Thursday, 25 May 2017

Cold as Ice

As you might be able to see in the left side of the above picture, I still have a very long ways to go towards parking a tier IX FJ-1 Fury in my World of Warplanes hangar. While many current and long since gone players already have this aircraft, my little journey to getting one of my own could very well be as interesting as watching grass grow.

However, I have noticed a few folks have watched my Mustang H videos and I hope through my own trial and error (as well as listening to and applying good advice, when the grey matter is working properly during those critical moments) have seen some successful techniques to try, hopefully to avoid making some of the same frustrating mistakes I have in the past.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


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....

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Calculations from the Clouds

Because I don't usually invest in purchasing a premium hangar in World of Warplanes, I forget how good it looks when I earn one.

Thanks to practicing the good advice that has been offered to me, I am enjoying a higher success with my ongoing adventures in the Mustang H. Although I am far from being fully mastered in all of the intricacies that are a part of the "Boom and Zoom" playstyle, I have discovered that it isn't so much the maneuvers that make the difference, it's the choices and follow through on those decisions.

Then again, carving a decided action into stone isn't the wisest thing to do either. I have learned that keeping a careful eye on the battle and try to watch as much of the action as it unfolds, can have a strong influence the next step to take, or correct myself from one choice to another. Sound confusing?

I will let the video explain it all....

Monday, 8 May 2017

Shinden Iaido

I can't remember the first time I saw the Japanese Kyushu J7W1 Shinden, but I have been captivated by it's design ever since. Much like the Messerschmitt Me 262, the Shinden always struck me as a misplaced plane from the "wrong time," especially when compared to their Allied contemporaries. Sleek fuselage and swept back wings, strong influences on aircraft that would dominate the skies in the post-war era and all the way up to the present day. Truly, an aircraft ahead of it's time, from an aesthetic perspective.

However, like the Messerschmitt, the Shinden came too late and in insufficient numbers to have any effect on the war. Unlike the Me 262, it never had the chance to prove itself in the air nor make any impression on Allied pilots that would have seen this aircraft in action. A shame, the only example of this design marvel sits in a partially dissembled state at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

Quite some time ago, I made a detour down the lone Japanese line in World of Warplanes, long before the second one was added and my goal was to get my hands on a Shinden. After making some minor progress, I took a break from the game and wandered off to other projects. Now, after all that time and using some advice for improving my performance in the Mustang H, I decided to take another look at my Magnificent Lighting and apply some of those lessons learned....

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Cloud Horse

Life, both the real one and the virtual alternative, is always based on choices. Some, turn out to be the best things to ever happen and wonderful memories are built on that moment. Others, are tragedies, missed opportunities or a perpetual period of second guessing the whole "what if" factor.

However, in that single moment that most of us occupy and more often than not, we believe we are making the right choice, or took the only alternative option that appeared available. It isn't until it's all said and done that the outcome reveals to us the positive or negative result and either we deny, shift the blame or learn from it. Unlike a video game, the only replays that are available for those in the real world is what others experienced from their perspective (and if they whip out their cellphone fast enough to capture that moment) and how we remember the events, as they happened or immediately altered to protect our pride or sense of self-worth.

Okay, that seemed to be a bit too heavy.

Nevertheless, I present a battle from World of Warplanes, while flying the Mustang H. Two choices were made, one was almost a reckless tragedy, the other was very much a calculated maneuver.

Which one did you find?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Snow, with a chance of a Meteor Strike

 A very long time ago now, I managed to run an aerial gauntlet in World of Warplanes and acquired a premium tier VII Gloster Meteor in my hangar, becoming one of my most favorite aircraft in the game. Although I don't always do so well with it, I can't truly explain what it means to fly it. However, a certain, select few can appreciate and relate to that feeling the Meteor generates for me.

When it first appeared as speculation posts, many cried about how the Meteor was going to ruin the then current mid-tier action. A jet below tier VIII? Quite a few people would have you convinced the sky was about to fall. Those announcements of "doom and gloom" were silenced when the reality of the machine was presented. In some hands, it was and still is a fairly competitive aircraft, in others, it's a flying bomb waiting to go off. The mid-tiers survived, no real danger ever came, despite the predictions.

In keeping with my "blue theme," I modified another custom livery, based on an old picture I saw way back and took to the skies over ground that would have been a very real environment, just a few short weeks ago....