Henderson Field Guadalcanal Construction

SeaBee

Work on another small diorama of US Seabee (1/48 figure) working on Henderson field at Guadalcanal 1942. He will be placed by or on IJN Komatsu G40 Bulldozer and a large pile of PSP plates. Basically he will be looking into sky wondering if the planes approaching are friendly or Japanese

Henderson Field Information.

To expand air cover in the Solomon Islands region, the Japanese military surveyed the Lunga Point site on the island of Guadalcanal in May 1942, only one month after the Japanese took control of the island. The site was situated between the Lunga River to the west and the Ilu River to the east. Two construction crews, one 1,379 men and the other 1,145 men, began work in early Jul 1942. The work was observed by Coastwatchers, who promptly reported to the US military. In mid-Jul 1942, an additional crew of 250 civilian workers arrived, followed by specialists of 14th Encampment Corps which was in charge of setting up radio communications equipment and a search radar. A small number of local civilians were employed in the construction as well. The Japanese plans called for a single runway, taxiway, a dispersal area, plus several structures. The construction for the to-be-named Lunga Point Airfield was ahead of schedule, and the construction crews were given extra rations of sake in celebration in the evening of 6 Aug 1942. At the very same time that the celebration was held, an American invasion force was sailing for the island; they would land on the following day. US Marines overwhelmed the Japanese defenders on Guadalcanal and captured the airfield with radio equipment, heavy construction equipment, and food stocks in tact by 1600 hours on 8 Aug 1942. The Americans resumed the construction within days of its capture, using Japanese heavy construction equipment.

Type 95 Kurogane Vehicle

Working on a small diorama for a upcoming show. Tamiya type 95 Kurogane with a Gaso-Line Japanese figure. Gaso-Line has a great line of figures and suggest that you check them out. This build was simple and easy, but a extremely great way to spend a weekend. I really like this subject and the Gaso-Line figure is perfect for this little diorama.

As you can see from the pictures above I have completed the the build and painted the basic coat on the kit. The kit was super easy to build, I really don’t expect anything more from Tamiya 1/48 kits. I spent a total of three hours building this kit and did add a few small details. The inside of the doors on the kit are completely blank so I added some detail. I also added the pedals for the drivers compartment. Overall this was a fun build. Below I have added some images and information on the vehicle.

The Type 95 accommodated 3 persons – two in the front and one in the back. The two-cylinder, V-twin, four-stroke, air-cooled gasoline engine, which developed 33 PS (24 kW; 33 hp) @ 3,300rpm, was an advantage in cold climates found in China, and had 4-wheel drive, using a gearshift activated transfer case to engage the front wheels. It was manufactured without weapons and unarmored. It had advantages over the Type 97 motorcycle used by the Japanese Army, which had much less off-road mobility, and so limited troop mobility. It had tall, narrow wheels which helped it to travel over rough terrain, mud and snow.

The Type 95 was first conceived in 1934, by the Japanese Imperial Army as a small rough terrain vehicle to do reconnaissance, deliver messages to the field, and transport personnel. The military asked Toyota Industries Corporation Motor Vehicles Division to collaborate with Kurogane to design and manufacture the new vehicle. Toyota MVD was building the Toyota G1, and Okamoto Bicycle and Automobile Manufacturing, which was absorbed into Daihatsu. The prototype was the result, using a Japanese-built internal combustion engine. Mass-production began in 1936. At the time, military operations in Mainland China and Southeast Asia, a mass-produced military vehicle equipped with Japan’s first four-wheel drive mechanism, increased mobility in the area’s rough terrain. This car was first used in the Nomonhan Incident, and later during the Pacific War and Greater East Asia War for its primary purpose, as well to carry mainland Army and Navy officer flagship passengers as a 4-door version. The front grille had the Imperial Japanese Army’s five-pointed star which signified sakura, or cherry blossom, which has special cultural significance. 4,775 copies of the car were built with some minor changes, such as mechanical and body adjustments. Production ended in 1944.

Link to Link Tracks for 1/48 Scale Tank

Today, most modern model kits will have Link to Link tracks instead of the old rubber bans style, that we all grew up on. Some people love them, others hate them.  Personally, they don’t bother me, but I do like to keep the tracks and road wheels separate, to make the painting and weathering process is cleaner. Since I love to work mostly in 1/48 scale, this becomes a chore in many ways.  Following the steps below however, can make the process simple and easy and you will be able to keep the tracks and road wheels separate. For this demonstration I used Tamiya’s excellent 1/48 Scale Panzer III Ausf. N.

1. The first thing I do is cut the parts I need to run the first part of the track from the runners. I always start with the bottom track, go forward and over the drive sprocket. As you see below, I have cut out the parts and cleaned them. I then placed them in the order that I will glue them.  Make sure your tracks are facing the proper direction of movement.

2.  The next step is to glue the tracks together in two parts. First, I glue the bottom run together and then I glue the part that will go over the drive sprocket. I use Tamiya Extra Thin Glue (green top). This glue takes a bit longer to dry, so it gives you more time to form the tracks around the wheels and sprockets.

3. After I glued the two sections of the bottom and sprocket run together, I immediately turn the track run on it side and glue the sections together. Once this is complete, I leave the tracks on their side and let them dry for about 8 to 10 minutes. As they dry, I cut the upper portion of the track off the runner and clean this up.  This usually takes the right amount the time I need for the glue to dry. As you can see below, the track is on its side and all sections for the front are together and drying.

4. After 8 to 10 minutes of drying, I take the tracks, place them on the tank, roll them up and over the drive sprocket and then connect them to the upper piece of the track. During this stage make sure to not glue the tracks to the kit.  You want to be able to remove them from the kit to paint and weather.

5. As the tracks dry, I cut the rear section of the track and clean them up. Once clean, I will glue this together as an individual section, as shown below. Once you have waited 8 to 10 minutes, you need to attach the track section to the other already on the kit.  Do not glue them together. Once on the kit, form the tracks over the rear idler wheel and make sure the length and sag are correct. To keep these parts together, I use Tamiya tape to hold them until dry. As a reminder, this section will not be glued to the other until painting and weathering are complete. As you can see from the picture below, I have placed the rear section of the racks on the kit to form the arch in the tracks. I have also placed a piece of tape over the section to hold them together in the drying process.

Track Sag on real vehicle. This is not a Ausf. N but a Ausf. L

With the glue dried I remove the rear section of track and place it to the side.  You can see that this action has achieved the desired curl on the track.

6. With the rear section of track not glued, as shown in picture one, you can remove the run of tracks and paint and weather them seperatly. In picture two I have fitted the two track sections together (not glued), to show the fit of the completed track.In the third and finale picture below you can see that the tracks on the tank. You now have a set of tracks that fit the tank and show the correct sag and best of all you can remove them to paint and weather.

I hope you find this helpful when you decide to tackle your next set of Link to Link tracks.

Slow Progress on my Panzer III Ausf. N “Kursk 1943”

Super slow progress on my panzer III Ausf.N, one side on the tracks complete. Back section not glued so I can remove them to paint. Also tore up the return and road wheels to show wear.

Sorry for the slowness of this build, I had a few things come up and I haven’t been 100% over the last few weeks. Had a few stomach issues and that really drained me of all my energy. But, feeling better and getting started again.

Panzer III Ausf. N Information

A brief history of the Panzer II Ausf. N, from the below website https://germanwarmachine.com/weapons-technology/tracked-vehicles/panzer-iii-ausf-n

The Panzer III Ausf N was an attempt to increase the potency of the tank by arming it with the 75mm KwK L/24 gun. This weapon fired an effective high-explosive round and an excellent shaped-charge that had better penetration than the long-barreled KwK39 L/60 which it replaced. The initial order was for 450 tanks, but the troops at the front liked the Ausf N so much that Ausf M models were also equipped with the short-barreled 75mm gun. With additional Panzer IIIs being so armed, the total number of Ausf Ns was brought up to 700. The Ausf N was recognizable by its short-barreled gun and the lack of spaced armor on the mantlet. Many of the later Ausf Ns were fitted with a new cupola with thicker armour and a single hatch in place of the earlier split-hatch design. Ausf Ns were also given side skirts for greater protection from March 1943.

In the field the Ausf N was used to provide close support for the Tigers (each heavy tank company had 10 Ausf Ns to nine Tigers), as the smaller vehicle was more agile at close quarters, whereas the Tiger was rather slow and vulnerable. The Ausf N was also used in the panzer regiments of the panzer divisions. In mid-1943, during the Kursk Offensive, German panzer units were equipped with 155 Panzer III Ausf Ns.

Specifications DesignationSdKfz 141/2TypeMedium TankLength5.65m (18.53ft)Width2.95m (9.67ft)Height2.5m (8.2ft)Weight23,418kg (51,520lb)CrewFiveMain Armament75mmSecondary Armament2 x 7.92mmEngineMaybach HL120TRMRange155km (96.8 miles)Speed40km/h (25mph)Fording.8m (2.62ft)Trench Crossing2.59m (8.5ft)Armour (hull)50mm (1.96in)Armour (turret/superstructure)50mm (1.96in)

Citadel Tank Commander done 1/48

Hello, started working on a quick little Operation Citadel diorama this week. I finished the tank commander and started on the beautiful Tamiya 1/48 scale Panzer III Ausf. N. This will be a basic scene of a Panzer III heading up hill 257.7 “Panzer Hill” on July 05, 1943. Below I have added so basic information on the Citadel.

Operation Citadel Begins In the early morning hours of July 5, 1943, among the beautiful, yellow wheat fields that surrounded the Kursk Bulge, Operation Citadel was ready to launch. But before Germany could strike, the Soviets unleashed a bombardment hoping to preempt the German offensive. It delayed the Germans for about an hour and a half but didn’t have a major impact. The Germans unleashed their own artillery assault on the northern and southern parts of the salient, followed by infantry strikes on the ground supported by the Luftwaffe (Germany’s air force). Later that morning the VVS (the Soviet’s air force), attacked German airfields but were unsuccessful. Still, the Red Army’s ground defenses prevented German tanks from making much headway in the north and penetrating the heavily-armored salient. By July 10, the Soviets had halted the 9th Army’s northern advance. Battle of Prokhorovka In the south, the Germans had more success and doggedly made their way to the small settlement of Prokhorovka, some 50 miles southeast of Kursk. On July 12, the tanks and self-propelled artillery guns of Russia’s 5th Guards Tank Army clashed with the tanks and artillery guns of Germany’s II SS-Panzer Corps. The Red Army suffered huge losses but still managed to prevent the German’s from capturing Prokhorovka and breaching their third defensive belt, which effectively ended the German offensive. The Battle of Prokhorovka is often referred to as the largest tank battle in history; however, Russian military historians with access to recently-opened Soviet archives claim the title belongs to World War II’s little-known Battle of Brody, which took place in 1941. The German Offensive Ends and Russia’s Begins On July 10, Allied troops landed on the beaches of Sicily, forcing Hitler to abandon Operation Citadel and reroute his Panzer divisions to Italy to thwart additional Allied landings. The Germans attempted a small offensive in the south known as Operation Roland but were unable to breach the Red Army’s might and withdrew after a few days. In the meantime, the Soviets launched a counteroffensive, Operation Kutuzov, north of Kursk on July 12. They broke through German lines at the Orel salient and by July 24th had the Germans on the run and had pushed them back beyond Operation Citadel’s original launching point. Battle of Kursk Aftermath The Soviets won the Battle of Kursk and ended Hitler’s dream of conquering Russia. Arguably, Germany won the tactical battle but were unable to break through the Red Army’s fortifications and so lost the advantage. But the Soviets won at great cost. Despite outnumbering and outgunning the Germans, they suffered many more casualties and loss of armament. Definitive casualty data is hard to come by, but it’s estimated there were up to 800,000 Soviet casualties compared to some 200,000 German casualties; some historians believe those numbers are much lower than the actual casualties.