Sunday, August 14

Preview: A funky Ford & a "Savage" nuclear navy bomber - Roden's two new releases of August...

Roden have two new releases for October. An adaptation of their Ford V8-G81A into a Funkkraftwagen; While aircraft lovers will like the North American AJ-1 Savage plus nuclear bomb payload. See a little about the real things & the kit in our preview...
Preview: A funky Ford & a Savage nuclear navy bomber - Roden's two new releases of August...

Ford V8-G81A Funkkraftwagen
Kit No #818 
 1:35th Scale
As early as 1930, mass production of Ford passenger cars began at the Cologne plant. In general, they were very similar to their American counterparts, differing only in various exterior details. One of the most popular was the Ford Eifel 20C, more than 60,000 of which were produced from 1935 to 1939. In 1937, a new model came off the assembly line, the G78A, and a year later, the G81A. This had a more powerful 8-cylinder engine, improved bodywork and chassis.

Technical specifications:
Total length, mm 4710
Total width, mm 1835
Total height, mm 1775
Wheelbase, mm 2845
Trackwidth, mm 1422
Engine horsepower       90Bhp
Working volume 3560
Number of seats 5

After Adolf Hitler came to power, cooperation between the new government and Western investors in general not only did not stop, but even increased, including in the automobile industry. The gradual restoration of the army, which Germany was denied according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, required a significant increase in equipment, including passenger cars, and after the beginning of the Second World War, almost all private cars were requisitioned for the needs of the military. At the same time, factories received new, even larger orders to increase the number of vehicles in the army.

Two rather hazy photos of the V8-G81A Funkkraftwagen in the field.
The Ford G81A, like many other types of passenger car, was extensively used by army units. Some parts of the Wehrmacht used these cars, as well as the Luftwaffe, police units and others, mainly as a staff car. A small number of Ford G81As were converted to be fitted with field radios and used by communications and radio reconnaissance units. The rear part of the car body was rebuilt in order to accommodate the substantial volume of the specialized radio equipment. Cable reels and additional handrails were also installed. Despite the relatively small number of such radio vehicles, their operation continued almost until the end of the Second World War, both on the Eastern and Western fronts.

The Kit:
Roden's new 35th scale V8-G81A Funkkraftwagen is an adaptation of their earlierV8-G81A kit with the additional sprue for the gear on the back of the car. 

The sprues of the kit.
The CAD drawing of the extended rear boot section and the rails ont he top of the car.
Two variants in German service during WWII are included:
Number plates, untit badges and stencils are provided in the  decal sheet.

North American AJ-1 Savage
Kit No #063
1/72nd scale
At the end of World War II, wanting to equip their aircraft carrier strike forces with the new superpower weapon, the atomic bomb, the US Navy formulated a requirement for a new bomber that could take off directly from an aircraft carrier's deck, carrying nuclear weapons. At first, this was considered impossible due to the large size of the bomb for a typical carrier aircraft, but in 1947 the Mark 4 bomb appeared, which could potentially fit into the bomb bay of a twin-engined bomber. In the same year, North American, which during World War II produced such well-known aircraft as the B-25 Mitchell bomber, Texan trainer and the most famous American fighter, the Mustang, proposed the concept of a deck-based aircraft with two piston engines, supplemented with a jet engine to accelerate takeoff from the aircraft carrier deck and to improve performance in emergency flight situations.

Technical Specifications
Wingspan, m 21.8
Length, m 19.2
Height, m 6.2
Wing area, sq.m 77.62
Empty weight, kg 12500
Max. take-off weight, kg 23161
Max. speed, km/h 758
Practical range, km 16000
Service ceiling, m 13,100
Engine 2 x Pratt&Whittney R-2800-44W (2400 hp), 1x Allison J-33-A-10 (4600 lb)
Armament 6 bombs of calibre 2000 pounds (909 kg) each or 1 nuclear bomb type Mark 4
Crew 15

The maximum size of the aircraft would be critical in carrier deck operations, so it had to have not only a wing folding mechanism but also a tailfin which could likewise be folded when moved into the carrier's hangar deck. In addition, it was possible to load not only nuclear but also conventional weapons. On July 3, 1948, the first flight of the prototype took place, now designated the XAJ-1 Savage. The plane turned out to be very large indeed and it became the largest and heaviest aircraft so far to be based on aircraft carriers. The bomber had a three-man crew, and to increase the flight range additional fuel tanks were installed at the ends of the wings.

North American AJ-1 Savage of VC-7 on USS Wasp
The auxiliary jet engine was located in the lower middle part of the fuselage, and the undercarriage was reinforced due to the significant weight of the aircraft and for additional safety when equipped with nuclear weapons. Tests of the aircraft lasted until 1949, after which North American received orders for 140 aircraft in addition to the three prototypes already built. Series production began in 1949, and the first 47 aircraft built received the AJ-1 designation. In the spring of 1950, the first AJ-1 was delivered to the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CV43).

North American AJ Savage launching from USS Midway
The first few months of the AJ-1's service on carriers were marked by a number of incidents, mainly during takeoff and landing. The plane was quite tricky to pilot and demanded maximum attention from the crew, and since the standard armament was primarily nuclear weapons, the responsibility of the crew was multiplied. To prevent possible unwanted consequences, the Navy decided to temporarily remove the atomic bombs from the AJ-1 and focus on training flights, while the aircraft were converted to carry conventional TNT bombs. Nuclear weapons as standard were returned to the AJ-1 only in 1952, when the probability of fatal incidents was reduced to an absolute minimum.
At this time, North American had already made a number of changes to the design of the aircraft and began production of the more advanced AJ-2, which gradually began to replace the AJ-1 in aircraft carrier groups. At the same time, it was decided not to retire the AJ-1 from service, but to convert them to a standard that was called AJ-1 (Retrofitted), which was generally similar to the AJ-2. After the beginning of the Korean conflict, several aircraft carriers equipped with the AJ-1 were sent to the Southeast Asia region, but no decision was made to use nuclear-armed aircraft. The operational service of these aircraft lasted until the mid-1950s, after which they were transferred to ground-based training units or converted into tankers for inflight refueling.

The Kit:
Due for release in October, the kit comes with three marking choices from the US Navy in the box. It also contains not only the Savage, but the Mk IV Nuclear bomb that the aircraft was so well known for bearing.
The decal sheet of this kit covers all three aircraft choices in US Navy Service.
The CAD layout of the sprues of this new kit.
A CAD drawing of the AJ-1 Savage & its Mk IV Nuclear Bomb payload.
You can find out more about Roden's kits on their website