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Old 02-11-2017, 08:06 AM   #121
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

Beautiful airplane indeed and you have realized a perfect replica.
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:08 AM   #122
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (allied codename „Frank“) was one of the most advanced fighters of the Imperial Japanese Army to see large-scale operations during the later part of WWII. The Ki-84 was developed from the Ki-43 “Oscar”, the standard fighter aircraft the Army, and adressed several issues of the Ki-43 that needed to be corrected; for example lack of armored tanks and pilot protection; firepower and high-altitude performance. The final result, the Ki-84, was first flown in 1943 and although the aircraft had great potential, it could never really be fully exploited due to the deterioration of the Japanese industrial capacities.

Powered by the compact, but powerful (up to 2000hp) Nakajima Ha-45 Homare radial engine, the Ki-84 could reach speeds up to 420mph, making it the fastest aircraft of the Army Air Force. However, the complicated Ha-45 engine was hard to maintain and lack of high octane fuel hampered engine performance. With the Japanese aviation industry running out of resources, later production models of the Hayate suffered from poor build quality and low-quality metal alloys; accidents due to collapsing landing gears were quite common. Above all, the Japanese lacked experienced pilots to unleash the potential of this high-altitude interceptor.

However, as test flights by the US Air Force after the war showed, if the aircraft was in good shape and powered by high octane fuel, it was able to keep up with the best Allied aircraft of the time; even outperforming the P-47 and P-51 at certain altitudes. One Ki-84 remains and was restored to flying condition in the USA in the 1970s, it was later transferred to Japan and is now on static display at the Chiran Air Museum in Kagoshima.

This Ki-84 has the markings of the 2nd Chutai (Squadron) on the 29th Sentai (Fighter Group) based a Taiwan in 1945. This kit is one of the older toolings from Hasegawa. I build it out of the box with no modifications. A simple and hassle-free build, it is not that detailled but this is quite common for older kits.







The only remaining Ki-84:

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Old 03-18-2017, 11:13 AM   #123
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

With almost 34.000 units build, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 is the most produced fighter aircraft in history, and was the Luftwaffe´s standard fighter between 1937 and 1945. Although supplemented by the superior Focke Wulf Fw 190 in later years, the Bf 109 remained the backbone of the Luftwaffe, and almost all top Luftwaffe aces scored the majority of their victories in the Bf 109. One of the challenges of the Messerschmitt Engineers was to keep the aircraft up to date over the years, introducing a lot of refinements considering the engine, avionics and arnament, although the basic airframe of the Bf 109 was not heavily modified. This led to a lot of different versions and sub-versions, namely the A- to G- variants and the final K-version, with the A to D versions produced before the outbreak of WWII.

This Bf 109 here is an early Bf 109 B-2 version, first flown in 1937. Spotting features of the B-version are a very different cowling design compared to later versions, with a large radiator under the belly (the A-D versions were powered by Junkers Jumo Engines, all later ones by Daimler-Benz), and a two-blade propeller. One of the most advanced fighters of its time, it first saw operational use with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War, where it was superior to every other fighter it encountered – and achieving air superiority for the Nationalists, which was a major step to victory for Franco and his troops.

This Bf 109 B-2 of Jagdgruppe 88 was flown by Hauptmann Gotthard Handrick (1908 – 1978), the squadron leader of this unit. Handrick gained five victories in Spain and 10 victories in WWII, where he was assigned to different squadron commands. The most interesting part of his biography is that he was an athlete and Olympic Medal winner before joining the Luftwaffe. He won the Gold medal in modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games in Berlin 1936 (and is, to this day, the only male German athlete to win this discipline). The spinner of his Bf 109 in Spain was decorated with the Olympic Rings, unfortunately not included with the decals.

When it comes to the Bf 109 in 1/72 scale, the are a lot of kits to choose from, but the early A-D versions are somewhat harder to find. I didn´t want to tackle a Czech short run kit this time, so I selected the rather old tooling from Heller, dating to the 1970s (still avaiable in newer reboxed runs). A mediocre fit and soft plastic is what to expect from a Heller kit from this era, but what surprised me the most are the decals, especially the ones applied to the fuselage, as they are plainly to big (the reg numbers and the top hat are more like 1/48 scale !). I did use them anyway, although there are up-to-scale aftermarket decals avaiable, but they cost as much as the entire kit !







Gotthard Handrick (left), Olympic Medal Winner & Fighter pilot

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Old 04-07-2017, 12:25 PM   #124
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

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Lovely subtle weathering job and a brilliant storyline Conventi..
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Old 04-08-2017, 09:59 AM   #125
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

Thanks Vince !
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Old 04-08-2017, 10:02 AM   #126
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

In 1939, when other Air Forces around the world had already phased out obsolete biplanes, the Regia Aeronautica (Royal Italian Air Force) did not hesitate to introduce a new model, the Fiat CR.42 (seen on the first page). It was the successor to the Fiat CR.32, shown here, the standard Italian Fighter airplane of the 1930s and still the most numerous type in the Regia Aeronautica fleet at the outbreak of WWII.

Italian Air Doctrine, basically unchanged since WWI, preferred maneuverability and aerobatics above everything else, and monoplane designs were primarly selected for new bomber designs, but at first not necessarly for new fighter aircraft. Without a doubt, the CR.32 (CR stands for the main aircraft designer, Celestino Rosatelli) was an excellent aerobatic aircraft, and well liked by the pilots. Introduced in 1933, it was the most advanced biplane design of its time and proved to be valuable in the Spanish Civil War, were it was used by the Italian “Mercenary” force supporting the Nationalists. Impressed by the success in Spain, Italian Aircraft Designers still believed strongly in the biplane design, a costly mistake that slowed down progress of modern fighter designs significantly, and left Italy way behind the German or British aviation industry at the time.

In the early stages of WWII, the CR.32 was used in the North African and Mediterranian campaigns, and although clearly outdated then, the opposing Royal Air Force pilots were warned by their commanders that these biplanes were still considered a threat, as a skilled pilot could easily outturn Hurricanes and Spitfires, and was able to turn the tables in a low-speed dogfight. Nevertheless, the superior agility of the CR.32/42 aside, the time of the biplane was over: It was too slow, had inadequate pilot protection (open cockpit !), and in the case of the CR.32/42, lacked firepower. The last CR.32 were retired from active duty in 1941 and relegated to training units. Today, only two CR.32 are remaining, one in an museum in Rome and one in Madrid.

This CR.32 of the 163. Squadriglia Autonoma was based in Roda, Corfu in Greece, 1940. It had the typical camouflage used by many Italian Aircraft in the Mediterranian theatre.

This kit is from a new Italeri release, but it´s basically an old 1970s mould from Supermodel. Italeri has updated the tooling, and it´s really good, with decent detail and good fitting. A pleasant surprise and a nice little model with 7 different decal options, which is quite impressive. It certainly looks good next to the “sister aircraft”, the CR.42.








CR.42 and CR.32

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Old 04-14-2017, 04:04 PM   #127
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

Lovely builds i bet the camo on the twin blade tested your patience a bit...
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:57 AM   #128
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

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Lovely builds i bet the camo on the twin blade tested your patience a bit...
Thanks Vince, and yes, this took some time to complete...
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:01 AM   #129
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

Although only a few years older, those Fiat biplanes look really archaic next to the Arado Ar 234 “Blitz”, the first and only operational jet bomber aircraft in WWII. Orginally designed as a high-speed reconnaissance aircraft, the Ar 234 was build in low numbers and only saw limited action in the closing stages of the conflict.

Massively delayed because of engineering difficulties with the then-new jet engines, the original prototypes took off from a jettisonable start trolley and landed on skids mounted below the fuselage and engines. This would have save the weight of an retractable gear, however it was deemed that this was not practical in real-life operations, and later prototypes were equipped with an conventional tricycle landing gear. Jet aircraft needed a longer take-off run, to counter this problem two jettisonable rocket pods were installed under the wings (the so-called RATO packs). They were detached shortly after take-off and parachuted back to the ground, were they could be collected and re-used.

Only one version of the Ar 234 reached operational status, the Ar 234 B-2 variant, used in a dual role as bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. As a recon plane, it was so fast that it was virtually impossible for the Allies to intercept; therefore no offensive or defensive weaponry of any kind was ever installed on operational aircraft; however this was planned for later versions. In fact, the Ar 234 was the last German airplane to fly over England in April 1945. It was only used for very few bombing missions by it´s single operational squadron, KG 76. While it was still fast, carrying bombs slowed down the “Blitz” considerably (every payload had to be installed externally). In reality, the Ar 234 stayed grounded most of the time, with lack of fuel and spares and the collapsing German infrastructure at the end of WWII. Most proposed versions of the Ar 234 never left the drawing board, although a four-engine version, the Ar 234 C, was completed but not used operationally. It may only be flown once. Today, only one Ar 234 B-2 remains, fully restaurated and on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center next to Washington-Dulles airport.

This Ar 234 B-2 was flown by Oblt. Werner Muffey of the “Sonderkommando Sperling” in late 1944, Sonderkommando Sperling was an experimental Luftwaffe Unit created for the Ar 234, specalized in reconnaissance missions. Not much is known about their operations, although recon flights over England, France and Italy were conducted. Muffey´s Ar 234 was the only one with some sort of nose art, a rare sight for Luftwaffe planes – it showed a jet-propelled bird.

This kit is an really old one, the original boxing of British manufacturer FROG from 1976, shortly before they went out of business. It is comparable to Airfix kits of the time, relative simple, rough details, but a lot of building options (B and C versions). Overall a nice build, very nostalgic in a way, of course you cannot have high expectations with this old mould – I added a few cockpit details, and that’s it. Not surprisingly, the decals were unusuable after 40+ years so I used aftermarket decal from Peddinghaus.







Original photo of this aircraft:




RATO take-off

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Old 05-06-2017, 11:37 AM   #130
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

Ernst Heinkel (1888-1958), German aircraft designer & manufacturer, had a lifelong obsession with high speed aircraft – going faster with every new design was one of Heinkel´s main goals. Beginning in the mid 1930s, he also was one of the first to become aware of the limitations of piston-powered propeller aircraft; it was clear for him that this technology would soon reach its limits; therefore new, faster forms of propulsion had to be researched. While still in their infancy, jet and rocket power promised to be a potential new step ahead, also for new aircraft designs needed by the emerging Luftwaffe after 1933.

Rocket technology was very new, and of course, almost completely untested at the time. Heinkel co-operated with Hellmuth Walter, designer of the rocket engines, and the first rocket engines were tested static or attached under the wings of Heinkel aircraft. As expected, there were a lot challenges and setbacks, but in 1939, the technology was mature enough that an experimental aircraft powered solely by a rocket engine, the Heinkel He 176, was constructed and prepared for testing.

A very simple and really small aircraft, the experimental He 176 was basically designed around the pilot, Erich Warsitz, a test pilot of the German Air Ministry assigned to Heinkel (Warsitz was also the first jet pilot in the He 178 – see the first page). The fuel demand of the rocket engine was enormous, therefore the range of the aircraft was very limited, with a flying time of 60 seconds at maximum. To enhance safety, the front part of the cockpit could be ejected with the pilot in flight in case of an emergency. There were a lot of unknown factors, especially as the aircraft could potentially reach speeds up to 600mph, a speed range that had never been explored before in aviation, with new challenges in aerodynamic designs. Needless to say, testing this aircraft was a risky task, and as Erich Warsitz told in his biography, he prepared his last will, just in case, before the first test flight on June 20, 1939. Everything went fine, though, but after performing another test flight for German Luftwaffe Officials the next day, the Air Ministry did not allow Heinkel to continue testing – it felt the aircraft and rocket power in general was too dangerous, and risking the life on an Air Ministry test pilot was unacceptable.

However, the testing ban was lifted again after a few weeks, and until the end of the programme in November 1939 approx. 40-45 flights were undertaken, without accident. The aircraft was even presented to Hitler himself and the top brass of the Luftwaffe, however, it had to be noted that Hitler was more impressed by the bravery of test pilot Erich Warsitz, and demanded a raise for him ! This could not save the programme, though, and in the fall of 1939 the Air Ministry ordered Heinkel to stop development of rocket aircraft and concentrate on new turbojet designs. The single He 176 was stored and destroyed a few years later in a bombing raid – and with it almost all technical drawings, photos and documentations. Little is known about the aircraft today, and nobody knew for sure how it looked like until the 1990s (!) when the first and only known photo of the He 176 emerged – see below. Although the He 176 was not a success, the basic idea for a little, point defense interceptor was picked up later by Messerschmitt and realized in the Me 163 “Komet”, the first and to this date, only rocket aircraft ever used in operational service.

An exotic experimental aircraft, so this had to be a Czech short run kit again, in this case from JACH Models. It is so tiny, it must be one of the smallest aircraft in 1/72 scale ! The kit is new, and quality was quite good, with only a few plastic parts and a lot of small photo-etched parts. Usually I´m not a big fan of PE parts but the fit was quit good and the tiny parts add a lot of detail to the model. The kit was designed after the only avaiable photo of the He 176 and as you can see, it had a fixed front gear. This was used for rolling and high-speed take off-runs, as the aircraft was quite unstable runnig on the ground. If this front gear was installed during the first test flight is unknown. The aircraft also had an removable upper cockpit glazing, but as in the original photo, the kit comes without one.







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Old 05-08-2017, 02:07 AM   #131
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

It never fails to surprise me that they actually found pilots willing to fly some of the things they designed,then again it was more of having no choice probably....Lovely little build Conventi,those figures really show the size of it...
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:24 PM   #132
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

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It never fails to surprise me that they actually found pilots willing to fly some of the things they designed,then again it was more of having no choice probably....Lovely little build Conventi,those figures really show the size of it...
Thanks Vince ! I think test pilots are a rare breed, back then even maybe more...I read that test pilots at the time in Germany were required to be unmarried and without children.
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:32 PM   #133
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

I'm curious. Was that a flight time of 60 seconds, or a rocket burn time of 60 seconds with gliding thereafter?

Of course, it doesn't look like it would glide very well or very far.
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:39 PM   #134
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

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I'm curious. Was that a flight time of 60 seconds, or a rocket burn time of 60 seconds with gliding thereafter?

Of course, it doesn't look like it would glide very well or very far.
I believe it was maximum rocket burn time of 60 seconds. Unlike the Me 163, this one was not designed as a glider.
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:50 AM   #135
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Re: Some WWII Fighters in 1/72

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Thanks Vince ! I think test pilots are a rare breed, back then even maybe more...I read that test pilots at the time in Germany were required to be unmarried and without children.
Hanna Reitsch especially for flying a piloted V1 after other pilots had been killed and identifying the problem with stability...
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