ll simply say that Corgi’s superlative VC-10s rank among the best; they're hands-down gorgeous.
Grab this jet (or her sister military tanker, AA37003). You won’t be sorry.




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Old 03-13-2017, 10:54 AM   #363
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hehe... availability: 4/5
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:52 AM   #364
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Following Japan’s loss of Saipan in July 1944, things looked bad for Tojo and his homeboys. America was coming on like a juggernaut, and if somebody didn’t dream up a way to pulverize the USN in a big damned hurry, the war was over. The question was: How?

Vice Admiral Takashiro Ohnishi, commander of the Philippine First Air Fleet, stepped up to the plate. He’d personally witnessed a Zero accidentally collide with a USN cruiser and cause tremendous damage. He then reasoned the most potent way to sink Allied warships was to pile-drive planes into them, figuring that one crash did a lot more damage than 10 planes firing machine guns. Gin that up by hurtling an armada of bomb-laden Japanese planes into fat, juicy USN warships, and America’s navy was surely doomed. Ohnishi grinned wolfishly, did a drumroll with his chopsticks, and spread the word.

Musafum Arima, a Japanese Navy Admiral, took Ohnishi’s violent doctrine to heart and decided he’d set the supreme example. Tearing off his rank insignia and decorations, Arima hopped into a bombed-up Mitsubishi G4M Betty, told his men he didn’t intend to return alive, and flew off to attack the USS Franklin. True to his word, the admiral didn’t return, though no one knew for sure if he’d hit the carrier—or even come close to it. Either way, Japan posthumously lionized him for flying the first Kamikaze attack.

Many WWII aficionados assume that Kamikaze pilots were mindless rubes fresh from the rice paddies, but that’s not the case. Generally, these men were university students, under the age of 24, the majority majoring in engineering. All were impassioned and eager to sacrifice their lives for Emperor Hirohito, responding in such staggering numbers that only one plane was available for every three suicide pilots. These men received, on average, but 40 to 50 hours training on their assigned aircraft; most were escorted by more experienced pilots to their target areas.


The Mitsubishi A6M2

Nicknamed the "Zero," the Mitsubishi A6M2 became the unqualified Kamikaze weapon of choice. It flew at 332 mph with a range of 1,930 miles and could lumber enough of a bombload to sink, or at least damage, a sizeable ship. The Zero had won fame (or infamy) as the main strike aircraft deployed to Pearl Harbor, dominating the skies until mid 1943 when America fielded newer powerhouse fighter aircraft like the Hellcat and Corsair. Many other fighter and bomber types flew in the Kamikaze arsenal, too.


First attacks


On October 21, 1944, a Japanese A6M2 hefting a 441-pound bomb dove into the Australian cruiser HMAS Australia and exploded on impact, killing at least 30 crew members. On October 25, yet another Zero hit the Australia, forcing it to retire to the New Hebrides for repairs. That same day, five Zeros attacked the USS St. Lo, a U.S. escort carrier, off the Philippines coast; and though only one Kamikaze actually hit the ship, it triggered massive fires that caused the bomb magazine to explode, sinking the carrier. Japanese pilots also hit and damaged several other Allied ships. Thrilled with these results, Japan immediately expanded its suicide program to include purpose-built Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka rocket-bombs, small boats packed with explosives, and manned torpedoes (equipped with a 3000-pound warhead) called the Kaiten.

Iwo Jima and Okinawa

On February 19th, 1945, the USS Enterprise and other carriers took station off Iwo Jima and unleashed their squadrons against nearby enemy airfields while providing close air support for the Marines. By the time the Marines unfurled the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima's summit, Kamikaze attacks had sunk the escort flattop Bismarck Sea CVE-95, knocked the USS Saratoga CV 3 out of the war, and temporarily immobilized the Enterprise — all while harassing amphibious forces on the beachhead. On April 6th, 1945, 350 aircraft dove on the Allied fleet, 20 on the USS Laffey alone. The destroyer’s gunners clobbered a slew of Kamikazes, but six got through and slammed into the ship. Extraordinary courage and skillful firefighting kept the Laffey afloat.

By the 7th of April, Kamikazes were still attacking off Okinawa, crippling the USS Hancock. By April 16th, the Japanese damaged the USS Enterprise yet again as well as the flattop USS Intrepid; numerous picket destroyers were sunk or damaged. Admiral Marc A. Mitscher led Task Force 58 from his flagship, the carrier Bunker Hill CV-17. On May 11th, 1945, a Kamikaze crashed into the flagship and killed 350 of his men. The final Japanese defense of Okinawa was violent, costing the Americans 49,000 casualties, of which 12,520 died. More than 110,000 Japanese perished on the island.


In retrospect/War’s end

Only 11% of kamikaze attacks were successful; the remaining 89% caused no damage whatsoever. This means that merely 1 in 9 planes actually hit their targets; and yet, the destruction they wrought was breathtaking …

From October 25, 1944, to January 25, 1945, Kamikazes sank two escort carriers and three destroyers. They furthermore damaged 23 carriers, five battleships, nine cruisers, 23 destroyers and 27 other ships. American casualties amounted to 738 killed and another 1,300 wounded. The losses were so crippling the Navy didn’t report them, hoping to keep the news secret for fear of inspiring the enemy.

On the eve of the Japanese surrender, Admiral Takijiro Onishi committed hari-kari (ritual suicide), leaving a note of apology to his legion of dead pilots begging for their forgiveness. He was buried with his chopsticks.



Dragon Wings, back in the day, produced some outstanding WWII fighters, among them the Mitsubishi A6MB2 Type 21 Zero. But for its slightly wonky canopy, everything else about the bird is largely accurate. I really like the camo job on this particular model (#50049), but I don’t particularly like its fiddly bits and wobbly struts. Still, if you can land one of these Kamikaze bad boys, give it a try.


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Old 03-20-2017, 11:57 AM   #365
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the japanese threw everything they had against the us... but it wasn't enough. again, not glorifying japanese wanton destruction across the region, but i do love how advance the zeros were for their time, and it was utilitarian. the ingenuity of the japanese in adapting their uses were also a marvel. i have the aoshima zeros and they're awesome replicas. would've picked up a couple of dragons had i been into 72 scale props... but trying hard to resist, for now. anyway, 1/5 availability gives me some hope if ever i cross that line...
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:40 PM   #366
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... but trying hard to resist, for now. anyway, 1/5 availability gives me some hope if ever i cross that line...
Don't resist, tomcatter ... don't resist!!!
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:13 PM   #367
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Alas, seeing this opening photo makes me kind of sad. It confirms again that I may never be able to find one of these beauties
Happy to report I found/bought one of these yesterday !
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:59 AM   #368
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One of my chief joys is to sit down with an elderly academician friend of mine and carpet bomb his cherished liberal dogmas. I get away with it because we’re not only pals and he possesses a compassionate heart, but he also listens to me and occasionally agrees with my point of view (rarely, actually). On one of our recent discussions, we argued about the strategic bombing campaign of World War II. I said it was vindicated and justified; he countered it was no such thing.

His reasoning went thus …

First, despite claims prior to the war, bombing runs were wildly inaccurate and hence shamefully ineffective. Aircraft fell off course, misidentified targets and, even when they were over the correct facility, their bombs fell so inaccurately that it took thousands of tons of bombs to destroy a single target. Even by 1944, only about 7% of bombs were hitting within 1,000 yards of their target; it took about 110 bombers and nearly 700 bombs to have a 95% chance of scoring two hits within a 400x500 foot area. Basically, precision bombing didn't exist: many military targets went entirely untouched or were only minimally damaged and repaired quickly. It wasn’t until late in the war that bombing tactics improved and began to check Nazi industrial might. Even then, strategic bombing’s contribution toward the final Allied victory was dubious: territorial losses led to Germany’s industrial deterioration, not so much relentless bombing. The war would have ended at relatively the same time in relatively the same manner, even if there had been no bombing at all.

Second, the strategic Allied bombing campaign was an unwarrantable, outrageous waste of Allied treasure, resources, and manpower when measured against the risk-to-benefit ratio. RAF Bomber Command suffered horribly: Of every 100 airmen who joined Bomber Command, 45 were killed, six were seriously wounded, eight became Prisoners of War, and only 41 escaped unscathed (at least physically). Of the 120,000 who served, 55,573 were killed. Of those who flew at the beginning of the war, only ten percent survived to the end, which compared to the worst carnage sustained during the First World War; only the Nazi U-Boat force suffered a higher casualty rate. Bomber Command lost 8,325 bombers; America fared little better: the USAAF lost 5,548 heavy bombers and 55,000 airmen.

Third, he continued, the waste of strategic bombing was but half the issue: the immorality of deliberately bombing innocent civilians was not only indefensible but criminal. In February 1942, the British abandoned their "precision bombing" strategy for “area bombing,” the systematic, indiscriminate destruction of German cities via RAF nighttime air raids. The euphemistic term “de-housing” was used to define and justify the annihilation of homes, residences, apartments and dwellings and/or occupants therein to break Germany’s will to fight. It sounded good to bombed-out, disheartened Brits back home; but in effect it was a deliberate campaign to slaughter human beings wholesale—or failing that, terrorize, punish, and cower them.

The clearest demonstration of the destructiveness of British area bombing occurred in 1943 during three night raids on Hamburg, Germany. On the second night of bombing, incendiary bombs dropped by 731 RAF bombers started countless fires that united to create a huge firestorm, sucking up oxygen and generating hurricane force winds. Many who weren’t incinerated were suffocated in underground bomb shelters. Windows were blown out by incendiary charges that ignited fires so fierce the streets turned liquid, literally. Some bombs were time-delayed, blowing up hours after an initial round of explosions when emergency crews had begun to respond. The firestorm killed more than 40,000 people in one night. The attack on Dresden possibly immolated even more civilians, the city awash with refugees fleeing the Soviet army.

He persisted that, although the United States should be credited for targeting German industrial sites and not civilians, the USAAF bombed Japan with far greater moral ambivalence. America dispatched as many Japanese civilians with aerial bombardment in a single year as were German civilians killed during the entire war. And it had no moral qualms about incinerating two cities with atomic bombs. Thus Britain and America both committed democide, he said.

I countered with the following position …

Admittedly, targeting military facilities was fruitless at the start to the middle of the war. Basically, precision bombing didn't exist, meaning that many military targets simply were not affected by massive bombing campaigns or, if they were, the damage was minimal and could be repaired quickly. However …

As the war progressed, RAF Bomber Command improved its methods. Electronic navigational instruments like GEE, Oboe, G-H and the ground-mapping radar codenamed H2S all helped to improve bombing accuracy. Improvement in tactics such as the development of the Pathfinder Force, created against Sir "Bomber" Arthur Harris's wishes, also improved bombing accuracy. Strategic bombing began to impact the German economy after 1943 (after the Allies got smart about their targets). Instead of hitting production facilities, the Allies hit factories that fabricated war-critical materials, demonstrated by the USAAF’s Schweinfurt–Regensburg raid that crippled Germany’s ball bearing production (thought only partially).

Following that raid, the Allies realized that the most vulnerable part of the German war economy was oil. Subsequent attacks on German petroleum production and refinement were far more effective and led to widespread shortages of gasoline, which not only impeded Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe operations but also limited the amount of training time pilots, tank operators, and other fuel-intensive vehicle drivers received before they headed into combat. Ultimately, this hugely impacted the quality of Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe troops. At the same time, Germany was compelled to mobilize a colossal number of troops (one million) to man innumerable anti-aircraft batteries and ancillary units better deployed to the front lines. Not to mention, American bomber groups lured Luftwaffe fighters skyward, where P-51Ds annihilated them wholesale, which cleared the skies over Normandy, making the D-Day landings possible.

And we’re not even talking about the Allied strategic bombing political impact. Until the Sicily, Italy, and D-Day Invasions, the Allies could field no armies in Europe (and hope to survive). The Soviets, conversely, were taking the brunt of the war, suffering huge loses against Hitler’s Juggernaut. Stalin was hell bent on avenging his country but needed assurances from the Allies that they too would do their bit to stop Hitler. Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s only option to check Russia from suing for peace in ’42 and ’43 (aside from partly rearming the Soviet Union), was to smash Germany from the air.

Over Japan, America was well justified in deploying its atomic bombs: The US was, like the rest of the world, plowing toward the end of the most hideous, costly conflict (in terms of life) in human history. It had lost more than 418,000 lives, both military and civilian; so to American leaders, heavy Japanese civilian loss was far preferable (if it persuaded Japan to surrender) to losing “many thousands of American troops [that] would be killed in invading Japan”—a view attributed to the President himself. One analysis estimated the USA would lose over a million men attacking Japan, and the Japanese themselves would all but cease to exist. Providing that nation with a compelling incentive to surrender made total sense.

And lastly this visceral argument: All other rationales aside, one remains absolute: Nazi Germany and Japan were solely responsible for the Allie’s devastating bombing campaign. Had Hitler and Tojo not chosen war, not a single Allied bomber would have flown against them. Civilian deaths, though repugnant, were collateral damage toward the defeat of evil.

I’d be interested in your take. Was the Allied bombing campaign a total waste of men, material, and treasure? An unconscionable, rationalized act of barbarism against Germany’s and Japan’s innocent civilians? Or was the bombing of their cities and non-combatants well justified, perhaps even crucial, in vanquishing tyranny?






However you stand on the bombing campaign, one thing you can’t dispute: the men who flew and fought over German and Japanese skies were doubly courageous; it took guts to face death time and again. I’ve included the Corgi Lancaster (AA32603) here to honor those who served their countries in the defense of freedom and liberty. It's exquisite and deserves a place in your collection.


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Old 03-28-2017, 12:18 AM   #369
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Another great post Richthofen

Some interesting, albeit contentious, questions posited too.

Personally I tend to side with the "not the best possible use of such extensive resources" crowd, but I don't dispute either the courage of the crews or that some military effect was achieved, perhaps most notably clearing the skies of Luftwaffe fighters, allowing for total air superiority over D-Day and the march to Germany.

It's also indisputable that the morale benefits for the Western Allies were significant, which should never be discounted.

However; there are certain elements of the campaign that to me do seem morally indefensible. I'm not going to dredge the specifics of that argument up again here (it has in the past led to some hurt feelings from the special snowflake crowd), but I am quite sure we (from Western Allied countries) are all perfectly well aware of exactly what I am talking about and are all cognisant it was not our nations' most glorious hour during the War..

I don't yet possess a Corgi Lancaster (having come to the WWII game rather late in my collecting "career"), but I am actively looking for either S-Sugar or G-George and watching a number of each on eBay at the moment as absolutely essential to my growing RAAF WWII wing. Those two releases interest me most as they are both RAAF, both have rather impressive bomb raid tallies and I have seen both in person - S-Sugar at RAF Hendon and G-George at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. (I am actually planning on selling all my CW Tomcats to fund the purchase, and should eventually end up buying both in actual fact.)

One that hasn't been released AFAIK, but that I would also be keen on, is D-Digger - another high-mission number RAAF scheme and the scheme worn by my local RAAF Museum's Lanc. (I was lucky enough to be allowed to explore that particular aircraft by myself a month or two ago - that was a brilliant experience that cemented my burning desire for at least one of the Pooch Lancs!)

As always thanks for posting such great content - I love the new style graphics you are doing too Dave, really good stuff
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Old 03-28-2017, 12:47 AM   #370
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Are we allowed to say the D word now ?

Nice write up as usual Rich, so you select subjects based on what you have on display or what you have in storage and you unbox occasionally, from memory you have quiet a large collection.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:31 AM   #371
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i'm in agreement with tker here. we have the benefit of hindsight but given the circumstances then, the benefits cannot be discounted, no matter how small they were. it has to be noted that bombers were also used to bait the luftwaffe, and the raids did cripple the german industry significantly. perhaps we focus too narrowly on the wrong decisions that we fail to realise the bigger picture. but tbh, i cannot see the benefit of the dresden firestorm... although the hiroshima and nagasaki a-bomb was perhaps a necessary evil for japan to capitulate without being totally annihilated (seeing how japan was already being subject to incessant bombings and yet stubbornly - or honourably - held firm). there are no victors in wars... just survivors to pick up the pieces, at the end of the day.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:29 PM   #372
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Thanks tker76, Ukrainian Falcons, and tomcatter for your kind and insightful comments. I agree that 20-20 hindsight is a luxury that too often leads to flawed moralistic judgement. Try telling that to my professor friend, though.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:02 AM   #373
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Dave, I gotta say this is my absolute favorite topic here on DA.C, and in fact my current favorite reading material anywhere, on the internet or in print! I love reading your stories and tidbits behind each aircraft, and the posters you create are wonderful as well. I assume you must be an aviation history buff who has read a large number of books. Do you happen to be in the aviation industry as well?

Your topics are also dangerous for a newbie collector such as myself, I count at least 10 warbirds you have presented that now in my must-have list
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Old 03-30-2017, 08:21 PM   #374
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Dave, I gotta say this is my absolute favorite topic here on DA.C, and in fact my current favorite reading material anywhere, on the internet or in print! I love reading your stories and tidbits behind each aircraft, and the posters you create are wonderful as well.
Very gracious, encouraging words indeed, Uzair. And thank you!
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Old 03-31-2017, 12:14 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by Uzair View Post
Dave, I gotta say this is my absolute favorite topic here on DA.C, and in fact my current favorite reading material anywhere, on the internet or in print! I love reading your stories and tidbits behind each aircraft, and the posters you create are wonderful as well. I assume you must be an aviation history buff who has read a large number of books. Do you happen to be in the aviation industry as well?

Your topics are also dangerous for a newbie collector such as myself, I count at least 10 warbirds you have presented that now in my must-have list
how did you get your hands on the 0/5 availability birds?

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Thanks tker76, Ukrainian Falcons, and tomcatter for your kind and insightful comments. I agree that 20-20 hindsight is a luxury that too often leads to flawed moralistic judgement. Try telling that to my professor friend, though.
not sure whether your professor friend was a war veteran himself but the on ground experience would've certainly given him a clear insight as to the needs of the moment when indiscretion was not an option. wars bring out the worse in all of us...
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Old 03-31-2017, 12:27 AM   #376
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When it comes to civilian casualties in WWII, there are a few things to remember.
First and foremost, it was a different time and mentality when it came to war. War was and still to a certain extent about creating enough damage to cause the other side to surrender. War was becoming an art, in that weapons were just starting become technologically good enough to try to avoid civilian deaths but that was more than not a controlled case.
More over, the German's had broken treaties and blitzkrieged causing huge amounts of civilian deaths, they threw down that gauntlet and continued to all through the war. The holocaust is flat out evil at it's vilest. The Nuremberg trials showed the brutality of Germany, something people now tend to forget.
Japan also attacked without announcing war, and throughout the war had a despicable treatment towards their enemies. The Japanese were inhuman in their treatment of civilians and prisoners and frankly, the atomic bomb was a blessing as it saved lives on both side had it not ended the pacific war quickly. It was the most human solution, a terrible tool but far better than any other outcome would have been.

Modern societies try to sterilize war and make it sound surgical in how we not go about fighting wars. But war is about death and destruction, injustices will always occur on both sides as it is unavoidable. But there is such a situation as justified actions. Anyone that condemns the actions of the allies in WWII does not have a grounded understanding of the circumstances. That such actions were unavoidable and justified. Evil prevails when good men do nothing, allowing and turning a blind eye to such is almost just as vile as the people doing those evil acts.
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:09 AM   #377
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When it comes to civilian casualties in WWII, there are a few things to remember.
First and foremost, it was a different time and mentality when it came to war. War was and still to a certain extent about creating enough damage to cause the other side to surrender. War was becoming an art, in that weapons were just starting become technologically good enough to try to avoid civilian deaths but that was more than not a controlled case.
More over, the German's had broken treaties and blitzkrieged causing huge amounts of civilian deaths, they threw down that gauntlet and continued to all through the war. The holocaust is flat out evil at it's vilest. The Nuremberg trials showed the brutality of Germany, something people now tend to forget.
Japan also attacked without announcing war, and throughout the war had a despicable treatment towards their enemies. The Japanese were inhuman in their treatment of civilians and prisoners and frankly, the atomic bomb was a blessing as it saved lives on both side had it not ended the pacific war quickly. It was the most human solution, a terrible tool but far better than any other outcome would have been.

Modern societies try to sterilize war and make it sound surgical in how we not go about fighting wars. But war is about death and destruction, injustices will always occur on both sides as it is unavoidable. But there is such a situation as justified actions. Anyone that condemns the actions of the allies in WWII does not have a grounded understanding of the circumstances. That such actions were unavoidable and justified. Evil prevails when good men do nothing, allowing and turning a blind eye to such is almost just as vile as the people doing those evil acts.
let's not forget my lai...
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Old 04-03-2017, 10:02 AM   #378
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Any Blitz bomber pilot could tell you, flying the He-111 was a pain in the fart box. Owing to its multi-panel glass nose, especially in summer, the cockpit boiled like a sauna; even with the trim tabs dialed in, the warbird remained unsteady both in altitude and heading, demanding hands-on control from wheels-up to touchdown. And the outrageous thunder from the bird’s unmuffled exhaust stacks on both sides of the “greenhouse” nose trashed more than a few luckless eardrums. And that was for starters: the bomber’s speed barely topped 248 mph, not entirely slothful, but not especially fast, either, an Achilles Heel that snuffed many a Heinkel crew. And the piddling 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine guns the bomber used for defense were downright laughable. Not to mention the standard bombload was deplorably light. Even so, the warbird was the Luftwaffe’s go-to bomber; and with nothing effective to take its place, the beast served to the end of the war.

None of which escaped Hauptmann Alarik Schäfer. Yes, the bomber was wanting, but here on the Eastern Front he was more concerned about the crushing cold and the damned Russian fighters, especially the Yak 9 and Lavochkin La-5, both of them killers.


It was early January, 1943, in the German Stalingrad pocket, Pitomnik airstrip …

Hauptmann Schäfer was barely able to keep his He-111 steady as he flared the twin engined brute onto the icy runway, scooting out of the way of following He-111s also burdened with ammunition and cargo. At minus 20 degrees Celsius and with the wind howling at 40 mph., it was everything exhausted ground personnel could do to off-load the bomber-turned-transport. Capable of carrying over two tons of bombs, Schäfer’s Heinkel was laden with ammunition, food, and medical supplies for the German Sixth Army.

Blubber-laden Reichsmarschall/Air Marshal Wilhelm Göring promised his Führer the Luftwaffe could resupply the Sixth Army at Stalingrad despite massive Soviet opposition and staggering logistics challenges. And Adolf, ever the fool, bought it. To succeed, the Luftwaffe would have to fly in 600 tons of supplies (or more) per day, a figure that far exceeded Germany’s transport capability. The air force required 800 Ju-52s to supply 500 tons per day, let alone 600. In reality, it possessed only 750 aircraft in the entire fleet. To ease the shortfall, the Luftwaffe pressed its Heinkel He-111 bombers into service as well as Fw-200s, Me-323 transports, Gotha 242 transports, and obsolete Ju-86 trainers. But even these weren’t enough. A blind man could see the writing on the wall …

On 29 November, the first day of the resupply effort, 38 Ju-52s and 21 He-111s flew for Stalingrad, but only 12 Junkers and 13 Heinkels arrived. During the next month following the slaughter of many more aircraft, Generaloberst Wolfram von Richtofen, commander responsible for the airlift, recommended that the Sixth Army break out of Stalingrad ASAP, which Hitler stupidly rejected out of hand.

The meager supplies that did reach Stalingrad allowed the Sixth Army to survive, but only just: even small offensive operations were preposterous let alone counterattack or breakthrough. The best the Luftwaffe could achieve came on December 7, 1943, when it transported 300 tons of desperately needed supplies; tonnage thereafter dropped precipitously owing to inadequate maintenance, subzero cold, meager-to-no fighter protection, intensified enemy fighter attacks, delays, cancellations, and paralyzing exhaustion occasioned by relentless flying. Volume sank to 50 tons per day.


Hauptmann Schäfer was eager to dump his load and fly out of this freezing hellhole. The strain on his crew, not to mention himself, was fearsome, everybody terrified they too would crash and incinerate as had many of their comrades, their transports and bombers strewn everywhere, some pushed in heaps beside the runway.
All they need do was take aboard 12 wounded soldiers huddled outside, each one half frozen, several with blackened, frostbitten noses, toes, fingers, or ears, all swaddled in frozen blood congealed on their uniforms and dressings.

Once aboard, Schäfer revved his Junkers Jumo 211 A-1 engines at 20%, eyeballed the temp gauges, made sure everybody was buckled down, and pushed off for the runway. Positioned just behind another He-111, the pilot waited his turn and had just pushed forward when a pair of Lavochkin La-5 fighters appeared square on and unleashed their ShVAK 29 mm cannons. Five shells hit the greenhouse, bursting Schäfer and his navigator/bomb aimer into bloody gobs. Six more cannon rounds whammed into the fuselage among the soldiers, turning the compartment into indescribable gore. The three men who survived the onslaught burned alive as the bomber burst into flame, incinerating everybody.

It was far too cold to retrieve the bodies, which were unrecognizable stumps of flesh anyway; so ground crew pushed the smoldering wreck to the side. Pitomnik fell six days later on 14 January 1943. The Sixth Army surrendered on 2 February, 1943. And nothing Schäfer and his crew had done mattered at all.



Corgi’s He-111P-2 (AA33703) is probably my most prized Blitz bomber for its squiggly night-bomber camouflage. Kind of reminds me of James Bond, 007, sporting a deadly, debonair tux. When I checked eBay, one was available, but I it might be gone by now. If you find this devilishly handsome model at a reasonable price, grab it. It’s a fabulous hunk of zinc with a license to kill.

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Old 04-05-2017, 12:24 AM   #379
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is it just me or are monsieur richtofen's postings taking a somewhat sombre tone these days? or is it only because he is dealing with the bomber/transporter stories?
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:05 PM   #380
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Imagine you’re a short, pudgy little guy sitting at your desk when a contemptuous, sniggering coworker loudly calls you a “SLUF” (short for “Short Little Ugly Fugger”)—and laughs. Wouldn’t that irritate you, especially if the rest of the office followed suit? Wouldn’t that make you want to knock the guy’s block off, humiliate him in return? Or would you meekly turn your cheek and feel more inferior than you already do?

Pity the LTV Corsair II, because that’s exactly what Navy and USAF bullies called the Vought A-7 to its face. Can you image? A SLUF! Their malicious scorn was so relentless and brutal it pushed the warbird dangerously close to a nervous collapse, even suicide. With not a friend in sight, the chunky Corsair II surely would have offed itself but for a legion of psychiatrists that kindly nursed it back to emotional health. From there it carried on like a trooper, flying its heart out for freedom-loving people everywhere, an inspiration to one and all, bless its memory.

In fact, the A-7 became one of the most effective strike aircraft the US Navy ever deployed, whacking targets from Vietnam to the 1991 Gulf War with uncompromising proficiency.

In 1964, the USN looked to replace its bantam Douglas A-4 Skyhawk with a larger, speedier bomb truck. Vought stepped up with a design able to heft more ordinance than the A-4, fly farther, and loiter longer. And no surprise, it bore a striking family resemblance to its celebrated elder brother, the F-8, though it was shorter and chubbier (hence the slur “SLUF”). The Navy was intrigued. Three prototypes designated YA-7As flew the next year; and two years following that the A-7A Corsair II took its place on the Navy roster. From blueprint through gestation to delivery, the Corsair II’s development proved the quickest of all post-WWII attack aircraft.

Unlike its Hollywood-hunk celebrity brother, the A-7A and subsequent variants were something of a mongrel, featuring a gargantuan intake hung from its squat nose and a thicker, bulkier fuselage. The intake was resolutely massive owing to the jet’s fierce Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-6 turbofan engine designed to propel the bird into high-speed attack. And two deadly 20 mm cannons were buried on either side of the intake (later variants lumbered a much more effective M61A1 six-barrel 20mm rotary cannon). For pure cataclysmic hitting power, the jet’s six wing
hardpoints hefted over 13,000 lbs of ordinance, more on subsequent variants. In addition, the A-7’s four-part glass canopy and drooping nose offered Corsair II pilot’s an exceptional view ahead of and below the aircraft. Compared to the A-4 Skyhawk’s cockpit, the A7’s was a comfy living room.

First deployed to Vietnam in 1967, the A-7A literally catapulted into battle from the USS Ranger’s deck, serving with the "Argonauts," squadron VA-147. The plane swiftly proved its worth supporting US Army troops, bombing and rocketing enemy positions. On several occasions, MiG-17 Frescos got their buns shot off bouncing A-7s, stunned when the deceptively nimble jet raped them up the wazoo with its M61A1 Vulcan cannon.

In time, the USAF caught wind of this tough little mutt and took delivery of its own Corsair II variant, the A-7D, of which Ling-Temco-Vought produced 459. The Air Force swapped the jet’s Pratt & Whitney TF309 engine for a licensed-built Rolls-Royce Spey, which generated 1100 lbs additional thrust. Plus the company upgraded the aircraft’s sensor suite and navigation and avionics systems, producing a beefy Corsair II that blew the doors off its Navy cousin.

Out of 330 Navy Corsair IIs deployed to Vietnam, 54 were lost. But despite this, A-7 pilots loved their mount and boasted it was the safest operational aircraft of the war. The Corsair II might have been a SLUF, but it sure proved itself a champ.



Here again, Century Wings produced an exceptional model every USN jet enthusiast should own. I can’t fault it; in fact, I think it rivals and possibly betters Century Wings’ Tomcats, which is saying a lot. Finding this little gem is another story altogether; but if you do luck out and stumble over one, don’t hesitate, pull the trigger. You’ll thank yourself.


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Old 04-11-2017, 03:54 AM   #381
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Another great write up Richthofen, this time about one of my favourite models.

The CW Korat SEA A-7D is one of the best models I have, a perfectly executed release IMO.
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:36 AM   #382
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yes! yes! yes! finally one 0/5 availability bird that i already have in my collection! chuffed!
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:23 AM   #383
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Thank you, tker76! Always appreciate your warm comments.

And good on ya, tomcatter; I'm glad you've got this model. Ain't she a babe?!
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:59 PM   #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richtofen888 View Post
Thanks tker76, Ukrainian Falcons, and tomcatter for your kind and insightful comments. I agree that 20-20 hindsight is a luxury that too often leads to flawed moralistic judgement. Try telling that to my professor friend, though.
If you are really interested in in-depth, almost academic investigation on the effects and moral implications, then The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945

by Richard Overy would be the ultimate source of investigation.
At 852 pages, it is quite a look into the subject.
Quite an enlightening read which looks past the decades of 'unified view' on the subject.

It is also worth to remember that history is written by the "Victors", and when attrocities happened at the hand of the 'winning side' then it is most likely to be hidden and not spoken about.

A civilization who has already suffered through the agony of many lost love ones, don't particularly want to hear about the attrocities commited to achieve the end to the war. The subject is then often "romantasized" to try to forget the horrors of war.

In my opinion, there are really no winners in wars. Only those who held out longer than the enemy could, and when the other side just coulnd't carry on, they achieved victory. I think a lot about the millions of people who died in wars who could have helped humanity achieve so much more.

Just think: There are those on this forum who share ideas and love of models, but if war should break out between their countries and other collectors' countries, civility goes completely out the window.
Hell, we even have flame wars between members of countries which are not at war. Humans.

Back to the book:

Read the review here:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...d-overy-review

Book on Amazon here:
https://www.amazon.com/Bombing-War-E...he+bombing+war
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:57 PM   #385
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If there was a flame war as you say, it was more to do with fakery and corruption then which country ppl came from and some ppl were masters of deflecting the truth
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:40 PM   #386
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Well put eugenevh.
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:17 PM   #387
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And good on ya, tomcatter; I'm glad you've got this model. Ain't she a babe?!
definitely! she won the toss of being the best looking sluf in my books and i'm mighty glad i grabbed her while availability was at 1/5

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It is also worth to remember that history is written by the "Victors", and when attrocities happened at the hand of the 'winning side' then it is most likely to be hidden and not spoken about.
very true. i think it's only when a nation rises up against its government that such atrocities will be highlighted, as was the case with the my lai massacre. much as the us has always wanted to claim a moral victory in vnm, that's far from the truth. and most nations subscribe to the notion that we know what's best for us anyway. but otherwise, very valid points about wars in general... and flame wars in particular
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Old 04-17-2017, 12:39 PM   #388
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By September 1944, Nazi Germany faced defeat. Hitler partway blamed WWI fighter ace fatso Herman Göring and his Luftwaffe for this ominous set of affairs and demanded they regain the initiative. Which was all well and good except that the crestfallen German air force was bone dry for fuel and experienced pilots while the Allies were lousy with both.

With Göring in disgrace, Hitler’s protégée and Armaments Minister, Albert Speer, urgently ordered the German aircraft industry to produce a new fighter to destroy marauding daytime Allied bombers. He stressed the new plane had to be simple to build, deadly, and be produced in their thousands per month. Plus, because fledgling teenage Hitler Youth were to fly it, the jet had to be effortless to operate. In addition, Speer required that the new fighter must be designed, built, and put into production within 90 days. The new fighter would be called the Volksjäger (People’s Fighter).

Upon hearing this, Professor Willy Messerschmitt, designer of the legendary Bf 109, refused to participate, protesting it was sheer lunacy to demand such a jet in so little time. Messerschmitt’s arch rival, Ernst Heinkel, however, thought otherwise.

Heinkel had built and flown the world’s first jet fighter, the He-280, in 1941; but Hermann Göring mostly ignored it. As far as he was concerned, the propeller-driven Bf 109 and FW-190 were all Germany needed to vanquish enemy aircraft and win the war. Consequently, Germany squandered two critical years before turning to jet propulsion to thwart the mounting Allied bomber threat. When Hitler finally demanded jet fighters, he buttonholed Willie Messerschmitt—not Ernst Heinkel—to fill this need with the new shark-like Me-262. But scarce metal, problematic power plants, and other irritating issues delayed the Swallow’s operational deployment until after the Normandy Invasion. By then it was all too clear the Luftwaffe needed an alternative, hard-hitting, one-engined jet made from non-strategic materials to do the job.

But not everybody agreed. When German fighter ace and head of all German fighter forces, Adolf Galland, heard of it, he cursed the Volksjäger to hell, screaming he could annihilate B-17s in toto with sufficient numbers of 262s—He-162 be damned. Not to mention, Heinkel’s new jet fighter would be a death trap in inexperienced hands, flyable only by experienced pilots—a commodity Germany lacked. But Ernst Heinkel promoted the new warbird anyway, pushing his design team to work around the clock, sleep beside their desks, and design and build the He-162 “Salamander” within 74 days.

A single BMW 003 jet engine positioned over the jet’s spine and behind the pilot propelled the Volksjäger, an arrangement that not only eliminated complicated and heavy ducting but also facilitated painless engine replacement, critical in the field. The He-162’s fuselage was metal; its wings were wood angled with "drooped" wingtips. To give pilots half a chance at survival, engineers fitted the warbird with an ejection seat. And for armament, the He-162A-1 carried a MK 108 30mm cannon and the He-162A-2 hefted two MG 151/20 cannons, more than enough to obliterate American bombers in one pass. Speed wise, the jet could exceed 560 mph, which blew past the Me-262.

From a vast secret underground factory complex deep under the mountains of central Germany, the first He-162 made its debut on December 6th, 1944, accelerating to 522 mph at 20,000 ft. Except for longitudinal stability issues, the aircraft handled well. On December 10th, the Luftwaffe High Command watched as Flugkapitan Gotthard Peter flew the speedy little beast fast and hard until its port wing disintegrated and the jet crashed, killing Peter. Regardless, Speer was determined to produce the warbird; and in March, 1944, forty He-162s rolled off the assembly lines; by the end of April, 200 more were ready. In May, the month the war ended, 500 more became available. And had the war continued, Germany would have produced 1000 Salamanders per month.

To fly the He-162, fledgling Hitler Youth trained on gliders in Vienna. To ease the transition to He-162s, Heinkel supplied two-seater wooden gliders, the Model-S, that resembled the Volksjäger minus the engine.

The first Volksjäger Fighter Group, JG-1, went operational at Leck, Germany, April, 1945, with one-hundred aircraft organized into two wings. Feldwebel Eric Kirchner claimed the first He-162 victory on April 19, 1945, shooting down a Hawker Tempest but crashing before making it back to base. On April 20, Leutnant Rudolf Schmitt became the first and possibly only pilot to use the jet's ejection seat and survive. Ten days later, Unteroffizier Rechenbach shot down another Hawker Tempest, flown by Flight Officer M. Austin.

Regrettably but not so surprisingly given its gestation, the He-162 had the worst safety record of all early jet aircraft: the Volksjäger inflicted more casualties on German pilots than the enemy. Of the 65 factory pilots assigned to He 162s, only five survived the war; none were lost to combat; nearly all died from training or ferry accidents. Only seven He-162s outlasted the war. Royal Navy test pilot Captain Eric Brown found the He-162 to be a very unforgiving airplane but a very stable gun platform. The view from the cockpit was excellent, he observed, but for the engine blocking the critical six o’clock position. In Brown’s opinion, had the Luftwaffe fully developed the He-162 and manned them with experienced pilots, the world's first operational single-engine jet fighter would have become lethal in the extreme.

Would the Salamander have won the war for Germany? Nope. But had it achieved service two years earlier in number, it likely would have kicked the 8th Air Force’s butt, giving the Reich a badly needed respite. In the end, the He-162 was yet one more promising project that arrived too late.



Easy Model pre-made plastic models are, many of them anyway, terrific little replicas. In our hobby, we prefer zinc over plastic; but to ignore Easy Model models because of that is silly in the extreme. This particular jet is actually quite appealing for its accuracy and detail and is definitely worth the $14.95 MSRP. Easy Models are nearly as good as their metal hangar mates (and sometimes better). So if you've got some pocket change, grab a few. You'll be happy you did.

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Old 04-22-2017, 03:47 PM   #389
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The Spitfire is so enshrined in British lore that any Englishman (or anybody else for that matter) who questions its supremacy is considered a heretic and a brigand. Or worse. Think not?

Crispin Addicot, a London cabbie and world-class military diecast collector/addict, makes no bones about it. Said he: “Woe betide Brits who dare disagree that the Supermarine Spitfire was the world’s best fighter between 1939 and 1945. British law mandates that such treasonous mongrels be hanged, drawn and quartered—privy members severed, bowels gutted and burned, head detached, and body divided into four quarters to be disposed of at the Queen’s pleasure.” And he didn’t smile while saying it.

Blimey!

Others agree. When asked if Crispin’s declaration typified England’s fierce veneration of the Supermarine Spitfire and loathing toward contrary opinions (especially American), one of my British colleagues responded, “Aye, but Addicot didn’t go far enough: The faithless dogs should be shot, too!”

Gor Blimey!!! Was the Spit really that good? Are these enthusiasts correct that the Spitfire truly was the best British fighter of World War II?

Other Englishmen politely disagree. “What rubbish,” says Arran Dedrick, Administrative Officer at a prestigious English university (shaking his fist). “I get browned off when gits like Addicot eulogize the Spit. The Hurricane shot down more German planes during the Battle of Britain; it could turn inside the Spit; it was a more stable gun platform than the Spit. It had a wider and hence safer landing carriage. It could sustain more damage and was eminently more repairable in the field. And it was a more effective ground-attack aircraft, too. What more do you want?” Girding himself further, Dedrick grumbled, “Let’s be clear: The Spitfire is a very pretty aeroplane and a very charismatic one, too, a real crowd pleaser. People also claim it’s lovely to fly. But … these first three qualities mattered little in 1939-45, and the third was not as important as other factors. It’s well accepted in England that the Hurricane won the Battle of Britain, and there’s every reason to believe Hurricanes would have defeated Goering’s armada alone!”

Yikes! For the sake of Commonwealth harmony, let’s casually (read: superficially) examine Dedrick’s assertions and compare these two celebrated, quarreling British warbirds.

Assertion one: The Hurricane shot down more German aircraft than the Spitfire.

True! Contrary to popular belief, the Spitfire wasn’t the ultimate shoot-down artist of the Battle of Britain. Much to Spitfire enthusiasts’ exasperation, the Spit’s lumpish hangar mate actually destroyed the majority of enemy aircraft during that engagement: 1,593 out of 2,739 in total (mostly bombers, though to be fair, Hurricane squadrons outnumbered Spitfire squadrons 32 to 19, and Hurricanes, some insist, wouldn’t have survived the Messerschmitt onslaught without Spit intervention).

Assertion two: The Hurricane could turn inside the Spit.

Again, true! The Hurricane’s turning radius was 800 ft.; the Spit’s, 880 ft. This tighter turning circle allowed a Hurricane to hug a Messerschmitt Bf 109’s tail more durably than a Spitfire, assuming the enemy pilot was unwise enough to be lured into a turning match.

Assertion three: The Hurricane was a more stable gun platform than the Spitfire.

True again! The warbird was armed with eight Browning .303 inch (or 7.7mm) machine guns (300 rounds per gun), arranged in two lots of four in large gunbays in the wings. This battery produced a higher concentration of fire and superior pattern of fire than the Spitfire’s, which were spread along the leading edge of the Spit’s wing. Moreover, the Hurricane’s stout frame and burly wings shouldered the judder and shake of recoil better, allowing for surer aim.

Assertion four: The Hurricane featured a wide undercarriage and was thus easier and safer to land on grassy fields.

Yep, that’s true, too! The Hurri’s brawny wings allowed for a wider, stronger undercarriage that was superior on adverse airfield surfaces, including muddy, snowy, and waterlogged airstrips. The wider struts made take-offs and landings manifestly easier on greenie pilots, who mostly avoided the nose-overs and ground-loops that plagued novice, as well as veteran, Spitfire pilots.

Assertion Five: The Hurricane could sustain more gunfire damage and was more repairable in the field.

All true! Hawker designed the Hurricane to sustain tremendous punishment. Depending on the Mark, the wings were either covered with a doped linen covering or (later) duraluminum. The all-metal stressed-skin wings allowed a diving speed 80 mph greater than the fabric-covered ones, but the linen wings could take far greater damage (owing to the fact that cannon shells would pass right through, causing little damage). Also, the Hurricane’s simpler design facilitated easier repair: many seriously damaged Hurricanes were patched up in squadron workshops while badly damaged Spitfires were either written off or hauled away to the factory.

Assertion six: The Hurricane was a more effective ground-attack aircraft.

Yes sir, it sure was! Judging strictly from Soviet records and anecdotal testimony, the Hurricane was hands-down the better ground-attack aircraft owing to the warbird’s inherent stability and ability to change out its Lewis 7.7 mm (.303) machine guns for two Russian ShVAK 20mm cannon. It was a studier aircraft better suited to low altitudes, where most Russian aircraft operated, and could sustain more damage. In contrast, Soviet pilots, by in large, disliked the Spitfire intensely.


Brother, faced with these facts you’ve gotta ask yourself if the Spitfire really was the Hurricane’s better. Or was the poor, unassuming, hunchback Hurricane overshadowed by its more dazzling, seductive stablemate? You decide. It’s probably true though that the Spitfire’s graceful silhouette and sexed-up legend eclipsed the Hurricane’s dowdy looks. Glamour usually outshines performance both in war and love.


Let's change gears. Would you like to hear what one British historian said about Battle of Britain pilots? Are you sure? You may not like it.

According to Dr. Anthony Cumming, most of them were so badly trained they “couldn’t shoot straight.” Supporting his thesis with new research, Cumming maintains that many of these pilots engaged in combat with barely 10 hours of solo flying, having never fired their guns, which produced an “unimpressive” kill/loss ratio.

He maintains that Battle of Britain pilots, ''The Few,” shouldn’t be lionized for saving Britain. Rather, they should be celebrated for having helped to inspire a heroic national identity. He argues that the RAF's performance against German fighters and bombers in late 1940 was unexceptional, "ineffectual" as he puts it, undeserving of adulation. Says he, England owes far more veneration to the Royal and Merchant Navies.

Dr. Cumming bases his assessment on military reports found in the National Archives, telling The Daily Telegraph: "Whenever anybody criticizes the RAF, it seems to be taken as a slight against the pilots themselves, which of course is ridiculous. But for some reason – national identity – we are very proud of the original story and people can't tolerate any revisionism. That many could not shoot straight is a pretty important allegation. However, the evidence is that there was a lack of facilities, including not enough aircraft to tow practice targets."

He continues that in 1939, Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, head of Fighter Command, condemned the 0.303 Browning guns used on Spitfires and Hurricanes, calculating that 300 bullet strikes were required to shoot down a Heinkel bomber. "Serious historians recognize that a lot of German bombers that were brought down were stragglers. This inadvertently exaggerated the British kill statistics. Five or six would have a go at the aircraft and then all claim a half-kill.”

In response, Dr. Christina Goulter, a senior lecturer in defense studies at King's College, London, countered: "There is a clear causal connection between the Luftwaffe's failure to achieve air superiority in 1940 and Hitler's decision to postpone indefinitely and then cancel Operation Sea Lion (the seaborne invasion of the United Kingdom)." Or in other words, Shut yer gob, Anthony! Yer got it all wrong.


Wanna hear what a Spitfire Mk IX sounded like? Go here:
https://aircraftsoundrecordings.band...tfire-pr-mk-ix


For my money, Witty's Spit represents one of its better efforts both for accuracy and rendition, a real honey that captures the warbird’s sensuous, shapely lines and good looks. If you can find one, buy it. You'll love it.


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Old 04-23-2017, 09:32 AM   #390
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Default Re: Gone but Not Forgotten

Arguably the greatest success of the Spitfire over the Hurricane was its ability to be continually upgraded to keep it in production, and relevant, to the end of the war. The Hurricane had its day by approximately 1943 (if not before).

The RAF pilots were undoubtedly less experienced than their adversaries in the BoB, but again that my well make their achievements all the more impressive.

And yes, it is true that any Briton who disputes the undoubted superiority of the Spitfire will also certainly be labelled a treacherous knave with no more right to live on Gods clean Earth than a rabid weasel! Or am I being too generous!?
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Old 04-23-2017, 10:23 PM   #391
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Another very interesting write-up

The Spitfire is such a beautiful bird, but I only have one in my collection (so far) - a Dragon RAAF Mk Vb.

As far as Spitfire vs Hurricane? I think radar was more important than either alone, but together they formed the winning team.

I must confess to an enduring love of seeing Hurricanes, especially in flight, more so than Spitfires; however, this is simply because there are relatively few Hurricanes left compared to Spitfires rather than any commentary on the planes.

Spitfires and Mustangs must surely be the most common WWII fighter warbirds, which obviously doesn't detract from their appeal in the least. The rarity just bumps up the interest level for Hurricanes though IMO.
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:44 PM   #392
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildblood View Post
Arguably the greatest success of the Spitfire over the Hurricane was its ability to be continually upgraded to keep it in production, and relevant, to the end of the war. The Hurricane had its day by approximately 1943 (if not before).

The RAF pilots were undoubtedly less experienced than their adversaries in the BoB, but again that my well make their achievements all the more impressive.

And yes, it is true that any Briton who disputes the undoubted superiority of the Spitfire will also certainly be labelled a treacherous knave with no more right to live on Gods clean Earth than a rabid weasel! Or am I being too generous!?
you have a very valid point there. the fact that the spitfire outlived the hurricanes and had more operators post war endeared them to a larger mass than the hurricanes ever could. the spitfire may have won the popularity contest hands down, but that doesn't mean the hurricanes were less efficient, as monsieur richtoffen's post has shown.
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:47 PM   #393
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If nations need anything to prosecute war, it’s gas. You can’t run engines without it, and without engines you’ve got bumpkis. Since Germany was no exception, USAAF planners figured that if the Air Force kicked Hitler’s oil industry in the balls, it could win the war—or get tolerably close to it. And one big, juicy oil target fit the bill more than any other: the Ploesti oil fields in Romania, which accounted for one-third of Germany’s oil and aviation fuel.

Accordingly, the Halvorsen Group attacked Ploesti, Romania, on 12 June 1942, and promptly got its tail shot off. The participating B-24 bombers did scant damage to targets while suffering crippling loses, which deterred future raids until August 1, 1943 when the USAAF returned with a vengeance in Operation Tidal Wave, General Brereton’s brainchild.

Kicking Nazi German right in the nutsack was so important that the Eighth Air Force loaned the Mediterranean Theater Air Forces five Bomb Groups, comprising of 178 Liberators and over 1,700 aircrew, to help out. Starting in mid-July, bomber crews based at Benghazi, Libya, practiced for the mission by “attacking” a huge mock-up of the Ploesti oil fields, honing their skills. Their biggest concern was lack of fighter cover; so to ensure maximum destruction while curbing loses, the Liberators prepared to drop their bombs from treetop level, little knowing that the planners anticipated huge casualties, possibly half of the attacking force.

According to the plan, Brig. Gen. Uzal Ent, flying in Teggie Ann with Col. Keith Compton's 376th BG, would lead five groups over oil refineries in Ploesti and nearby Campina and Brazi. Flying from Benghazi, Libya, between 0400 and 0500, the B-24s would fly over the west coast of Greece across southern Albania & Yugoslavia and then glide onto the Romanian industrial plain along the Danube River. The Bomber Groups were then to split at Pitesti and hit all three targets simultaneously.

Sounded good in rehearsal, but reality proved dreadfully different. En route, a route-navigator aircraft crashed, causing the bomb groups to separate. Scrambling over mountains and then descending, the two lead groups (the 376th and 93rd) flew half an hour ahead of the other three, giving away their position. Worse, Bomber Groups 93 and 376 took a wrong turn at Targoviste, screwing their assignments so badly that General Ent broke radio silence and ordered them to turn north and hit targets of opportunity (if there were any). Leading the 93rd BG in Hell's Wench, Col. Addison Baker winged toward the refinery at Columbia Aquila and encountered murderous flak, where his Liberator was hit and caught fire. Rather than bail out or belly in, Col. Baker opted to fly straight into the target, Kamikaze-like, sacrificing himself, his bomber, and his crew for the greater good. He and his pilot received the Medal of Honor posthumously.

Col. John R. "Killer" Kane, CO of the 98th, and Col. Leon W. Johnson, CO of the 44th, led their groups over Ploesti as planned and commenced their runs. But the Germans were waiting for the Americans, annihilating 18 of Kane's forty-one bombers. Kane’s own B-24 crash-landed at Nicosia, Cyprus, along with the Vagabond King. The 44th BG got knocked off its saddle: only 16 Liberators followed Johnson and Kane, seven of which were destroyed (Cols. Kane and Johnson also earned the MOH). Thankfully, other units hit outlying refineries at Brazi and Campina and didn’t suffer as badly. Lt. Col. James Posey led twenty-one of the 44th BG over Brazi; Col. Jack Wood bombed Campina with the 389th.

The results …

Of the seven target refineries, one was permanently destroyed; two shut down for several months; two lost significant production for five months, and two went untouched. One-hundred seventy-eight B-24s participated in Operation Tidal Wave. Sixteen aborted or crashed on the way in; 162 reached targets around Ploesti; of these, 51 were either shot down or landed in Turkey; 22 others landed at various Allied bases around the Mediterranean. Of the 89 that returned to Benghazi that day, 58 were damaged beyond repair.

Had the USAAF the planes and manpower to sustain the onslaught for two additional weeks, German oil production likely would have collapsed for many months, badly hamstringing the Reich. As it was, Germany got back on its feet all too quickly.



I’ll admit up front, I’m not a big B-24 fan though the bomber distinguished itself on all fronts flying farther, higher, and with heavier payloads than its swaggering hangar mate, the B-17. America built more Liberators than any other bomber, which served brilliantly in every theater. But she looked like my Great Aunt Jenny, a swell old girl that was uglier than a dog’s shaved butt. Which is not to say that Corgi didn’t do a bang-up job on its B-24s; in fact, the Pooches’ Liberators are genuine masterpieces (like the one pictured above), worthy of your attention.

So by all means, grab one if and when you can.

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Old 04-25-2017, 11:50 AM   #394
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In May 1945, US pilots embarked on hundreds of reconnaissance flights aboard the same bombers that had obliterated much of Germany. But instead of launching bombs they shot photographs, creating a stark, horrific snapshot of their carnage. It had been only a few weeks since these same planes laid waste to Germany.

On May 10th, one of these bombers, a B-17G called the Eve of Destruction, flew one of these little-known “Trolley” missions, carrying photographers among its crew. The bomber took off from Deopham Green in the morning piloted by Capt. J. Richard Harrison, flew over the Netherlands to northern Germany, circled above Berlin’s savaged cityscape, and returned on a reverse course back to base.

Mere minutes out of Berlin, Capt. Harrison and his co-pilot, Lt. Rodger Goodwin, noticed a lenticular cloud hovering about 500 feet off the ground, a rather peculiar sight considering how low it was. Figuring they’d pass over it, the flight crew was gobsmacked when the cloud swiftly morphed into a huge cumulus cloud that engulfed the bomber. The event was so unexpected and bizarre, neither pilot had anticipated the event. After five minutes of dodging in and out of the thunderhead, the aircraft broke free at 11,500 feet where the sky was clear and blue.

Leveling the B-17 and accelerating to its maximum safe cruising speed of 180 mph, Harrison looked back at the cloud that had now developed into an immense squall extending around the aircraft in a semicircle. Ahead of the bomber, another cloud materialized that appeared almost a mirror image of the first, except its top ascended to at least 60,000 feet. As the Fortress approached it, the Captain observed it arose directly from the earth’s surface. And this is when things really got strange.

Upon entering the cloud, the Eve of Destruction flew into sullen darkness, irregularly floodlit by dazzling white flashes that extended four or five miles. The deeper the bomber penetrated, the more intense the flares became. Sensing big trouble, Harrison made a 135-degree turn to port and headed due south. The aircraft escaped, but it became clear the cloud they had just eluded was actually the opposite side of the first cloud joined to the second to form a gigantic hoop-shaped body with the B-17 in its middle. This 30-mile diameter ring offered no escape.

By now, everybody aboard had become deathly quiet. Abruptly, an opening on the west flank of the cloud appeared, and Harrison flew straight for it. As the B-17 neared this aperture, the cavity formed a perfect horizontal tunnel, one mile wide and more than 10 miles long. Blue sky was visible on the opposite side. Just after the bomber entered, the conduit’s diameter shriveled to a mere 200 feet and now stretched one mile long, not ten. Silky white cloud walls formed a perfect cylinder, small whorls of contrasting grey clouds swirling counterclockwise around the aircraft.

Moments later the bomber emerged into a dull, grayish-white haze, visibility down to two miles, no sign of horizon or sky. Everyone aboard felt a strange sensation of weightlessness and increased forward momentum. Looking over his shoulder, Harrison saw the tunnel walls collapse into a clockwise rotating slit. Every navigational instrument had gone crazy: the compass spun madly; radio direction finding was hopeless. The bomber was only 16 minutes out of Berlin.

All at once the fog began to dissolve, long horizontal lines appearing on either side of the B-17. These ribbons stretched for four or five miles and quickly widened to where the crew saw blue sky. They continued to expand and combine until the fog vanished entirely. Unbelievably, the bomber was one mile off the English coast, due east of Norwich—which was impossible. No way could the B-17 have traveled 500 miles in minutes, yet here they were, crew and bomber, a stone’s throw from Deopham Green. Weirdly, ground radar hadn’t picked up the aircraft until it suddenly appeared just off the coast. No one could explain it.

The Eve of Destruction landed without mishap. Crew and passengers debarked; all endured a lengthy debriefing where authorities warned them to discuss the event with no one, anywhere, at any time. The matter was dropped and never spoken of again. Two days later a B-26 made the same circuit and vanished into thin air. No one reported an air crash, though several eyewitnesses observed a two-engined bomber entering a “curious doughnut-shaped cloud” but not emerging. To this day, no one has recovered the missing aircraft’s debris, remnants, scraps, or the crew that flew it.



Corgi made a bang-up model with this B-17 Fortress, though it’s not perfect. Actually, it’s a little long in the tooth, but it’s still a babe. You might not be able to find this beast (AA 33306), but other Corgi B-17s hang around eBay, some at surprisingly reasonable prices. If you don’t own a Pooch Fortress yet, pull the trigger and buy one.


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Old 04-26-2017, 11:29 AM   #395
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Default Re: Gone but Not Forgotten




As a kid, I used to salivate over P-40 Warhawk photos and artwork. Something about the warbird’s nasty shark-like nose, gaping maw, and shark-teeth motif thrilled me to the bone; I mean, the warbird was just downright cool! Yet history hasn’t been all that courteous to this mangy, rugged trouper, shoving it to the back of the line behind the Lightning, Thunderbolt and Mustang. Which begs the question: How is it that such an erstwhile celebrated fighter could shrink into relative obscurity?

The answer dribbles down to this one indelicate truth: the Warhawk looked better than it performed. Flying Tiger ace David L. “Tex” Hill basically said so in a 2005 interview. “In the hands of a skilled pilot,” he said, “the P-40 could exceed its limitations and could out-maneuver and out-fight anything in the sky. It was robust and handled well except in a spin, and it could save your butt in a pinch. But you never piloted a P-40 without wishing you had something a little better.”

Which pretty much sums it up. Shark teeth notwithstanding, the Warhawk didn’t measure up to better fighters even when it stood on its tippy toes. That, and the P-40 didn’t catch much newspaper print is because most Warhawk pilots flew better, faster, more agile, and more glitzy fighters later in their careers that caught the public’s imagination. For example: Second Lt. George Welch, later a 16-kill air ace and test pilot, obliterated four Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941 in his P-40. Welch later flew the P-38 and nailed even more Nipponese fighters, gaining fame as a Lightening pilot (no mention of his P-40). Australia’s Clive “Killer” Caldwell, the top P-40 ace of the war, scored a remarkable 22 of his 28-1/2 kills in a Warhawk but afterward flew the Supermarine Spitfire. Guess which one of his fighters got the nod: his Spitfire. In the meantime, his P-40 sat in a dark pub and cried in its beer.
...

Don Berlin, the ingenious but irritable chief engineer that fathered the P-40, ditched Jack Northrop and his crew for Curtiss-Wright in the 1930s. Berlin then developed the radial-engined P-36 (which also fought at Pearl Harbor) and won a U.S. Army contract to cram an Allison liquid-cooled in-line engine into the design. The ensuing P-40 was christened the “Warhawk” while the British and Soviets named it the “Tomahawk” (for early models) and “Kitty Hawk” (for subsequent variants). Berlin designed the P-40 around the Allison V-1710 12-cylinder liquid-cooled “monster-of-an-engine,” as one mechanic described it, with better streamlining, more power and better fuel consumption than most air-cooled radials (though it lacked a powerful supercharger for high-altitude fighting). This became the “default” powerplant for about 90 percent of the 13,378 P-40s built until Curtis ginned up about a thousand P-40 models with the Packard-built V-1650-1 license-built Rolls-Royce Merlin 12 cylinder V-type engines. That’s the same engine that powered the P-51B Mustang.

Among its attributes, the P-40 was ruggedly sturdy, an imperative against predators like Japan’s vaunted Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero. The A6M2 was speedy, light, highly maneuverable, an absolute fiend against early American fighters, qualities the Warhawk lacked. But the P-40 could power dive on Japanese fighters and bombers and knock them silly, a tactic nearly impossible to defend against or thwart. And the bird could absorb a ton of punishment.

The P-40’s greatest fame came with the American Volunteer Group in China, better known as the Flying Tigers, which entered combat on Dec. 21, 1941. The unit existed only until July 6, 1942, when the Army Air Forces merged it into the 23rd Fighter Group; but during its short existence, the AVG kicked the Japs’ keisters way over their heads, losing only 12 fighters against almost 300 enemy aircraft. In time, Curtiss engineers modified the fighter, shedding the warbird’s fuselage guns for six “fifties” in the wings, endowing it with crazy-nutz firepower. The RAF ordered 560 of these improved versions in 1940, calling them “Kittyhawk Is.” Further advances culminated in the P-40N, which was even lighter, more powerful, more durable, and capable of sprinting 380 miles per hour while holding its own. Experimental versions included the P-40G, which evaluated the six-gun armament, the XP-40K with lightweight features, and the XP-40Q with clipped wing tips and bubble canopy. A few aircraft were converted to TP-40N two-seat trainers.

Today, about 20 P-40s of various models are airworthy, and about 80 more sit in museums or await restoration. In 1947 the Royal Canadian Air Force put its P-40s up for sale for $50.00 a pop. To buy a fully equipped Warhawk today would cost about a million dollars.

Whatever its shortcomings, the P-40 held the line when nothing else was available. After the war, Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold said, “But for the P-40, the Japanese would have come all the way to Australia.”





Corgi made a pretty reasonable P-40, suitable for those who crave an American early-war fighter. Corgi’s customary accuracy and quality are present, though the joint line circumscribing the engine cowling is trench-like, and the gutters bookending the .50 cals are gorges; but overall the model is worth your coin. Considering Corgi’s future is uncertain, you might want to grab a few additional pooch models while you can—including this one.




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Old 04-26-2017, 11:10 PM   #396
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i agree with you there, monsieur richtoffen... the sharknose fits the warhawk to a t. it's almost as though the warhawk had taken its design cues from a shark! sadly for me both corgi and hobbymaster decided to go down the 72 scale path with this bird and i guess i will just hold out for a decent 48 down the line (hopefully)
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:23 AM   #397
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Have any of you Little League Baseball fans ever witnessed a raving, loud-mouth coach who chewed out his team after they lost a game? You know, yelled at them, berated them, maybe singled out a particular player and chewed his butt clean off? If you have, you already know the Messerschmitt Bf 110 story.

The Zerstörer was the kid who stepped up to the plate and swung at three sizzling pitches, only to miss each one and straightaway catch hell from his coach. Only in this case the game was the Battle of Britain, and the coach was Reichsmarschall Hermann Wilhelm Göring, the fatso blowhard who berated the Bf 110 as an outright failure and blamed it for losing the game. As a result, many a Luftwaffe enthusiast believe to this very day that the 110 was a chode, an unmitigated crumb bum, a loser, all because Göring pulled it from the Battle of Britain in a snit.

But was it really? British historian and writer John Vasco definitely doesn’t think so.

This Battle of Britain authority is absolutely convinced the Bf 110 was actually an excellent aircraft deployed wrongly. He concedes the Bf 110 suffered at the hands of Hurricanes and Spitfires during the Battle of Britain (and was consequently and prematurely withdrawn). But having conducted scores of interviews with participating German BoB pilots, he’s certain the Zerstörer was pressed into faulty tactics and suffered for it. He presents the following credible reasons …

First, the Bf 110 demonstrated early on that it was an extraordinary heavy fighter. Over Poland in September 1939, largely flying ground-support and fending off pesky Polish PZL-11 fighters, the Bf 110 performed brilliantly while sustaining few loses. Later, on December 14, 110s tangled with Wellingtons over the Heligoland Bight and shot down three with no loss to themselves. And (believe it or not) in May and June, 1940, Bf 110s achieved a slightly higher kill ratio over opposing Hurricanes and Spitfires. (no kidding: it’s recorded history.)

Second, over Britain, the Bf 110 faced two very real, distinct disadvantages: 1) the RAF benefited from radar and an effective fighter control system, which allowed the defenders to ambush from higher altitudes, often out of the sun. After pouncing, they then extended away (continued their dive) or conducted zoom climbs for a second pass. And 2) Göring stupidly slaved his Zerstörers to slow-moving He-111 Blitz bombers, giving Bf 110s little or no time to dodge plunging attacks. RAF fighters, flying 300 mph and above, inevitably pulverized the German heavy fighter.

Third, it didn’t help that Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring then unfairly (and deviously) condemned the 110 for these entirely inescapable and outrageous results, faulting the 110 for being slow, vulnerable, and utterly unable to defend itself. As a result and taking their cue from the lardo Reichsmarschall, historians recounted the myth as proof positive the escort fighter was a pile of steaming, stinky feculence. Yet Vasco, in concert with Gunther Rall, the Luftwaffe’s third highest scoring fighter ace, maintains that
Göring censured the Bf 110 to deflect criticism from his own thick-as-pig-poo BoB strategy. Rall insists that the Reichsmarschall was acutely aware of his own ineptitude but blamed everybody and everything else (including the Zerstörer ) for the Luftwaffe’s defeat. Rall wasn’t fooled, however. The Bf 110, he knew, was a splendid aircraft when given a fair chance. “It couldn’t turn with the Spit,” he admitted, “but it could knock the wings off the British fighter given favorable circumstances. Until the Mk.V Spit arrived, the Bf 110 could take on any Spitfire and win.”

That bears repeating: The Bf 110 could take on any Spitfire and win (until the Mk.V came along).

The Bf 110, as if needing to redeem itself, later served as an awesome fighter-bomber, reconnaissance platform, ground attack aircraft, and extraordinary night fighter.

Given this new narrative, perhaps the Bf 110 was a great warbird after all. Göring wanted everybody to think it choked and lost the big game, but it’s more likely he rebuked the Bf 110 to cover his own stupendously huge heinie. Had the bird been unbuckled from slow, plodding bombers, it’s entirely possible it would have made a good showing of itself against the RAF—perhaps even a great showing. As it was, the Bf 110 flew in unforgivably vulnerable circumstances mandated by an incredibly dense Nazi bigwig who didn’t know a schwanzstück from a wiener schnitzel.



Until I started to collect Corgi and Hobby Mater Bf 110s, I wasn’t all that enthused about them. I’d bought into Hermann’s yammering lie about how sucky the warbird was for having lost the Battle of Britain, etc. But then I studied the plane’s amazing past and changed my mind. Corgi’s Bf 110 is a smidgen better than Hobby Master’s, but that’s only my opinion. It’s a great little model that typifies Corgi’s model-making virtuoso: great paint job, excellent tampo application, extraordinary accuracy. If you can find one of these little monsters (which is unlikely, at least for an affordable price), grab it. You’ll love it.


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Old 04-28-2017, 02:37 PM   #398
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Has the question ever popped in your head, “Hey, I wonder why so many VPAF (Vietnamese People’s Air Force) pilots downed more enemy aircraft than their American adversaries”? Of course it has. Why wouldn’t it? And, you lucky dawg—I have the answer.

Firstly and mostly, it came down to numbers. In 1965 the VPAF had only 36 MiG-17s and a similar number of qualified pilots, which increased to 180 MiGs and 72 pilots by 1968. Those original six dozen pilots confronted about 200 F-4s of the 8th, 35th and 366th TFW, about 140 Thunderchiefs of the 355th and 388th TFW, and about 100 USN aircraft (F-8s, A-4s and F-4s) which operated from the carriers on "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Considering these odds, it’s no wonder why some Vietnamese fighter jockeys outscored their American counterparts: VPAF pilots were simply busier. In fact, the Vietnamese felt the USA’s overwhelming numerical superiority was a plus, providing them with a “target rich environment” that gave them ample opportunity to bag more than their fair share of kills. The Americans, on the other hand, couldn’t find enough MiGs to pile up large scores: the VPAF never had more than 200 combat aircraft at any one time. The boys up north weren’t rotated home after 100 combat sorties because, well … they already were home. These guys basically flew ‘til they died. An American pilot, in contrast, normally finished his tour of duty and rotated back to the States for training, command, flight test assignments, and/or Disneyland vacations. Some devoted souls requested a second combat tour, but they were the exception, not the rule.

Secondly, American pilots, at least for a good portion of the war, relied on air-to-air missiles (like the radar homing AIM-7 Sparrow and IR AIM-9) to make kills. Not only had their gunnery skills grown rusty, but they’d mostly forgotten that a skillful pilot is at least as important as his weapons. The VPAF, conversely, trained its pilots to exploit the superb agility of the MiG-17, MiG-19 and MiG-21 by hugging the enemy’s butt, where heavy Phantoms and "Thuds" were at a distinct disadvantage. It wasn’t until 1972, when the US Navy introduced its "Top Gun" program to improve its pilots’ aerial combat skills and the F-4E was introduced with a 20mm built-in Vulcan cannon that the Americans upped their scores.

And third, differing tactics made a big difference. Because the USAF did not attack main radar installations and command centers (worried it might kill Russian or Chinese advisers), North Vietnamese ground control continued to provide superb guidance to their fly boys, setting them up for perfect ambushes. The MIGs made fast and lethal attacks against US formations from several directions (usually the MiG-17s performed head-on attacks and the MiG-21s attacked from the rear). After annihilating American planes and often forcing F-105s to prematurely drop their bombs, the MiGs boogied out of the combat zone back to waiting bottles of rice liquor. This "guerrilla warfare in the air" tactic proved exceedingly successful.

It all came down to mindsets: The USAF and USA (and Marine Corp) were too self-possessed, too self-confident at the beginning. They were dismissive of North Vietnam’s determination and grit. Their weapons and tactics had to change before they could neutralize their nemesis.

Officially, North Vietnam boasted of 16 Aces during Vietnam War (13 MiG-21 pilots, three MiG-17 drivers, and no MiG-19 aces).





The MiG 21 is a simple airplane, essentially a tube with wings stuck on, but brother can if fly! If you’re into Soviet Era jets, you’ve gotta love this little dickens; and Corgi definitely didn’t disappoint with this edition (though I believe Hobby Master produced Corgi’s MiG 21s). It’s clean, it’s accurate, and it rocks! Grab one and add it to your Vietnam collection.

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Old 04-29-2017, 01:31 PM   #399
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The Focke-Wulf Fw-190A debuted over France in August 1941 and promptly chewed Spitfire Mk. Vs to bits, proving its superiority in every way except turn radius. Its popularity in the Luftwaffe was such that many fighter pilots preferred its robustness to the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Gifted at lower altitudes but relatively anemic higher up, later variants performed superbly above 20,000 feet.

Two battles best defined the Focke-Wulf Fw-190: the Channel Dash and the Dieppe Raid...

By February 1942, the RAF was nightly kicking the poo out of the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen at Brest, France, something Großadmiral Eric Raeder was determined to end. Hoping to save his ships from sure destruction, he made plans to move them to safer Norwegian anchorages. On the night of February 11, the warships slipped out of Brest undetected; by dawn, the trio steamed off Cherbourg, where German fighters (most of them Fw-190s) covered their retreat. The British didn’t catch wind of the gambit until mid-day, by which time the ships had nearly reached the Straits of Dover, shielded by Fw-190's and Bf 109s of JG.2 and JG.26.

The alarm sounded, but few British strike aircraft took flight, chiefly a woefully small group of Swordfish torpedo bombers led by Lt. Cdr. Eugene Esmonde. Despite their courage and pluck and feisty Spitfire support, not one Swordfish crew survived: Focke-Wulfs tore them to blood bits (seven crews in all, Esmonde earning a posthumous Victoria Cross). Of this engagement, Adolf Galland said, "For two hours in full daylight, German warships passed along the English coast following a route that no enemy of Britain dared to take since the seventeenth century. When the Swordfish arrived, our Fw- 190s pounced on them like demented dogs despite Spitfire fighter protection, ripping them to shreds. Our boys absolutely devoured them."

Later that afternoon, more British bombers attacked the battleships, but German fighters and bad weather thwarted the assault. The three fugitive ships made it safely to German ports that evening, partly due to friendly Fw-190 protection.

In 1942, British Prime Minister Churchill (and staff) ordered a hit-‘n’-run assault on France, partway to convince Marshal Joseph Stalin that the Allies were committed to prosecuting the war (and thus keep Russia in the war), and partly to boost flagging British moral. The objectives were to seize and hold a major port (Dieppe) for a short period, gather vital intelligence, and destroy coastal defenses, port structures, and all strategic buildings. Thus the Dieppe Raid commenced on August 19th, 1942, British and Canadian forces storming the beaches but straightaway encountering fierce enemy resistance. In the air, Fw 190s jumped the RAF and slaughtered it, one German pilot splashing seven Spitfire Mark V's within minutes. In all, the British lost ninety-seven aircraft against 48 German fighters. The raid proved disastrous: of the 6,086 men who made it ashore, 3,367 (almost 60%) were either killed, wounded or captured. Once again, the Fw 190 had proved itself King Commando of the Air.

More interesting tidbits …

While the radial BMW 801 engine was a champ below 20,000 feet, it sucked at higher altitudes. To remedy this, Kurt tank and his team installed an inline Daimler Benz DB 603 into prototypes 190B and 190C but weren’t impressed. Trying again, Kurt mounted the longish Jumo 213A-1 inline engine into the Fw 190D (or "Dora"), which necessitated a longer nose. The first production version, the Fw-190D-9, appeared in the summer of 1944 and carried two 13mm machine guns in the cowling and two 20mm cannon in the wing roots. It reached 425mph and was blessed with great climbing ability, becoming what many consider the Luftwaffe’s best production fighter of the war.

Not surprisingly, the Dora came too late. Shortages of fuel and trained pilots fettered any chance of Germany winning the war—or impeding outright catastrophe. While German factories churned out Fw-190D-9's by the boatload, relatively few saw combat for lack of gas and pilots. Most of these fighters flew cover for Me-262 airfields. The TA 152 was the last notable Focke-Wulf 190 variant, the "Ta," denoting Kurt Tank's design influence. The definitive version was the Ta 152H, a superlative long-winged, high-altitude fighter of which only 43 saw combat. Service reports suggest that had this slender fighter arrived earlier in number, it might have hammered Allied bomber groups to bits.






I’ve showcased 1/32 21st Century fighters here before because they’re (by in large) great replicas. They’re not perfect, but mostly these pre-made, plastic birds are exceptional. In fact, for all my models (and I own many), they rank among my favorite. Walmart no longer sells them, and year by year they get harder to find (and more expensive). If you want a break from 1/72 and/or 1/48 fighters, think about grabbing one of these beauties.



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Old 05-01-2017, 11:23 AM   #400
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McClelland AFB, 1963. Capt. J. Hensley and Lt. Thomas Chandler hop aboard their F-106B (two-seater) Delta Dart, prep their mount, and head on down the apron for a night training IFR currency check. Hensley has the stick as Chandler sits in the rear and anticipates a trouble-free evening above lovely California. The weather is sumptuous: no clouds for eternity, and the sky has morphed into a pleasing mauve/black hue. They reach the flight strip, turn right, line up, and kick the can full blast.

The acceleration presses the duo into their seats, everything going to plan—until the Dart begins to rotate and something smacks the jet’s undercarriage with an unholy clang. Hensley’s eyes bulge and Chandler
soils his flight suit as the jet fumbles side to side. Altimeter reading is now 4000 ft. Chandler rings the tower, which replies it can’t see any smoke or fire or fuel trace tailing the aircraft—despite the fact that the cockpit fire warning light flickered on. Tower says it’s too dark to see smoke anyway. By now the engine is getting wonkier by the second, reeving oddly.

Time to head for the barn.

Not all the green gear lights show “down,” however. Another F-106 rolls alongside and eyeballs the stricken jet to see if all three struts are down but can hardly see them for the dark. Ground emergency crews scramble when the alarm rings. Hensley wants the boys downstairs to hose the runway with suds to keep the warbird from going incandescent upon touchdown, but the jackanape in the tower denies the request thinking foam is too messy to cleanup at night. The Captain's eyes blaze in the darkness.

The jet’s port wing is dipping ever lower, threatening to whack the runway and kill the crew in a huge fireball. Holding his breath, Hensley lands the ship way too hard, way too fast, and the left gear collapses. Now he and Chandler hold on for dear life as the Dart sprouts a rooster tail of sparks, leaves the runway, and scribes a long arc toward the emergency crews and an adjacent group of parked F-106s. Incredibly, the jet misses the parked Darts and galloping emergency crews and instead skids sideways between two hangars (unerringly down a yellow taxi strip) and vanishes from view.

The ride’s not over. The 106B crosses Hangar Avenue, parallel to the runway 1.5, and finally screeches to a stop facing the wrong direction on the one-way street—a mere 30 feet from a structure crammed with compressed, volatile gases. Wisely, Hensley had shut down the engine just after exiting the runway, forestalling a fire and likely explosion. Still, both fuel tanks leak like sieves and threaten to ignite. Both pilots egress their cockpits and flee the jet, certain it will burst into an inferno. During this frenzied getaway, a fire truck just arriving from the Base Ops doesn’t see Chandler and hits him square on, killing him. Hensley gets away clean.

Moments before, Airman Jeff Stammers, who'd been drinking heavily, was driving down Hangar Avenue when an F-106B appeared right in front of him. Stomping on his breaks, Stammers missed the fighter by inches and heaved his guts out all over his dash. In his drunken stupor, the airman thought he saw another truck run over a man only yards away. Years later, according to his friends, this event so traumatized Stammers that he swore off booze forever.

And what caused the unholy “clang”? An unsecured wrench that had dropped from a maintenance truck.



I really like this model—everything but its slightly wonky nose. Hobby Master did itself proud with the Delta Dart, and I recommend it to all who dig Century Series jets. If you don’t own one yet, for Pete’s sake pull the trigger. Some are still available at reasonable prices (whatever “reasonable” means).









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