Another composite photo.
I snapped the background image of the sun setting at about 8pm with my iPhone 4S.
The model was snapped earlier in the day using my Nikon Coolpix p500 at about 12pm, using photoshop to adjust the lighting.
One of my new additions on Tuesday, an F-14A Tomcat has finally joined my 1:72 Diecast hangar (well, shelves).
Quite possibly the most iconic and recognisable fighter jet of all time, in no small part thanks to the 1986’s film, Top Gun.
Arguably, the film starred Tom Cruise, but I’m sure some would say the Tomcat was the real star of that movie.
The specific F-14 modelled here by Century Wings is BuNo 160403, which was assigned to US Navy squadron VF-41 “Black Aces” in 1981 as AJ102, where it was involved in the first Gulf of Sidra Incident, which is reproduced below.
BuNo 160403 is currently stored at the Commemorative Air Force Headquarters in Midland, Texas and is awaiting restoration before going on display.
On the morning of the 19th of August in 1981, 102 launched from the deck of the USS Nimitz, taking to the skies over the Gulf of Sidra with the callsign “Fast Eagle 102”, piloted by Commander Henry ‘Hank’ Kleeman with Lieutenant David ‘DJ’ Venlet in the back seat as his Radar Intercept Officer.
Along with their wingman, “Fast Eagle 107” crewed by Lieutenant Lawrence ‘Music’ Muczynski and Lieutenant Junior Grade James ‘Amos’ Anderson.
The two Tomcats were flying combat air patrol (CAP) to cover other USN aircraft engaged in a missile exercise.
While in their CAP pattern, the F-14s detected two Sukhoi Su-22 Fitters taking off from Ghurdabiyah Air Base near the city of Sirte in Libya.
The two F-14s set up for an intercept as the contacts headed north towards them. Only a few seconds before the US and Libyan jets crossed paths, at an estimated distance of 300 m, one of the Libyans fired an AA-2 “Atoll” at one of the F-14s, which missed.
The two Sukhois subsequently split as they flew past the Americans; the leader turning to the northwest and the wingman turning southeast in the direction of the Libyan coast.
Having been fired upon, the F-14’s were cleared to return fire by their rules of engagement, which mandated self defense on the initiation of hostile action.
The Tomcats turned hard port and came behind the Libyan jets.
The Americans fired AIM-9L Sidewinders; the first kill is credited to Fast Eagle 102, the second to Fast Eagle 107.
Both Libyan pilots ejected, though it is not certain that both pilots survived.
But I decided to have a collection of 1:72 display team jets, and Hobbymaster released this Patrouille Suisse example about a month ago, so there it is.
Having been re-seeding that lawn a lot these past few months, I wouldn’t call them actual weeds anymore!
Though the dog still kills a lot of it…
Anyway, Royal Air Force Tornado GR.Mk 1, in 2 tone RAF camo with the wings swept into the intermediate position.
Trying to keep the Rally car photos interesting, so I used some proper lawn soil (so its very fine and includes sand) to form a little dirt road in the back garden for this.
Then just raked it into the grass, so two birds with one stone!
So, the hatchback version of the Subaru Impreza might not be to everyones taste, but it was Subaru’s final entry in the WRC before they left the sport due to the economic pressures of recent years.
It therefore has a place in history
It also did really well in its brief WRC career, especially for such a radically new design, finishing 2nd place in its debut race.
Reliability was much improved from the 2007 sedan.
This might possibly be my last diecast car, as I only intended a smallish collection of cars I was really fond of.
But we will see.
The Subaru Impreza WRC 08 wasn’t the only thing to arrive today.
They’ve been on my wishlist for over a year, but finally got around to ordering a pair of white Alpinestars Tech 1 Race Gloves.
Not the cheapest things in the world, saying as they comply with FIA 8856-2000 specs, but they very light and comfortable.
A perfect match for my white Alpinestars Tech 1-K Karting boots.
Er, what do I need racing boots and gloves for?
Well, I don’t really need them, but let me tell you… when you have a home racing set-up with a high-spec Fanatec steering wheel (Very authentic Porsche GT2 replica) and pedals constructed from solid aluminium, they really help a lot.
The boots especially. The grippy sole of a racing boot extends up the heel, and there is a lot of padding around the heel and ankle area that makes all the difference in the world for comfort.
Likewise the gloves not only make things a little more authentic, but the fingers and palms are pre-curved to reduce fatigue from gripping the wheel while driving.
Over the top?
But why the hell not, its fun!
Plus, I can use them if I ever decide to put together a full replica Stig costume! :D
Oh yeah, and that’s a Tom’s Supra JGTC 95 in Castrol livery.
^_^ Just arrived from Tokyo this morning.
Those are the lengths I had to go to in order to get this particular model in 1:43 diecast.
Unlike all my other car models, this one is made by Ebbro rather than Ixos. More expensive, more detailed, which does actually show.
With this, I’ve completed my triumvirate of racing cars wearing the white, green and red of Castrol.
They all happen to be Toyota’s too.
All three are very nostalgic for me.
The Castrol Racing Toyota Celica GT Four ST205 started it all when I played the Sega Rally demo disc on the Sega Saturn.
It was the 3rd racing game I ever owned.
The first was Super Mario Kart for the SNES.
Second was Virtua Racing for the Sega Saturn (having played and loved the 32X Version)
So it was the first one I played and owned with officially licensed and recognisable cars (Hell, Sega Rally was the first video game with either!)
It made its mark. =D
This carried through until the late 90’s, with the Castrol Racing Toyota Corolla WRC in the first Colin McRae Rally game on the Playstation and then with the release of Gran Turismo which really upped the stakes with both the Castrol Racing Toyota Celica GT Four ST205 and Castrol TOM’s Supra JGTC 95, rendered in more detail than I’d ever seen before.
So yeah, these ones go back a long way to when I was growing up and were actually very important to how I’ve matured as a gamer.
The second Group B Rally car to join my collection.
This is Henri Toivonen and Neil Wilson’s Lancia Delta S4 which competed in the 1985 RAC Rally of Great Britain.
Took a saw to the apple tree in the garden to provide a fallen tree trunk as part of the diorama. This is the first set of model shots I’ve actually taken outside, saying as we had some nice sun today.
Without doubt the most advanced car to ever take to the worlds rally stages, the Lancia Delta S4 was the pinnacle achievement of the short lived Group B class of the World Rally Championship.
With a mid-mounted engine that was both supercharged and turbocharged, the Lancia Delta S4 that competed in the WRC produced about 560bhp.
The car is stated to be capable of accelerating from 0 to 60mph in just a fraction over 2 seconds… and that was on loose gravel!
This supreme performance came with a heavy price, with the Lancia Delta S4 being an incredibly difficult car to drive.
It is said that only one driver came close to mastering this beast of a car. Henri Toivonen.
Unfortunately, it still killed him and his co-driver, Sergio Cresto, in the 1986 Tour de Corse Rally.
Their Lancia Delta S4 plunged into a ravine and the traditional fuel tanks, located directly under their seats, burst into flames.
The car and its occupants was completely incinerated.
Just about the only thing that remained was the tubular space frame.
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet
United States Navy, VFA-81 “Sunliners”
USS Saratoga, 1991 “Operation Desert Storm”
Diecast model by Hobby Master, 1:72 scale.
Product Code HA3501
This Hornet, 163508, scored one of two kills by the US Navy during Desert Storm, shooting down an Iraqi MiG-21 on the 17th of January, 91.
The aircraft is still in service today, but is now with the USMC
Russian Air Force, “The Swifts” 237th Centre for Display of Aviation Equipment
Kubinka Air Base, 2007
Diecast model by Corgi, 1:72 scale
Product Code: AA37504
Limited Edition: #198 of 1100 made.
My 3rd and final Russian jet, from a 3rd die-cast company.
One of two display teams in the Russian Air Force, the Стрижи fly the MiG-29 in this striking livery.
The first Group B Rally car to join my collection, and probably the best all-rounder the series ever saw, winning both the drivers and constructors championships in 1985 and 86.
It may not have quite had the outright performance on the Lancia Delta S4, but it wasn’t as difficult to drive either.
Following Group B being banned for the 1987 season, Peugeot would run a modified 205 T16 in the infamous Paris-Dakar Rally, which it won.
The 205 T16 was also developed into the 405 T16, made famous by setting a new record time for the Pikes Peak hill climb even.
An award winning short film was made of this run, titled “Dance Climb”
First, let’s set the mood
There we go. Damn, graphics have come a long way in the past 17 years (!)
Now that the display diorama is complete, I brought these two together for some nice, and rather more detailed, nostalgia.
All that’s missing now is the Alitalia liveried Lancia Stratos that was exclusive to the home version of the game.
Personally, this is my favourite iteration of the Martini Racing liveries applied to the Ford Focus WRC from 1999 until 2002.
This was the cover car of Colin McRae Rally 3 for the PS2 and Xbox, the first game in the series released for 6th generation consoles.
It was also one of the two games I bought with my original Xbox back in November 2002 (the other was, of course, Halo: Combat Evolved).
Not the most thorough set of progression photos, but there were complications that interfered. :P
I was going to use a roll of grass for the edges, but there were only a few scraps left and, on reflection, a patchwork approach would have probably turned out awful.
Instead I used what remained of my Hornby Skalescenics burnt grass ground cover.
I had half a bag each of coarse (R8881) and fine (R8880) grass left, so just swamped the brown craft foam with clear PVA glue, mixed the two types of grass into one bag and emptied them over the base.
Then I just used the pane of glass from the picture frame on top with some weights to press it all down and left it over night.
Shook off the excess grass in the morning and the result is above.
I was deliberately messy with the glue and turf over the sides of the road to both make sure there was no visible lip with the foam. Also to try and make it look more natural.
As for the road, that was done with a roll of gravel.
I used a single piece the size of the entire base and then placed the brown craft foam on top.
Using brown helps give a more natural, mud/soil like colour if any of the turf cover is a bit thin.
Basically, that’s it.
When its all done, put the frame back in place, minus the glass, and you have a display base.
Total cost, including the frame? In the area of £10 (considering a lot of stuff is left over to be used on something else).
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
Although it was only moderately successful in the WRC, having never won either the constructors or drivers championships, the Escort Cosworth has still attained a legendary status for its high performance and affordable speed.
Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear had one in the 90s and, famously, the insurance cost more than the car itself.
The Escort RS Cosworth competed in the WRC from 1993 until 1998, winning a total of eight events before being replaced by the rather more successful Ford Focus WRC.
The second of the classic Sega Rally trio. :)
One of the most successful cars to ever compete in the World Rally Championship, the Lancia Delta won the constructors championship six times in a row, from 1987 to 1992, a record that stands to this day.
It also won the drivers championship four times, in 87, 88, 89 and 91.
In Sega Rally, the Lancia Delta was slower than the Toyota Celica, but easier to handle.