23/08/2018 at 21:11 #97477
Only just found this thread, but that Z506 is just spectacularly good. And if you think the Blochs were ugly, go hunt down an Amiot – this is the Scotia one
--An occasional wargames blog: http://aleadodyssey.blogspot.co.uk/ --23/08/2018 at 21:21 #97478
Nice paint job on a very ugly airplane, Doug.What do you use one of those for in a game? What kind of mission?I thought they were night bombers.
You'll shoot your eye out, kid!23/08/2018 at 21:26 #97479RogerBWParticipant
Really by the time war came the Amiot 140 series was obsolete – the French used it because it was what they had, but they replaced it with more modern bombers as soon as they got the chance.24/08/2018 at 08:41 #97497
It’s a great looking plane I think. I’d spotted one of those the other day and I really liked the big wide wings. Its a striking shape, but still not as ugly (in my opinion) as the old Bloch bombers.
nice paint job. Thanks for sharing.03/09/2018 at 17:41 #98416
I hope you don’t mind other’s input to your thread. Keeping up the WWII theme here is a couple of my Italians. I don’t know for sure the makes of most of my minis, especially the WWII types anymore. Could be H&R, Skytrex, Irregular, Croissant…? I do have GHQ and CinC and they are obvious.
Some WWI fun
And finally a scooter in “Nam
I have lots more, almost all modern.03/09/2018 at 17:47 #98418
Nice models, thanks for posting. I particularly like that Albatros!03/09/2018 at 18:00 #98422
Thank you. They were all painted between 25 and 35 years ago. These are all hand painted. It does show but I am still proud of them. I think a few of the modern ones may have decals but very few if any. The decals were a pain mostly due to the size. The Alby is Voss’ is in it’s mid life markings. All my bipes have inter-plane struts, usually made from copper wire. The Fiats’ are warren truss. None of these are GHQ or CinC.03/09/2018 at 18:12 #98424
Some very nice work on show in this thread. The more the merrier.
--An occasional wargames blog: http://aleadodyssey.blogspot.co.uk/ --03/09/2018 at 18:14 #98425
Hi, I assume they could be pressed into service for passengers or essential day time bombing. Main function is to attract German fighters for the Dewotines to shoot down 🙂
--An occasional wargames blog: http://aleadodyssey.blogspot.co.uk/ --04/09/2018 at 04:15 #98455
Thanks for sharing your models Stephen. I always enjoy seeing others’ work. Those are some elaborate flight stands. I suppose they’re from before the era of rare earth magnets.
You'll shoot your eye out, kid!04/09/2018 at 08:19 #98468
Nice work Steven. Thanks for showing us some of your planes. I like the look of your stands, very functional for games I’m sure, lots of actuation.
Thanks for keeping the gallery active in my long hiatus. More tiny planes on the way soon folks, I promise.05/09/2018 at 00:43 #98560
The stands were from 30 years ago. These were my final generation, about #4. They allow the plane to be pointed at any attitude from straight up to straight down and rolled to any angle at the same time. The antennae were always only mean to impart the feeling of who is high(er) depending on the size of the game. We played Air Superiority at the end and you use both aircraft performance charts and flight data charts so no need to represent anything other than the position and orientation of the plane with the stands.
I recently became aware of a WWI game called “In Clouds of Glory” which uses a very innovative flight stand. However, it requires very light models like the 1/350 plastic kits or shapeways ones. Similar results but the models are “hung” from their noses instead of their tails as on mine. The altitude is represented by position along a vertical carbon rod so you have a much greater range which combines with the limitations of WWI planes to pretty much allow full altitude representation on one yard or meter long rods. I haven’t read into it far due to lack of suitably inspired opponents in my area (GTA).
The round magnet/steel ball idea is novel but it still limits your potential positions so, for my level of detail fanaticism, it wouldn’t have sufficed but may have been an alternate jump off point. The scooter was from an earlier iteration which used long 4-40 set screws installed in the “burner cans” and locked to the stands with jam nuts. The adapter in the picture gives and idea of the earlier concept. The bent brass rod/wire is lighter and much simpler. The bend behind the plane is what you use to position the plane bank wise as just twisting on the fin/rudder caused damage to the mini, especially the much more scale GHQ and CinC modern planes I started with. There is a slight bend in the part of the wire which inserts into the tube. This keeps the plane from rolling or slipping out of the tube.07/09/2018 at 00:17 #98758
Sorry for the very long wait folks. I didn’t do any painting in July so its been a bit of a summer holiday from tiny aircraft but I’ve finally pulled another set together ready to share.
So first off here’s a little teaser. What do all these mid 30s aircraft have in common?
Martin B-10, Curtiss Goshawk, Dewoitine D.510, Tupolev SB, Ilyushin DB-3,
Kicking things off its this beautiful little mini from H&R, the American built Curtis Goshawk, exported to China as the Hawk II and later with retractable undercarriage as the Hawk III.
These early 30’s biplanes equipped the majority of China’s fighter squadrons in 1937 and were hard pressed to meet the challenge of Imperial Japan’s much faster and more modern Air Force.
2401 was flown by biplane ace Captain Liu Chui-Kang who was squadron Leader of 24th Pursuit Squadron.In a short three month span from August to October 1937 Kang became biplane ace of seven confirmed victories before his untimely death in a crash landing.
Another American built aircraft equipping the CAF’s 30th bomber Squadron in 1937, The Martin B-10 (exported as Model 193WC.)
First flown in 1932 the B-10 had been a great leap forward (no pun intended) in 1930’s bomber design. All metal construction, fully cowled engines, enclosed cockpit, internal bomb bay, rotating nose turret and retractable undercarriage. An ultra modern medium bomber that could outperform many contemporary pursuit aircraft the B-10 was very much the shape of things to come.
In May 1938 a plan was proposed to bring the war home to the Japanese people by sending Chinese bombers on a mission over Japan for the first time. The CAF’s last two (of 9) remaining Martin 139WC bombers were chosen for this special mission but when over Nagasaki, in lieu of bombs they dropped leaflets imploring the Japanese public to put pressure on their leaders to end their aggression and occupation of Chinese territories. No such pressure resulted and the war continued regardless.
From 1938, 18 Chinese D.510s saw action against the Japanese, including the defense of Chengdu and the Chinese wartime capital Chongqing equipping 17th squadron Chinese pilots and 41st French volunteer squadron.
On the 4th November 1939 Captain Shen Tse-Liu flying this D510 over the Lanchou area managed to destroy a Japanese G3M in a head on assault.
As the D.510s came around to attack from behind defensive fire from the Japanese bomber formation damaged Shen’s engine forcing him down. He was injured in the crash but soon flew again.
Other European aircraft to see service with the CAF included both Gloster Gladiator and Fiat CR30 biplanes, a model of He-111 that the Luftwaffe had rejected and a few examples of Italy’s most versatile SM81 Pipistrello.
Following a deal with the Soviets in 1937 the Chinese Airforce started receiving deliveries of much needed Russian aircraft and volunteer pilots. Large numbers of I-15 biplane fighters and marginally more modern I-16 monoplane fighters began pouring onto Chinese airfields. More than 250 Soviet pilots ‘volunteered’ to fly the 255 I-15s supplied to China. By 1939 a total of 347 Polikarpov biplanes had been delivered to the CAF.
The I-15 had proved a tough and capable biplane in the skies over Spain but it soon met its match in some of the newer, faster Japanese monoplanes and the air war over China quickly became a dangerously one sided affair.
Some 250 I-16 Type 10s were supplied to China. The type 10 had four 7.62 mm (0.30 in) ShKAS machine guns, armour behind the pilot, and had a slightly upgraded engine. Further variants and improvements would follow but by 1939 a Soviet study found that the 1-16 had exhausted its performance potential.
Finally in Dec 1940 to Jan 1941 a last batch of 75 improved I-16 type 17 fighters were delivered. But even with their new 20mm Vickers cannons and additional armour they were no match for the Japanese Zero’s and Hyabusas.
My Chinese I-16 is that of Luo Yingde who flew with the 24th squadron in 1940. (And look at my dodgy old Soviet I-16 !!! The less said about that the better really.)
Hundreds of Russian Bombers were also supplied to China between 1937 and 1941. An initial delivery of 62 Tupolev SB’s was made with combat operations by Soviet forces starting in December 1937 with attacks on Japanese ships on the Yangtze River. A further 60 SBs were delivered in early 1938. In February 1938, to celebrate Soviet Army Day, Soviet SBs carried out a long range attack on Japanese airfields in Taiwan, claiming 40 Japanese aircraft destroyed on the ground. However during the Battle of Wuhan losses were heavy, forcing the Chinese SB units to be temporarily withdrawn from combat.
The Soviet Volunteer units operating the SB over China re-equipped with the Ilyushin DB-3 in 1939, allowing their SBs to be transferred to Chinese units and a further 100 SBs were supplied in 1941.
In 1939, thirty DB-3s were supplied to the CAF and they also saw heavy action against Japanese targets in the Wuhan region from their bases in Sichuan, Lanzhou and Chengdu. The DB-3 had arrived too late to see service in Spain but this trial run in the CAF proved it was a very capable long range bomber with much potential. It was however a very complex and time consuming airframe to build and maintain.
The DB-3 would go on to be one of the most useful long range bombers in the Soviet arsenal, eventually dropping the first Soviet bombs on Berlin.
At its peak the Soviet Volunteer Group numbered 3,665 personnel 2,000 of which were pilots some of whom had been sent directly from the Spanish Civil War. Soviet squadrons were withdrawn after the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Japan in 1941.
and the Chinese turned to the United States, which authorized the creation of the American Volunteer Group the Flying Tigers and their more modern P-40 fighters.
Eventually China’s surviving stock of 30’s aero-tech would be replaced by further American supplied machines as lend lease kicked in and the USA joined the war in ernest against Imperial Japan.08/09/2018 at 01:17 #98874
Dave, you know I geek for Golden Age aircraft, especially in the Sino-Japanese War. That is some seriously lovely work. You’ve set up a series of interesting contrasts between the models in the liveries of their native air forces vs. the Republic of China Air Force paint schemes. I like it a lot. Two questions:
Do you have Check Your 6! game statistics for the D.510? I have a couple of those painted up and two more that need some re-work. I’d love to fly them in a game, but haven’t found the type rated anywhere.
What is the story of that unusual Russian I-16 model?
You'll shoot your eye out, kid!08/09/2018 at 19:14 #98930
Oh, the old I-16s came from an eBay job lot I bought right at the start of my collection. I didn’t even know what they were for a long time, but they’re really chunky and a bit comical.
No D.510 data sheet I’m afraid. It might be possible to make one up if you compare the D.510’s atributes to something we do have a data sheet for.
Glad that you enjoyed my CAF. Thanks for the info that helped my research a great deal.08/09/2018 at 19:31 #98932
Wonderful stuff Dave! Like Zippy, I really love those 30s birds, regardless of their performance, they just look so cool. 🙂09/09/2018 at 00:29 #98939James MantoParticipant
So you hand paint all the markings and numbers etc?
I’m not sure which is more impressive: painting them on doing tiny decals?09/09/2018 at 01:06 #98942
Oh Dave. Those Curtiss Goshawks, especially in Navy colours. I want to quote Wolfman (from Top Gun), but this is a family site.09/09/2018 at 09:18 #98947
Goodness gracious, Wolfman. Great balls of fire! Glad you’re enjoying them. The Goshawks were from Heriocs & Ros.
zip- you were having issues posting? I was too but it looks to be fixed.
And yes there’s diffinately something very exciting about 30’s air technology. For me it’s the critical inovations of enclosed cockpits, retractable undercarriage and the shift from biplanes to monoplanes. It’s the variations on these three features that makes many of those old 30s fighters so individual.09/09/2018 at 10:17 #98950CameronianParticipant
Great work and a wonderful way of amassing a collection of WW2 aircraft.
'The time has come" The walrus said. "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."09/09/2018 at 13:53 #98966
zip- you were having issues posting? I was too but it looks to be fixed.
Actually, I had a lot of trouble getting my last post up. After experimenting, the problem seemed to be a double ellipsis (“…unusual…”) that I had embedded in one sentence. Once I removed that, I got the whole post to update. Weird, annoying, but overcome and now forgotten…I have a lot of days like that…
You'll shoot your eye out, kid!09/09/2018 at 14:10 #98969MikeKeymaster
Oh Dave. Those Curtiss Goshawks, especially in Navy colours. I want to quote Wolfman (from Top Gun), but this is a family site.
Like “Holy shit it’s Viper!” you mean?10/11/2018 at 09:01 #103559
Hi folks, back again (at long last) with another international lineup representing the collective variety of one particular national Air Force.
This time we’re looking at Fokker DXXI, Gloster Gladiator, Brewster Buffalo, Fiat G50, Messerschmitt bf 109G, Hawker Hurricane, Westland Lysander, Bristol Blenheim, Junkers Ju88. But which country used all of these disparate assortment of both Allied and Axis aircraft?
The Winter War (Nov 39-Mar 40)
In November 1939 when the invasion Soviet forces began the most modern fighter the Finns had on hand was the Dutch built Fokker DXXI.
This rugged and capable fighter proved an ideal fit for the Finnish Air Force. As well as being on par with contemporary Soviet aircraft it’s strong, fixed undercarriage was particularly well suited for improvised, uneven runways and also conversion to skis for winter use.
As waves of Soviet bombers vectored in over Finnish cities the small contingent of Finnish fighters rose to the challenge often taking on groups of bombers and escorts many times their number.
In January 1940 1st Lt Jorma Sarvanto flying this Fokker DXXI managed a stunning feat of interception shooting down as many as six Soviet DB-3 bombers in only 4 minutes! Sarvanto became the top scoring Finnish ace with a total of 13 victories by the end of the Winter War.
As Finland faced off the Soviet advance help arrived from the Swedish Voluntary Air Force, F 19. Over 250 volunteers and 25 aircraft including 12 Gloster Gladiators answered Finland’s call for aid. In two months of aerial combat they acquitted themselves well but lost six planes and five pilots, two of whom were captured and were eventually returned to Sweden.
As the Winter War continued the British Government finally agreed to lend some real support to the embattled Finns. Aircraft already purchased were finally released including 80 Hawker Henley’s and a lot of other older machines.
The most modern war planes in Finland’s inventory were its 17 Blenheim medium bombers, license built in Finland.
There was however no way that Blenheim production in Finland could keep up with demand and so on the 23rd Feb 1940 twelve British built Blenheims took off from RAF Bicester heading north. They bore Finnish markings and were piloted by RAF volunteers in civilian disguise carrying false passports. (It wouldn’t do for Soviet Russia to have British RAF officers as prisoners to bargain with.)
This dangerous and highly clandestine journey took three days flying through Scotland, Norway and Sweden and on to deliver all 12 bombers safely to a frozen airstrip on Lake Juva Finland. The airmen were quietly shuffled back to the British Embassy in Sweden and thence safely back to England.
Many more purchases of aircraft from Britain’s inventory were fulfilled including an order of Westland Lysander observation aircraft.
Perhaps most famous as a spy taxi the Lysander’s sturdy fixed undercarriage and exceptional short-field performance made it an ideal aircraft for Finnish units operating out of small, improvised airstrips often in snowy frozen conditions.
They were primarily employed as observation aircraft and could be used offensively at a pinch although they were quite vulnerable to enemy fighters.
As well as providing finished aircraft to the embattled Finns the RAF agreed to train Finnish Pilots in their operation.
In Feb 1940 12 Finnish pilots arrived in England for a Hurricane crash-course (they probably didn’t call it that) before embarking in their new machines on a nail biting flight in terrible weather over the North Sea.
With the signing of the Moscow peace accord hostilities were suspended but by this time Finland’s airforce, thanks to a serious amount of international aircraft shopping was considerably larger than before the outbreak of the war.
The Continuation war. (June 41 – Sep 44)
Amongst the myriad other planes incorporated into the patchwork of the Finnish airforce (including French MS406 and American built P-36 Hawks) was the Italian Fiat G50.
Purchased in 1940 to bolster the Winter war efforts a few managed to arrive in time but it wasn’t until the offensive operations of 1941 that they had any significant success.
In a cruel twist all 33 machines shipped to Finland were of open cockpit design which was largely unsuitable in such Arctic climates, and the machines themselves when adapted to colder conditions performed quite poorly.
This sorry looking specimen is FA-21 originally flown by 2nd Lt Kokkonen who ran out of fuel and crashed in July 1940. It was repaired and returned to the skies flown by Lt Hamalainen in 42 but overturned on a forced landing.
Again it was repaired and is here seen as flown by 2nd Lt R. Sartiarvi with its green/black Finnish colours fuselage and replacement (original Italian desert camouflage) wings and engine cowling. Black areas were applied in an attempt to match the Finnish pattern but honestly it must’ve looked rather conspicuous on a snowy air strip. Eventually in April 43 2nd Lt Helin flipped this sucker on landing one last time and FA-21 was finally declared a lost cause. Amazingly all three pilots who crashed this same plane survived.
Brewster Buffalo B-239E
This is the flying beer bottle (the Finns had many more nicknames for these planes) of Capt. Hans Wind whose 39 Buffalo air victories (out of 75) make him the highest scoring Buffalo ace of the war. (Easy when your name is “Wind”, right?)
The export version of the US Navy’s dumpy old disappointment found something of a niche with the Finns, being better suited to ground based operations over Russia than carrier based operations in the Pacific. It replaced the ageing Fokkers and their various other largely obsolete fighters as Finland’s premier modern fighter for the best part of the Continuation War.
One oddity of the Comtinuation War in the air is that with the presence of Hawker Hurricanes already in Finland once lend lease Hurricanes started landing in Russia you then had Hurricanes fighting on both sides on the same front!
No idea if they ever clashed directly. Unlikely as by that stage most Finnish Hurricanes would’ve been all but clapped out and short on parts. The Soviets hated their own Hurricanes, mostly because they weren’t built in Russia.
As Soviet fighter technology developed becoming more and more advanced and foreign machines joined their ranks the Finns’ old Brewsters struggled to cope. The FAF turned to their Luftwaffe allies for a replacement in the shape of the Messerschmitt Bf 109G.
The Finns received 159 such aircraft which equipped 4 squadrons from March 1943 and would remain in service with the FAF for over a decade being finally retired in 1954!
For pilots transferring from the old buffalo the difference was palpable. Faster, more aggressive and bang up to date the 109G was a massive upgrade and in the capable hands of experienced pilots like Ilmari Juutilainen it was a deadly hunter.
Ilmari Juutilainen was the highest scoring non-German ace of the war with 94 1/6 confirmed victories. (127 by his own count) 2 1/6 in a Fokker DXXI, 34 in a Brewster B-239E and 58 in the Bf 109G.
Another German addition to the Finnish flight inventory was the ubiquitous Junkers Ju88.
(You’re seeing here one of the first and one of the latest paint jobs of my collection, with just over two years of 6mm aircraft painting experience in between. Nice to see I’ve made some improvement in that time)
The Finns bought two dozen Ju 88’s which joined their old Blenheims on bombing raids on the North-Easter front hitting Soviet air bases near Leningrad and the Aerosan base at Petsnajoki.
Later during the Lapland War (Now against the Germans- September to November 1944) they were used for reconnaissance and for bombing German vehicle columns. After the war they served as trainers for a while but were soon scrapped.
That’s all for this time. I had a blast reading up on Finland’s war(s) It’s a very interesting story, lots of twists and turns. It seems both sides had an idea of how to use Finland to suit their own ends while Finland just used any help they could get and did what they had to do. They would fly literally anything they could get into the air and I might have painted up many other examples of types they used including captured Soviet planes.
Painting-wise there was a lot of variation for a lot of different reasons; time-line, weather conditions, country of origin, availability of parts. The RAF Blenheims flown in would’ve been in RAF colours with Finnish roundels at the time before they were painted up properly in Finland to match the Finnish-built Blenheims. I often have to make choices about planes to paint up and how I’ll do them but I always try to represent a range of typical schemes as well as the odd stand-alone example that tells a good story. It’s never quite exhaustive though as there’s always more to discover in the crazy history of the war.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the planes and I haven’t waffled on too much. Thanks for visiting the gallery and do tell me what you think. I enjoy talking about planes almost as much as painting them.10/11/2018 at 15:28 #103582
Great work! Your posts are always full of wonderful stuff. I have also been thinking about doing Finland, as well as China, just to have a chance to put together such a fun, eclectic, bunch of aircraft.
So what´s next on the horizon? I think you are running out of airforces!10/11/2018 at 20:08 #103589
Thanks Patrick, glad you’re being inspired.
My next lot are already well into production with two completed and another 7 base coated to varying degrees, but also one left waiting on me puting in a H&R order still to get. I’m not giving away the game just yet though but i will tell you it’s not another National Air Force roundup.24/11/2018 at 00:56 #104429
I just saw this post, Dave. I was traveling when it went up. You’ve done another fine job on your Finns. I’m anxious to see what you post next.
I took your encouragement and worked up my own Check Your 6! statistics for the Dewoitine D 510. If you ever want to fly one in a game, I propose:
LMvSpAg LC/D HMvSpAg HC/D Rob Guns
C3 +2 26/36 C3 +0 Lx 6/36 0 2 LMG, 1 LVC
If you want to handicap your players, tell them the cannon will permanently jam if they fire it while diving. Henh.
You'll shoot your eye out, kid!26/11/2018 at 18:22 #104585
Thanks man. I had a look over your latest batrep. Wish I had a chance to game a CY6! scenario once in a while. These days my collection is more of a P&M project but that’s ok. Though I’ve been busy doing creative Christmas gifts this month and have got zero work done on my planes. It’ll be well into the new year before I’m ready to post more.
But that’s ok. Nice to take a break every now and then.19/01/2019 at 09:10 #107864
Hi folks, long time no planes! Super glad to be back at long last with this batch all ready to show. This time around I’m not looking at a National Air Force or even a specific front. This time around I’m looking at V.I.P.’s in the air!
In a war where for the first time people could be transported through the skies to almost anywhere in the world the various aircraft that made that possible through either choice or necessity make for an interesting study. Well I think so at least.
NOTE: Some of the planes so used were cutting edge prototypes or specially modified to purpose and wouldn’t have had all the turrets and other fixtures of later regular service aircraft. I’ve chosen not to file these off or dramatically alter window layouts on these miniatures so please forgive such inaccuracies as we go along. So with that said lets look at the planes.
The first V.I.P. I wanted to look at had to be Churchill, who as you can imagine had much cause to travel around the world. I couldn’t get miniatures for his earlier flights but I could get one for this.
In August 1942 American pilot Captain Vanderkloot ,the best in the business flew Churchill and his staff in a specially converted Long range B-24 Liberator cargo transporter -AL504 named “Commando”. They went first to Cairo to put Monty in charge in North Africa and then on to Moscow to meet with Stalin.
It wasn’t exactly a comfortable ride. The bomb bay was sealed shut and the interior fitted with a makeshift cabin of seats and a bed for the main man. The whole thing was painted black (proper stealth technology that) for the overnight flights and any info on the flight plan was strictly top secret.
In May 1943, seeing the need for a permanent (and altogether more suitable, altogether more British) dedicated VIP transport aircraft the air ministry commissioned Avro York C Mark I LV633 for use by King George VI and the Prime Minister. Named “Ascalon” by 24 Squadron’s Commanding Officer, LV633 joined the King’s Flight, operating from Hendon Middlesex.
In August 1944, with Vanderkroot again at the controls Ascalon bore the travelling PM in some greater amount of comfort this time (he did turn 70 in this year after all) to Algiers, Naples, Moscow, Cairo, Turkey and the Black Sea, cigar in hand all the way there and back, no doubt.
Ascalon also conveyed King George VI on some of his longest Royal flights visiting Tripoli in June 1943 and Naples in July-August 1944.
Douglas VC-54C Skymaster Aka “Sacred Cow” President Roosevelt.
The first purpose-built presidential air transport the forerunner to the modern day “Airforce One” was this Douglas Skymaster, officially the “Flying Whitehouse” but more commonly referred to as “the Sacred Cow”, a nod to the high security and special status surrounding the plane.
Presidential luxuries on board included an executive conference room with a large desk and a rectangular bulletproof window. A private presidential privy and a fold down bed concealed behind the sofa. And even a galley kitchen with an electric fridge! A battery-powered wheelchair lift was installed at the rear to allow the President to board the aircraft more easily.
The Sacred Cow represented the very bleeding edge of modernity in the air. When Churchill first encountered the C-54 of the American delegation in Casablanca he was green with envy. (He was still flying Commando!)
Of course he had to have one too, in the interest of maintaining the dignity and prestige of Britain you understand. In November 1944 he got his wish and for the Yalta conference in Feb 45 both Skymasters were parked up side by side at Saki airport and guarded by the Red Army.
Ok only joking, I’ll drop another picture of my Soviet Pe-8 (that ain’t no bourgeois party wagon)
It is painted up as the aircraft that carried Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov and his delegation from Moscow to London and then to Washington, D.C. and back, for negotiations to open a second front against Nazi Germany (19 May–13 June 1942). The flight crossed German-controlled airspace on the return trip without incident.
Stalin evidently didn’t mind sending his underlings on dangerous air journeys. Stalin himself preferred to stay on the ground inside 83tons of armoured rail carriage.
Ok, so on to some Axis VIP’s.
Ju52 Lufthansa airliner Immelmann D-2600
This is possibly the most Nazi-lookin’ plane in my collection, it’s Hitler’s own personal ride courtesy of Germany’s premier airline Deutsche Lufthansa, who in 1933 gave him this classic three engined Junkers Ju52 by the name of Immelmann II (after WW1 ace Max Immelmann)
As Chancellor of Germany Hitler travelled extensively by air and had his own fleet of aircraft based in Berlin many of them Ju52s.
The Ju52, known as ‘Tante Ju’ (Aunt Ju) or ‘Iron Annie’ was a mainstay of the Lufwaffe. A rugged and reliable trimotor medium bomber from the Spanish Civil War the old Ju52 remained in service throughout the Second World War as one of the Luftwaffe’s most common transport aircraft for both personnel and cargo as well as mine-sweeping, glider towing and paratroop drops, though it was horribly vulnerable to more modern fighters and anti-aircraft fire. (I didn’t file the defensive weapons off as I intend to repaint this miniature some day for another project but Immelmann II was a civilian airliner and so wouldn’t have had them) (I might add that Chiang Kai-shek’s personal transport was also a Ju52 commandeered from Eurasia Airlines)
Hitler’s personal pilot was a man named Hans Baur. Baur had been his pilot during his election campaign and continued to be on into the war. He was given a high ranking SS commission and tasked with building and maintaining Hitlers personal air fleet. In 1939 he suggested an upgrade, switching the old Iron Annie for a shinny new four engines Focke-Wulf FW200C Condor, imaginatively named Immelmann III.
It was kited out with an armoured seat for der Fuhrer and his own automatic parachute. (Which Baur said was never armed) It was faster and had a much longer range than his old ride, unsurprising as the Fw 200 was originally designed as a transatlantic airliner.
The Condor was pressed into military service as a maritime patrol aircraft and fitted out with defensive weapons, radios and radar equipment. All the extra weight was a bit much for the slim sleek airliner and they were fitted with a heavier undercarriage to take the load but the overloaded Condors had a bad tendency to break their backs on heavy landings.
German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop also flew by Condor to Moscow in 1939 to negotiate the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union. That was another civilian marked airliner though (silver and black like the Ju52) and again I intend to re-do this Fw200 as a standard maritime patrol plane, so I didn’t file off any weapon turrets that neither Hitler’s nor Ribbentrop’s rides would have toted.
Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’ Admiral Yamamoto
When U.S. Naval Intelligence intercepted the travel plans of Imperial Japanese Navy Admiral Isokoru Yamamoto the chance to “Get Yamamoto” was too good to miss. He was planning an inspection visit of Japanese bases in the upper Solomon Islands to boost morale but when his plane arrived at Balalae Airfield, on an island near Bougainville a squadron of Army Airforce P-38 Lightning’s were ready to pounce.
Having flown a 600 mile approach at wave top level avoiding radar and Japanese controlled airspace the attack had been maticulously planned and executed with exacting navigational skill by the pilots of Squadron 339 who arrived bang on time just as the Admiral’s convoy were coming in to land.
Lt. Rex T. Barber peeled off and engaged the first “Betty” taking out an engine and the smoking bomber plunged into the jungle below. ‘Operation Vengeance’ had beaten astonishing odds to come out a success, Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbour was dead. See, this is why Stalin didn’t fly!
Well that’s world leaders, royals and politicians and the like for a little bit, but I’m not done yet, lets take a look at some royalty of a different sort, Hollywood royalty!
B-17E Flying Fortress “The Duchess” Air gunner Clark Gable
When Hollywood superstar Carole Lombard died in a tragic plane crash following her hugely successful war-bonds drive her husband, Clark Gable was devastated.
To honour her memory Gable enlisted in the airforce graduated OCS receiving a commission as a Second Lieutenant and was immediately given a special assignment by Henry H “Hap” Arnold. Gable would head a film crew, filming in combat with the Eighth Air Force then operating out of England to make a recruitment film about aerial gunners.
Gable’s fifth and final combat mission flown out of RAF Polebrooke was aboard “The Duchess” leading the 351st in a raid on the Nantes port area in France in September 1943. Gable manned the nose gun during the raid where despite a lot of damage from enemy fighters and flack all the bombers managed to return to England. Gable and his film crew returned to Hollywood and completed the production of “Combat America” as a tribute to the airforce who by that time had plenty of gunners already.
B-24D Liberator (Jimmy Stewart) Nine Yanks and a Jerk
Jimmy Stewart, although a big name in the movies was already an accomplished commercial pilot when the war began. His family having a proud military heritage, naturally Stewart’s first instinct was to sigh up with the USAAF.
Hap Arnold wanted to keep the movie star stateside as a training instructor to be available for public appearances and recruitment drives but Stewart was keen to avoid that particular dead end and wanted to serve in a real combat role. He eventually got his chance and shipped out to command 445th Bombardment Group in action over Germany.
This B-24 Liberator “Nine Yanks and a Jerk” (if you don’t know why that’s funny I’ll explain when you’re old enough) was one of those flown by Commander Stewart leading 703rd BS. He would fly 20 credited combat sorties and many more uncredited as his distinguished career saw him progress from private to colonel in only four years with numerous medals. His airforce service continued long after the Second World War ended retiring as a Brigadier General in 1968.
Now, on to those perhaps more strategically important people.
When you absolutely positively have to evacuate the world’s leading Nuclear-Physicist out of Stockholm there’s really only one option. Enter B.O.A.C. whose private airline ran all sorts of commercial and occasionally clandestine flights into Britain out of neutral Sweden.
Niels Bohr was stowed aboard this modified B.O.A.C. Mosquito in an improvised cabin in the bomb bay where a single passenger could lie prone for the duration of the flight over the North Sea.
Bohr was provided with an Oxygen mask but when pilot Gilbert Rae and radio operator James Payne couldn’t get a response from him they surmised that Bohr had passed out from lack of Oxygen and so dropped to a lower altitude. When asked about his flight Bohr said he’d slept like a baby. Bohr joined the Manhattan Project and as they say, the rest is history.
Westland Lysander pilot Peter Vaughan-Fowler
That was sneaking the VIP out but what about getting one in? Well, when you’ve got a special agent who needs to get into enemy occupied France in the dead of night the man you want on the job is the undisputed king of the midnight Spy-Taxi run, Peter Vaughn-Fowler.
The Westland Lysander was originally intended as a STOL (Short Take Off & Landing) capable supply mule for the army but during early operations in France it was found to be far too slow and vulnerable to enemy fighters to operate anywhere near the front lines in that role. It was however the perfect plane for insertion and extraction of special agents behind enemy lines at night, a spy taxi.
Flying at treetop level with a map on his lap and only the moonlit shadows to navigate by Vaughn-Fowler could put his Lysander down on a field that most other pilots would consider not much bigger than a postage stamp.
This kind of risky solo flying mission required needle-in-a-haystack navigation skills, some serious piloting chops and nerves of steel. Not only was a huge proportion of the mission flown over enemy lines but every mission was flying right into the teeth of the potentially lethal world of espionage and resistance movements where the standing order was execution for anyone caught in the act or suspected of spying.
If however your deep extraction just happens to include a deposed dictator in a mountaintop hotel your best bet (along with some fairly shady political dealing) might be this nippy little number. The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch.
The “daring rescue” of Benito Mussolini was made possible by the extreme STOL characteristics of the Feiseler Storch. With some serious hydraulic suspension the lanky landing gear took on about 350ft of boulder strewn Gran Sasso mountainside which was all it required to set down, collect Il ex-Duce and whisk him away.
Plenty of footage of the raid was shot for posterity, and the Axis newsreels of course. In fact that was about all that was shot, as the whole thing was a done deal before the armed paratroopers even arrived and ordered the Italian guards to surrender. Still, it’s one thing to make a shady political deal and quite another to put together the skills, resources and specialist aircraft to pull it off.
Well that’s all for now folks. What a mission that was! Took a bit longer than anticipated but I had a blast researching and painting this lot. Hope you all enjoyed them and do chime in with your thoughts, but for now as always, thanks for visiting the gallery.19/01/2019 at 10:01 #107871
Thoroughly entertaining read, and of course the paint jobs are up to your usual outstanding standard. I had just sat down with a cup of coffee when your post popped up, and so perfect timing on your part. 🙂
Btw, it would be a pity to paint over the JU52 and Condor!25/01/2019 at 03:50 #108125
Thanks for the post, Dave. I missed it when it first went up. (I been sick. Kaf-kaf. But I’m better now. Haaawk-ptoo.)
That’s some mighty fine painting and a great narrative of an interesting theme. The transport aircraft were some of the inglorious, unsung heroes of WWII.
G’golly, please don’t repaint anything here. Buy yourself another model to paint. You deserve it.
You'll shoot your eye out, kid!27/01/2019 at 17:26 #108283hammurabi70Participant
Brilliant stuff; ought to be in a permanent collection.
G’golly, please don’t repaint anything here. Buy yourself another model to paint. You deserve it.
Too true!! Painting over would be vandalism.30/01/2019 at 19:22 #108444
Haha, perhaps the only example of a time when painting over a swastika is vandalism.
Thanks for the encouragement guys, I’m glad you all enjoyed the post and the planes. Couldn’t find a 1:300 Percival Q6 (which it’s thought de Gaulle flew out of France on) but I’m considering trying a bit of sculpting in the future so this group might get a latecomer some day.
I had planned on taking a look at a lot more of the big transports, Skytrains, Packets and all. But maybe I’ll just grab another Ju52 at the time. Still a few projects away though as I already have a few other sets lined up to get through. Have to try and refrain from buying more til I get through those.
Still excited to paint more planes, no end in sight. Thanks everyone for sharing my enthusiasm.11/07/2019 at 22:12 #117841
Hi folks. Long time no planes. Sorry for the long break, I got very distracted with ground based things. (gasp!) Bounce over to my 6mm WW2 Red Cross round up if you want to see those.
Carrying on the theme though I’ve got some Air Ambulance and rescue planes for you all this time around.
He 59- German Seenotdienst Air Sea Rescue service.
Seenotdienst Air Sea Rescue planes like these and many other types were operating in the North Sea and over the channel and many airmen of both sides had been saved from certain drowning by their efforts.
Unfortunately however it turned out they weren’t just rescuing downed airmen. They were also noting the location of Allied naval convoys. This was considered an illegal activity while flying under the protection of the Red Cross and Churchill was having none of it. So he ordered they be engaged and shot down as active combatants regardless of their markings (a somewhat controversial order) and despite the fact that Britain did not operate her own Air Sea Rescue at the time.
Across the world air ambulance services were operated by dedicated units ferrying wounded men back from the front lines.
The Bristol Bombay was an ageing troop transport, turned light bomber, that had served admirably in the Middle East until the availability of Wellingtons allowed the old Bombays to be used in a more suitable role. They went from bombing duties with 216sqd RAF to transport and air ambulance duties with the No.1 Air Ambulance Unit, RAAF in Feb 1943 serving in the Tunisia campaign.
1AAU continued to provide vital support to infantry forces during the invasion of Sicily and on into Italy. As newer and more reliable types came online with the RAF and USAAF the 1AAU with their venerable Bombays were disbanded flying their last air evacuation in November of 1943.
Piper Cub HE-1 US Navy air ambulance evacuation.
The Piper Cub was a perfect little civilian two seater used across the American military services as a transport and recon platform, designated the L-4 Grasshopper.
It was the US Navy however who commissioned this variant, the HE-1, (later AE-1) a dedicated air ambulance with a hinged upper rear fuselage to allow the loading of a single wounded passenger on a stretcher.
These aircraft were located at small remote Naval Auxiliary Air Stations which were often some distance from major medical facilities. The development and introduction of helicopters for air evacuation made small ambulance planes like these all but obsolete.
Another Air Sea Rescue plane, this time I’m looking to the coast of Spain.
Like many officially neutral nations Spain operated patrols over its airspace and coastlines. In the summer of 1944 twelve Dornier 24T flying boats (Dutch-built machines originally serving with the Luftwaffe) were delivered to Spain on the understanding that they would be used to rescue downed airmen off the Spanish coasts.
Do-24s like these were also used by the Seenotdienst Air Sea Rescue service. According to Dornier’s records the Do 24 was credited with the rescue of some 12,000 people over the course of its service, which with the Spanish airforce lasted until 1967.
And last of my air ambulance and rescue set is the Douglas C-47 Dakota.
Not all aircraft carrying wounded had the benefit of Red Cross markings. (Indeed not all those that were so marked received the courtesy that the law required) In the earliest days of the Normandy landings the first airfields secured allowed these transports to land carrying vital ammunition, food and supplies to the allied armies in France but the return leg to England was an air evacuation of the wounded.
As the Dakotas were carrying war supplies to the front they could not be marked with the Red Cross so the return to England though laden with wounded was entirely at their own risk if under the cover of allied fighters.
Well that’s all for now. Still working on a couple more 6m ground based bits and bobs (nothing normal I assure you) but I’ll be back with more aircraft in the future and as ever you’ll see them on here. Thanks for visiting the gallery and do let me know what you think.08/09/2019 at 10:33 #121602
Hi folks, thanks for visiting the gallery again. This time around I’ve been looking at anything that floats. That’s right folks Float Planes and Flying Boats are the order of the day. And since I’ve gathered up quite a collection I’m breaking them up starting with all the Allies this time. And the Axis ones will follow next time. So on with the show.
Short Sunderland DD867 2-G, of No. 423 Squadron RCAF.
Always important to cheer on the home team, and what could be better than this Northern Irish local legend. Built in Belfast and based at Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh. The Short Sunderland had to be the one to kick things off this time around.
The good Canadian lads of No. 423 would fly these big four engined patrol boats out of Lough Erne on long-range patrol/reconnaissance and submarine hunting missions over the Atlantic. For such a task it could be equipped equipped with bombs, aerial mines or depth charges and toted up to sixteen defensive machine guns, which earned it the nickname Das Fliegendes Stachelschwein (“The Flying Porcupine”). Very catchy.
Sunderlands flew with many other allied air forces across the world and played an important part in the Mediterranean theatre in the evacuation of Crete and the reconnaissance of the Italian fleet at Taranto.
And of course the Canadians provided more than manpower to the air war.
The Noorduyn Norseman was a Canadian-built bush plane. Designed to be fitted with floats, skis or wheels it was a versatile little utility craft.
The RCAF used them for radio and navigational training as part of the Commonwealth Air Training Programme as well as for general utility and patrol in the remote and arctic conditions the Norseman was designed for. Orders were also furnished for the RAF and the USAAF and the Norseman saw service anywhere that a rugged and dependable bush plane was needed from Alaska to the UK.
It was aboard one such UK based Norseman (though not one equipped with floats) that Major Glenn Miller, director of the famous United States Army Air Forces Band disappeared crossing the English Channel. He was on his way to Paris to prepare for a big Christmas show. It is suspected that an iced up carburettor may have caused the crash. TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) have taken an interest in the incident and have been investigating the case since January 2019.
And here’s both along with the RAF Walrus being the only other commonwealth flying boat in my collection. Nice bit of variety there.
On to the Americans then.
Vought OS2U Kingfisher
The US Navy’s own modest little observation floatplane the Kingfisher could be catapult launched from a battleship or cruiser and used to spot for naval gunnery or to rescue men in the water. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t well armed making it easy prey for any opportunistic Japanese fighter that happened upon one. Nevertheless Kingfisher pilots and radio men put it all on the line to get the job done.
One such pilot was Lt. John Burns of the Observation Squadron (VO) 6 from the battleship North Carolina (BB 55) who together with his Radioman Aubrey J. Gill was flying in support of an American air raid on the Japanese port on the Island of Truk, 1st May 1944. Reports of downed airmen in the bay saw them dare a rescue under fire while the attack continued overhead.
As more American airmen splashed down the little Kingfisher taxied around the bay from life raft to life raft eventually collecting up seven stranded men. With the aircraft heavily overloaded and the men carefully balanced along the wings they were struggling to remain afloat never mind any hope of getting airborne.
None the less Burns resolved to taxi the craft out of the bay and into deeper waters where after a pretty hairy five hour wait with the waves beating the little plane apart all nine men were picked up by the American Submarine Tang . With the rescued Zoomies safely below deck the Tang’s gunners sank the Kingfisher (they couldn’t leave it for the enemy to recover) before the Tang continued her patrol.
Grumman J2F Duck
One of the unsung heroes of the American war effort. Maybe not as modern, fast or glamorous as some of the other planes in the US Armed forces inventory but Grumman’s old single engine amphibious bi-plane was the definitive utility plane.
It first flew in the early 30s but by the time The War was on it was a mainstay workhorse of the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast guard, with dedicated versions produced for each. It could do mapping and Photo reconnaissance, scouting and observation, anti-submarine patrol and Air Sea Rescue. Ducks transported the wounded and the VIPs alike, towed targets and dropped bombs and depth charges.
As Grumman switched production to other more important projects the old Ducks muddled through in service all throughout the war and beyond all over the world and in as many different roles as could be found. Some remained airborne as late as the mid 50s.
Martin PBM Mariner
An often overlooked hero of the Pacific this big bruiser of a Patrol Bomber became one of the most commonly used flying boats of the US Navy. The Mariner had a much bigger capacity and a longer operational range than the (more glamorous and more celebrated) PBY Catalina which it replaced squadron by squadron as soon as numbers could be built.
Trouble was, and it seems obvious looking at this thing, that it was a four-engine sized airframe with only two engines albeit two massive Wright R-2600 radials. Successive versions were upgraded and up-powered time and again but often additional radar and landing gear would offset the improvements leaving them woefully underpowered and accident prone.
Fully laden and fully fuelled for a 2,000 mile maritime patrol these ungainly whales required a huge length of water to get their hulls into the air. So much so that later versions would require rocket or jet assisted take off.
Conwing L-16 Seaduck
The once iconic Conwing L-16 was, by 1938 a bit long in the tooth but some veteran pilots still swore by them and maintained these highly versatile cargo and transport seaplanes despite the appearance of faster and more specialised aircraft on the market.
The Seaduck was owned by a commercial freight company called “Higher for Hire” operating out of Cape Suzette on the coast of Usland. Her veteran pilot Baloo the Bear (call-sign Papa Bear) and navigator, a young former pirate called Kit Cloudkicker operated a particularly hazardous route often at risk of air pirates and raiders. But the trusty old Seaduck was a rugged and capable machine that never let them down.
Never quite sure where to put a French aircraft when it’s an Allies/Axis split so seeing as I’ve got two floating Frenchies I’m throwing one in here and the other in with the Axis later.
The Latécoère 298 was designed for the French Navy for maritime patrol and torpedoing German Submarines. In the early months of the war, the Phoney War they did plenty of patrolling but didn’t manage to sink anything.
It wasn’t until May 1940 when equipped for dive bombing against the invading armoured columns that the Navy’s Laté 298’s had much more success. In fact their losses on such missions were fewer than those of French squadrons equipped with other types.
The Laté 298 was one of France’s more successful designs. Weather captured by the Luftwaffe, flying under Vichy colours or defecting to the Allies in North Africa thy were a welcome addition to any squadron they equipped.
So that’s the Allies new additions. Adding to my old Supermarine Walruss and Consolidated PBY Catalina (still a firm favourite) it’s a fairly wide overview of some of the water-based machines in use by the Allies throughout the war.
And of course the Seaduck is really from the Disney Saturday morning cartoon Talespin! But you all knew that, right?19/09/2019 at 00:09 #122661
I took some WIP shots of the process of making the Seaduck because it was a bit of a faff and involved a bit more cutting and filing and greenstuffing than I had originally imagined. Not complaining, I love it really.
So I started out with a Fairchild C-119 Packet from Scotia Grendel. I got 2 of them so I could use one for the Seaduck and add the other one to my WW2 planes collection. But then there was a problem. The C-119 isn’t a Packet at all (that’s a C-82) but a post-war era Flying Boxcar! The C-119 also saw some success in Vietnam as a ground support gunship. But obviously I couldn’t have that (I could, let’s be real here it would’ve been fine and I know, I can have a fictional Disney Seaduck in my WW2 planes but not a 1947 version of a late war obscurity?) but I wanted the proper 1945 WW2 era Fairchild C-82 Packet. So I got to work retrofitting the Flying Boxcar back to the earlier model.
The C-82 had the cockpit up high and further back. So that meant a lot of filing and a good bit of greenstuff remodelling on the front end. The nose is a bit on the long side I think but it’s close enough.
Until here we have it at last. A proper crap-like-it-used-to-be Fairchild C-82 Packet.
The Fairchild C-82 Packet was a late war cargo and troop transport rushed into production in 1945 in anticipation of the airlift requirements for the invasion of Japan. In the end only a handful were built and in service when the surrender of Japan was achieved making them a little surplus to requirements. They were also used for paratroop training and as glider tugs and had various civilian cargo and transport operators.
But as expected with a big airframe rushed into production in wartime conditions the old Packet had plenty of problems including poor forward visibility from the cockpit, underpowered engines which when fully loaded could not maintain a level flight if one engine failed, as well as numerable deficiencies in the air frame all of which was addressed in the C-119 redesign which ultimately produced a much more effective aircraft.
So confusion from SG aside the C-119 was none the less a perfectly suitable airframe to form the basis for my Seaduck.
So first off I got the saw out and chopped the wings off the engine nacelles and mounted them a little lower down.
I also began a seemingly endless task of filing the front of the fuselage down to something resembling the right shape and size.
Once the wings were back on and the whole lots secured and smoothed out with plenty of greenstuff I got to work on the underside. That required a full flying boat hull modification and more greenstuff on wire armatures for floats under the wings.
Then finally it was a greenstuff job on the top side, all around the cockpit and the wide flat nose with big headlights (really Disney?) and a rope point too.
Then the tail got the same treatment as the C-82 though really it should’ve had a more rounded tail fin but I was losing the plot by now and just decided enough was enough. It was time to slap a big yellow paint job on it.
So there it is. Pretty happy with the end result on both of these although the Seaduck is maybe a bit bigger than a 1:300 scale Seaduck should be. Doesn’t matter though it’s not like I’m about to start modelling a little Don Karnage and the Sky Pirates to match… Unless…19/09/2019 at 09:56 #122694Deleted UserMember
That’s sme good sculpting right there. Did you pin the greenstuff in the tail? My expereince had been, greenstuff on metal isn’ that durable.21/09/2019 at 20:03 #122957
Thanks T. I sure did. Two pins each side.21/09/2019 at 21:15 #122959Nathaniel WeberParticipant
The Seaduck! Awesome! What a great show.
Just discovered this thread, lovely work you have done.21/09/2019 at 21:26 #122960MikeKeymaster20/01/2020 at 21:22 #129842
Back once again with my latest collection of 1:300 offerings. This time as promised it’s flying boats and floatplanes of the Axis.
I have a few of these in my collection already which you may already have seen.
So let’s get into these. The first of my Japanese seaplanes is the Kawanishi H6K Type 97 (allied codename”Mavis”)
When I first saw a picture of this flying boat I just knew I had to have one and was delighted to find one in the always excellent Scotia Grendel Collectair range.
A great big high wing flying boat in a similar vein to the German Do 24, but scaled up to a four engine design for maximum Pacific patrol range. A crew of 9 could take this baby out on a 24hr patrol covering over 2500 nautical miles of range. They served all throughout the war as front line bombers, transports and reconnaissance patrol planes.
As allied fighters began to get the better of the old Mavis its front line duties were taken over by a newer and more modern design, the Kawanishi H8K known to the allies as “Emily”
Emily was a big girl, another great four engined flying boat, this time more like the Short Sunderland, and as with the Sunderland enemy fighters had a healthy respect for its defensive capabilities. The Emily is often consider the very best of the big maritime patrol planes of the era.
On 4 March 1942, two Emily flying boats each carrying four 250Kg bombs conducted the longest ever two-plane bombing mission ever flown to date. Departing from the Marshal Islands they flew a round trip of over 7000km in an attempt to conduct reconnaissance over Pear Harbour and disrupt ongoing salvage and clean up operations following the infamous raid of Dec 7th.
They were ultimately unsuccessful in their navigation, their bombs falling well off the mark and causing no casualties. They did however highlight the need for increased defences. A second attempt a week later resulted in one Emily being intercepted and shot down by Brewster Buffaloes near Midway Atoll.
Sticking with Imperial Japan but looking to the smaller end of the spectrum I’ve got the Nakajima A6M2-N (Navy Type 2 Interceptor/Fighter-Bomber) Allied codename “Rufe”.
The concept was something of a rarity in that no other nation opted for a dedicated floatplane fighter/interceptor, but it’s hardly surprising given the realities of prosecuting a war in the Pacific.
Based on the Mitsubishi A6M Zero the floatplane version had a large central float with outboard stabilisers under each wing. They were mainly used in a defensive interceptor role protecting remote island bases but also saw action with seaplane carriers in the Indian Ocean acting as fighter-bombers and short reconnaissance support for amphibious landings.
As allied fighter cover increased throughout the Pacific campaign the Rufe, encumbered with the extra drag of its floats just couldn’t stand the pace and those that weren’t destroyed outright fell back to the defence of the home islands.
This is the Aichi E13A, code named “Jake” the most numerous of Japan’s long-range reconnaissance seaplanes.
The Jake was the Imperial Japanese Navy’s multi purpose workhorse used for all kinds of transport, sea rescue, scouting ahead of the fleet, general spotting and occasional combat duties.
They operated off seaplane tenders and battleships as well as island bases. They weren’t particularly well armed with only a single defensive machine gun however some carried air-to-surface radar and had a downward pointing 20mm cannon to attack American PT boats. They could also carry bombs or depth charges and so were quite capable of ruining your day of encountered at sea.
Another small Japanese floatplane next. This is the Yokosuka E14Y (allied codename “Glen”).
The Glen was designed to be carried aboard an I-15 series submarine. Once within range of they were assembled and catapult launched to be flown over enemy territory on photo reconnaissance. With the photos in the can the little float plane would come down beside the submarine, be winched aboard and stowed away or simply abandoned and sunk with the crew and valuable photos safely on board the submarine.
This “Glen” was flown by Nobuo Fujita who was the only enemy airman to bomb the US mainland. On September 9, 1942 Fujita dropped incendiary bombs over southern Oregon in an attempt to start forest fires. It wasn’t a very effective attempt and the local fire brigade dealt with it quickly.
Later in life Fujita was invited to return to the little town of Brookings Oregon where he received a warm welcome. He planted a tree at the site where he had bombed and raised money for a library that now displays his family’s 400 year old katana. He was made an honorary citizen of Brookings shortly before his death in 1998.
And the last of my Japanese floatplanes is the Aichi M6A Seiran attack floatplane.
This was an upscaled and altogether more lethal submarine launched concept along the same lines as the Glen, but intended to operate from the much larger I-400 class submarines. Their original mission was to conduct aerial attacks against the United States.
The story of the design and operation of the Seiran tracks the course of the war for the Japanese quite well. Initially designed with a fixed float undercarriage these attack planes would be able to land beside their submarine carriers once their mission was complete to be re-stowed aboard. However as defences mounted around their intended targets it was deemed prudent that the pilots should have the option to jettison the floats if they encountered enemy fighters, their unhampered performance helping their chances of reaching and bombing their target.
In fact, they soon concluded, why launch with floats at all if they would only be a hinderance? They would of course have to ditch in the sea on their return to the submarine but the pilots could be recovered. The aircraft would be sacrificed for the sake of the mission.
Soon however the situation became desperate and the pilots noted the modifications now taking place on their machines. Now, not only were the floats detached but the bombs were to be permanently fixed in place. Evidently the top brass estimated their best chance of achieving mission success was by sacrificing both man and machine. In the end however their training was for naught as the Japanese surrender came before the submarine launched aerial attack could go ahead. The Seirans were decommissioned, launched into the sea unassembled, before the three huge I-400 submarines were surrendered to the US Navy.
Next up its a classic of German seaplane design the tri-motor Blohm & Voss Bv 138 Seedrache.
Not content with a cool name like SeaDragon the Germans always known for their comedy wit named it “die fliegende Holzschuh”
(The Flying Cog) because of the shape of the hull.
The Seedrache was Germany’s primary maritime reconnaissance and patrol seaplane with 297 built. It was an unconventional design to say the least but as it turned out a very versatile one. It was big enough to carry up to ten passengers, very handy for sea rescue, but that weight capacity could also be used for bombs, depth charges or for anti-shipping patrols. Or for radar equipment to hunt in conjunction with submarine groups. Some were also fitted with degaussing rings for mine sweeping. (Like this one- that’s what the big loop is.)
The man behind the design was evidently quite the unconventional thinker. But of course not everyone appreciated his particular taste in aeronautical design. A British journal by the name of Aeroplane printed this piece of poetic criticism beside a picture of a Bv 138.
Richard Vogt, that original man,
Turns out aeroplanes uglier than
Most any other designer can.
Here is shown on Baltic Sea
A typical Vogt monstrosity—
The One-Three-Eight by B. & V.
And a final entry bring up the rear it’s a big French boat in Vichy striped pyjamas.
The Bréguet 521 Bizerte was a big Tri-motor flying boat developed for the French Navy and initially deployed with five squadrons for all manner of long range maritime reconnaissance and submarine hunting. They sported five defensive machine guns including one in a tail gunner’s position and could carry a bomb load of up to 300kg.
It continued in service under Vichy control with a dozen serving in the Mediterranean. They were useful and well designed machines and Luftwaffe also used some to supply Seenotdienst sea rescue units off the French Atlantic coast.
This miniature it has to be said was a bit of a nightmare to build. Its mostly made of wire and glue and in honesty the whole front end was a bit off and took some green stuff modification to bring it into shape. Not that I’m criticising the excellent sculpting and quality of the product, I’m honestly very impressed with the skill and workmanship and the huge range on offer. Some minis just take a bit more work than others and this was certainly one of those.
So that’s it for the Axis floaty boaty planes. Here’s a big shot of the whole lot all together.
It’s been lots of fun taking to the maritime skies with both sides. There have been some excellent planes available at this scale to allow me to explore the subject quite expansively.
I’m going to take a break from 1:300 planes for a while. Got lots more still to do but I’ll wait for the enthusiasm to resurface after a bit of something else for a while. Do let me know what you think as always, and thanks for visiting the gallery.
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