History is often these days being considered as dealing with past things, places and events and most of the people would find it hard to simply connect with the past, in many cases their own past. Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov has in my opinion greatly helped to bridge this time gap by connecting today’s places with past events. By carefully combining recent photographs of famous (as well as less famous) places with the historical photographs he has created unique and interesting collection showing us what these places looked like during WWII and brought them to life.
You can find the collection here, it is well worth looking at…
(Photograph at the top is sourced from the page linked above.)
Among many forum posts on Armorama site, there was one posted recently that I have found to be very helpful. Author has posted a link to an online gallery with a vast selection of WWII photographs from the Normandy as well as other French regions. The photographs are from variety of sources and I found them to be a great source of reference. So before that particular post gets lost in the vast space of online forums, here is the link:
So finally two days ago I have opened the package with long-awaited Mike Rinaldi’s new book TankArt. Having been teased by number of photos of the book pages over the past weeks and months my expectations were high (and I believe not only mine) and I was eager to lay my hands on the book…
Just a quick look will confirm one thing – even in the current market for books on the modeling subject, the book is really unique. The first impression I had when flipping through the pages is that not a single inch of space on more than 200 pages was wasted.
If there is anything more forgotten in the history of warfare than the Korean war then it must be the story of the Canadians participating in this conflict. If you walk into an average bookstore in Canada, the chances are slim that you will find anything dealing with this part of our history, simply because there is not that much book on this topic.
That was one of the reasons why I was surprised when I spotted the latest publications by the Legion Magazine, specifically dedicated to this topic. This booklet is unique and I find the format and content very appealing, almost makes me feel I must be the target audience. On 100 pages, this booklet literally overflows with photographs and maps. The coverage is very diligent – involvement of Canadian Army, Navy and Air Force as well as Special Forces have dedicated sections. Major combat actions, such as Battle of Kapyong have its own short articles and overall the book is focused on telling the story of the Canadians who lived and fought through this war. It is difficult to find any shortcomings, I would personally welcome if the publication would be little more extensive, but that’s very minor point.
For anybody interested in the Canadian Military history, this publication should not be missing on the bookshelf. For armour enthusiasts this publications nice collection of reference photographs (generally here is not that many of them). It can be obtained in any bookstores or any good place selling magazines (in Canada, I’m not sure if anyone from abroad would be interested).
For more information, see website of the Legion Magazine here.
For any military or history fan, Osprey publishing must be a well known name. The list of books published by this company is perhaps the longest among its peers and many of them have found home on my bookshelves. One of me most favourite books is Osprey’s Battleground – The Greatest Tank Duels in History.
This book builds on the series of Osprey books that pitch against each other famous tank opponents from history of warfare. Osprey has released few titles in this series, but Battleground is not jut one of them. Previous books were each covering single episode fomr history – e.g. Tiger vs. Sherman Firefly or Centurion vs. T-55. Battleground is effectively compilation of 5 of these books:
During my recent visit to the buildings of the former Small Arms. Ltd. plant in Long branch, I couldn’t not notice the state in which many of the walls were. After many years of neglect, exposure to all weather elements and vandalism, they clearly reflected overall shape of the building. While I was sorry to see this building be in such a state, it nevertheless provided more than interesting reference for any potential diorama projects.
So now I just have to discover some secret technique how to replicate this effect in scale, what do you think?
I understand that there are people out there who don’t build scale models. One of them is my neighbour, whose hobby is collecting and repairing motorcycles and old cars. Most of them are usually repaired, preserved and turned into polished beauties.
Nevertheless, the one that got my attention was a piece which is now sitting at the driveway across the street for quite a while and quite clearly steps out of the average.
I am not even trying to pretend I have a clue what model this car is, apart from the fact that it is Chevrolet, which is impossible to miss. Its age has however left beautiful signature on the vehicle, one that I find aesthetically appealing and at the same time useful – as a weathering reference. Isn’t this what we are trying to replicate with all the washes, chips, hairspray techniques and you-name-what secret weathering processes.
On a note related to my previous post. Having learned about the Trumpeter’s BMP-1, I went looking online for any interesting photo reference on this vehicle. And as is usual, I stumbled upon very interesting site.
As its title says, this site – Military in the Middle East, is a blog of Middle East Military hardware aficionados. And yes, for modern armour fans with the slightest interest in Middle East wars will be an invaluable source. Unlike many other blogs, this site is regularly updated and offers a collection of photographs related to military vehicles and events in the middle East. The photographs are really unique and offers interesting insights into the Middle East history. Every photograph is captioned and even more obscure vehicles are properly identified.
The site is quite large, so far I haven’t checked all of its content, which covers many of the region’s countries’ armies and militias as well as various insurgent groups and peacekeeping forces.
Of particular interest I have found the recent pictures depicting conflict in Syria. From this photographic evidence it is clear that this country is effectively a war zone. The picture on the top of the post, is a sample of what you can find on the site. You can found more photographs here.
Whoever is the author of this site, I would like to thank him/them for bringing us all the information and photographs that can be found here. I will definitely be coming back regularly.
I guess it was just a matter of time till the modelling world would take a full use of the online media. Online magazines, video tutorials, blogs, you name it. Sometimes it might get really difficult to find something new and useful. Over the past weeks I found out that one of the great sources of news regarding plastic modelling is Facebook. With number of producers using it to communicate with the online population of modelers, I have discovered new modelers (which I have already mentioned here), new products, shots of new models…
In similar way I have today discovered new YouTube video and this time the source was little bit outside of the modeling world – it was promoted through the site of online game World of Tanks. For those of you who haven’t yet heard about this – it is quite interesting and addictive game for all tanks enthusiasts simulating tank combat. If you haven’t tried it yet I must warn you – it will eat from your modelling time…
But back to the video I have mentioned, based on the information this video should be the first of the series, in which you can see real tanks close up – interior and exterior. In this part (hopefully it will attract sufficient number of fans to survive) you can see M26 Pershing from outside. Though the video is not that long (just a bit over 6 minutes) I found the views of the tanks to be really good reference. With a commentary provided about what are you looking at, this has some added value compared to just simple static photographs. Commentary is primarily about the functionality and use of the different parts, so that the video is almost a substitute to seeing the tank with your own eyes – and maybe even more, as it is unlikely that in some museum they would let you open engine hatches or get inside the turret…
One of the kits that have been on my to-build list for a while (which most likely means I might get to build it in the next 10 years) is Bronco’s 10.5cm LeFH18(SF) auf Geschutzwagen 39H(F). The vehicle is essentially 10.5 cm field howitzer mounted on a chassis of the French Hotchkiss H39 light tank. Wehrmacht has captured handful of these during their French campaign in 1940. This self-propelled gun is one of those vehicle, which came to see the light due to the expediency with which German designers have been able to reuse whatever material to improve mobility of their army.
Bronco’s kit is one of their earlier ones and has been released already some year ago. First thing that still surprises me is how little publicity there was and is around this kit. I admit that the quality is not at the level of the more recent releases by this producer, but I haven’t encountered any negative reviews or any other indication of significant shortcomings of this model. Given that the vehicle participated in the ever-popular Normandy campaign, I would expect to see it more often on the photos and display tables at model shows.
The second thing which I don’t quite understand is the lack of aftermarket parts for this model and this was putting me off when thinking about starting it. Any aftermarket sets are mostly designed for the much older Trumpeter kit.
During my recent trip to France I paid visit to Blast model store and the one detail kit I have picked up was the Blast model set for this vehicle (again the one designed for Trumpeter kit). The detail set provides resin parts replacing quite a few donor kit parts. The casting is very fine and there is only very little flesh to be removed from the casting blocks. While Bronco’s kit was much improved compared to the Trumpeter one, this set still has quite few parts offering significant improvements over the donor kit, such as the ammunition stowage racks – comparing the resin alternatives I was surprised to see how much simplified are the plastic ones.
One particular part of the detail set that is extremely well detailed is the radio set and the instruction provide detail schema for wiring and connecting all of its parts (the radio equipment actually comprises 8 resin pieces,not counting the headphones you might want to add).
All in all I am so far very pleased with the quality of this Blast detail set, which was the first I ever got from this brand. Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on it sometimes (relatively) soon…
(please note that the photos below do not depict all of the detail set parts, there are few more).
It has been few days since my last update, which is mostly because I spent the whole last week on a business trip to Versailles (doesn’ sound that bad, eh. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen that often). While there was no chance to work on my blog, I have of course not missed the chance to look around for military or modeling related opportunities.
First, I have paid visit to Les Invalides, one of the places which must be on a to-see list of any military fan visiting Paris. The building, impressive by itself, is a home to Musee de l’Armee, France’s national military museum. Due to the limited time I had for visit, I have focused mostly on WWI and WWII exhibits. While I dare say that museum might be bit smaller than the Imperial War Museum in London, and has definitely less armour pieces on display, it still provides for quite a few interesting displays. One that caught my eye was FT-17 displayed right in the courtyard of the building. One thing noticeable in the museum is quite extensive collection of military uniforms of both wars.
Having a few hours left on the last day on my trip I decided to find the Blast models store in Paris. It is not that far from the center and with the help of my Blackberry’s GPS was able to reach it just few minutes before the close. The store is definitely one of the better ones and I have picked few books and a resin conversion, to which I may devote a separate post(s) in the next days.
Perhaps my personal highlight of the visit was Wednesday’s gala dinner in the Trianon palace in Versailles. The dinner was served in the Hall in which George Clemenceau accompanied by Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George and other statesmen presented the conditions of the Versailles treaty to the German delegation on May 7, 1919.
Below are few photographs from my trip, since they were taken with my cell phone’s camera, the quality is not too great.
Omaha beach as seen from 35,000 feet. Pointe du Hoc can be seen on the right.
For those who haven’t heard about it, Canadian Forces Combat Camera is unique online source of images documenting operations of Canadian Forces since 1990. It provides wealth of imagery in excellent quality and with minimum time delay. Pictures show the life and activities of Canadian soldiers during their operations.
I have been following Combat Camera primarily for its excellent coverage of the deployment of Canadian Forces of Afghanistan. In my opinion these images are some of the best sources of reference and of inspiration for the modern armour fans and modellers that can be found.
Source of the pictures shown below is the Department of National Defense website, which can be found here (Pictures were resized, please visit the Combat Camera site to see the full resolution images). Images shown are just a small selection from a much larger collection, that Combat Camera provides, I have selected primarily the ones depicting armoured vehicles. Images below are the ones from the year 2011, I will also be posting some older pictures in the future.