Scale Aircraft Conversions 1:48 P-39 landing gear

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SAC_packageBy: Frank Ahern

Product #:  48-141
Price:  $16.95

Like most modelers, I have had my share of problems with aircraft landing gear. It’s to the point that I almost expect a strut to break whenever I take a model out to display.  That’s why the idea of metal replacement landing gear intrigued me enough to shell out the money for a set on my latest project – an Eduard P-39 kit.

The main supplier of metal landing gear is Scale Aircraft Conversions, a Texas company that has an impressive catalog of replacement landing gear parts for many of the best-selling kits on the market today. Their logo is designed to remind you of the old Strategic Air Command shield from cold war bombers (SAC, get it!).


"Shadow Divers" by Robert Kurson

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"Shadow Divers" by Robert Kurson,
2005, Random House

Book Review by Bill Winter

"Shadow Divers" (SD) is what a group of divers called themselves in the 1990s that were involved in the discovery, exploration and identification of a previously unknown WWII German submarine.

The divers were told by local fishermen that they were losing their nets in a certain locale about 70 miles off the New Jersey coast. Upon diving in that area, the divers discovered a WWII German U-boat. The problem was that were no records of a German submarine ever being sunk in that area. It took the divers almost a decade to identify the submarine. Three divers died during explorations of the submarine.


Book Review Naked in Da Nang

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Book Reviewnakedindanang

Naked In Da Nang
A Forward Air Controller In Viet Nam

By Mike Jackson and Tara Dixon-Engel
Forward by Frank Borman

“Naked in Da Nang is a tribute to all the men who flew and fought”
Brig. Gen. Steve Richie, USAF (Ret.)

I appreciate well-written books about aviation, especially when the author can put the reader in the cockpit during the action. This is one of those books.

The book begins with the author waiting to except an award, seated in the Veterans Hall in Columbus, Ohio. The story unfolds as a flashback, starting with his arrival in Viet Nam, as he steps off an airliner at Cam Ranh Bay into a world unlike anything he had ever known. Two weeks later that same green kid started the first of his 210 combat missions, climbing into his twin-engine O-2A, pushing up the throttles, and coolly initiated a takeoff roll that would place him directly over some of the most heavily defended turf in the history of warfare.


Steinbrunn 1/6 Scale Stuart book

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51HrnWC1qGL._SL500_AA300_"Large Scale Armor Modeling, Building a 1/6 Scale Stuart Tank"

Author Robert N. Steinbrunn
Schiffer Military History
ISBN: 978-0-7643-3953-0
168 pages, full color

First thought when one picks up this book is how heavy it is, and for those of us used to larger volumes dedicated to scale modeling, we expect a compendium of sorts filled with various models and projects.  However, this book is only on one model, a large scale Stuart tank, so the large book matches this large project!  If author Robert Steinbrunn’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he is an author of several other books, magazine articles, and even a few articles on the Gatormodeler’s website.

The book is divided up into 14 chapters, plus the usual foreward, acknowledgements, and other ancillary sections.  Gatormodelers own, Jack Mugan, had his small part in the book with a “Regarding the Author” section.  Out of the 14 chapters, ten take you step by step through construction of the model itself, with three dedicated to some introduction to the project, research, and tools.  The final chapter is a full spread gallery of the finished model.  All photos are clearly shot, and in full color, and highlight important parts of the process or illustrate particular steps.  Where needed, captions are informative and clear, giving the reader a full understanding even if you do not read the actual body text.  


Top Secret Bird

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TSBcover_smallTop Secret Bird, the Luftwaffe's Me-163 Comet

Publisher:  Pictorial Histories Publishing
Author:  Wolfgang Spate
Review by Frank Ahern

When you think about the most daring pilots of WW2 you have to consider those in the Luftwaffe who were the test pilots for the late-war “miracle” weapons that the Nazi’s thought would save them from defeat. Perhaps the most risky of them all was the Me-163 Comet liquid-fueled rocket interceptor. It was the aeronautical equivalent of a 4th of July bottle rocket, and almost as likely to explode.
In this book, Wolfgang Spate, who was one of Germany’s leading glider pilots before the war, explains the development of the Me-163 and how be came to be commander of Operational Test Unit (Ekdo) 16. In the process he provides an insider’s look at the Luftwaffe, and the politics and personalities that shaped the organization.

Spate was not only a top glider pilot, he was also one of Germany’s leading fighter pilots in the early stages of the war. This made him the perfect candidate for the job of leading Ekdo 16.  The glider training was essential because at its core the Me-163 was a glider, designed by Dr. Alexander Lippisch, a pioneer in the development of flying wings. His design was turned over to Messerschmitt for production. This resulted in a testy relationship between the two groups that only got worse as time went by.

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