Thursday, 30 April 2015


Andy Claesens built Trumpeters 1/35 IT-1 Missile tank This is an unusual and little known area of Cold War thinking and is based on the T-62 chassis. As I've built one of the Trumpeter T-62s before I did not expect any nasty surprises along the way and the build was very enjoyable and the kit was almost vice less (but more on that shortly).
During the mid-Fifties, with the progression of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) as effective weapons, Soviet tank design bureaus found themselves under great pressure from the very top to develop ATGM armed vehicles. The Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev was convinced that conventionally armed tanks were reaching the end of their lives and in 1956 he ordered that the four main Tank Design Bureaus start moving things forward to develop this ATGM concept. The Soviet military was resentful of his perceived meddling and involvement and their reluctance to take things further was supported by the technical impracticalities of the time.
However, in the early-Sixties projects were begun and the Kartsev Design Bureau in NizhnyTagil began work on Obiekt 150, a missile armed tank based on the hull of a T-62 with a redesigned low-profile turret. It had a crew of three, driver, gunner and commander in conventional layout and was armed with a pop-up missile launcher fitted into the turret along with a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun with 2000 rounds of ammunition. Twelve 3M7 Drakon (Dragon) missiles were stored in an automatic loader with a further three stored in an unarmoured box on the back of the turret. The Drakon was specially developed for usage in Obiekt 150 and although details of the missile are largely unknown it was believed that it may have used the AT-1 Falanga missile as it’s’ basis. Launched slightly upward and at an angle to offset any wind drift during the first second of unguided flight the missile was tracked using a tracer on the rear of the missile. This allowed the guidance system to track the missile and transmit radio commands to it (using a combination of seven frequencies and two codes to prevent vehicles within a single unit interfering with each other) which were decoded by the missile and translated into deflection of the missiles fins. Night-vision equipment enabled some night operation but reduced the missile's range considerably. This relatively conventional design layout was the least adventurous of those put forward by the Design Bureaus and the only design that made it to production status.
In September 1964 Nikita Khrushchev observed a firepower demonstration of the Obiekt 150 at Kubinka, where in short succession three moving tank targets were destroyed. He excitedly reported his observations to a Party Conference the following day and told them he believed that tanks would become obsolescent. He had already cancelled heavy tank production and it was widely felt that medium tank production was also under threat. So, the Ground Forces heaved a huge sigh of relief when one month later Khrushchev was ousted from power by Leonid Brezhnev, who adopted a far more traditionalist approach to the military and military production.
A small production series of Obiekt 150 was ordered as IT-1 (Istrebitel Tankov or Tank Destroyer) and used to form two Tank Destroyer Battalions. One was manned by tank crews whilst the other by artillery troops as a test of concept. One served in the Carpathian Military District and the other in the Byelorussian Military District. Further production occurred between 1968 and 1970 but the IT-1 was not well liked for a number of reasons. The guidance system was heavy, weighing 520 Kg which affected the vehicles performance, the size of the missile meant that ammunition storage was not great pointing towards constant resupply and the large dead-zone around the tanks due to the missiles' minimum range all contributed to its unpopularity. With the pressure for this type of weapon system lessening all the vehicles were removed from service and converted to recovery variants. The only survivor that I am aware of is the one in the Kubinka Museum.
From a build perspective the rolling gear and lower hull were very straightforward. On this example however there had been a “short moulding” issue with the rear side of the hull, which left a chunk missing. A shame and an unusual situation in a modern kit but it was no great problem to deal with. Patched with plasticard it was resolved rapidly and I could look to closing up the hull. The upper hull went on simply and all the tool boxes etc were fitted easily. On the glacis plate the light guards are provided as two parts, which frankly don’t look great. Making a replacement with wire makes a huge difference and sits better in terms of scale thickness.
I left off the fender mounted fuel cells until towards the end of the build as they needed some work. Trumpeter has fallen into the same pit that Tamiya have with their T-62. Despite the box art showing the lifting handles on the fuel cells to be in the correct position they are moulded incorrectly and need rectifying. Again this is not difficult just a little annoying when their box art artist can get it right. Before final fitting of the cells the obvious external plumbing that is a feature of all T-54/55s and T-62s needs to be made. This I did with my trusty coil of old BT cable, utilising the outer sleeve as connectors. The odd nature of the turret and missile system are well represented by new sprues and this bit of the build went together well with no issues at all. The individual link tracks went together like a dream, (far easier than I remember doing on the previous T-62). A footnote to this build is something I only noted on the final stages when marrying up the turret to the hull. The turret actually fouls on the drivers hatch and approximately one millimetre has to be removed from the rear of the hatch to allow it to sit right. I thought it might be the way that I had fitted the hatch but there is no slack in the fitting of it and it is where it is.
Paint options are limited… green with no decals. The fact that this beast had such a limited service career pushed me to the view that a museum exhibit finish would be the way to go. This decision then presents further challenges in making a monochromatic scheme interesting and not being able to hide any flaws with mud & dust. I started with a primer coat of Halfords Matt Black. Not my usual choice but I was looking at a deeper finish to the green. Using Tamiya TS-28 Olive Drab 2 from their rattler range the whole thing had two coats and was allowed to cure. After that I had a go at a variation on the fractal style that Steve Zaloga used when he built his T-62 for the magazine. Stippling on various different mixes of Tamiya Field Grey with Games Workshop Catechan Green and Commando Khaki was enough to add interest to the basecoat and I'm quite happy with the end result. The tracks were painted with Games Workshop Chaos Black and then whilst still wet, heavily dry-brushed with Games Workshop Boltgun Metal.
Overall this was a great kit to build and aside from the few issues I encountered went together very well. Maybe not the most attractive vehicle in the world I can't see Trumpeter selling as many of these as they will their T-62s & T-64s. Nonetheless I think they are to be applauded for tackling some lesser well known subjects and I am pleased that it adds an interesting item to my Soviet Equipment Inventory . I'd like to thank Robin for the opportunity to build it for the site and I'd happily recommend the kit to all.

Monday, 27 April 2015

bande nere

According to the tradition, the frazione of Governolo was the seat of the meeting between Pope Leo IHerrera mozo San León magno Lienzo. Óvalo. 164 x 105 cm. Museo del Prado.jpg and Attila in 452. Also in Governolo the condottiero Giovanni dalle Bande Nere Gbnere pace 1.jpgwas shot by a cannonball in 1526, later dying out of the wounds received.Giovanni was born in the Northern Italian town of ForlìPiazza Saffi to Giovanni de' Medici (also known as il Popolano) and Caterina Sforza,Caterina Sforza.jpg one of the most famous women of the Italian Renaissance.
From an early age, he demonstrated great interest and ability in physical activity, especially the martial arts of the age: horse riding, sword-fighting, etc. He committed his first murder at the age of 12, and was twice banished from the city of Florence for his unruly behavior, including involvement in the rape of a sixteen-year-old boy, Giovanni being about thirteen at the time.He had a son,CosimoAgnolo Bronzino - Cosimo I de' Medici in armour - Google Art Project.jpg (1519–1574), who went on to become Grand Duke of Florence.
As a symbol of mourning for the death of Pope Leo X (December 1, 1521), Giovanni added black stripes to his insignia, whence comes his nickname, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere (or Giovanni of the Black Bands). In August 1523 he was hired by the Imperial army, and in January 1524 he defeated the French and the Swiss at Caprino Bergamasco.Church In the same year another Medici, Giulio di Giuliano, became Pope, and took the name of Clement VII. The new Pope paid all of Giovanni's debt, but in exchange ordered him to switch to the French side of the ongoing conflict. He did not take part in the battle of Pavia, but was soon severely wounded in a skirmish and later had to move toVenice to recuperate from his wounds.Giovanni became a condottiero, or mercenary military captain, in the employ of Pope Leo X(Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici) and on March 5, 1516 led the war against Francesco Maria I della Rovere, Duke of Urbino. He thenceforth formed a company of his own, mounted on light horses and specializing in fast but devastating skirmishing tactics and ambushes. In 1520 he defeated several rebel barons in the Marche. The following year Leo X allied with Emperor Charles V against King Francis I of FranceFrancis1-1.jpg
 to regain Milan, Parma and Piacenza; Giovanni was called in under the command of Prospero Colonna, defeating the French at Vaprio d'Adda in November.The river Adda from Vaprio d’Adda.
In 1526 the War of the League of Cognac broke out.Emperor charles v.png The League's captain general, Francesco Maria I della Rovere, abandoned Milan in the face of the overwhelming superiority of the Imperial army led by Georg von Frundsberg. Giovanni was able to defeat theLandsknechts rearguard at the confluence of the Mincio with the Po River.Cremona Po Bridge.jpg

On the evening of November 25 he was hit by a shot from a falconet in a battle near Governolo.According to a contemporary account by Luigi Guicciardini, the ball shattered his right leg above the knee and he had to be carried to San Nicolò Po, near Bagnolo San Vito, where no doctor could be found. He was taken to Aloisio Gonzaga's palace, marquis of Castel Goffredo, in Mantua, where the surgeon Abramo, who had cared for him two years earlier, amputated his leg. To perform the operation Abramo asked for 10 men to hold down the stricken condottiero.

Pietro Aretino, eyewitness to the event, recalled in a letter to Francesco Albizi:
'Not even twenty' Giovanni said smiling 'could hold me', and he took a candle in his hand, so that he could make light onto himself, I ran away, and shutting my ears I heard only two voices, and then calling, and when I reached him he told me: 'I am healed', and turning all around he greatly rejoiced.
Despite the surgery Giovanni de' Medici died five days later, supposedly of septicemia, on 30 November 1526.
Giovanni's body was exhumed in 2012 along with that of his wife to preserve the remains, which were damaged in the 1966 flood of the Arno river, and to ascertain the cause of his death.
 Preliminary investigation revealed that his leg was amputated below the knee. No damage was found to the thigh, where the shot supposedly hit. The tibia and fibula, the bones of the lower leg, were found sawed off from the amputation. There was no damage to the femur.
 It is now thought that de' Medici may have died of gangrene.
Giovanni's premature death metaphorically signaled the end of the age of the condottieri, as their mode of fighting (which emphasized armored knights on horseback) was rendered practically obsolete by the introduction of the mobile field cannon. He is therefore known as the last of the great Italian condottieri. His lasting reputation has been kept alive in part thanks to Pietro Aretino, the Renaissance author, satirist, playwright and "scourge of the princes", who was Giovanni's close friend and accompanied him on some of his exploits.

A noble-but-brutal Renaissance warrior who fell to a battle wound may not have died exactly as historians had believed, according to a new investigation of the man's bones.
Italian researchers opened the tomb of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, or Giovanni of the Black Bands, this week to investigate the real cause of his death. Giovanni was born in 1498 into the wealthy and influential Medici family, a lineage that produced three Popes and two regent queens of France, among many other nobles (Another branch of the family, the Medicis of Milan, boasted a fourth Pope). He worked as a mercenary military captain for Pope Leo X (one of the Medici family's Popes), soldati-04.jpgand fought many a successful skirmish in his name. When Pope Leo X died in 1521, Giovanni campo-01.jpgaltered his uniform to include black mourning bands, earning him his nicknametestata-soldati-01.jpg.
Giovanni was wounded in battle in 1526; reportedly, his leg was amputated and he died several days later of infection. However, the new investigation of the Giovanni remains reveals that it was not his leg that was sawn off, but his foot. Nor is there any damage to the man's thigh, where the shot supposedly hit.Giovanni dalle Bande Nere tomb openingArchaeologists open the tomb of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere in Florence.
Giovanni's grave has been opened five times already, including an investigation in 1945. This confirmation of the man's actual wound has created a medical mystery.
"Giovanni was wounded in the right leg (maybe above the knee) but was amputee[d] [at the] foot," Marco Ferri, a spokesman for the Superintendent of Fine Arts of Florentine Museums, wrote in an email to LiveScience. "Why? The surgeon was not a good doctor or the news [that] reached us [is] not accurate."
Giovanni's bones rest with those of his wife, Maria Salviati in two zinc boxes in the crypt of the Medici Chapels in Florence. The man's tibia and fibula, the bones of the lower leg, were found sawed off from the amputation. There was no damage to the femur (thigh bone). 

Ferri said the team would further measure and analyze the bones before reburying them. The findings are preliminary and have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.Maria Salviati and Giovanni dalle Bande Nere coffinsPreliminary measurements suggest that Giovanni was about 5 feet, 10 inches tall (178 centimeters). Researchers, led by paleopathologist Gino Fornaciari of the University of Pisa, also found a tubelike glass container with a rolled-up card inside that may bear an inscription. This container was not mentioned in reports of earlier investigations of the crypt.