The F6F Hellcat design started development as a upgraded version of the F4F Wildcat design, but by the time a final design was completed it had became a completely different breed altogether, not even sharing any parts with her predecessor. F6F Hellcat fighters were designed to be produced efficiently, and additional features such as heavy armor and self-sealing fuel tanks were installed to provide additional safety to the pilots. The first of these carrier fighters took flight on 26 Jun 1942 and the first combat-ready squadron was deployed aboard USS Essex in Mar 1943. They first saw action against the Japanese six months later when F6F Hellcat fighters of USS Independence attacked and shot down a Japanese seaplane. On 23 Nov 1943, F6F Continue reading
The sound of the caterpillar tracks could be felt as much as heard, a deep rumble that sent a rattle through windows and a tremble of fear through the guts. Then we saw them. Huge Soviet-made T72s, accompanied by troop carriers driving slowly into town, extra plates welded onto the sides to deflect rocket-propelled grenades. It was just after 9.30am, and the tanks were coming to Saraqeb.
“Light the tires!
If you happen to read these articles in any sort of sequential manner, you’ll notice that it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated. Kinda sucks! Not so much for you as I doubt that you pay too much attention to any of this, but for me indicates that either I’m not building models or that I’m lazy. The truth lays somewhere in the middle – busy and lazy. (can the two co-exist?) Well….sure, why not?
The Vietnam War formally began in September of 1959, with the arrival of American advisers, though the strength in numbers for the American combat forces did not occur until around 19656. The M48 was the mainstay of the American armored forces at the time and the Patton become the heaviest tank to be fielded by the US Army during the conflict. Despite her armor protection and suitable main gun, the M48 was thrown into a war for which it was not directly intend. While expecting to face off head-to-head against North Vietnamese and Viet Cong armor in tank-verses-tank duels, the M48 was relegated to supporting infantry actions in the dense jungle and suburban fighting to follow. Continue reading
The backdrop for this scene is the epic battle of Kursk, or Operation Citadel, when in the summer of 1943, German and Russian forces clashed in an titanic struggle for supremacy. Each side throwing thousands of tanks and aircraft into battle as Tigers and T-34s engaged one another in swirling, mortal conflict. In historical terms the Battle of Kursk marked a turning point in the war, the initiative now turning to the favor of the Soviets.
The 2S1 Gvozdika (Carnation) was the standard Red Army self-propelled howitzer platform. The type was recognized by the West in 1974 and given the designation “M1974”. Production was undertaken at factories within the Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Poland with thousands of the vehicles being delivered.
The 2S1 borrows much of its design from the MT-LB multi-role tracked vehicle. The hull is rather long and featureless, making room for the flat, all welded turret emplacement to which a 122 mm main gun is fitted. Due to it’s Cold War origins, the 2S1’s fighting compartment is fully protected from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Infra-red night vision is standard for the driver and commander potions.
It is almost unimaginable to comprehend the extreme level of discomfort and suffering the average foot soldier endured during World War I. Fear and death his constant companions; the only refuge was to be found within a shallow ribbon of earth carved into the apocalyptic landscape. Filth and dampness become his home; a daily routine of misery with no escape. Here we find a lone Stormtrooper standing in the mire of the trenches, quietly awaiting the next onslaught.
The setting for this small vignette is a small section of German trench on the Western Front, 1918. Creating mud in a scene such as this requires careful observation of the interaction between dirt and water. In broad terms our goal here is to portray mud in some of its many guises; fresh mud, dried mud, dirt, water and splatters.
During the Second World War the Soviets relied heavily on the use of tractors for their heavy artillery and mortars to make their way across the battlefield. The most ominous of these was the ChTZ S-65 “Stalinez” tractor which was built in the Chelyabinskiy Traktornyy Zavod (ChTZ ) in the city of Chelyabinsk. Founded in 1933, the ChTZ factory began producing agricultural tractors first with the S-60, which was a copy of the American built Caterpillar 60 which was followed by an improved diesel powered version, the S-65. With the outbreak of war in 1941 the majority of the 37,626 Sons of Stalin (Stalinez) were pressed into military service where they were used to pull the larger Soviet artillery guns such as the 152 mm M1937 ML-20 and the B4 M1931 203mm Howitzers.
There is no more evocative phrase to emerge from World War II than “Afrika Korps.” The name conjures up a unique theater of war, a hauntingly beautiful empty quarter where armies could roam free, liberated from towns and hills, choke points and blocking positions, and especially those pesky civilians. It calls forth a war of near-absolute mobility, where tanks could operate like ships at sea, “sailing” where they wished, setting out on bold voyages hundreds of miles into the deep desert, then looping around the enemy flank and emerging like pirates of old to deal devastating blows to an unsuspecting foe. Finally, it implies a dauntless hero, in this case Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, a noble commander who fought the good fight, who hated Adolf Hitler and everything he stood for, and who couldn’t have been further from our stereotype of the Nazi fanatic. Everything about the Desert Fox attracts us—the manly poses, the out-of-central-casting good looks, even the goggles perched just so. Placing Rommel and his elite Afrika Korps at the fore allows us to view the desert war as a clean fight against a morally worthy opponent. It was war, yes, but almost uniquely in World War II, it was a “war without hate,” as Rommel famously called it in his memoirs. Continue reading