6 Apr 2017

U.S. Navy NC-8A Mobile Power Unit Model

The NC-8A is a land-based vehicle designed to provide external electric power to aircraft for pre-flight or maintenance purposes. It saw extensive service on the U.S. Navy Air Stations and Marine Corps Air Stations from the early 1970s and until the early 2000s. Note that the NC-8A unit was not a tractor; it was not designed to tow aircraft. Neither was it intended for shipboard use, being strictly land-based.

This 1:72 scale model kit, produced by F4Models (cat. # 7025), contains resin and photo etched parts to build one NC-8A vehicle with an option allowing to open up the rear compartment that houses cable reels and is visible when the vehicle is powering up an aircraft.

For reference purposes, here are some historical photographs that show the NC-8A in action: photophotophoto, photo.

18 Mar 2017

Detail Set for G503 1/4 Ton 4WD Truck

This set (F4Models # 7017) contains metal photo-etched items to detail one G503 ¼ ton 4WD truck model.
Important notes:
 - This is detail set and not a full kit. It is suitable to detail the following model kits: Airfix # 01322; Heller # 79997; S-Model # 720046 & 720047. I cannot recommend combining this detail set with much older kits from Academy (# 1310 & 13416) and Hasegawa (# MT1 / 31101).
 - The key item in this detail set is the correct radiator grille; this iconic feature of the G503 is poorly represented in all available plastic kits. Other items are also included, such as the windshield, dashboard, front and rear bumpers, spare wheel and jerry can holders and rearview mirrors.
 - This set is mainly intended for aircraft diorama builders and not for AFV modellers. Therefore it does not contain options to detail those of the G503's factory-installed parts that, according to available historic photographs, were typically removed from airfield utility vehicles. In particular, the set contains no items to detail the crew weapons (rifles, machine guns) and respective holders / mounts, and no items to represent the standard spade and axe toolkit. Similarly, no items to detail the vehicle's drivetrain and suspension are included, as I believe this is unnecessary for a model intended for an airfield diorama. Besides, Airfix/Heller and S-Model kits both provide adequate detail in this regard.

Assembly instructions:

16 Jan 2017

Current Production Status

Items in production: 7001, 7003, 7006, 7009, 7010, 7012, 7013, 7017, 7019, 7020, 7021, 7023, 7025, 7027, 7028.
Item out of production, yet a small quantity is still in stock: 4002, 7005, 7014, 7015, 7022, 7026, 7031, 7032, 7033.
Production is terminated and the stock is exhausted: 4001, 7002, 7004, 7007, 7011, 7016, 7029, 7030.

1 Dec 2016

U.S. Navy Aircraft Boarding Ladders

A number of the U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft types lacked self-boarding capability and required external access ladders for the crews to get to their cockpits. The types that needed boarding ladders for crew access included the F7U Cutlass, F3H Demon, F4D Skyray, A-4 Skyhawk and A-5A / RA-5C Vigilante. At this time I present 1:72 scale photo-etched boarding ladder sets for the Cutlass, Skyhawk and Vigilante.

F7U Cutlass Boarding Ladder
This set (# 7015) includes one boarding ladder. Compared to the original item released ~3 years ago, the one available now is revised for better accuracy.
See some  historical photographs that show this boarding ladder in use: linklink.
Recommended F7U-3 Cutlass kits: Fujimi.

A-4 Skyhawk Boarding Ladder
This set (# 7014) includes one boarding ladder. Compared to the original item released ~3 years ago, the one available now is revised for better accuracy.
See some historical photographs that show this boarding ladder in use: link, link.
Notes:
 - This type of ladder was also used by a number of other nations that operated the Skyhawk, including Argentina, Australia, Kuwait, New Zealand and Singapore.
 - The Blue Angels team, when flying the Skyhawk, has employed a totally different ladder (see link). 
Recommended A-4 Skyhawk kits: Fujimi; new Airfix.

A-5A / RA-5C Vigilante Boarding Ladder
This new set (# 7031) includes two identical boarding ladders.
See some historical photographs that show the Vigilante boarding ladders in use: link, link.
Recommended RA-5C Vigilante kits: Trumpeter.

Assembly instructions:
  

20 Jun 2016

U.S. Navy JG-75 Flight Line Tractor with GTC Trailer Model

The JG-75 flight line tractor is a land-based vehicle that saw service on Naval Air Stations and Marine Corps Air Stations since the mid-1960s until the late 1980s. Its primary purpose is towing various types of non self-propelling ground support equipment. The tractor is also capable of towing small to medium-sized aircraft.

The purpose of the trailer is to provide compressed air for starting aircraft jet engines. It is a land-based, non self-propelled item that was in service on Naval Air Stations and Marine Corps Air Stations since the early 1960s until the early 1990s. This type of start unit was employed to pre-flight such aircraft types as the A-3 Skywarrior, A-4 Skyhawk, F-8 Crusader, F-4 Phantom II, A-6 Intruder, A-7 Corsair II, EA-6 Prowler and F-14 Tomcat.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7027). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts to assemble the tractor and the trailer; no decals are included.
Here are some photographs of the real things in action: tractor – photophoto, photophoto; trailer – photophoto.

Important notes:
 - Neither the tractor nor the trailer are intended for use on ships. Do not place these models on a carrier deck diorama. The fact that some preserved items are currently exhibited on carrier decks by the USS Hornet Museum and USS Midway Museum is irrelevant.
 - The tractor model kit was designed basing on historical photographs. Note that a preserved vehicle from the USS Hornet Museum may have some non-standard modifications, not necessarily authentic.

19 Jun 2016

U.S. Navy Air-Transportable Aircraft Start Unit Model

The purpose of this item of ground support equipment is to provide compressed air for starting aircraft jet engines. Specially designed for the U.S. Navy as an air-transportable unit, it was intended to be carried by fighter or attack aircraft on a standard ordnance pylon, thus allowing them to self-deploy. Inside the teardrop-shaped pod was a small gas turbine, and everything needed for operating the cart was stowed in internal compartments. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s this start unit was frequently seen on Naval Air Stations and Marine Corps Air Stations. It remained in service, albeit in very small numbers, into the early 1970s, with the Blue Angels team using such items even in the 1980s until it has phased out its Skyhawks.

This type of start unit was employed to pre-flight such aircraft types as the A3D Skywarrior, A4D Skyhawk, F4D Skyray, F3H Demon, F11F Tiger, F-8 Crusader and F-4 Phantom II.

The 1:72 scale model kit, produced by F4Models (cat. # 7019), contains resin and photo etched parts to assemble two compete start units.

Here are some photographs of the real thing in action: link, link, link.

26 Mar 2015

Detail Set for StepVan 1970s-1990s USAF Flight Crew Vehicle Model

There is a 1:72 scale plastic kit (Hasegawa # X7207) that contains parts to build a flight crew vehicle frequently seen on USAF air bases as well as on some Naval and Marine Corps Air Stations throughout the 1970s and until the 1990s. Although well moulded, this kit could benefit from additional fine detailing.

Therefore, we present a detail set intended for those who wish to get more from the aforementioned plastic kit. This 1:72 scale resin and photoetched metal set, made by F4Models (cat. # 7030), contains correctly shaped "no mask" wheels, dashboard, finely etched radiator grille and windshield frames, rear view mirrors, windshield wipers and badges.

This detail set is for experienced modelers only, as applying it will require careful removal of certain details from the base kit.

Here is my StepVan built using this set:

For reference purposes, here are some historic photographs that show USAF (linklinklink) and U.S. Navy (link) vans in action.