14 Aug 2018

U.S. Navy MD-3 Flight Deck Tractor Model

The MD-3 is a purpose-built flight deck tractor. It saw extensive service on all aircraft carriers and large-deck amphibious ships of the U.S. Navy, starting from as early as 1962 and until the late 1990s. Apart from the aircraft towing and positioning, these vehicles were employed to start up aircraft jet engines. For this purpose many were fitted with gas turbine start units mounted in the rear.

This 1:72 scale model kit, produced by F4Models (cat. # 7008), contains resin and photo etched parts to build one MD-3 tractor. No decal is included.
Notes:
- The MD-3 tractors were seen with at least three different types of the jet aircraft start unit; the kit #7008 includes the type of start unit that was the most common.
- Compared with the older plastic and resin models of the MD-3 tractor, the kit #7008  features the following:
   - Accurately shaped driver's compartment, with correct width (which is 36% of the real vehicle's overall width, whereas the older kits have it at 52% of the overall width), front and real walls.
   - Accurately shaped front and rear wheels (which have twin tires on the real MD-3, whereas the older kits contain single-tire rear wheels).
   - Detailed jet aircraft start unit.
- A small number of MD-3 flight deck tractors were also employed on the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Bonaventure and on the Argentine Navy's Veinticinco de Mayo aircraft carriers.
- Somewhere in the mid 1990s the U.S. Navy started the process of upgrading the venerable MD-3's with a newer version. This new tractor, designated as A/S32A-31A, differed from the original by having wider and slightly raised aft end, wider rear wheels and some other minor improvements. Having a different geometry, the A/S32A-31A variant is not intended to be built from this kit. 
- This kit production is extremely limited. Write directly for ordering.

21 Jun 2018

Detail Set for WC-51 3/4 Ton 4WD Truck

This set (F4Models # 7035) contains metal photo-etched items to detail one WC-51 or WC-52 U.S. Military ¾ ton 4WD truck model.
Notes:
- This is a detail set and not a full kit. It is suitable to detail the 1:72 scale plastic model of the Dodge WC-51 / WC-52 truck produced by Italeri.
- This set is for modellers with experience and high level of skill; do not buy this set if you build your kits "out of the box" and use paint brush to hand-paint them.
- The production run was extremely limited, with only 10 sets produced. Write directly for ordering.
- The key items in this detail set are the radiator grille, the front fenders and the windshield, as the respective kit's plastic parts are unrealistically thick. Other small items are also included, such as the steering wheel, rear bumpers, jerry can holder and rearview mirrors. As this set is mainly intended for aircraft diorama builders and not for AFV modellers, it does not contain options to detail the items that, according to available historic photographs, were not used on airfield utility vehicles. In particular, the set contains no items to detail the crew weapons and respective holders / mounts.
- When building the Italeri model (as well as it's predecessors), do not forget to alter the suspension and drivetrain parts to lower the ground clearance, as the kit's parts, if used "out of the box", will give the model a totally unrealistic "big foot" appearance.

25 May 2017

U.S. Navy NC-5A Mobile Power Unit Model

The NC-5A is land-based vehicle designed to provide external electric power to aircraft for pre-flight or maintenance purposes. It saw service on the U.S. Navy Air Stations and Marine Corps Air Stations from the mid-1950s until the mid-1970s. Within this period, the NC-5A was employed to service all types of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft of the Navy and Marine Corps.

This 1:72 scale model kit, produced by F4Models (cat. # 7024), contains resin parts, photo-etched parts and decals. It includes an option allowing to open up the rear compartment that houses power cables and is visible when the vehicle is powering up an aircraft.
For reference purposes, here are some historical photographs that show the NC-5A in action: photophotophotophoto.
Notes:
 - The Navy and Marine Corps NC-5As were used as power units; they did not tow aircraft or ground support equipment.
 - This vehicle is a land-based equipment, but in a few isolated cases NC-5As were seen on aircraft carrier decks (e.g. during flight test programs).
 - The MA-1 mobile power unit employed by the U.S. Air Force is substantially different from the Navy's NC-5A and is not intended to be built from this kit.
 - This kit is for modellers with experience and high level of skill; do not buy this kit if you build your kits "out of the box" and use paint brush to hand-paint them.

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.
Note that this kit is for modellers with experience and high level of skill; do not buy this kit if you build your kits "out of the box" and use paint brush to hand-paint them.
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 Willys MB ¼ ton 4WD truck model.
Important notes:
 - This is a 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.
- This set is for modellers with experience and high level of skill; do not buy this set if you build your kits "out of the box" and use paint brush to hand-paint them.

Assembly instructions:

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.
 - This kit is for modellers with experience and high level of skill; do not buy this kit if you build your kits "out of the box" and use paint brush to hand-paint them.