WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:
3 Feb 1941 - General Erwin Rommell is appointed Commander of the newly formed expeditionary German Troops in Africa (Afrika Korps) and prepares to reinforce the beleagured Italian Army in North Africa.
7 Feb - Operation Compass- General Wavell's Combe Force (11th Hussars, 2nd Rifle Brigade , 4th Royal Horse Artillery and 106 Btty Royal Horse Artillery) accept the surrender of 130,000 Italian Troops just south of Benghazi, Libya. British forces begin to leave North Africa for Greece.
10 Feb - The siege of Malta begins in earnest, with heavy air attacks on a daily basis.
15 Feb - Austria begins the forced deportation of its Jewish poulation to jewish ghettoes in occupied Poland.
19 -21 Feb - Over 3 nights of intensive bombing by the Luftwaffe, much of Swansea is destroyed.
20 Feb - British and German Troops meet in battle for the first time in North Africa.
24 Feb - Nazi puppet leader Admiral Darlan is appointed head of State of Vichy France.
Ju-87 R-4 Picciatello, 239a Squadriglia, 97 Gruppo,
The Ju-87 Stuka dive bomber attained lasting infamy during the Spanish Civil war and the early European campaigns. Fitted with a wind-driven "Jericho Trumpet" siren designed to strike fear into its (often civilian) victims, it quickly became a potent and ruthless symbol of Nazi air power. It was never a particularly brilliant aircraft, and fared badly during the Battle of Britain, when faced with an organised and efffective fighter force, but remained in production until 1944 in a variety of guises, including a canon-armed anti-tank version used widely on the Eastern Front.
The Italian Regia Aeronautica obtained 100 ex-Luftwaffe Stukas in 1940. Renamed "Picchiatello" the Ju-87s were used against Malta, Allied convoys (including attacks on HMS ILLUSTRIOUS) in the Mediterranean and in support of the Italian Army & Afrika Korps over North Africa.
The Ju-87 remained in service with the Regia Aeronautica until 1942 when it was withdrawn due to airframe fatigue issues.
Airfix have produced a number of Stuka kits, incuding their marvellous 1/24 versions and a 1/48th kit that I don't think I have ever seen. This was the second 1/72 mould, dating from 1979 (the original was 1957) and it builds into a reasonable replica of an early Stuka. The inclusion of slightly different Italian decals is a very welcome change from the ubiquitous Luftwaffe versions in most kits.
Building the kit is fairly straightforward, with most parts fitting well (the main exception on mine was the joint between upper and lower wing parts and just aft of the radiator flaps). Decals on my (Hornby issue) kit were nicely printed, but very glossy and rather thick. Sure enough, they silvered very badly on application, despite being applied over a gloss Klear coat and had to be touched up afterward with paint and ink pen.
In all, this is definitely a reasonable kit of the iconic Ju-87, but I have to say that as an aircraft design, it has very little appeal for me. Ugly, or what!
More Axis aircraft on my Adversaries Pages
American FJ-4B Fury, VA-126 US Navy
In many respects, the US Navy's Fury looks like a Sabre on steroids, but whilst it shares a direct family link, it is also a very differnt aircraft.
One of the few post-war US Navy fighters never to have fired a shot in anger, it was a contemporary of the Supermarine Scimitar and powered by a licence-built version of the British Armstrong Siddely Sapphire jet engine, as used in the Hunter, Javelin and Victor. Furies saw little service in the fighter role; like the Scimitar, they were quickly moved to a nuclear strike role, carrying a Mk.12 Weapon on their port middle pylon.
I believe that the Revell Fury kit uses the old Emhar mould; in many ways, the kit on the sprue looks like it could have been a Matchbox kit, but isn't quite as well engineered as I would expect. Either way, its a little crude and clunky, but still good for a fast-fun-build whilst I ponder the lack of progress on my Airfix Sea Vixen.
The cockpit is a bit of a shambles (do kit designers ever actually try to build their own creations?) and the undercarriage is very spindly, but general fit is OK and it captures the distinctive look of this early US Navy jet.
The kit only provides a single decal option which is a shame, but its a colourful scheme. Mine was missing a couple of large side markings (black birds of prey), which will have to be hand painted sometime in the future! (Postscript - now complete - see March 2013
The US Mk.12 Nuclear weapon on the port middle pylon comes from my spares box.
More US Aircraft on my Friends & Allies Pages
Background Picture - A mixed force of Allied attack and EW aircraft refuel from an RAF VC10 before heading into Iraq.
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