1/24 A12001V – Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia – Number of Parts 156 -Expected: Autumn 2020
Without doubt the names Airfix and Spitfire are inextricably linked and for 65 years, we have had a Spitfire kit in our range, with this aircraft always maintaining its position as one of the most popular subjects in any Airfix catalogue. Viewed by the British public as the aircraft which won the Battle of Britain, there is no doubt that the dogfights which raged in the skies above southern England during the summer of 1940 secured the legacy of an aircraft which must be considered one of the most famous in the history of flight, even though they were outnumbered in squadron strength by the Hawker Hurricane. Despite this, the Luftwaffe learned to respect the fighting qualities of this graceful looking aeroplane, to a point were every aircraft they lost was usually (and in most cases incorrectly) attributed to the much vaunted Spitfire.
1/24 A12002V – Messerschmitt Bf 109E – Number of Parts 146 – Expected: Autumn 2020
1/24 A14002V – Hawker Hurricane Mk.I – Number of Parts 161 – Expected: Autumn 2020
Arguably the ultimate development of the tank during WWII, the massive German Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B Tiger II or Royal Tiger was developed under the direction of Hitler himself and his desire to see Germany introducing ever bigger, ever more powerful tanks as the war progressed. Taking the already impressive credentials of the Tiger I, this new tank was to be designed around the massive Rheinmetall L-71 8.8cm Flak 41 high velocity anti-tank gun, with the major issue being how could they get this huge gun onto a tank. As with the original Tiger project, Porsche and Henschel would compete against each other for the hull contract, whilst the turret would be developed and manufactured by Krupp – indeed, Krupp were not too enamoured at the prospect of fitting a rival manufacturer’s gun into their new turret, so they designed their own version of the Rheinmetall L-71 gun, the 8.8cm PaK 43 Kampfwagenkanone.
In order to accommodate the gun, the newly designed Krupp turret was long and relatively narrow in appearance, with two different versions entering service – the first 50 machines had a turret which was more curved, with a less pronounced gun mantlet, however, these were found to offer a ‘shot trap’ to Allied gunners and were therefore quickly replaced. The majority of Tiger IIs were fitted with the later ‘production turret’, which was much more angular and incorporated a far more pronounced mantlet at the base of the gun. All this additional weight had to be carried by the hull of the new Tiger II, with Henschel winning the production contract. Again building on the design of the original Tiger, the new hull was longer and with greater armour protection than featured on its predecessor, again using a development of the distinctive interleaved road wheel arrangement to carry the immense weight of the tank – the Tiger II weighed in at just under 70 tons.
Despite having to cope with the significantly greater weight of the new tank, the Tiger II was still powered by a derivative of the same V-12 Maybach engine which was used in the original Tiger, something which would always hinder the performance of this battlefield behemoth. Something which most certainly would not be hindered was the performance of the new gun. Although it could use the same shells as used by the fearsome Tiger I, the cartridge case was doubled in size, meaning that the projectile was fired at a much higher velocity. With the gun barrel being 1.3 metres longer than on the Tiger I, this new tank could take out Allied armour at even greater ranges than that of is already proficient predecessor. The original contract was for Henschel to produce 1500 Tiger IIs, however, with the Allies now very much in the ascendancy at this stage of the war, only 492 of these monsters would actually be built.
was built around the M3 Lee chassis, but using the later, more effective running gear of the M4 Sherman. Incorporating a US copy of a French designed M1917/18 M1 155mm gun, the M12 was intended to support advancing infantry units by providing continuous artillery support and therefore needed to be highly mobile, hence its mounting on a tracked chassis. The vehicle itself had an armoured section at the front for the driver and commander, with the gun firing crew occupying the open fighting compartment at the rear of the vehicle. The rear also featured a large hydraulically operated spade, which when lowered, dug into the ground, making for a more stable firing platform. When this was raised, it made a rather convenient seat for the firing crew.
As an infantry support weapon, the M12 was intended to be used in an indirect firing role, operating from concealed positions behind the front lines, hurling the guns huge shells onto enemy positions which were some way in the distance. This was not always the case and when Allied units were advancing at pace through former German occupied Europe, the M12 was regularly used in a direct firing role, right in the thick of the fighting. The busy fighting compartment only had storage space for around 10 projectiles and their propellant, so the M12 would usually be deployed with additional ammunition available from its concealed firing position, or had the support of a supply vehicle. One such vehicle was the M30, which looked for all the world like an M12 with the gun removed – this vehicle could transport everything the M12 crew needed for a busy day of action and as the pace of the Allied advance in Europe quickened, the services of the M12 crews would definitely be in great demand.
It is difficult to think of a more important tank to the British and Commonwealth war effort during the early years of WWII than the American built M3, a tank which was made available to the British in large numbers and one which would make a telling contribution during the savage desert battles of the North African campaign. A tank which was something of a compromise, the Americans had seen that their existing medium tank was already outclassed by the latest German designs which were marauding through Europe and a new tank designed around a more powerful 75mm gun had to be produced. Unfortunately, no existing turret was capable of housing such a gun and it would take time to produce a new one (this new tank would be the M4 Sherman), so the M3 was an attempt to provide the best of both worlds in a timely manner.
The only way to equip a US built medium tank with a 75mm gun at that time was to fit it in the hull of the tank, much lower on the machine than the commander would think ideal in a combat situation. Existing armoured divisions were not happy about giving up their 37mm gun, which was seen as ideal when used in the infantry support role, so the designers of the M3 incorporated both in their new tank. This meant that the tank had a particularly high profile, something which would not be a problem when operating from a concealed position, but when operating in the flat, wide open deserts of North Africa, it presented a tempting target for Wehrmacht gunners.
Supplied in two basic variants, the British version featured a modified turret with a clearly discernible bulge at the back of the turret which was needed to house the radio equipment and the American version, which did not feature the turret bulge and had the radio equipment installed inside the hull. With two guns to fire during combat, the hull of an M3 could be a busy place, with six men in British tanks (which were known as M3 Grant tanks) and seven in the US M3 Lee tanks (the extra man was needed to operate the radio equipment).
Our model making superstar Paramjit has been at it again, this time turning his attentions to the two beautiful scheme options included in the soon to be released 1/48th scale Civilian Spitfire Mk.XIV kit – don’t they look absolutely stunning!
Even though we only included our scheme review of the latest 1/48th scale Civilian Spitfire Mk.XIV kit release at the beginning of last month, we don’t think many readers will mind us making an earlier than expected return to the subject in this latest edition of our blog, particularly when we tell you that we have images of two beautiful built models to show you. The latest products of the Paramjit Sembhi model production line, these spectacular models clearly illustrate why so many modellers are desperate to get their hands on this new kit, even though they will be facing a particularly difficult choice when selecting which of the two beautiful scheme options to finish their model in.
Endowing the cultured Spitfire with a welcome power boost, the Rolls Royce Griffin engine allowed the Spitfire to remain at the forefront of world fighter development, increasing the performance of the aircraft by more than 80mph over the fighters which had contested the Battle of Britain. Whilst the cultured purr of the Merlin had been replaced by the frightening growl of the Griffon, the Spitfire still managed to retain its aesthetic appeal, even though these were very different beasts.
As an Airshow favourite, the Spitfire is unquestionably without equal and since the end of the Second World War, large numbers of former military Spitfires have undergone restoration to airworthy condition, allowing millions of people to experience something of what it must have been like to see these fighters in operation during the 1940s. Whilst most are finished wearing representations of the camouflage markings so familiar with wartime Spitfires, just a handful of owners have been a little more adventurous with their presentation, none more so than the magnificent aircraft owned and operated during the 70s and 80s by British warbird enthusiast Spencer Flack. For many people who were lucky enough to see this aircraft in the flesh, they would probably describe G-FIRE as the most beautiful Spitfire they had ever seen and one which certainly stood out from the historic aviation crowd.
New Quickbuild F-35B walk around. Even though this is an engineering sample, it still shows how impressive the new model is and how our prediction that this is going to be arguably our most popular kit over the coming years has some real validation – Expected: Autumn 2020