First Batch of Repairs

The damaged aircraft

The damaged aircraft

As I finally had a painting area set up I thought I would start repairing the Balikbayan Box damage – the damage after the move from Singapore to Manila. The 1/1250 scale aircraft were the first cab off the rank.

The damaged aircraft were an Indian Naval Air Force Il-38 May and a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy Aircraft Tu-26 Badger. The Il-38 had developed a really weird dihederal during transport.

So, dihederal corrected and a touch of super glue Gel and the aircraft are as good as new.

What is a little more interesting at the moment are the coins.

The aircraft, repaired and in the air again
The aircraft, repaired and in the air again

There is a collection of 10 and 25 piso coins on the table as well. These are reasonably new here from what I can determine and whilst the 25 piso one looks brass and the 10 piso coin looks copper, both are magnetic.

I noticed the same thing in Singapore with the new coins there, Regardless of the silver appearance, they were also magnetic. I’m starting to wonder now either what the metal is they are made of or what is added to the coin to give it the magnetic features.

The reason I have the coins is that I am thinking of attaching them to the underside of the aircraft bases to give them a little more stability. Anyway, first repairs complete! 🙂

The coins are adhering to the magnet under the base
The coins are adhering to the magnet under the base

India launches Vikrant – home-made carrier

The International Business Times reported yesterday that India Launches First Homemade Aircraft Carrier, Raising Alarms In China ((The Indian press is referred to her as the INS Vikrant but as she has not been commissioned just ‘Vikrant’ is more appropriate)). The Vikrant will be around 37,500-40,000 tonnes and carry 30 aircraft including MiG-29K, Light Combat Aircraft and Kamov Ka-31 helicopters. The Light Combat Aircraft are Indian designed and built.

Given the time to finish construction and then go through the maker’s and working up trials before commissioning I would guess that by 2020 India will be capable of having two carrier battle-groups in the Indian Ocean and possibly the Pacific.

The International Business Times noted:

The Vikrant’s high-grade steel was manufactured by the Steel Authority of India, while all the design and manufacturing was accomplished domestically. But the Vikrant warship, which is 260 meters (853 feet) long and 60 meters (197 feet) wide, is at least three years behind schedule and set to undergo extensive trials in the year 2016. By the end of 2018, Vikrant is expected to be commissioned and join the Indian navy.

Currently the Indian Navy operates a single aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat which is the ex-British Navy’s HMS Hermes and the oldest operating carrier in the world. She is likely to be decommissioned in 2019. The Indians also purchased the Admiral Gorshkov from Russia a few years back and after much haggling and argument, a final price for improvements was agreed. The Admiral Gorshkov will be renamed Vikramaditya when commissioned into the Indian Navy. The Vikramaditya is expected to be delivered later this year.

PLAN Complete

The PLAN fleet complete
The PLAN fleet complete

Well, except for a few aircraft!

There, to the left, gentle reader, is the PLAN set ready to take on the Indian fleet. I am tempted now to consider some Japanese, maybe a European fleet of some sort or perhaps a ragtag South-East Asian fleet defending their combined oil interests from the Chinese.

I am a little annoyed however as this time I had some problems with the varnishing. I am using the same Acrylic varnish that I have used for the last two years without any problem however this time it seems to have crazed some of the paintwork – in particular, the flight deck of the Liaoning.

Click on the image to see the crazing on the flight deck
Click on the image to see the crazing on the flight deck

I am not sure whether the varnish is the issue or whether it is because I did not use Games Workshop’s Citadel painting on this one – but rather Army Painter colours. I will need to go back and have a chat perhaps to the nice folks at Paradigm Infinitum here in Midpoint, Singapore to see whether anyone else has reported a similar problem.

I will do some testing of various paints on a flat surface in the next few days, when I get a chance, and report back.

Don’t you just hate it when this happens?

In the meantime, the two fleets are now safely accommodated in their semi-permanent home – a Scottish shortbread tin.

The Indian Navy on the left and the Chinese Navy on the right ... ready for red force/blue force naval exercises!
The Indian Navy on the left and the Chinese Navy on the right … ready for red force/blue force naval exercises!

And yes, that is a spare Russian carrier at the bottom – maybe I should build a fleet around it!

Strategy and Tactics – War in the Pacific

S_TAlso arriving last Friday in Singapore and adding to my reading list pile was issue #282 of Strategy and Tactics magazine. The issue with this issue for me is the main article concerns the War of the Pacific (Guerra del Pacífico).

War of the Pacific was a war fought between Chile on the one side and Bolivia and Peru on the other over a piece of desert rich with one of the key ingredients to gunpowder. Bolivia lost its access to the sea as a result of this war.

I have some ships in 1/2400th on my painting queue for this war as well as some 10mm figures from Pendraken Miniatures. I also discussed a brief history of this conflict in The War of the Pacific – 1879 to 1883 – Naval Matters and War of the Pacific – 1879 to 1883.

Why is this an issue? It is tempting to put everything aside tonight and start painting these little beasties – sigh, another bright shiny object.

Other Articles in the latest issue of Strategy and Tactics includes:

Churchill (Winston) vs. the Zeppelins – the story of the WW1 German zeppelin blitz against England in 1915

Charlemagne’s Empire – a military analysis of the founding of the Holy Roman Empire in AD 800

The Indo-Pakistan Wars – a detailed analysis of the wars India has fought and won against Pakistan since 1948 (which kind of fits in with the naval vessels I’ve been painting recently)

Another good issue and recommended.

Vikramaditya begins sea trials at the White Sea

2013-05-18 22.29.23It is almost time to paint another carrier I think. It seems that the Indian Navy’s Vikramaditya begins sea trials at the White Sea and so will be India’s next carrier. This was originally the Russian Admiral Gorshkov. There were four vessels in that group – the Minsk, Kiev, Baku and Novorossiysk with the Baku becoming the Admiral Gorshkov.

My painted model of what was the Admiral Gorshkov is to the right. The Minsk was sold to China to become a museum ship and I visited her in Shenzhen in about 2002 or 2003. I have some photos around somewhere ((note to self … sort the bazillion digit photos laying around on disk drives at home)). Interestingly the Kiev was also sold to a Chinese company and is part of a theme park in Tianjin. I’m sure the Chinese learned a lot from the carriers they purchased over the years. HMAS Melbourne was also sold to Chinese interests at the end of her service life.

800px-VikraThe Vikramaditya has been extensively modernised and changed from the original Admiral Gorshkov with the removal of the cruise missile silos and such that used to be carried forward on these vessels. There would also have been an increase in hanger space as a result permitting a greater complement of aircraft.

The carrier itself is a little smaller than the Chinese Liaoning, displacing 45,400 tons (compared to the 66,000 tons with full load). Length is 283 metres (overall) compared to the 304.5 metres of the Liaoning. Beam is 51m (75m) and draught is 10.2m (10.5m). So the Chinese carrier will still look bigger than the Indian carrier side-by-side.

Both vessels will achieve 32 knots at speed with endurance of 4,000 nautical miles (3,850 in the case of the Liaoning).

The Chinese are expecting to have 30 J-15s as their main air strike capacity whilst the Indians are looking at 16 MiG-29K. The Chinese vessel will likely have 24 helicopters compared to the 10 on the Indian vessel with the Indians opting for Ka-28 helicopters ASW, Ka-31 helicopters AEW and maybe some Indian produced HAL Dhruv.

I think India will need another carrier!

Just stop painting! Rajput-class finished

The Rajput-class of the Indian Navy with some of the Navwar aircraft
The Rajput-class of the Indian Navy with some of the Navwar aircraft

I have to learn when to stop – even now I can see some extra things that need to be done – like lightening the deck colour a wee bit, it’s about 2 shades too dark. After spending just over an hour tonight on the three ships I decided that I just need to learn when to stop painting – so I stopped painting.

Still, I am quite happy with the results. The Rajputs are Navwar and in 1/3000th scale.

The vessels are about 40mm long.

The Rajput class guided-missile destroyers built for the Indian Navy are modified versions of Soviet Kashin class destroyers. The ships were built in the former Soviet Union after considerable Indian design modifications to the Kashin design. These included the replacement of the helicopter pad in the original design with a flight elevator, as well as major changes to the electronics and combat systems. Five units were built for export to India in the 1980s. All units are currently attached to the Eastern Naval Command.

Rajput class destroyers were the first ships in the Indian Navy to deploy the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile systems.

The Rajput class have an anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare role for carrier task force defence against submarines, low-flying aircraft, and cruise missiles.

Also pictured are some of the Navwar aircraft. In this case there are 6 Harriers, three Ka25s masquerading as Ka27s – the helicopter carried on the rear flight deck of the Rajputs. Also shown are two Il38s, maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft.

I am planning on replacing the aircraft with some 1/1200 scale models later from the Cap Aero range or from Alnavco. In the meantime, these will serve.

Indian and PLAN subs – finished

The Indian navy and the PLAN submarines finished. 8 kilo-class, 3 Han class and 3 Ming class
The Indian navy and the PLAN submarines finished. 8 kilo-class, 3 Han class and 3 Ming class

Well finished except for the varnishing.

Eight Indian Navy kilo class submarines on the left ready to take on the PLAN.

The PLAN are not defenceless and facing off against the Indians are three Han-class nuclear submarines to the rear at the right and three Ming-class submarines at the front. The Ming-class are Chinese built based on the Romeo-class diesel-electric submarines built by the Soviet Union in the 1950s. The Romeo-class can be traced to the World War II German Type XXI Elektroboot U-boat. At the end of World War II, the Soviets obtained several Type XXIs, from which they were able to obtain key technologies.

These technologies also assisted in the design of the Zulu- and Whiskey-class. Further improvements on the design led to the Romeo class.

These submarines really are obsolete, but still have some value as training and surveillance vessels.

Several navies operate or have operated Romeo class submarines:

  • Russia and the Soviet Union had 20 Romeo class vessels in service
  • China has operated an estimated 84 but 31 are still in use for training.
  • North Korea operates 22 Romeo class submarines
  • Bulgaria operates one Romeo class submarine
  • Syria has decommissioned the three Romeo class submarines
  • Egypt operates four of an original eight Romeo class submarines
  • Algeria has decommissioned its two Soviet Romeo class submarines

The Han-class is a 4,500/5,500-ton vessels and the first nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) class deployed by the People’s Liberation Army Navy. The first submarine in the class was commissioned in 1974 and the fifth and final boat of the class was commissioned in 1990.

The Han-Class is the among the first generation of nuclear-powered submarines in the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

The Han-Class is well known for having a noisy reactor and poor radiation shielding. The submarine is also inhibited by an inability to launch missiles while submerged.

A Han shadowed a U.S. carrier battle group in the mid-1990s. In November 2004, a Han made an incursion into Japanese territorial waters and prompted Japan’s maritime forces to go on alert for only the second time since the end of World War II. The incursion was through the Ishigaki, Okinawa island group, a lightly populated group of islands very near Taiwan. China later apologized for the incursion saying for “technical reasons,” it ventured into Japanese waters.

The Kilo-class is a naval diesel-electric submarine that is made in Russia. The original version of the vessels were designated Project 877 Paltus (Halibut) in Russia.

The boats are mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters.

The Kilo-class are used by:

  • Algeria : 2 Original Kilo, 2 Improved Kilo
  • People’s Republic of China : 2 Original Kilo, 10 Improved Kilo
  • India : Designated as the Sindhughosh class; 10 active
  • Poland : 1 Kilo ORP Orzeł
  • Iran : 3 Kilo
  • Romania : 1 Kilo
  • Russia : 17 Kilo in active service, 6 Improved Kilo ordered
  • Vietnam : 6 Improved Kilo

All models are from Navwar.

Mixed Progress – from the work bench

Ming class Chinese submarines to the right and Kilo class Indian to the left
Ming class Chinese submarines to the right and Kilo class Indian to the left

I managed to get some painting time over the weekend and knocked out another three Kilo-class submarines for the Indians and the 3 Han-class submarines for the Chinese.

The sea bases were the most time consuming part of the painting progress, after all, how long can it take to paint a 2 cm long model dark grey then wash again in black?

I’m not sure I actually like to appearance of the sea bases at the moment but it’s the best I’ve been able to come up with on a flat surface. Whilst I also like what others have done by way of sea bases – see Of Mice and Tiny Men and a Lead Odyssey for some nice textured sea bases texturing has not been working for me so far. I won’t mention my recent failure again but suffice it to say that some point I will need to sit down and try and do a proper job.

In the meantime, I guess the two-dimensional hand painted ocean will have to do – at least until I find some Hammered Metal (Coral colour) here in Singapore. The Han-class at the rear for example will need a bit of a touch up, the wake is too white. A bit more of a repaint tonight I expect.

At least one of the targets on the Kilo-class also needs a touch-up. Oh well – sometimes it works and sometimes it don’t!

Some harriers, Il-38s and Ka-25s
Some harriers, Il-38s and Ka-25s

Also under-way at the moment are some aircraft – Harriers, Il-38s and Ka-25s (filling in for Ka-27s) of the Indian navy.

I am not sure with the aircraft whether I will just leave them on their metal bases as they come or mount them on 1 cm x 1 cm (or 2 x 2) plastic squares to bring them up to ship height. Some prototyping of that tonight as well I guess.

And yes, apart from finishing the Kilo-class submarines for the Indians and the Ming-class for the Chinese tonight I will also start on some of the surface vessels – INS Vikrant and the three Rajputs are the rest of tonight’s painting target.

Mind you, just looking at the dark blue base (well, Citadel’s Regal Blue which I suppose is close to the old Ultramarine Blue) there is a lot to be said for the plain blue base with just a white wake.