Nov 052017
 

Currently being sold on ebay is a display model of a missile, a “Martin ASM.” ASM almost certainly means “Air to Surface Missile,” but otherwise there’s no further info. Seller seems to think it’s related to the Assault Breaker project, but it looks vaguely like a Skybolt-ish air-launched ballistic missile.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Martin-Marietta-ASM-ASSAULT-BREAKER-Desk-Model-Missile-/352201681398

 

 

 

 Posted by at 4:56 pm
Sep 142017
 

While looking at something else on eBay, a listing for something rather more interesting came up:

Minuteman Solid Resin Nuclear warhead MIRV Reentry Vehicle Factory Desk Model
Now, hmmm, I sez. That’s clearly a maneuverable warhead, designed to muck up the enemies defenses by scooting around them. So I decide to click on the link and see more about it and get hit with:
My paranoid lil’ mind starts to wonder… did someone have something for sale they shouldn’t have had?
As models go it looks pretty uninspiring… low detail, blocky, simple, at thos low image resolution it seems kinda amateurish. As maneuverable MIRV designs it’s not spectacular… sort of a mutant Delta Clipper (which was derived from maneuverable MIRV design work). Still, that’s pretty much exactly the sort of the the DoD gets a little twitchy about from time to time.
If anyone knows anything about it, or sees it pop up again, let me know…

UPDATE:

OK, this is strange. I still get the same “listing removed” message when I click on the link with my computer… but it pulls right up (high rez photos and all) when I view it on my *phone.* This would be a first.
So… who can see it? Who can’t?
 Posted by at 10:08 pm
Jul 022017
 

Currently available on ebay is a 1955-vintage Jeep complete with a Davy Crockett 120mm recoiless gun. It’s a little unclear whether the weapon system is entirely authentic or if some (or all) of it was built from scratch for the restoration. The M388 warhead is clearly a reproduction.

Original Military Jeep M38A1D, Atomic Cannon, Davey Crocket 120 mm Gun

 Posted by at 12:57 pm
May 312017
 

Currently there is a large, expensive auction on eBay for several hundred pieces of Marquardt concept art. The per-piece price of about ten bucks is pretty good, but the sum total is just a whole lot. Anyway, the auction listing provides a look at a *few* of the pieces, including one that depicts a “space sled.” This was a maneuver vehicle for a single astronaut, with much greater performance than the various maneuvering backpacks that had been designed over the decades. Instead of strapping it on, the pilot sits on it somewhat as if it was a motorcycle. The propellants are almost certainly cold gas (nitrogen) thrusters, which means specific impulse was really low. But it also made them very, very simple devices.

While Marquardt did some serious design work on space sleds, including building one that is currently on display at the USAF Museum in Dayton, it’s unclear how serious this one is. The space suit, after all, is pretty weak. There appear to be only two thrusters, both providing “forward” thrust; steering looks like it might have been by actually tilting the whole assembly. This would have provided only minimal thrust vectoring, and would have provided little to no pitch or roll control, and no braking thrust. My guess is that this was either the art department coming up with a concept on their own without much engineering input, or it was a very preliminary and perhaps unfinished piece.

 Posted by at 9:13 am
Dec 272016
 

Recently sold on EBay was a sizable (something like 4′ long) wind tunnel model of the Curtiss Wright Model 90 AAFSS submission. This was a derivative of their X-19… more or less a quad-tilt-rotor. The Model 90 would have been fairly highly armed, designed to fulfill the same role that the winning AAFSS design – the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne – was designed for: transporting troops and tearing up ground targets. The US has not had an operational vehicle like this; the Soviet “Hind” helicopter is the closest, though substantially slower, analog. EDIT: Senior moment. Not a troop transport, just a blowin’-up-stuff-on-the-ground-real-good vehicle.

The Model 90 wind tunnel model was formerly on display at an aviation museum in Teterboro, New Jersey. No idea where it ended up, but hopefully it found a good home. I made a half-assed effort to crowdfund this one, but I think the lack of a good way to split the spoils among the funders doomed the concept. How *do* you reward funders for a purchase like this? Best idea was to have the thing 3D scanned, and distribute the scan among the funders, but unlike a scan of a drawing or a document, that’s not going to be readily useful for most people.

What I’d hoped to do was to disassemble the model, male fiberglass molds of the components, reassemble and restore it to like-new-ish condition then send it on to an appropriate and willing museum, possibly Ft. Rucker (since they’re all about Army aviation and have themselves an AH-56). Then make a few fiberglass copies from the molds, converting the “wind tunnel models” into detailed display models. Alas.

curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-g curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-f curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-e curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-d curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-c curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-b curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-a

 Posted by at 10:37 pm