1. April 24, 2014

    Photos of 'Ace and Max' tagged 'edgemont south dakota sunrise ranch '

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    "Reflection." La macro della settimana. questa volta il tema è RIFLESSO. Ho fatto diverse prove, in realtà sono partito da un'idea completamente diversa, un dado da gioco, ma poi mi sono reso conto che fotografare un oggetto singolo con sotto uno specchio è tutt'altro che facile. Lo specchio si comporta in modo curioso, a quasi tutte le angolazioni riflette solo buio... lo so, lo so, la legge di Snell... Immagine senza alcun tipo di elaborazione (a parte la firma...) [ENG] My contribution to the Macro Monday group for this week theme - Reflection. It was not so easy to manage the reflecting surface, 'cause it reflects darkness at most angles.... The only light source here is one flash through a diffuser from above. And picture is SOOC except for the signature . _____________________________________________ I'm also on: TWITTER / Getty Images / 500px / Google Earth / Sreamzoo / Instagram/ Meetup ____________________________________________________ And now also on FACEBOOK (MaranzaMax)
  2. April 22, 2014

    Photos of 'Ace and Max' tagged 'edgemont south dakota sunrise ranch '

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    1:72 Focke Wulf Fw 190 Z-17, aircraft „<1+–“ of Stab II./JG 53, personal mount of Leutnant Werner von Giesen; Deutsche Luftwaffe; Kaufbeuren, early 1946
    "1:72 Focke Wulf Fw 190 Z-17, aircraft „<1+–“ of Stab II./JG 53, personal mount of Leutnant Werner von Giesen; Deutsche Luftwaffe; Kaufbeuren, early 1946" +++ DISCLAIMER +++ Nothing you see here is real, even though the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE! Some background: The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger (English: Shrike) was a German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s and widely used during World War II. The 190 was used by the Luftwaffe in a wide variety of roles, including day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft and, to a lesser degree, even night fighter. The Fw 190 became the backbone of the Jagdwaffe (Fighter Force), along with the Bf 109 which it never entirely replaced. On the Eastern Front, the Fw 190 was versatile enough to use in Schlachtgeschwader (Battle Wings or Strike Wings), specialized ground attack units which achieved much success against Soviet ground forces. As an interceptor, the Fw 190 underwent improvements to make it effective at high altitude, enabling it to maintain relative parity with its Allied opponents. The Fw 190A series' performance decreased at high altitudes (usually 6,000 m (20,000 ft) and above), which reduced its effectiveness as a high-altitude interceptor, but this problem was mostly rectified in later models, particularly in the Junkers Jumo 213 inline-engine Focke-Wulf Fw 190D series (nicknamed the Dora; or Long-Nose Dora, "Langnasen-Dora"), which was introduced in September 1944. The Fw 190 D was intended to improve on the high-altitude performance of the A-series enough to make it useful against the American heavy bombers of the era. In the event, the D series was rarely used against the heavy-bomber raids, as the circumstances of the war in late 1944 meant that fighter-versus-fighter combat and ground attack missions took priority. To make matters worse, the D was only seen as an interim solution, as Kurt Tank made it very clear that he intended the D-9 to be a stopgap until the Ta 152 arrived. These negative opinions existed for some time until positive pilot feedback began arriving at Focke-Wulf and the Luftwaffe command structure. Sporting good handling and performance characteristics, the D-9 made an effective medium altitude, high speed interceptor, although its performance still fell away at altitudes above about 20,000 ft (6,100 m). When flown by capable pilots, the Fw 190D proved the equal of Allied types. With the ever increasing threat of Allied bomber raids and the advent of the formidable Ta 152 fighter, several designs were tried in order to create a long range interceptor from the D-9. From the start it was clear that the increment in range would call for added fuel, which in turn would limit payload and performance to a level that rendered the idea pointless. Anyway, Georg Hager, a young engineer proposed a radical new idea, which was similar to the Twin Mustangs' idea which was under development at the same time in the USA for the Pacific theater: mating two Dora fuselages into a two-engined aircraft, which would meet the Luftwaffe's requirements and could mostly be built with the help of existing tools and jigs, getting it into service with almost no delay. The result was the Fw 190 Z (for 'Zwilling' = Twin). The airframe was based on the single-engined D-13 fighter, only one cockpit was installed into the left fuselage, the respective space in the right fuselage was faired over and used for an internal tank. The outer wings were directly taken from the Fw 190 D, even though the landing gear was totally redesigned: it retracted backwards into the lower fuselage and was fitted with twin wheels. Both fuselages were connected by a new wing center section and a new tailplane, both of constant chord and simple construction. As Aluminum became scarce in the late years of WWII, some constructional changes had to be made, e. g. a rigid central wing spar made from steel. In other places, wood elements replaced Aluminum parts on the wings. Two prototypes of the Z-16, how the type was officially called, were built in late 1944 and tested until March 1945. As the type proved to offer sufficient performance and no major handling problem was found, it was immediately put into production and service. The Z-16 was fitted with all-weather flying equipment including the PKS12 and K-23 systems for steering and autopilot. The FuG 125 radio system, known as “Hermine”, was fitted to the aircraft, as well as a heated windscreen. The aircraft also featured a hydraulic boost system for the ailerons, which had been developed for the Ta 152. Armament consisted of six machine cannons, and this heavy armament allowed the Z-16 to deal quickly with enemy aircraft. Each fuselage carried three weapons: one 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 Motorkanone cannon centered within the propeller hub and two synchronized 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons located in the wing roots. Under the center wing, bombs of up to 1.000 kg caliber (2.202 lb) or drop tanks could be carried. Under the outer wings, wooden racks with 2× 12 unguided 'R4M' 55 mm (2.2 in) air-to-air rockets could be carried, too. One or two of these rockets could down even the famously rugged B-17 Flying Fortress. With its two Jumo 213E engines the Z-16 was capable of speeds up to 755 km/h (472 mph) at 13,500 m (41,000 ft, using the GM-1 nitrous oxide boost) and 560 km/h (350 mph) at sea level (using the MW 50 methanol-water boost). To help it attain this speed, it used the MW 50 system mainly for lower altitudes (up to about 10,000 m/32,800 ft) and the GM-1 system for higher altitudes, although both systems could be engaged at the same time. A further step in order to increase performance was the experimental installation of a jet booster: a single Junkers Jumo 004 B-1 turbojet, rated at 8.8 kN (1,980 lbf) was installed under the central wing section, with wet hardpoints for two 250 l (55 imp gal; 66 US gal) drop tanks on each side. The results were so promising (top speed climbed to 805 km/h/500mph while range was not reduced) that this Rüstsatz measure, originally designed only as an optional feature for a Z-16/R-1, was fully integrated into the production type, which became the Fw 190 Z-17. This type was immediately ordered into series production in September 1945 and was to fully replace the Z-16, which had just been started to be delivered to the Luftwaffe. Anyway, as the Jumo 004 was mostly reserved for the Me 262 'Schwalbe' jet fighter and the simpler Ta 152 still had development priority, only about 50 Z-17 and a further 40 Z-16 without the jet booster were delivered until the hostilities ended. They were exclusively used in the Zerstörer (Bomber destroyers) role. From the pilots the Fw 190 Z earned the nickname “Gurkenhobel” (Cucumber slicer), due to its unique shape, but it was nevertheless well-liked and its firepower made it an effective weapon against Allied bomber formations. Plans had been made to develop the Fw 190 Z into a two-seated night fighter (with the second cockpit in the right fuselage re-installed), but this was not carried out. A high altitude version, with the long outer wings from the Ta 152 H, also remained on the drawing board, and at least one Z-16 had been tested with a 55 mm MK214 autocannon, carried in a streamlined pod under the central wing where the Z-17’s jet booster was originally installed. General Focke Wulf Fw 190 Z-17 characteristics: Crew: 1 Length: 10.20 m (33 ft 5½ in) Wingspan: 14.580 m (47 ft 9 in) Height: 3.35 m (11 ft 0 in) Empty weight: 15,997 lb (7,271 kg) Loaded weight: 4,270 kg (9,413 lb) Max. takeoff weight: 11,632 kg (25,591 lb) Powerplant: 2× Junkers Jumo 213E liquid-cooled inverted V-12, 1,287 kW (1,750 PS; 2,050 PS with MW-50 boost) 1× Junkers Jumo 004 B-1 turbojet, rated at 8.8 kN (1,980 lbf) Performance: Maximum speed: 805 km/h (500 mph) at 6,600 m (21,655 ft), 740 km/h (460 mph) at 37,000 ft (11,000 m) Range: 1.800 mi (1.563 nmi, 2.900 km) Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,370 ft) Rate of climb: 17 m/s (3,300 ft/min) Armament: 2× 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 machine cannon with 110 RPG, firing through the propeller hubs 4× 20 mm MG 151 cannons with 250 rpg in the wing roots Up to 1.000 kg (2.202 lb) of external ordnance at two hardpoints under the central wing, including bombs, drop tanks; under the outer wings additional hardpoints for four 50 kg (110lb) bombs, two racks with 12 unguided 'R4M' 55 mm (2.2 in) each, two pods with 2× 20mm MG 151/20 machine guns each or up to four WGr21 launch tubes. The kit and its assembly: This whif was inspired by the P-82 “Twin Mustang”, and the result is a rather bizarre creation which would nevertheless appear plausible for Germany during the late stages of WWII. Actually, Arado’s real paper project E.530 looked very similar to this creation, but it was a bigger aircraft and intended as a fast bomber. Other Zwilling designs even entered the hardware stage or were very concrete: the He 111 Z bomber was built and used mainly as a glider tug, the Bf 109 Z and Me 609 were derivatives of their respective normal ancestors, there was even a Do 335 with two fuselages as a long range reconnaissance aircraft on the drawing board! With this real world background, the Fw 190, as a starting point for a Zwilling fighter, appears rather harmless... Anyway, the resulting model is also not the first attempt into this direction, though, just a personal interpretation of the basic idea. The kitbashing is based on two Fw 190 D-9 kits from Italeri. While the kit is some decades old it is IMHO still a good choice (despite its fine, raised panel lines), because you get it easily and with a relatively small price tag. Building the fuselages was straightforward, mostly OOB. The right cockpit was faired over with putty, and the fuselage machine guns disappeared (Fw 190 D-13 style) in front of both cockpit openings. Biggest challenge were the central wing section that connects the fuselages. Just cutting the original wings and glueing them together was no option, since the leading and training edges would not be straight, and the wings have a slight anhedral. Additionally, I had to put the landing gear somewhere, and modify it, as the original Fw 190 landing gear is rather wide and it would make IMHO no sense under a twin fuselage aircraft, I have big stability doubts. I finally settled on a scratched solution for both problems. For the landing gear, I took a look at the P-82 solution (new, single wheels which retract inwards, under the fuselages), and derived a totally new landing gear installation. It now features twin wheels (from the Fw 190 kits) in order to distribute the aircraft’s weight on soft ground, mounted on new struts, taken from a Me 262. This new construction became so “thick”, though, that it had to be retracted into the fuselage – the area under the cockpit was the only place to put it, but this is IMHO plausible since there is no radiator or other installment under the Fw 190’s belly. There's no place for ventral hardpoints now, but that's a small price to pay for a pure fighter. With that solution found, the original landing gear wells in the wings were filled, the "inner" wings were cut away at the wing roots and a new central wing section added. This consists of a an enlarged horizontal stabilizer from a 1:100 A-10 SnapFit kit - it was perfect in span, had both straight leading and training edges, and the central fuselage part was creatively integrated into an additional idea (see below). The wing was deepened by 14mm wide with styrene strips (several layers, 2.5mm thick), and some putty was needed to blend everything together. The final span between the fuselages was dictated by the new horizontal stabilizer. This comes from an Airfix Fw 189, the tail wheel well was filled. The outer attachment points on the fuselages' outer sides for the original stabilizers were simply faired over and sanded even. But back to the new central wing section: the additional jet booster was a spontaneous idea. Even though the Zwilling layout is odd enough, adding a podded jet would make it SO weird that it would look even more like a serious, futuristic German design! And the idea is not far-fetched: Luftwaffe's RLM actually worked on such podded jet booster designs, e. g. for the Me 410, Ar 240 or He 219 as well as for some paper projects with mixed propulsion. The pod’s place under the central wing section was just perfect, as the hot exhaust gasses would pass between the fuselages and under the stabilizer (without burning away the tail wheel, as on some early pod-and-boom jet fighter designs like the Yak-15). The nacelle itself comes from a leftover Hobby Boss He 162 fighter. It was taken OOB and just integrated into the lower wing. It looks so strange, but gives the aircraft a relatively compact look, too. The drop tanks and their respective hardpoints come from the two Italeri kits. I had orginally intended to add air-to-air ordnance under the outer wings (two pairs of WGr21 launch tubes), but when everything came together I rather settled for the drop tanks. Painting and markings: The paint scheme is fictional, but inspired by a museum aircraft's livery: the sole surviving Fw 190 D-13, now on display in the USA. The museum aircraft's scheme looks a bit too shaggy, IMHO, but it's an interesting interpretation and uses authentic colors. Basic colors for my version are RLM 82 and 83 on the upper surfaces, and RLM 76 below, with RLM 81 spots, streaks and blotches on the flanks. To make the thing look a bit more interesting I also added some “snaky” streaks with thinned RLM 76 on some upper surface areas, too. All basic tones were taken from the Modelmaster Authentic enamel line. Typical for late Fw 190s, parts of the lower wings were left bare metal (painted with Revell Acrylic Aluminum), a typical result of material shortage in the late WWII stages. The leading edges were painted RLM 75 while the ailerons are RLM 76. Taking this idea further, “my" Z-17 would not carry anymore a colored Reichsverteidigung fuselage band, indicating its Geschwader. From 1945 on, yellow ID markings (RLM 04) were carried: a band around the engine, sometimes with an added yellow field under the engine, and the rudder was frequently painted yellow, too. National markings were more and more simplified, and only a color-coded number and sometimes a symbol indicated the fighter’s group. I used very simplified national markings on the flanks and below the wings, seen on real life Fw 190s: just black crosses without any outline. The rest of the markings were puzzled together from the scrap box, again using late war Fw 190s and Bf 109s as benchmarks. I decided to put my aircraft into a Stab (Wing Commander's Chief-of-staff) squadron, so the markings differ from normal fighters. This one carries the horizontal bar for the 2. Gruppe among the Geschwader, in this case Jagdgeschwader 53, the “Pik As” [Ace of Spades] Squadron which dealt with interception tasks until the end of WWII in the southern regions of Germany . The chevron denotes an officer's aircraft; the “1” could denote the 1st aircraft of the Stab Gruppe in numerical order, but it's also possible that it is a personal symbol, as officers' aircraft would carry symbols instead of simple numbers, sometimes personal, non-standard icons or letters. As the number is black I added dark green spinners, the typical ID color of the Stab flight among II. Group. A geek detail, and and I do not claim this to be correct – but German WWII aircraft would tend to be marked rather erratically, anyway, and I tried to do justice to historical benchmarks. Hey, it's a whif, after all! In the end, a bizarre aircraft, but it is not as far-fetched as one might think. In this case, several single German ideas and developments were just incorporated into one model. What amazes me most is that the whole thing was assembled and painted in just three days – excluding the kit purchase and the work on the final beauty pics. Sometimes I get scared by myself... (dizzyfugu)
  3. April 19, 2014

    Photos tagged 'cat'

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    Cat Eyes
    "Cat Eyes" This cat hangs around our office and is not camera shy like the other ones. (MarkReqs)