Category Archives: Kit Bashing

Italeri 1:720 Deutschland, Lutzow, Scheer & Graf Spee

Italeri recently re-issued its old but nice looking Deutschland class heavy cruisers (they are not battleships) in 1:720 scale.

These kits represent the class before the 1939-40 rebuilds (refit).  They were first issued in the late 1970s, and have excellent detail for the scale (which made some of the larger scale ship kits look even worse than they were; 1:600 Airfix, Aurora, 1:570 Revell, etc).  In the 1980s Testors issued them in the United States.  Italeri issued them again in the 1990s.

Deutschland: Parts distinct to the first ship and prior to the 1939 update and name change.  Deutschland originally had ‘exposed’ torpedo tubes, but the Italeri kit comes with the armored tubes.

Scheer: Parts distinct to the second ship of the line, prior to its 1939-40 rebuild.

Graff Spee: Parts distinct to its final year of life, 1939, with one exception; the kit does not come with the ‘mattress/bed spring’ radar that should be mounted on the front of the tower range finder.  Note that prior to 1939 Graf Spee was fitted out similar to Scheer, so if you want to model an earlier Graf Spee just buy the Scheer kit.

Lützow: Parts distinct to the 1939 update to Deutschland (when its name was changed to Lützow), but prior to its 1940 rebuild.

Click the pic to make bigger:

For decades these ships were called battleships by the victors of World War Two, which is ridiculous since battleships ranged in the 30-thousand to 50-thousand tonnes standard displacement range.  It’s the result of official British empire government backed news media propaganda (today called Fake News) coming up with the Fake News term Pocket Battleship. It was an attempt by the British government to rile up their subjects to support war with Nazi Germany.  Nazi and Blitzkrieg were also Fake News terms made up by the British main stream news media, they were not German terms, although the Germans liked the term Blitzkrieg and used it themselves.  What should be noted is that the Deutschland class of ships were not constructed by the ‘Nazis’, but by the western imposed Weimar government in the early 1930s, before the NSDAP (National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei) was democratically elected to power. While these ships violated the Washington Treaty limiting warship sizes, the violation was initiated by the Weimar government, not the NSDAP.

Under the treaty cruisers were limited to 10-thousand tonnes (metric tons) standard displacement.  According to some sources we will never know the true displacement because Weimar bureaucrats altered the official data. Today it’s generally accepted that Deutschland was just over the 10-thousand tonnes limit, Scheer was closer to 13-thousand and Graf Spee closer to 14-thousand tonnes.

The differences in weight between the ‘sister’ ships is due to subtle alterations in the hulls of Scheer and Graf Spee to accommodate extra armor protection.  Official suspect data give the same length and width for all ships, but hull height for Scheer and Graf Spee is 0.2 meter shorter that Deutschland.  I would assume that with the extra armor the hull side thickness was greater than Deutschland’s.

Knowing that official data for the ships are suspect it’s no use getting knit-picky about accuracy.  The best thing is to use photographs of the ship you want to depict at the time period your interested in.

Graf Spee was the first to go, sunk by its own crew in South America in 1939, after being damaged by three Royal Navy cruisers.  During its South Atlantic adventure Graf Spee underwent attempts at deception, making itself look like a full fledged battleship with extra gun turret and exhaust funnel, and even painting the name Deutschland on the side of the hull.

Lützow and Scheer lived longer than anybody expected. Not only did the British want them sunk, but, at the protests of the Deutsche KriegsMarine (DKM), Adolph Hitler ordered them scrapped in 1943.

Scheer ended up being used as a training ship and artillery platform against Soviet ground forces.  Scheer was sunk in April 1945 by Royal Air Force bombers, a month before Germany surrendered.

Lützow was disabled and used as an artillery platform against the Soviets, supposedly destroyed by its crew as the Soviets overran the port. Western news sources reported that the Soviets had raised Lützow, for the purpose of scrapping it.  In 2000 it was discovered the Soviets used Lützow for target practice, sinking it in 1947.

The only disappointing thing I find about these Italeri kits is that no decals come with them.  It would be nice to have each ship’s bow shield/crest and the Coronel nameplate on the front of Graf Spee’s tower.

Vehicle I-D: Mississippi Militia shows-off mine detection vehicles

Mississippi Buffalo in California?

While on rotation at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, Mississippi National Guard’s 287th Engineer Company conducted anti-mine vehicle training on 04 JUN 2017:

Husky Mark-3 electromagnetic detection vehicle followed by Buffaloes with anti-mine rollers.



Vehicle ID: KC-10 tiger striped F/A-18D & A-10C

USMC’s VMFA-224 Bengals now providing air-to-ground support, along with USAF’s 355th FW A-10Cs, as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Video of 908th EARS KC-10 refueling Bengal F/A-18D Hornet and 355th FW A-10C Thunderbolt-2 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, kit-bashers note the tiger stripe camo on the F/A-18D:

908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-10 Extender on 31 MAY 2017.




2012 POCATELLO AIRPORT: IDAHO NATIONAL GUARD A-10C THUNDERBOLT-2 (before Obama took them all away)

Vehicle ID: DAGOR, U.S. Army’s new diesel powered ATV

26 April 2017 / 20:27 UTC-07 Tango 06 (07 Ordibehest 1396/30 Rajab 1438/02 Jia Chen [4th month] 4715)

DAGOR by Polaris

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division test out the DAGOR and MRZR-D diesel powered all terrain vehicles during live-fire exercise at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 23 APR 2017:

MRZR also by Polaris

1/1 scale F-4 Phantom-2 model

24 April 2017 (15:42 UTC-07 Tango 06) 03 Ordibehest 1396/26 Rajab 1438/28 Jia Chen 4715

The USAF 36th Maintenance Squadron and Civil Engineering Squadron worked together to refurbish an old F-4E Phantom static display on the U.S. Island territory of Guam.

Veterans of Foreign Wars members, and Vietnam conflict vet, pose in front of the 1/1 scale F-4E Phantom II display at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

During the Vietnam occupation many U.S. Air Force operations were launched from Guam.  The USAF version of the F-4 Phantom II was first deployed in support of the Vietnam occupation in December 1964.  For some odd reason the squadrons who rebuilt the static display painted the aircraft to represent a USAF bird based in West Germany from 1973-75.



What does it take to maintain a flying military firetruck?

23 April 2017 / 23:49 UTC-07 Tango 06  (03 Ordibehest 1396/26 Rajab 1438/28 Jia Chen 4715)

Susan Kett of U.S. Forest Service, David Lafon of North Carolina Forest Service and Robert Wheatley from CAL FIRE, on the flightline at Gowen Field, Idaho.

Technical Sergeant Miguel Corona, 146th Maintenance Squadron California National Guard, inspects the flight deck of a C-130J at Gowen Field, Idaho.

Tech. Sgt. Kye Dudley, 146th Maintenance Squadron California National Guard, inspects main wheel wells of a C-130J at Gowen Field, Idaho.

Senior Airman Santos Casaus operates ground generator that will provide electrical power to a sleeping C-130J, Gowen Field, Idaho.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Perez inspects the prop of a C-130J at Gowen Field, Idaho. If oil is leaking from the prop hub the whole propeller assembly must be replaced.

Even transports use HUDs (Heads Up Display). Airman 1st Class Alexis Carranza inspects the HUD inside a C-130J at Gowen Field, Idaho, 20 APR 2017.

Tech. Sgt. Miguel Corona inspects an oxygen mask inside of a C-130J.

Fire in the Hole! USAF Staff Sgt. Kelsey Herzfeld, assigned to the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, preps to connect the MAFFS nozzle to one of two Wyoming Air National Guard MAFFS C-130H. The work was done before leaving for Idaho. The Wyoming Air Militia has been flying MAFFS missions since 1975.

Nevada “High Rollers” C-130H follows a USFS spotter plane over western Idaho, 21 APR 2017.

A MAFFS unit being installed in a C-130H. Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System can dump 3-thousand gallons of water in five seconds!


MAFFS bombs Idaho!

23 April 2017 / 18:41 UTC-07 Tango 06  (03 Ordibehest 1396/26 Rajab 1438/28 Jia Chen 4715)

Staff Sgt. Benny Romero, 146th Airlift Wing, California Air Militia, inspects the C-130J’s main landing gear on Gowen Field, Idaho, 20 APR 2017.

MAFFS 9 (C-130H) of 152nd Airlift Wing, Nevada Air Militia, east of Boise, Idaho, 21 APR 2017.

Video of MAFFS practice water drops in western Idaho, 22 APR 2017:

MAFFS 2 and MAFFS 5, from Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing, Colorado, on Gowen Field, Idaho, for USFS training.

MAFFS 3 (C-130H) of 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air Militia, somewhere east of Boise, Idaho, 21 APR 2017.

MAFFS 8 (C-130H) of 152nd Airlift Wing “High Rollers”, east of Boise, Idaho, 21 APR 2017.




Idaho conducts massive MAFFS training, in preps for hot wildfire season!

20 April 2017 / 18:27 UTC-07 Tango 06  (01 Ordibehest 1396/24 Rajab 1438/25 Jia Chen 4715)

“We look forward to this joint training with our military and civilian partners. Training together with all four MAFFS wings alongside U.S. Forest Service and other wildland firefighting agencies here in Boise provides a significant opportunity as we prepare for another challenging wildfire season.”-Colonel Bryan Allen, Air Expedition Group

California National Guard C-130J flies by a Nevada National Guard C-130H during Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System training at Gowen Field, Idaho

MAFFS=Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System

More than 4-hundred state National Guard and federal Reserve personnel from California, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming arrived in Gowen Field, Idaho, for a week of U.S. Forest Service training: “MAFFS have played a critical role in wildfire suppression for more than 40 years by providing surge capacity when commercial airtankers are fully committed or not readily available as they frequently are during periods of high wildfire activity.”-Kim Christensen, USFS

C-130 aircraft from three National Guard units and a U.S. Air Force Reserve unit arrive at Gowen Field, Idaho, 20 APR 2017

“Dude!”, 2013 Wyoming militia MAFFS drop:

2013 Wyoming MAFFS load up:

2013 California militia MAFFS drop:


French AlphaJets invade United States!

20 April 2017 (03:55 UTC-07 Tango 06) 31 Farvardin 1396/23 Rajab 1438/24 Jia Chen 4715

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the United States saving their sorry asses during the First World War, the Patrouille Acrobatique de France (aka Patrouille de France, PAF) is performing at various USAF bases during the month of April.

PAF at Maxwell AFB, 08-09 APR 2017:


PAF at USAF Academy, Colorado, 19 APR 2017:

PAF at USAF Academy, Colorado, 19 APR 2017:

Ice Planet Hoth invades Russia with giant ATVs?

17 April 2017 (01:44 UTC-07 Tango 06) 28 Farvardin 1396/20 Rajab 1438/21 Jia Chen 4715

“It is a global project, which we planned for several years, and which demonstrates abilities of people and of vehicles.”-Anna Golubeva, To The East coordinator

On Friday four odd looking giant All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) left  Arkhangelsk, Russia, on a 10-thousand km (6-thousand-214 miles) trip across the Arctic.

The vehicles are the radical Sherp ATVs and will travel where no other ground vehicle has gone in the Arctic “…the only thing you can see is the shadow from the ISS [International Space Station].”

To The East is sponsored by Russian Geographic Society and the city of Saint Petersburg.  You can buy a Sherp for about $65-thousand USD.

“A crew can live in the vehicle. It is small, highly maneuverable; two people are comfortably in the front part while driving, and they can take a night rest, there is a comfortable soft bed there.”-Alexei Garagashyan, designer/expedition leader

“The vehicle does not have any axles, everything is inside, so in case of necessary maintenance everything is done inside the vehicle. They will not have to crawl under the bottom or freeze outside. Oiling chains – no problem here, just push the button and the oil gets there. The vehicle is made for use in complicated conditions.”-Anna Golubeva, To The East coordinator

Why are they taking this dangerous never before done trip? “…most importantly, it is a unique opportunity to see this country, to meet new people.”-Alexei Garagashyan, designer/expedition leader