VZ-8 Airgeep

As a present I decided to scratch build a VZ-8 Airgeep. This model is the first historical scratch build I have done, and I found it challenging, but quite fun and rewarding.

IMG_7027The Airgeep was originally designed in 1957 for the US Army by Piasecki Aircraft (later acquired by Boeing) and designated the VZ-8 Airgeep. The Airgeep was mandated by the US military to be a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) craft, with a top speed of about 70 miles per hour (it ended up with a top speed of 85 mph), able to operate a low altitude, and be able to deliver atomic weapons.IMG_7029The second iteration of the VZ-8 was called the VZ-8P (B) Airgeep II. It was bent in the middle to tilt the rotors and reduce drag, it made its first un-tethered flight in 1962. The VZ-8P (B) model added seating for 3 passengers, and ejection seats for pilot and co-pilot. In 1963 the US Army canceled the program, deciding that helicopters would be better suited to its needs.IMG_7030The VZ-8P (B) it had a ceiling near 3,000 feet (914 meters). In addition to flying its front undercarriage was powered so it could drive along the ground.IMG_7032The VZ-8P (B) used two 400-hp Turbomeca Artouste IIC turbo-shaft engines, linked together. If one were to fail, the other one could drive both rotors. Only one engine was linked to the undercarrage however. The engines drove two 8.16 feet (2.5 meter) rotors, with 300 kilowatts of power each.IMG_7033The VZ-8P (B) was rather small at 24.4 ft (6.8 m) long, 5.8 ft (1.8 m) tall, and 9.25 ft (2.8 m) wide. Its take-off weight was 3648.65 pounds (1655 kg), if empty only 2597.05 pounds (1178 kg). When flying the VZ-8P (B) had a range of 34.2 miles (55 kilometers).IMG_7036The VZ-8P (B) had the ability to mount a recoilless rifle, although 50 caliber machine gun would have probably been mounted as an alternative had it gone into production. I decided not to model a weapon as I could not find one suitable to the size of the model.IMG_7037According to US military reports, the VZ-8 was a very stable weapons platforms able to engage targets with weapons effectively. The slight bend in the VZ-8P (B) gave it visibility above cover, even while fully concealed, something helicopters cannot do.IMG_7038Tactically the Airgeep was designed to operate close to the ground, in between buildings, gullies, and other cover. This would also keep it out of radar detection. The Airgeep’s flying would have allowed it to cross all terrain, as well as avoid mines, fixed obstacles, and potentially ambushes. It would have operated much like its name, a air-capable Jeep.IMG_7039

Until next time,

– MinisMuse

Advertisements

After Action Report: Column

Robert Ernst looked through his binoculars down the road. His unit had been cut off by the Soviets in the beginning rush of WW3, and he had been unable to contact friendly forces due to jamming. In the distance, a dust plume heralded the arrival of  Soviet vehicles advancing on his position. It appeared that now was the time to fight.

This game was a battle between an 2nd echelon Soviet unit, and an U.S. unit that had been surrounded and cut off. The Soviet goal was to destroy as many U.S. forces as possible, and advance off the board with minimal causalities. The U.S. forces were trying to repel the Soviets, but still maintain their fighting force. I was playing the U.S. forces, and would hopefully be able to ambush the Soviets, retreat while inflicting damage, and take none in return.

Soviet Forces were: T-72 x9, BMP x9 (Infantry x9), ZSU-23-4 x2.

IMG_7425

U.S. Forces consisted of: Starship x3, M113 with I-TOW x3, LAW Teams x4, M-60 Teams x2, Infantry Teams x2, Artillery Strike x1.IMG_7426

The Soviets started the game by bringing on 6 of their T-72’s. Immediately a U.S. hunter-killer team attacked out of one of the buildings next to the road, however they failed to destroy a T-72.

IMG_7406

The Russians advance with 3 of the T-72’s, while the other 3  peel off and attack with co-axil machine guns and main guns. In the hail of fire they killed the hunter-killer team and started the house on fire. The Soviets then brought on 3 BMP’s.IMG_7407

Seeing their comrades killed, 3 Starships revealed themselves and fired on the lead T-72’s, killing two of them.IMG_7408

The Soviet commander ordered the remaining T-72’s to pull off and engage the Starships in the forest. The Soviets then brought on an additional 3 BMP’s, while the 3 currently on the board head down a side road.IMG_7409

The Starships return fire on the advancing T-72’s killing 2 more of them.IMG_7410

All Soviet forces move up and attack the Starships, a Konkurs ATGM from a BMP kills one. At the same time, the Soviets bring on 3 more BMP’s.

IMG_7411

The Starships break contact and retreat, removing them from play. The threat over, the Soviets start to move toward the town again, and opt not to bring on more units this turn. U.S. forces wait patiently for the Soviets to get into range.

IMG_7413

The Soviets bring in their last BMP unit, and then the ZSU’s. U.S. M113 I-TOW’s strike, ambushing the leading T-72’s and kill off 2 of them.

IMG_7414

T-72’s and BMP’s advancing along the right side of the town find my Starships unawares, and, due to the surprise, they kill a Starship. IMG_7417

On the other side of town the Soviets return fire at the M113 I-TOWS, killing two, and forcing the other one to pull back.IMG_7416

U.S. LAW teams on the right side of town fire at the BMP’s, but both miss. However, the Starships fare better and kill a lone T-72.IMG_7418

The Soviets advance up into the town, the T-72 on the left side of town kills one more of my Starships. Another  T-72 with BMP support kills one of the LAW teams, while the other team scuttles away.

The remaining Starship returns fire, but misses its shot at the T-72 on the left side of town, the LAW team is luckier, and destroys another BMP.

The tank battle on the left side of town ends with the last Starship being destroyed, and the final LAW team wiped from the manor house. As the Soviets advance, M-60 teams in several buildings ambush the BMP’s, and a LAW team ambushes the T-72’s. However, the attack is in vain as they all fail to do damage.

IMG_7419IMG_7420

The ZSU’s kill off the LAW team, and the BMP’s machine guns wipe out a M-60 team. In a last attack, fire from infantry and the M-60 team kill off 2 squads of Soviet infantry.

Combined fire from the BMP’s, infantry, and ZSU’s, wipe out the last resistance.

IMG_7421

In a last ditch attempt to stop the Soviets, the bridge is blown, and an artillery strike called in. The strike is lucky, and kills 3 BMP’s. In the end though, it is to little, to late, and the Soviets advance off the table.IMG_7424

The game ended in a defeat for the U.S. forces, as they had been completely shattered, with only 2 Starships and an M113 I-TOW remaining. The Soviets did take heavy losses, but were still able to call it a win at the end of the day.

Reasons for U.S. defeat: My ambushes didn’t work, at the start it seemed to be going well. However, the Starships I had planned to use for an ambush in the town, were pinned down and destroyed, leaving me with little left. Again I failed to build a concentrated group of firepower, in attacks I would fire and then be hit back harder than I had hit. At the end of the day, I had poor rolls, poor luck, poor tactics, and poor decisions.

Reasons for Soviet victory: The use of mass units operating in two teams, allowed the overwhelming of resistance when it was presented. The unorthodox flanking of the town proved to be lucky, as it prevented a counterattack by the Starships that were lying in wait. They also had a superbly executed pincer movement that identified, pinned down and destroyed resistance, while eliminating the threat of counter attacks.

Robert Ernst looked down at the town where the rest of his unit was, or had been. The town was smoldering, and you could no longer hear the sound of gunfire. The Soviets had crushed all resistance. Robert turned back to his tank, now low on fuel and ammunition. He was still cut off. At least he was alive, and could continue the fight.

Until next time,

– MinisMuse

 

 

M163 VADS and M48 Chaparral

I finished painting some anti-air for the U.S. over the weekend.  Two M163 VADS and one M48 Chaparral are painted and ready to use. The Chaparral and the VADS were designed to complement one another, with the Chaparral taking out long range targets and the VADS dealing with short range ones. This was my first time painting U.S. 1980’s camouflage and I like how it turned out. I realized afterwords that the gun barrels were supposed to be black on the VADS, but I like them the way they are. Soon these will be shooting down those pesky SU-27’s and Mi-24’s!

Until next time,

– MinisMuse

1/350th LCAC

I got a MRC LCAC and it sat on a workbench half finished for quite awhile. This model was a frustrating build because the turbines and rudders were very finicky, but turned out great and full of detail. The painting was fun to do, it comes with some great decals, and you get sprues for two LCAC’s in the box! I plan to also paint up some LVTP’s so I can have a US Marine’s force. The LCAC can hold 4 Tanks or 8 APC’s. I think it will be fun to do some beach assault games with this, the Marines try to seize a key dock from the Soviets. It is a great model that I enjoyed throughly, I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Until next time,

– MinisMuse