Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Wounded


After a few intermissions, I have returned to the progressive adventures in the Mustang H in World of Warplanes and it didn't take long for the rust to start to build.

Over the last while, I have noticed a....flux in the skill levels of opposing bots. Some battles, they are perfectly programed aerial terminators, highly efficient and deadlier than usual. Other times, they fly like passive pushovers, dirty looks almost knocks them out of the air.

The hard part, for me at least, is quickly figuring out which "mode" they are in and attempting to adjust both offensive and defensive tactics accordingly....

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Neverwas Couldhavebeen


The Messerschmitt Me 109TL is one of those aircraft that appeared in the early days of World of Warplanes and was almost forgotten....


Originally, it was introduced as a tier IX German Fighter, above the Me 262 and below the Me 262 HG III. Some archived reviews from testing back then praised the aircraft for being nearly unstoppable, when flown correctly and downright deadly when flighted.

However, a few months before the official launch of the game, the Me 109 TL was switched out for the Me 262 HG II and it's fate remained a bit of a mystery (along with a few other tester favorites that have yet to make a return appearance).


There was a real plane, called the Bf 109 TL, well, almost....

In January 1943, the Bf 109TL concept was offered as a fallback option if the Me 262 did not come to production (at the time only three prototypes of the Me 262 had been completed and tested) or as a complementary fighter to operate alongside the Me 262, if production went forward.

The TL was a cobbled together project, the fuselage would come from the Bf 109H, cockpits from the Bf 109E/G, the wing to be sourced from the later aborted Me 409 project and the tricycle undercarriage came from the tested and abandoned Me 309. The same Junkers Jumo 004B-1 and/or BMW 003A jets from the Me 262 would also to be used. Proposed armament was to be 2X 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons and 2X MK 103 cannons mounted in the nose.

Despite design modifications and initial testing, the project was abandoned in March 1943, to focus on the final details of the Me 262. No known mockups, models or prototypes are know to exist today.

Although the real Bf 109 TL was lost to to annals of time, the Me 109 TL was brought back to life in World of Warplanes two years ago now and I have been having fun with it ever since....

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Other Wooden Wonder


Although the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito is remembered as "The Wooden Wonder," there was another plane that almost claimed the title before it.

The Miles M.20 was originally conceived as a low-cost, single-engine, wooden monoplane fighter and to be based on the already in production Miles "Master" trainer. In June 1939, a mockup was displayed to the British Air Ministry, but due to low interest at the time, the project was shelved.  

One year later, with World War Two well under way, a revised Mark II of the design was presented then built and first flown that September. Despite showing good maneuverability and acceptable performance, the first prototype was written off in a crash on February 1941. The cause was determined to be the brakes locking upon landing.

A second prototype was offered as a seaborne, catapult launched fighter for coastal and merchant marine ships. First flying in April 1941, the second prototype produced mixed results, despite the weight saving and structural improvements. Hawker Aircraft's entry of Sea Hurricane Mk IA was seen as the more favorable choice and the Miles M.20 program came to a close, the last prototype scrapped in November 1943.


In World of Warplanes, the Miles M.20 is a premium, tier V British Fighter. Other than sharing armament with it's same nation peers, performance and flight characteristics are more akin to Japanese fighters. Low operational altitude, weak climb and very good maneuverability, but with British camouflage and roundels.

Although not a strong, favorite aircraft among some in the community, the Miles M.20 is still a very capable plane, once it's limitations are learned and used to their full advantages....

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Twin Engine Wonder


Taking flight for the first time in February 1941, the Grumman XP-50 Skyrocket was designed to meet the prior United States Army Air Corps requirement for a twin-engine heavy interceptor aircraft. Although facing stiff competition in the form of the Lockheed XP-49, a prototype for a revised version of the Lockheed P-38, the US Army ordered a single XP-50, itself a modified land based version of the Navy's XF5F-1, to be built for testing, just in case the Lockheed entry didn't pan out

Successful testing and flights were carried until April (some sources claim May) 1941, when the sole prototype suffered a catastrophic turbo-supercharger explosion and was lost over Long Island Sound. Test pilot Robert Hall bailed out to safety and it is unknown if the wreck was ever recovered.


Enjoying a much longer service life than the real life counterpart, my own tier VI premium XP-50 is celebrating 3 years of ownership by yours truly.

Although I can't remember all the details of the given conversation, I was once asked to describe this aircraft, as depicted in World of Warplanes. My answer was, "imagine a twin engine Corsair." At that time, I was flying both the premium and tech tree version of the "Bentwing Widowmaker" and found the same flexible playstyle in the XP-50. Very good and reliable firepower, great climb rate and maneuverability, it doesn't feel much heavier that a single engine fighter, except in extreme low altitude engagements.

In fact, here is a demonstration of what I have been talking about....

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Mediocrità Italiana


The Breda Ba.27 Metallico was in reality, an improved, smoothed sheet metal skinned prototype version of the corrugated skinned original from 1933. Despite being heralded as having an "ultramodern design" by a few journalists, having more than a passing resemblance to the Boeing P-26. Sadly, the aircraft didn't impress the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Airforce) during trials, nor secured a possible purchase by Norwegian Air Force.

However, the Metallico would have modest success in export sales to the Chinese nationalist government. An order of 18 aircraft was placed, of which 11 were delivered, equipping one squadron from 1935 to 1938. The Breda would see active service during the Second Sino-Japanese War, none are known to survive to this day.


In World of Warplanes, the Breda Ba.27M Metallico is a premium tier III Fighter in Chinese Nationalist markings. While most other aircraft have at least one or two qualities that make out stand out from their tech tree or premium peers, by fate or design, the Breda is probably the mediocre aircraft of any tier in the game. Even within it's own tier, it has "middle of the road" attributes in just about everything, firepower, rate of climb, speed, you name it.

However, the plane does show potential for improvement, but that is dependent on the player who flies it....

Monday, 15 May 2017

Saving the First for Last


The tier VI Kawasaki Ki-88 was my first premium Japanese aircraft, earned long ago during the "Getting the Goods" Mission for World of Warplanes in May 2014.

"What if the Japanese had built an aircraft along similar performance capabilities as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and/or North American Mustang?" would be one half way to describe this particular plane. The other would be, "What if they armed it like a Soviet Yak/American Bell P-39 Airacobra?"

Although a little weak in a climb and suffering from poor energy retention and generation (compared to the 109s/Mustangs), the Ki-88 was built to be the Japanese interpretation of Boom and Zoom, performing this role rather well. Like other aircraft from this nation, armor isn't an issue, since there isn't any and the effectively short-range, large caliber cannon overheats after a few shots and takes quite a long time to cool down.


The real Kawasaki Ki-88 was originally designed in 1942 as a front engine fighter, to replace and/or compliment the already in production Ki-61 Hein. However, it was discovered the aircraft was going to be very nose heavy with the installation of the planned 1 x 37mm hub mounted and 2 x 20mm cannons in the lower nose section. Speculation is a recovered wreck of a Bell P-39 Airacobra inspired the Kawasaki engineers (Tsuchii Takeo given the most credit on this project) to move the engine to the midsection of the fuselage.

Sadly, the Ki-88 never made it past the mock-up stage. Calculations had showed a completed version wouldn't be any faster than some of the upgraded fighters already in use or the new versions leaving the factories for the front lines and was cancelled in 1943.

But, this is World of Warplanes and the plane lives....and fights!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Flashing Lightning Indeed


In 1942, the Japanese Naval Air Force issued new requirements (known internally as Shizaku 17-Shi Otsu) for a new high speed fighter capable of attacking heavy four-engine bomber aircraft at their operational altitude and a successor to the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden. Sometime in 1944, Mitsubishi began working on their project for a new single-engine high-speed interceptor fighter, a full-metal low wing, which had a horizontal tail between the two gondola hulls, with power coming from a pushing propeller.

However, as impressive as the design looked on paper, it didn't advance beyond the wind tunnel stage. Showing poor aerodynamic results, prototype engine manufacturing delays and difficulties and the Mitsubishi design team quite literally being overworked, the project stalled. Seeing better success coming from Kyushu, through the development of their J7W1 (also a pusher propeller design), won the production contract and Mitsubishi continued to work on improving their existing A7M line.

Despite the secrecy of the project, details were leaked out and it was assign the Allied call-sign "Luke."


In the right hands, the J4M (also know as the "Jammer" among a certain few) in World of Warplanes is a very capable aircraft, breaking the low operational altitude/turn and burn stigma associated with Japanese planes. Although a little weak in a steep climb, the engine does recover power fairly quickly and the cannons hit with force with a low rate of fire.

The following video is a good example of how NOT to fly this premium tier VII Multirole. Take a look and see why....