Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hinds and Super Sabres

I seem to still be in my "let's paint loads of aircraft" phase, so my latest efforts have been geared toward that end. I've finished my first Polish aircraft, two Mi-24 Hind D's:
And here is my rendition of the Poles, as well as an East German one that I did, as I was already painting Hinds anyway:

I've also finished off two of Marcin's none too impressive F-100's for my Danes:
I didn't make mine nearly as "distressed" looking as the real ones were by 1981:
The usual apologies for the photo quality. One day I'll decide to spend money on a camera instead of the equivalent amount on minis. 

As I said in my last post on the subject of Danish F-100's (10/21/2014), they'll look ok on the tabletop, but I'm not very happy with the sculpt or the mess that was the aft end of the mini. 

All Denmark's aircraft had a national flag painted on the horizontal stabilizer ("tail"), but that's far too tiny for me to attempt to freehand it. I looked at a lot of Danish F-100's on Google and they all had the wing roundels a surprisingly long distance inboard on the wing, i.e. a long way away from the wing tip, so I've duplicated it on the models. It looks a bit strange to me, but it is correct.

More from me next time!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cold War reading list, Part 2

Another indispensable title for a Cold War bookshelf is US Army field manual FM 100-2-3:
It was reissued periodically between 1946 and 1991 (and possibly beyond that, but that was after my time in the Army). It is an outstanding guide to Soviet military tactics, weapons, and vehicles. A definite "must have".

As you can see, mine is the 1991 edition. Given my timeframe of interest, I would much rather have the 1977 or the 1984 edition. Anyone want to trade? Mine's in pretty good shape!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Very unimpressed with Marcin's F-100's

The O8 F-100 Super Sabres that I've been waiting on arrived from Picoarmor today. The usual wonderful service from John and John and the usual pathetic delivery time from the Post Office. 

Having now gotten to work on the aircraft, I have to say the sculpts are pretty poor quality and far below Marcin's usual standards. They come in two pieces. The fuselage and tail assembly in one piece, which gets glued across the wing assembly, it being a second piece. The rudder has a very large piece of mold seepage and is a fair bit of a mess. The horizontal stabilizers are not level and of noticeably different shapes and lengths:

In the end, in order to get at the "blob" attached to the rudder, I had to snap off the entire vertical stabilizer. This is what it will look like once I get it glued back on:
As you can see, I have yet to finish filing it into the correct shape. 

I'm quite disappointed with these little models. They require an inordinate amount of work compared to their small size. No doubt they'll look fine on the table and from a distance and paint covers a multitude of sins, but still.... Ok, I realize this isn't 1/48 and I got two for only $1.85, but that's not the point. Sigh, usually Marcin's stuff is very impressive. Not this time. 

Ok, back to the maintenance shop. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Royal Danish Air Force in 1981

To continue on with the aircraft theme that I seem to be in lately, I thought I'd look at what minis I'll need in order to represent the ground attack aircraft of the Royal Danish Airforce (Kongelige Danske Flyvevåben) for my 1981 LANDJUT campaign. 

For interceptors, the Danes used the F-104G Starfighter, 
which they had the good sense NOT to press into service as a ground attack aircraft, thus avoiding the morbid "lawn dart" and "tent peg" jokes the West Germans had to suffer through. Even so, the Danish F-104 loss rate was 23.5% (12 out of 51). Oddly, the Norwegians, who also used them only in the interceptor role, lost only 6% and that in a country known for harsh weather! Oh! I just remembered another German joke - "What's the definition of an optimist? A Starfighter pilot who quits smoking." Ahem...well...moving right along....

The Danes relied on two aircraft types for their ground strike capability. The older of the two was the American-built F-100 Super Sabre, both the single seat D model:
And the two seater F model:
The Danes had been using the Hun since 1959 and it wouldn't finally be retired until 1982. Despite it's age, it could still pack a wallop with a 7000lb (approx. 3200kg) payload, although how effective it would've been over a modern battlefield against an enemy well supplied with up-to-date, shoulder-fired SAM's is debatable. 

The second strike aircraft used by Denmark was the Saab F-35 Draken; the single seat strike version:
Some of which were modified with chin cameras for an added reconnaissance role, the RF-35:
As well as some twin seat TF-35 trainers, normally unarmed, but which could easily be adapted for reconnaissance and strike roles:

Prior to the RF-35 reconnaissance Drakens, the RDAF used RF-84F Thunderflashes:
However, they were all retired in 1971 when the Drakens took over. Though they were kept in reserve for a few years, they were gone by 1981. I quite like this aircraft for some reason, so I may get just one, reasoning that a few might still have been in mothballs and pressed into service for the war emergency. Sounds plausible to me. The version available from O8 is the blunt-nosed fighter version, the Thunderstreak, like this West German one:
So I'd have to round the nose off with green putty. We'll see if I decide to get one. 

And lastly, in 1980, both the F-100's and F-104's began to be retired and replaced by the new F-16A's that Denmark started buying from the US:
These served as interceptors, ground strike aircraft, and in the reconnaissance role. In time, even the Drakens would be retired in their favor.

As you can see from the above photos, throughout the 1970's and up through 1983, all RDAF combat aircraft, save only the new F-16's in their three-tone grey scheme, were in overall gloss (except for the old Huns) olive drab green, for which, Humbrol 155 is an exact FS match. 

And here are my first Danish fixed wing aircraft; two Drakens:
Danish markings courtesy of  Dom's Decals. As usual, because the minis are suspended on a wire, it's difficult to get decent shots of the little devils.

Two F-100 D's should arrive in the mail on Monday and I have a pack of F-16's as part of the next order I'll be placing, so stand by for more!

The return of Mrs. History PhD

Over the last month or so, my wife has been painting a figure here and a figure there and she's finished two 3-man cells in 1/285 to go with her Viet Cong command stand (my post of July 20, 2014). Her short term goal is a VC infantry squad, which at full strength had 12 men (4 cells). However, like most armies, it was quite common to see only 3 cells to a squad (9 men) due to the attrition caused by death, wounds, illness, and temporary duty assignments elsewhere (called "TDY" when I was in the Army in the 80's).

So, here's what she has accomplished thus far:

I'm still flabbergasted that she does such a good job for a beginner! I particularly like the female grenade thrower and the prone guy with the RPK:
Although I have to say, GHQ has fallen down a bit there. In this role, it would have been more common to see an RPD:
But GHQ doesn't make a figure with one. 

The Mrs. says she'll do one more cell at least and possibly two to finish off her squad, so stand by for the whole squad soon. 

As an aside to the above photos, you can see my system of keeping track of what stand is part of what unit. This squad is part of blue platoon. The 3 dots in the blue square indicate that it's the third squad. White dots show the squad leader's cell/stand. Other cells get black dots. The actual squad leader figure always has a small tuft of elephant grass beside him (or occasionally "her"). Just helps with keeping everything organized on the table top during a game. 

The Mrs. says "See you all again soon!"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bundesmarine F-104G Starfighters

I've been working on two West German Bundesmarine F-104G Starfighters:
for the last couple of days and I've finished them. Here they are all ready for the table:
Dom's Decals throughout. I was actually quite pleased with how the "Marine" decal turned out. As you can see, it's slightly over-scale, but not ridiculously so. After looking at a lot images of Bundesmarine Starfighters on Google, I see most had the black anti-glare panel on the nose, but quite a few didn't. I like the look of it, so mine do. I think these minis turned out pretty well. 

Now two more to do for the Luftwaffe!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Some recent 1/600 additions

Over the last several months, a number of new 1/600 scale models that are of interest to early 80's Cold War enthusiasts (they interest me anyway) have appeared on Shapeways, so I thought it would be timely to mention them.

Firstly, Dragoman's Depot on Shapeways has a West German DKW Munga:

Next, in addition to the East German Army's Trabant Kübel that I've already mentioned (my post of July 7, 2014), National Cheese Emporium on Shapeways has added four different versions of the M548: with and without canvas tarp and with and without 50cal. and mounting ring: 

And as variations on that theme, there are also West German Skorpion minelayers:
And US M139 Volcano minelayers:
There's also a West German Roland 2 SAM antiaircraft vehicle based on the Marder:
As well as the Green Archer counter-battery radar, used by West Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Belgium, among others:

And after a chat with the designer, he has completed an East German IFA Sachsenring P3:

In addition, Kokoda Trail Models, also a Shapeways store, is offering a full Pershing II battery:
Although the Pershing II didn't enter service until 1983, the visual differences to the Pershing IA (the version in service in 1981) at this scale are negligible. The main issue for me is the IA usually had a tracked prime mover and the II had a wheeled one. 

So there we have it. Some very valuable additions to the models presently available in 3mm. More from me next time! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A bit of a problem with my Fitter C's!

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis will know that for 1/600 scale aircraft, I generally drill a hole in the model's belly and use Gorilla Superglue Gel to afix it to the tip of a wire. It's quite fiddly holding the model perched straight and level while waiting for the glue to set, but in the end, it turns out a good looking "flying" aircraft. 

This week, I bought four of O8's very nice Su-17 Fitter C's for my Soviets and Poles:
They clean up pretty well, given that Marcin uses so much aluminum in his amalgam that it can often be diamond-hard. However, this time he's really outdone himself! I've tried to drill the belly of one of the models using my Dremel, as I always do, and this thing is so hard that I can't even get a hole started! All I've managed to do is produce a battered, semi-flat, mangled-looking place:

Ok, obviously a rethink is going to be necessary here. If drilling is out, I do have a pile of small rare earth magnets lying about unused. Gluing a magnet to the model's belly is no problem (especially since I've already made a fairly flat place with all of my drilling attempts). But that begs the question of how to get the matching magnet to perch atop the wire. Hmm....

Obviously, the magnet will never sit securely directly on the tip of the wire. I need some sort of flat surface atop the wire, but what to use as this tiny "table"? Where I work, we have a fairly large laminating shop, which is just chock-full of interesting little odds and ends. To afix acetate overlays to maps, the shop uses Chicago posts:
Unfortunately they're made of aluminum, so I'll have to glue magnets to both the aircraft and the "table".
That's without any magnets attached yet. It's very definitely not the most elegant solution and it is anything but unobtrusive, however, it does work. It will have to do until I think of a better way. This is what the whole thing will look like after it's all glued together:
Well, it'll all look much better after it's painted and flocked (he said hopefully)....