June 2013
Perkasa MTB (update)


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PoppySelected WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:

Between 2009 and 2015, I have set myself a general modelling theme that marks selected 70th Anniversaries from WW2.

14 June 1943 - Operation Pointblank. The Allies launch a massive combined bomber offensive over Europe to pave the way for invasion. The Luftwaffe is their main target, along with related strategic industrial targets. The British bomb by night and the USAAF by day, ensuring round-the-clock attacks.

The advanced Arada AR 234 jet powered bomber

© IWM (CH 15703)

15 June - First flight of the Nazi Arado Ar 234 jet powered bomber.

18 Jun - The USAAF's segregated squadron of black fighter pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen, see their first combat over the island of Pantelleria south of Italy.

21 Jun - French resistance leader Jean Moulin is betrayed by his countrymen and arrested by the Gestapo. He dies at the hands of his torturer, the Butcher of Lyon, Klaus Barbie.

23 Jun - British Special Operations Executive's (SOE) agent and Paris resistance 2 i/c Andrée Borrel is arrested. Six months earlier, she and Lise de Baissac had become the first female SOE agents to be parachuted into occupied Europe. After a year of incarceration and torture, Borrel will be burned alive and screaming, along with 3 other female SOE agents, Vera Leigh, Sonya Olschanezky and Diana Rowden, in the ovens of the Natzweiler-Struthof death camp.

26 Jun - As Allied anti-submarine operations take an increasing toll, 200 crew members of 6 Norwegian-based U-Boats mutiny when ordered to proceed to sea.

28 Jun - Construction of missile launch bases begins along the French coast, targeted against British cities. On the same day workers complete new crematoria in Auschwitz that are capable of the efficient and methodical extermination of up to 5,000 human beings each day.

30 Jun - Operation Cartwheel. Allied troops begin the invasion of Japanese occupied New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


HMNB Faslane, March 2013

Hobby Boss 1/350

The ASTUTE Class is the Royal Navy's latest nuclear powered attack submarine. Armed with advanced guided Spearfish torpedoes which are capable of travelling at up to 150 Km per hour and underwater launched Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles, the ASTUTE class is equally capable in combat against surface ships and other submarines or against land targets up to 2,500 km away. Special stealth measures reduce the submarines sonar, noise and radar signatures, to render her almost undetectable when on patrol in the worlds oceans. Her Rolls Royce PWR2 reactor has been designed never to need refuelling during the planned life of the boats, significantly reducing through life costs.

As with all modern RN Submarines, her conning tower and upper deck are strengthened to permit her to surface through the Arctic ice when needed.

Key to the ASTUTE Class' underwater combat capability is the new integratedSonar Type 2076 system, which is also being retrofitted to the older Trafalgar class SSNs. This comprehensive suite of linked underwater sensors includes prominent flank sonar arrays on the sides of the submarine and a long flexible towed sonar array, allowing her to track other vessels over 60 miles away by using stealthy passive sonar.

The first of class, HMS ASTUTE, was launched in 2007, but has had a difficult career to date, with mechanical breakdowns, an unintended grounding and a fatal shooting incident onboard. Whilst some of these can simply be attributed to her being the first of class, she has undoubtedly also suffered from dreadful bad luck, poor build quality and apparent mismanagement onboard and ashore.

HMS AMBUSH is the second of the 7 strong class of SSNs to be built and was commissioned into Royal Navy service in March 2013. She will be followed in due course by HM Submarines ARTFUL, AUDACIOUS, ANSON, AGAMEMNON and AJAX

HMS AMBUSH on Sea Trials in the Clyde
© Crown Copyright 2012 (LA(Phot) Will Haigh)

Over the last few years we have seen a remarkable explosion in the availability of good and relatively cheap 1/350 and 1/700 scale models of modern naval ships, including those of the Royal Navy. This is the Hobby Boss 1/350 Astute class submarine, built to go along with my Airfix Trafalgar class SSN in the same scale. The difference in size is notable!

The kit is very well moulded with no flash and fine engraving of details. All mould extractor stubs are carefully hidden in unseen areas so that an absolute minimum of cleaning up will be required before assembly. The hull is provided as separate top and bottom halves, presumably to allow a waterline model if desired,although the true waterline is actually about half way up the upper hull section. Nevertheless, the hull joint is very well engineered with strengthening lips to ensure a precise join that will not need filler, although some sanding is likely to be required.

The conning tower ("fin" to our US cousins) is an integral part of the upper hull, with a choice of tops for a surfaced submarine or one with all masts lowered. I'm not convinced the masts are right and they are much less well formed than the Airfix Trafalgar equivalent. Mine, as you can see, decided not to remain straight as they dried! Control surface and the pumpjet assembly are provided as separate parts, with fine photoetch details as a (slightly pointless IMHO) alternative to the plastic parts, although they do include a rather nice etched brass name plate for the stand. Decals are surprisingly comprehensive for a submarine and really add to the finished model, although some of them are quite tricky to apply since they are rather brittle.

Paint was hand brushed using Humbrol satin black overall, with a lightened grey/black mix used for the flank arrays and a light grey wash into the engraved lines then a final top coat of W&N Acrylic Matt varnish.

Vosper Perkasa Patrol Boat

1/72 Tamiya Vosper Perkasa Patrol Boat.

The RN operated several gas turbine powered Fast Patrol Boats that were very similar to Vosper's export version seen here. Some were still in service as late as 1981 as FPB Training Boats (they used to attack you during the weekly Thursday War at Portland, usually by creeping up hidden behind a tanker). A "Luxury Yacht" version of this gas turbine powered boat sits in Haslar Marina at Portsmouth. Only one was ever built and it is finished in a beautiful gloss midnight blue; I pass it each time I go sailing and it has fascinated me for years.

These days, I am not sure anyone can actually afford the fuel to start the turbines and take it out to sea!

This is one of the older models in my collection, started in about 1997 and finished several years later. Due to its size, I found it very difficult to photograph nicely and I've never felt the previous pictures on the website did it justice. As a result I have now put together a new set.


The model is beginning to show a few of the effects of age (dust spots mainly), but its still one of the favourites of my collection. I have taken a few liberties - for example I have an entirely RN crew and she is flying the White Ensign. I also painted the decks grey rather than the correct green, plus I left off the very prominent torpedoes as I doubt they would have been carried very often in real life.

Link to many more ships and submarines on my Wetside pages

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Background Picture - inside the cockpit of a De Havilland Sea Venom