All posts by Gunther Arnold

Focke-Wulf Fw 031 0239/01 (3 x 1000 Bomber Project A), (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: Fast medium bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,300 kp each

PERFORMANCE: 621 mph at 13,000 ft

COMMENT:  In 1944, Focke-Wulf created three designs of a bomber using two Heinkel-Hirth He S 011 turbojets. These bombers were known under the name of the 1000x1000x1000 Bomber-Projekt and were under the direction of Dipl.-Ing. H. von Halem and D. Küchemann. The designation meant that the aircraft could carry a 1000 kg (2205 lbs) bomb load 1000 km (621 miles) and fly at 1000 km/h (621 mph).
The first design under Focke-Wulf’s design number 031 0239/01 (Projekt A) was for a fairly conventional layout. The fuselage was long and tapered aft of the wing leading edge. Fuel was carried in several tanks located within the fuselage. The wings were thin and swept back at 35 degrees . Two Heinkel-Hirth He S 011 turbojet engines each developing 1300 kg of thrust were slung beneath the wings. Although the engines would cause more drag in this location, maintenance accessibility would be improved and a shorter design time would be achieved. The tail planes were also swept back; this along with the wing sweep and the fuselage thinning aft of the wing leading edge would help achieve the Mach number of .90.  The main gear are mounted just inboard of the jet nacelles and retracted in and forward; the nose gear was beneath the cockpit and retracted to the rear.  A single pilot sat in a cockpit located in the nose and afforded fairly good visibility. No armament was planned at this stage, and the bomb load of 1000 kg was carried in an internal bomb bay.
The second design under the Focke-Wulf  internal designation Fw P.031 0239/10 “3×1000 Bomber, Projekt B” was of a flying wing layout.
The third design  (Projekt C) again was of conventional layout similar to the first design (Projekt A
Since these designs would have taken several years to complete, the end of the war ended all development (Ref.: Herwig, Dieter and Heinz Rode: Luftwaffe Secret Projects, Ground Attack & Special Purpose Aircraft. Midland Publishing, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, England),

Hawker Hurrican Mk IIC, (Matchbox)

TYPE: Fighter, fighter-bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce Merlin XX liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,185 hp

PERFORMANCE: 340 mph at 21,000 ft

COMMENT: The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s–40s that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was overshadowed in the public consciousness by the Supermarine Spitfire’s role during the Battle of Britain in 1940, but the Hurricane inflicted 60 percent of the losses sustained by the German Luftwaffe in the engagement, and fought in all the major theatres of the Second World War. The Hurricane was developed through several versions, into bomber-interceptors, fighter-bombers, and ground support aircraft as well as fighters. Versions designed for the Royal Navy known as the Sea Hurricane had modifications enabling operation from ships. Some were converted as catapult-launched convoy escorts. By the end of production in July 1944, most oft he 14,487 Hurricanes had been completed in Britain and Canada.
In June 1936, the Hurricane was formally ordered into production, the Air Ministry having placed its first order that month for 600 aircraft. On 26 June 1936, the type name “Hurricane”, which had been proposed by Hawker, was approved by the Air Ministry
A key reason for the aircraft’s appeal was its relatively simple construction and ease of manufacture. In comparison to the Supermarine Spitfire, it was significantly cheaper and involved less labour, requiring 10,300 man hours to produce versus 15,200 for the Spitfire. As a large-scale war was looking increasingly likely, and time was of the essence in providing the RAF with an effective fighter aircraft, it was unclear if the more advanced Spitfire would enter production smoothly, while the Hurricane made use of well-understood manufacturing techniques.
On 12 October 1937, the maiden flight took place of the first production Hurricane I, which was powered by a Merlin II engine. Production deliveries had been delayed by roughly six months due to a decision to equip the Hurricane only with the improved Merlin II engine, while the earlier Merlin I had been prioritised for the Fairey Battle and the Hawker Henley. By the following December, the first four aircraft to enter service with the.RAF. By February 1938, No. 111 Squadron had received 16 Hurricanes. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, over 550 Hurricanes had been produced, which had equipped a total of 18 squadrons, while a further 3,500 aircraft were on order.
The Hawker Hurricane was a low-wing cantilever monoplane outfitted with retractable undercarriage and an enclosed cockpit for the pilot. A clean, single-seat fighter, it was developed to provide a competent combatant for aerial combat against the latest fighter designs that were emerging amongst the air services of other powers of the era. The Hurricane was typically equipped for flying under both day and night conditions, being provided with navigation lights, landing lights, complete blind-flying equipment, and two-way radios.
The design of the Hurricane’s construction was already considered to be somewhat outdated when introduced to service and resembled those used on the earlier biplanes. Hawker had decided to employ its traditional construction techniques instead of radical measures such as the adoption of a stressed-skin metal exterior.  An all-metal, stressed-skin wing of duraluminium was introduced in April 1939 and was used for all of the later marks. “The metal skinned wings allowed a diving speed that was 80 mph higher than the fabric-covered ones. The great advantage of the metal-covered wings over the fabric ones was that the metal ones could carry far greater stress loads without needing so much structure beneath
First production version was the Hurricane Mk I, with fabric-covered wings, a wooden two-bladed, fixed-pitch propeller or three bladed variable pitch propeller.
The Hurricane Mk I (revised) had constant speed metal, metal-covered wings, armour and other improvements. A total of 4,200 Mk I were built by Hawker, Gloster Aircraft Company and Canadian Car and Foundry.
Next, the Hurricane Mk IIB (Hurricane IIA Series 2) were fitted with racks allowing them to carry two 110 kg or two 230 kg bombs. This lowered the top speed of the Hurricane to 301 mph, but by this point mixed sweeps of Hurricanes carrying bombs, protected by a screen of fighter Hurricanes were not uncommon.
Hurricane Mk IIA Series 1 was equipped with a new and slightly longer propeller, spinner, and 4 additional wing-mounted .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns; for a total of 12 guns. The first aircraft were built in February 1941 and were renamed Mark IIB in April 1941. A total of 3,050 IIB built until November 1942.
The Hurricane Mk IIC (Hurricane Mk IIA Series 2) was equipped with new and slightly longer propeller and spinner, and fully replaced the machine-gun armament with four 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannons and a slightly modified wing. The new wings also included a hardpoint for a 500 or 110 kg bomb and, later in 1941, for fuel tanks. By then performance was inferior to the latest German fighters, and the Hurricane changed to the ground-attack role, sometimes referred to as the Hurribomber. There were 4,711 Hurricane Mk IIC built by Hawker between February 1941 and July 1944.
Later important versions were the Hurricane Mk IID and Hurricane Mk IV. Overall, some 14,487 Hurricanes and Sea Hurricanes were produced from 1937 to 1944 in England and Canada. This excellent and versatile aircraft was the basis for the development of its successor, the Hawker Typhoon (Ref.: 24)

Messerschmitt Zerstörer-Projekt, Ausführung II, (Destroyer-project, Scheme II), (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: Destroyer, ground-attack aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One turbojet-engine, type unknown

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: After the end of “WW II, when the Allied occupied Germany they found a huge amount of secret project documents. Among these were several unconventional designs from the Messerschmitt Company e. g. the so called “Animal Names” types. These were a single-turbojet  midget fighter “Libelle”  (Dragonfly) and two designs of the “Wespe I” and „Wespe II“ (Wasp) light fighters, a twin-engine fighter“ Me P.1079/18 „Schwalbe“(Swallow),  a bomber-transporter “Wildgans” (Brant) and two versions of a heavy ground-attacker “Zerstörer –  Projekt I” and „Zerstörer – Projekt II“ (Destroyer I and II).
As far as these latter are concerned these projects appear to consist of studies from the period 1941/42. But very unusual for Messerschmitt project drawings is that none of the dotted-outline turbojets matched  with the contures of any turbojets that were under development by BMW, Daimler-Benz, Heinkel-Hirth, Junkers and Porsche nor do the thrust figures quoted for them correpond to the known turbojet variants in production or development at that time.
An other confusing fact is that the Zerstörer ProjektII had the air intakes in the wing rootes and the sole turbojet engine was located in the rear fuselage. But additionally there were two openings on both sides the fuselage and the wings leading edges. This could be interpreted that the Zerstörer project II was powered by two turbojet engines.
On the other hand the high T-tailplane leads to the assumption of a later design period 1944/45. Focke-Wulf employed the T-taiplane for the first time in 1945 in the design of the Tank Ta 183. Messerschmitt, Heinkel and other aircraft manufacturers followed hastingly, as too little was known of the related flying characteristics of this type of tail surface. After the war the Allied quickly recognized its advantage and adopted this design feature.
Finally, a further factor indicating that the Zerstörer-designes were of later vintage is that both designes had a nosewheel tricycle undercarriage – a design feature that was first introduced in the Messerschmitt Me 262. Also, the rearward reclining seat and flush canopy blending into the fuselage nose contures  were not features of high-speed aircraft designes oft he 1941/42 period.
In conclusion and perhaps more likely is the fact that these designs are more after war fantasy than reality. So this comment is in contrast to the comment, given with the Messerschmitt Zerstörer-Projekt, Ausführung I, (Destroyer-project, Scheme I) on that website.

(Ref.: Herwig, Dieter and Heinz Rode: Luftwaffe Secret Projects, Ground Attack & Special Purpose Aircraft. Midland Publishing, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, England)

Lockheed F-4A “Lightning”, 12th PRG, ( RS Models)

TYPE: Photo-reconnaissance aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: Two Allison V-1710-49/53 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,225 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 351 mph at 10,000 ft

COMMENT: The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was an American single-seat, piston-engined fighter aircraft that was used during World War II. Developed for the United States Army Air Corps, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacell containing the cockpit and armament. Along with its use as a general fighter, the P-38 was utilized in various aerial combat roles including as a highly effective fighter-bomber, a night-fighter and as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks. The P-38 was also used as a bomber-pathfinder, guiding streams of medium and heavy bombers; or even other P-38s, equipped with bombs, to their targets. Used in the aerial reconnaissance role, the P-38 accounted for 90 percent of the aerial film captured over Europe.
Delivered and accepted Lightning production variants began with the P-38D model. The few “hand made” YP-38s initially contracted were used as trainers and test aircraft. There were no Bs or Cs delivered to the government as the USAAF allocated the ‘D’ suffix to all aircraft with self-sealing fuel tanks and armor. Many secondary but still initial teething tests were conducted using the earliest D variants.
The first combat-capable Lightning was the P-38E Lightning and its photo-recon variant the F-4, which featured improved instruments, electrical, and hydraulic systems. Part-way through production, the older Hamilton Standard Hydromatic hollow steel propellers were replaced by new Curiss Electric duraluminium propellers.
The first P-38E rolled out of the factory in October 1941and promptly filled the news wires of the world. Because of the versatility, redundant engines, and especially high speed and high altitude characteristics of the aircraft, as with later variants over a hundred P-38Es were completed in the factory.
After 210 P-38Es were built, they were followed, starting in February 1942, by the Lockheed P-38F, which incorporated racks inboard of the engines for fuel tanks or a total of 910 kg of bombs. Early variants did not enjoy a high reputation for maneuverability, though they could be agile at low altitudes if flown by a capable pilot, using the P-38’s forgiving stall characteristics to their best advantage. From the P-38F-15 model onwards, a “combat maneuver” setting was added to the P-38’s Fowler flaps which allowed the P-38 to out-turn many contemporary single-engined fighters at the cost of some added drag. However, early variants were hampered by high aileron control forces and a low initial rate of roll, and all such features required a pilot to gain experience with the aircraft, which in part was an additional reason Lockheed sent its representative to England, and later to the Pacific Theater.
In March 1942 the first deliveries of the photoreconnaissance version Lockheed F-4 were made. Otherwise similar to the P-38E from which it was converted, the F-4 had the nose armament supplanted by four K-17 cameras for reconnaissance duties. A drift sight and auto pilot were standart in the photographic Lightnings, which were painted in cerulean blue. More than 100 F-4 reconnaissance aircraft based on the P-38E and 20 F-4A based on the P-38F were built.
The aircraft shown here belonged to the 12th Photo Reconnaissance Group, 15th Air Force, Mediterranean Theater  (Ref.: 24).

Messerschmitt “Projekt Wespe I” (Project Wasp I), (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: Short-range fighter, interseptor

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One turbojet engine of unknown type

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: The end of WW II saw a great amount of  secret project documents burned, captured or left to blow around empty hangars. Some companies documents were almost completely lost, others were scattered. After the war some of these seemingly reappeared but most likely many of these projects are imaginations. Some were relatively conventional, others were futuristic, but it is unknown whether these designs are from the period 1940/41 or from the time at the end of the WW II.
This is true for instance for Messerschmitt’s “Animal Names” types. These were a single-turbojet  midget fighter “Libelle”  (Dragonfly) and two designs of the “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” (Wasp) light fighters, a twin-engine fighter Messerschmitt Schwalbe (Swallow),  a bomber-transporter “Wildgans” (Brant) and two versions of a heavy ground-attacker “Zerstörer I” and “Zerstörer II” (Destroyer).
Both Messerschmitt “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” had swept-back wings, were to be powered by a single turbojet-engine and had a tricycle landing-gear. From this point of view these projects could be dated to the end of the war.
In contrary, unusual for these Messerschmitt project drawings is that none of the dotted-outline turbojets in each of the drawings matches with the contours of any turbojets that are under development or production by BMW, Daimler-Benz, Heinkel-Hirth and Junkers, nor do the thrust figures quoted for them correspond to the known turbojets variants. Gas turbine development in Germany was concerned from the very beginning with the axial-flow type, save for the radial-flow turbojets developed by Dr. ing. von Ohain. This leads to the conclusion that at beginning of the war Messerschmitt possessed no documentation on turbojet development or installation plans hypothesizing that all these “Animal Name” projects could also be dated to the early 1940’s.
In conclusion, perhaps and more likely are these designs the product more of fantasy than reality. (Ref.: Herwig, Dieter and Heinz Rode: Luftwaffe Secret Projects, Ground Attack & Special Purpose Aircraft. Midland Publishing, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, England)

Armstrong-Whitworth ‘Albemarle’ Mk.I (Valom)

TYPE: Medium bomber, transport aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of four plus 10 paratroopers

POWER PLANT: Two Bristol Hercules XI radial engine, rated at 1,590 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 265 mph at 10,500 ft

COMMENT: The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.41 Albemarle was a British twin-engine transport aircraft that entered service during the WW II.
The Albemarle was originally designed as a medium bomber that was used for general and special transport duties, paratroop transport and glider towing, including Normandy and the assault on Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.
Air Ministry Specification B.9/38 required a twin-engine medium bomber of wood and metal construction, that could be built by manufacturers outside the aircraft industry and without using light alloys. The Air Ministry was concerned that if there was a war, the restricted supply of materials might affect construction of bombers.
Armstrong Whitworth, Bristol and de Havilland were approached for designs.
Bristol proposed two designs – a conventional 80 ft wingspan capable of 300 mph, and a tricycle design with 70 ft span with a maximum speed of 320 mph. Both designs, known as the Type 155, used two Bristol Hercules engines.
Armstrong Whitworth’s A.W.41 design used a tricycle undercarriage and was built up of sub-sections to ease manufacture by firms without aircraft construction experience. The A.W.41 was designed with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in mind but with Bristol Hercules as an alternative (“shadow”) engine.
In June 1938, mock-ups of both the A.W.41 and Bristol 155 were examined and new specifications B.17/38 and B.18/38 were drawn up for the respective designs. De Havilland did not submit a design. The specification stipulated 250 mph at 15,000 ft economical cruise while carrying 4,000 lb of bombs. Bristol was already busy with other aircraft production and development and stopped work on the 155.
Changes in policy made the Air Staff reconsider the Albemarle as principally a reconnaissance aircraft capable of carrying out bombing. Among other effects, this meant more fuel to give a 4,000 mi range. Two defensive positions were added; an upper dorsal turret, and a (retractable) ventral turret to enable downward firing.
In October 1938, 200 aircraft were ordered “off the drawing board” (i.e. without producing a prototype first). The aircraft was always expected to be of use as a contingency and to be less than ideal.
The Albemarle was a mid-wing, cantilever monoplane with twin fins and rudders.. The fuselage was built in three sections; the structure being unstressed plywood over a steel tube frame. The forward section used stainless steel tubing to reduce interference with magnetic compasses. It had a Lockheed hydraulically operated, retractable tricycle landing gear, with the main wheels retracting back into the engine nacelles and the nose wheel retracting backwards into the front fuselage.
The two pilots sat side-by-side with the radio operator behind the pilots and the navigator sat in the nose forward of the cockpit. The bomb aimer’s sighting panel was incorporated into the crew hatch in the underside of the nose. In the rear fuselage were glazed panels for a “fire controller” to coordinate the turrets against attackers. The dorsal turret was a Boulton-Paul design with four Browning machine guns. A fairing forward of the turret automatically retracted as the turret rotated to fire forwards. Fuel was in four tanks and additional tanks could be carried in the bomb bay.
A notable design feature of the Albemarle was its undercarriage, which included a retractable nose-wheel (in addition to a semi-concealed “bumper” tail-wheel). It was the first British-built aircraft with this configuration to enter service with the Royal Air Force.
The original bomber design required a crew of six including two gunners; one in a four-gun dorsal turret and one in a twin-gun ventral turret but only the first 32 aircraft, the Mk I Series I, were produced in this configuration, and they were only used operationally as bombers on two occasions. The Albemarle was considered inferior to other aircraft already in service, such as the Vickers Wellington. All subsequent aircraft were built as transports, called either “General Transport” (GT) or “Special Transport” (ST).
When used as a paratroop transport, ten fully armed troops could be carried. The paratroopers were provided with a dropping hatch in the rear fuselage and a large loading door in the fuselage side.
The production run of 600 Albemarles was assembled by A.W. Hawksley Ltd of Gloucester, a subsidiary of the Gloster Aircraft Company formed to build the Albemarle. Gloster was a part of the Hawker Siddeley group which included Armstrong Whitworth. Individual parts and sub-assemblies for the Albemarle were produced by about 1,000 subcontractors
The first Albemarle first flew on March 1940 at Hamble Aerodrome, where it was assembled by Air Service Training and was the first of two prototypes built by Armstrong Whitworth. To improve take-off, a wider span 77 ft wing was fitted after the eighth aircraft. Plans for using it as a bomber were dropped due to delays in reaching service, it was not an improvement over current medium bombers (such as the Vickers Wellington) and it had obvious shortcomings compared to the four-engine heavy bombers about to enter service but it was considered suitable for general reconnaissance.
From mid-1943, RAF Albemarle’s took part in many British airborne operations, such as invasion of Sicily (1943), D-Day (1944), Operation Tonga (1944), Operation Mallard (1944) and Operation Market Garden (1944).The gliders that were to towed included Airspeed Horsa’s, General Aircraft Hamilcar’s, and Waco Hadrian’s.
Of the 602 Albemarles delivered, 17 were lost on operations and 81 lost in accidents (Ref. 24).

Heinkel He 219B-1”Uhu” (Eagle-Owl), III./NJG3, (Dragon Models)

TYPE: Night Fighter

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: Two Junkers Ju 222 liquid-cooled radial engines, rated at 2,500 hp each, resp. two Daimler-Benz DB 603 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,900 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 435 mph

COMMENT: The Heinkel He 219 „Uhu“ (Eagle-Owl) was a night-fighter that served with the German Luftwaffe in the later stages of World War II. A relatively sophisticated design, the He 219 possessed a variety of innovations, including Lichtenstein SN-2 advanced VHF-band intercept radar, also used on the Junkers Ju 88G and the Messerschmitt Bf 110G night fighters. It was also the first operational military aircraft to be equipped with ejection seats and the first operational German World War II-era aircraft with tricycle landing gear. Had the „Uhu“ been available in quantity, it might have had a significant effect on the strategic night bombing offensive of the Royal Air Force; however, only 294 of all models were built by the end of the war and these saw only limited service
By the end of 1944, the Luftwaffe had accepted 214 Heinkel He 219As, but during the previous November, the promulgation oft he „Jäger-Notprogramm“ (Fighter Emergency Programme) had sounded death knell for all twin piston-engined fighters with the sole exception of the Dornier Do 335 Pfeil. Ernst Heinkel tacitly ignoring the RLM edict and finalized an assembly line for the fighter at Oranienburg.
Prior to the creation of the „Jäger-Notprogramm“ several variants of the basic He 219 had reached advanced development and even initial production stages.The follow-on series to the He 219As in service was to be the He 219B fitted with the new, but troublesome 2,500 hp Junkers Jumo 222A/B 24 cylinder engines – a multibank, liquid-cooled inline engine, with six rows of cylinder blocks having four cylinders each—which would have allowed the He 219 to reach 440 mph, each of which were almost the same displacement in their A/B (supercharged) and E/F (supercharged with intercoolers) versions and each only very slightly heavier, compared to the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engines in the American Northrop P-61 „Black Widow“ night fighter. The He 219B wing was also to have had an increased span of 22.06 m for better high altitude performance. The Jumo 222 did not reach production status, with just under 300 examples built in at least three differing displacement sizes. Only a few test machines were ever fitted for the engines; some additional airframes were built with the enlarged wing. These examples were slated to fly with high-altitude versions of the standard DB 603 powerplants in place of the troubled Jumo 222 multibank powerplants, but only one or two test machines ever flew with them.
It was proposed to install the Junkers Jumo 222 in a high-altitude three-seat model, the Heinkel He 219B-1, but the non-availability of the Junkers engine necessitated the installation of the Daimler-Benz DB 603Aa in a sole exemple of this variant compleeted and tested. This He 291B-1 had an aerodynamically refined cockpit canopy, a lengthened fuselage, ans an extended wing spanning. Flight testing was cut short when, during the second landing, the starboard undercarriage leg collapsed and the aircraft suffered such intensive damage that it had to be scrapped.
The second B-series, the Heinkel He 219B-2, was intended specifically for anti-Mosquito operations, and was similar in concept of the He 219A-6 in being stripped of virtually all armour.  Employing an He 219A-5 two-seat fuselage married to a long-span B-series wings it was powered by Daimler-Benz DB 603 engines with TK 13 turbo-superchargers, but only few additionaly aircraft of this type were hurriedly completed. These were placed in operationall service with a forward-firing armament ot two 20-mm MG 151 cannon in the wing roots, and  two 30-mm MK 108 cannon  in a „Schräge Musik“ installation.
The Heinkel He 219B-3 was similar to its predesessor apart from the reinstatement of ventral tray armament comprising two 30-mm MK 108 and two 20-mm MG 151 cannon, and this, too, was to have been powered by two Daimler-Benz DB 603L engines, but while still under construction, Heinke received  a directive from the Technischen Amt to await delivery oft he Junkers Jumo 222 engines for installation in this aircraft. In the event, the Junkers power plants never arrived and, in conequence, the He 218B-3 never left the ground (Ref.: 8).

Tachikawa Ki-54b (Army Type 1 Operations Trainer Model B), (Hickory), (A+V Models, Resin)

TYPE: Crew Trainer

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of five to nine

POWER PLANT: Two Hitachi Ha-13a Army Type 98 radial engines, rated at 510 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 234 mph at 6,560 ft

COMMENT: In late 1939, at a request of Koku Hombu, Tachikawa began designing a twin-engined multi-purpose trainer. The aircraft was required to duplicate closely the handling characteristics and performance of the series of modern twin-engined bombers the Army had operated since 1937. It was to be used for the simultaneous training of a complete bomber’s crew including pilot, bombardier, navigator, gunner and radio-operator. To achieve the necessary performance Tachikawa selected a low-wing design with retractable undercarriage and adopted a pair of Hitachi Ha-13a radials with Hamilton-type two blade variable-pitch propellers to power the aircraft.
Designated Tachikawa Ki-54, the first prototype was completed and flown during summer of 1940. Following minor modifications which partially corrected a nose-heavy tendency during landings, the aircraft was placed in production in 1941 as Army Type 1 Advanced Trainer Model A (Ki -54a). Like the prototype, the aircraft of this first production series were primarily designed for pilot training. However, the Ki-54a was soon supplanted by the Ki-54b (Army Type 1 Operations Trainer Model B) which had full provision for bomber crew training and had four gunnery stations each mounting a flexible 7.7 mm Type 89 machine-gun. Operated by all military multi-engined training schools and communications schools as well by civil training schools under Japanese Army contracts, the Ki-54b was built was in  greater numbers than any other variants of the Ki-54.
As a crew trainer and light transport, the Ki-54was one of the most successful Japanese aircraft of the war and was well known to the Allies which named it “Hickory” regardless of the version. The code name “Joyce” was erroneously assigned to a non-existent light bomber version (Ref.: 1).

Messerschmitt Me P. 1106/II (RS-Models, Resin)

TYPE: Fighter, Interceptor, Project

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1.300 kp thrust

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me P.1106 was a proposed German fighter aircraft project near the end of WW II. It was intended as an improvement to the Messerschmitt Me P. 1101.
On December 15, 1944 Messerschmitt design team decided to submit another design alongside the Me P.1101 – the Messerschmitt Me P. 1106. This was an advanced update on the final version of the Me P.1092/5 which had been drafted in July 1943 but also bore some similarities to the Me P.1101.
The Messerschmitt Me P. 1106 was redesigned several times. It had a nose air intake and fuselage mounted turbojet-engine. The wings of each design were swept back at 40 degrees. The planned powerplant was a Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, and armament was to be two 30 mm MK 108 cannons
The first version (Me P. 1106/I) had a short fuselage and a T-tail with the cockpit faired into the vertical stabilizer, similar to the Lippisch Li P.13a.
The redesigned version shown here  (Me P. 1106/II), had a very short fuselage, too, the vertical stabilizer was changed to a tail plane of butterfly style and the cockpit was housed far aft. This odd shape apparently gave the best aerodynamic performance Messerschmitt and his team had yet achieved but the disadvantage was a poor visibility for the pilot.
A third and final design (Me P. 1106/III) had a longer and slim fuselage with a V-tail plane and the cockpit moved slightly forward.
All projects of the Messerschmitt Me P. 1106 were abandoned since the performance of the Me P.1101 had not been improved on (Ref.: 17, 22, 24).

Armstrong-Whitworth A.W.52 (A+V Models, Resin)

TYPE: Flying Wing, Fast Transport, Bomber Project

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two (Pilot and navigator/flight test observer

POWER PLANT: Two Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal-flow turbojets, rated at 2.240 kp thrust each

PERFORMANCE: 500 mph at sea level

COMMENT: The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 was a British flying wing aircraft design of the late 1940s for research into a proposed flying wing bomber and/or jet liner. Three aircraft, the A.W.52G glider and two turbojet-powered research aircraft, were built for the programme. The airliner was cancelled but research flying continued until 1954.
Armstrong-Witworth Aircraft proposed a turbojet-powered six or four-engine flying wing bomber/airliner design, using a laminar flow wing, during the Second World War. This had to be a large aircraft in order to provide bomb bay resp. passenger head-room within the wing. The low-speed characteristics of the design were tested on a 16.41 m span wooden glider known as the A.W. 52G; the glider was designed to be roughly half the size of the powered A.W.52, which in turn would be about half the size of the airliner. Construction of the AW.52G began in March 1943, with the glider making its maiden flight, towed by an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber, on 2 March 1945. Flight testing, with tug releases from 20,000 ft giving flights of around 30 min continued, mostly satisfactorily until 1947. In 1944, Armstrong Whitworth received a contract that would allow them to produce two A.W.52 prototypes for evaluation, nominally asmail carrying aircraft.
The A.W.52 was intended for high speeds and was an all-metal turbojet-powered aircraft, with a retractable undercarriage; aerodynamically it had much in common with the glider. Both aircraft were moderately-swept flying wings with a centre section having a straight trailing edge. The wing tips carried small (not full chord) end-plate fin and rudders, which operated differentially, with a greater angle on the outer one. Roll and pitch were controlled with evelons that extended inward from the wing tips over most (in the case of the A.W.52 about three-quarters) of the outer, swept part of the trailing edge. The elevons moved together as elevators and differentially as ailerons. They were quite complicated surfaces – which included trim tabs – and hinged not from the wing but from “correctors”, which were wing-mounted; the correctors provided pitch trim. To delay tip stall, air was sucked out of a slot just in front of the elevons, by pumps powered by undercarriage-mounted fans on the glider and directly from the engine in the A.W.52. The inner centre section wing carried Fowler flaps and the upper surface of the outer section carried spoilers.
Maintenance of laminar flow over the wings was vital to the design and so they were built with great attention to surface flatness. Rather than the usual approach, where skinning is added to a structure defined by ribs, the A.W.52’s wings were built in two halves (upper and lower) from the outside in, starting from pre-formed surfaces, adding stringers and ribs then joining the two halves together. The result was a surface smooth to better than 2/1000 of an inch.
The crew sat in tandem in a nacelle so that the pilot was just forward of the wing leading edge, providing a better view than in the glider. The pressurised cockpit was slightly off-set to port. The engines were mounted in the wing centre section, close to the centre line and so not disturbing the upper wing surface.
The first prototype flew on 13 November 1947 powered by two Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engines of 2.240 kp thrust each. This was followed by the second prototype on 1 September 1948 with the lower-powered  Rolls-Royce Dervent engines, rated at 1.580 kp each. Trials were disappointing: laminar flow could not be maintained, so maximum speeds, though respectable, were less than expected. As in any tail-less aircraft, take-off and landing runs were longer than for a conventional aircraft (at similar wing loadings) because at high angles of attack, downward elevon forces were much greater than those of elevators with their large moment.
The first prototype crashed without loss of life on 30 May 1949, making it the first occasion of an emergency ejection by a British pilot. Despite the termination of development, the second prototype remained flying with the Royal Aircraft Establishment until 1954 (Ref.: 27).