Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Royal Chalupastan Airforce Part 3: Fixed Wing Light Attack Aircraft

Most aircraft in the South's arsenal have multiple roles. As a developing country, their military is always looking for the most back for the cheapest buck. During the 1st Chalupastan War, the South still used aircraft of WWII vintage. During the early stages of the war, F4U Corsairs bravely attacked enemy ground units. Today, still relies on outdated and inexpensive weaponry to perform combat missions against ground targets. For the past 10 years, the South has been engaged in various rebel groups in the Central Highlands Provence, There has been for COIN operations aircraft to support troops as they engage the enemy and to disrupt supply lines coming from Northern Chalupistan (which they deny) and from the Federal Republic of Gambusia. The military is too afraid of using their expensive jet fighters, particularly the AMX ground attack jet. Instead they turn to older or relatively cheaper aircraft.

Cavalier Mustang II
Scoia Collectair CAUM 10
After the war the South needed to replace the WWII aircraft. A number of Cavalier Mustang IIs were purchased. They have been highly successful, but by 2000, there was need for a replacement.

FMA IA 58 Pucará

Heroics & Ros ARMA 21
  The Pucara was a replacment for the Mustang. Argentina has been long time ally of Southern Chalupastan and the South got a favorable deal on them. Although they afforded the crew better protection than the Mustang and were ideal for short runways, the "Pukkies" as they are known proved to be a disappointment. Their 20mm cannon did not make up for the fewer hardpoints relative to the Mustangs. Once again, another search began to replace the Pucara.

 EMB 314 Super Tucano

Heroics & Ros UKMA 102

 In 2010, 20 Super Tucanos were delivered to the Southern Airforce. They proved to a big success having superior avionics and weapons capabilities. They are the now the main frontline light attack aircraft. 

A-37 Dragonfly

Shapeways: Prairie Hawk Gamer
At the height of the 1st Chalupastan War, the US rushed a number of weapons to the South to stem the Northern tide. Much of the equipment was left over from the Vietnam War. This included the Cessna A-37 Dragonfly.  Despite its age, the Dragonfly is still in active service. It can carry heavy weapon loads and pilots really enjoy flying them. Along with the Super Tucanoes, they have been used extensively in current COIN operations in the Central Highlands. 

Textron AirLand Scorpion

Shapeways: Prairie Hawk Gamer
On the eve of the current situation with the North, Southern Chalupastan took possession of 14 of these multi-role, light tactical fighters for evaluation and hopefully act as a replacement for the Dragonfly and to supplement the AMX.

Modelling Notes
For some strange reason, COIN aircraft fascinate me. Also, it makes sense that the nations on the mini-continent of Gambusia should have these type of aircraft; more so than some of the jet fighters that I've allowed them to have!

The payloads are from a variety of sources, GHQ, C-in-C, and seemingly out-of-business Skyraider Miniatures (this also includes the props for the Pucara). The air-to-surface rocket pods and payload racks are scratch built using tooth picks and sheet styrene. Many Prairie Hawk Gamer models come with the payloads already on them. Many years ago, Skyraider was the only company I knew of that made the Dragonfly. I do have them somewhere in a box but never bothered to paint them. Skyraider's aircraft lack any kind of of detail.

I am pretty happy with Prairie Hawk Gamer's models. I like his models and he is willing to produce more obscure aircraft. To me, why make another MIG-21 when just about every company that makes airplanes makes a MIG-21, and the detail is generally better? Also, his prices are a lot more reasonable than other 3D designers.   I don't want to complain too much about the prices of these 3D printed models because I have no idea how Shapeways charges to get products to be made, but to me, the prices that some companies charge are outrageous.

The Super Tucano is really a model of the British Short Tucano, but until someone makes a dedicated Super Tucano, this will do. Modern gun pods don't look like the ones I put on the upper Tucano, but it looks at more bad ass with the longer barrels.

Finally, you might notice that all the planes now have roundels on their wings. These are simply made of thin paper that was punched out. I glued them on and then painted them. I used a super fine Sharpy pen to make the eagle in the middle (no, its not a swastika!). I could have used Adobe Illustrator to design them and then printed them on decal paper. I've tried that with making heraldry designs for my 15mm knights. It was just not worth the decal paper, or the time, or the aggravation. Doing them on a inkjet printer gave so-so results. Plus, it turns out that 10 years later, even though I sprayed them with a clear coating, the designs have faded.  So, these don't look all that great, but I am happy with them. Eventually, I plan to make some smaller ones to put on the sides of the aircraft.

Friday, November 14, 2014

M 113 Upgrades

 On the eve of the Second Chalupistan War, Southern Chalupastan wanted to upgrade the firepower of their M 113 APCs so that they were more like an infantry fighting vehicle. They added 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon turret; the same as is found on the Marder 1 IVF. Time ran out long before many could be converted, but enough were to be distributed to at least one platoon per company of the 2nd Royal Guard Dragoons and the 2nd Armored Infantry battalion.

Additionally, some M 113s had a remote weapon station installed with a 7.62mm MG.

The M 113s and the Marder 20mm turrets were from C in C. C-in-C's M 113 model is nice as it has a gunner manning the 50 cal MG. I can always use them for something else. I am not sure what to do with the Marder bodies. They also come with a rear mounted, remote controlled MG. Unlike GHQ, which pretty much gives you five of everything, C in C varies the number of vehicles per pack. There was one more M 113 than there were Marders. I had a spare remote weapons station from a pack of Heroics & Ros Australian Bushmasters, so I stuck that on the remaining M 113.