David Knights' Weblog

January 10, 2020

Paper tiger

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 2:37 pm
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As I’ve said, generally Russia is a paper tiger.  However, that doesn’t mean they still can’t do something stupid and get a bunch a people killed. That will happen if they keep this up.

January 9, 2020

Iran 1 Airliner 0

Filed under: Politics,Technology — dknights @ 5:09 pm
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Looks like Iran may have shot down the Ukrainian Airlines 737.  The pentagon says an SA-15 Gauntlet was the missile involved.  It is criminally stupid to allow airliners to be flying while your air defenses are on high alert.

 

UPDATE: There now appears to be video evidence to confirm that the airliner was hit by a missile.

January 7, 2020

SAMs

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 5:50 am
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While I am mostly an aircraft guy, I do have other 72nd scale interests. One of them is missiles and rockets.  Of particular interest to me are SAMs, especially Soviet/Russian/Chinese SAMs.  As such I am very happy to see that Trumpeter has announced for 2020 an SA-4.  This will be a 2020 must purchase.

January 6, 2020

Something odd

Filed under: General — dknights @ 5:07 pm
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I am currently reading The Gulag Archipelago Vol.1 by Solzhenitsyn.  I’d always wanted to read it and it is a compelling read.  But, I’ve been struck by something.  He was an officer in an artillery battery, who had been cited for bravery on at least one occasion, involved in fighting in the Baltic countries and East Prussia when he was arrested in early 1945.  I know from reading histories of combat on the eastern front in WWII that by 1945 the Russian army was desperate for soldiers.  There are many accounts of units being made up of old men, and woman in all the support roles right behind the front.  Wing Commander Robert Roland Stanford Tuck, in his autobiography, mentions that when he escaped captivity in 1945 and moved east thru the Soviet lines how horrific the Soviet losses were and the poor quality of the soldiers in the units were. Yet, even given this situation, the Soviets were still combing thru their combat units trying to weed out dissenters and “political criminals.” (Keep in mind, Solzhenitsyn’s crime was being obliquely critical of the Soviet government in letters to a fellow officer.  It wasn’t like he was organizing a counterrevolution)  This just struck me as bizarre.  Go read the book.  It is compelling.

January 3, 2020

Movie review: Unknown Soldier (2017)

Filed under: General,Modeling — dknights @ 4:00 am
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Previously I viewed Winter War, a Finnish film that told the story of the Winter war between Finland and the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1940.  I followed that film up with another film from Terry’s Movie Vault; Unknown Soldier.  This movie follows a Finnish machine gun company thru the Continuation War, which is what the Finns call the War Between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1941-1944.  The book is based on a novel of the same name that is considered THE novel of this period in Finnish history.  This is the 3rd film based on the novel to be made in Finland.  When it was made in 2017, it was the most expensive film ever made in Finland.

The money spent shows.  The film has wonderful sets, and the cinematography of the beautiful Finnish countryside is dramatic and wonderful.  The uniforms and props are very detailed and appear to be period correct.  The fact that the film had a big budget (at least big for a Finnish film) shows in the film.  Its look is indistinguishable from any Hollywood release.

Unknown Soldier

While I don’t want to give away the entire plot, the film basically follow this

machine gun company from the start of the Continuation War in 1941 thru their recapture of the land lost in the 1939-40 war and then into the Soviet Union proper and their capture of a Soviet city.  Then the unit digs in, WWI style and spends 2 years holding their ground and beating off Soviet probes.  Finally the Soviets, having gotten the Germans in hand, devote resources to the Finnish front and go on to recapture the territory lost in 1941.  With the Soviet assault, we get to see a T-34/85 and a couple of T-34/76s used in the film and they appeared to be authentic.

The film is well acted with the members of the machine gun company consisting of archetypes; the grizzled veteran, the idealistic young officer, the comedian, and so on.  The characters will be instantly recognizable to any viewer who has seen US war films.  The film is in Finnish and has only subtitles.  There isn’t a dubbed version.  While subtitles don’t both me, they do both some viewers and it can become tiresome reading them over the films entire 3 hour length.  Finally, there are some moments in the movie where you can tell that there is something that is referred to is culturally significant and would be easily understood by a Finnish moviegoer, but is lost on one who doesn’t have the Finnish cultural background.

It is a long movie, but worth watching, especially for the cinematography, scenery and Finnish army equipment details.  4 out of 5 stars.

December 26, 2019

Russian spy ship

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 2:54 pm
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A Russian intelligence gathering ship is off a US sub base off the coast of South Carolina.  This is just more of Putin trying to look like he is flexing muscles.  As I’ve repeatedly said Russians doing things like this is a sign of their weakness, not their strength.

December 24, 2019

Su-57 Crash

Filed under: Politics,Technology — dknights @ 6:11 am
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Looks like the Russians have one less Felon. Given the cost, the Russians can ill afford this type of loss.

December 23, 2019

I want this

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:54 pm
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Yes, I know I say this too much.  I want this.

December 22, 2019

Clearprop La-5 early

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:25 pm
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Man, Clearprop is killing it.  They are just announcing kits that fill a lot of holes.

December 15, 2019

It happens again

Filed under: Politics,Technology — dknights @ 2:23 pm
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Looks like the Russians are having more naval problems.

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