26 Dec 2013

Royal Navy 1990s-2010s Flight Deck Tractor Model

The original purpose-built 4WD/4WS flight deck tractor first saw service on the Royal Navy's Audacious class carriers in the late 1960s. It went through a number of modernizations, changing in appearance. This particular model kit represents the last incarnation of the tractor, in service on flight decks since the 1990s and until the mid-2010s.

The 1:72 scale model kit is produced by F4Models (cat. # 7005) and includes resin and photo etched parts, decal and instruction sheet. The set also contains parts for building a standard Royal Navy tow bar.
On a flight deck diorama this tractor can accompany your 1:72  Sea Harrier FA2, Harrier GR7 / GR9, Sea King, Lynx or Merlin.
Here are some "in action" photographs (link, link) and a diagram that explains the evolution of this particular type of flight deck tractor:

19 Nov 2013

USAF & U.S. Navy 1950s Utility Pickup Truck Model

This type of pickup truck was in service with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy throughout the 1950s. It was used for various utility roles mostly on the Continental U.S. air bases.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7020). The kit contains resin, photo etched and clear parts. Decals are provided for three versions: USAF, U.S. Navy and civilian.
Some photographs of the real vehicles: U.S. NavyUSAFCivilian 1, Civilian 2.

10 Nov 2013

Royal Navy 1970s Flight Deck Tractor Model

This purpose-built 4WD/4WS flight deck tractor saw service on the Royal Navy's Audacious class carriers (HMS Eagle and HMS Ark Royal) as well as on HMS Hermes since the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7022). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet. Parts for building a tow bar that was in use by the Royal Navy since the 1970s till the present day are enclosed as well.

This tractor can accompany your 1:72 Scimitar, Sea Vixen, Gannet, Buccaneer, Phantom FG1, Wessex  or Sea King.
Some photographs of the real vehicles in action: linklinklink.

3 Nov 2013

U.S. Navy A/S32A-31A Flight Deck Tractor Model

The A/S-32A-31A flight deck tractor was in service on all U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and amphibious ships between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s, including Kitty Hawk, Enterprise and Nimitz class carriers as well as Whidbey Island, Harpers Ferry, Austin, Tarawa, Wasp and San Antonio class amphibious ships. On aircraft carriers this type of tractor was typically equipped with a gas turbine unit for starting jet aircraft engines. 

This 1:72 scale model kit representing the current A/S32A-31A tractor is from F4Models (cat. # 7002). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet. Parts are provided to assemble the tractor with or without the starter unit (two variants of the starter unit are offered).
Note that the assembled kit on the photographs above contains an inaccuracy: in reality the driver's cutout should be slightly narrower. The resin parts have been corrected since, and the kit content photograph (see below) shows the correct driver seat layout.
Here are some photographs of this type of tractor in action: linklinklinklink.

Externally the A/S-32A-31A tractor differs from the older MD-3 (in use since the 1960s through the 1990s) by wider rear fenders, slightly raised rear deck, different wheels and, starting from the mid-2000s, a totally new start unit.
Apart from the U.S. Navy carriers and amphibious ships, the older MD-3 tractors have been in services on the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Bonaventure and on the Argentine Navy's Veinticinco de Mayo.

28 Oct 2013

U.S. Navy A/S32A-32A Hangar Deck Tractor Model

The A/S32A-32A tractor is specially designed to tow, turn and position aircraft in confined spaces of hangar decks and elevators. The vehicle is currently in active service on all US Navy aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships (Tarawa and Wasp classes).

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7004). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet. When building a diorama, note that these tractors do not tow aircraft on the flight deck and do not normally venture onto the flight deck at all. They tractors move airplanes and helicopters through the hangar, bring them to elevator platforms and then push them from there to the flight deck, where they are taken over by flight deck tractors (such as the A/S32A-31A tractor).

Here are some photographs of the this type of tractor in action: linklinklink.

The A/S32A-32A hangar deck tractor is actually an upgraded version of the SD-2 design that first came to serve with the U.S. Navy in the early 1960s. Key external differences between the original version and the modern one include the towing arm actuators and drives, dashboard and side panels.

27 Oct 2013

French, Italian & Brazilian Navy Flight Deck Tractor Model

These French aircraft tow tractors first saw service on the decks of Clemenceau and Foch aircraft carriers of the French Navy in the early 1960s. When Foch was sold to Brazil, her compliment of tractors went along with the carrier, renamed São Paulo in the Brazilian Navy. The tractors were in use on São Paulo in the early 2000s. A small number of these tractors was supplied to Italy for service on the Italian Navy's Giuseppe Garibaldi aircraft carrier in the 1990s and the early 2000s.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7012). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet. On a diorama this vehicle may accompany such Marine Nationale aircraft as Alize, Etendard / Super Etendard and F-8 Crusader, as well as Alouette and Super Frelon helicopters. When modelling the São Paulo's deck, the tractor would fit well along Brazilian Skyhawk jets, Cougar and Sea King helicopters. It can even be matched to an Argentinean S-2 Turbo Tracker as those visit the Brazilian carrier from time to time.
Some photographs of this type of tractor in action: in French Navy servicein Brazilian Navy service, in Italian Navy service.

26 Oct 2013

Royal Navy 1960s Heavy Flight Deck Tractor Model

This type of flight deck tractor was derived from an industrial / airport tow vehicle. It first saw service with the Royal Navy in 1960 on HMS Victorious (R38) but was swiftly phased out late in the decade and replaced with a new purpose-built 4WD tractor.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7009). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet. The model will fit nicely into a Royal Navy carrier deck diorama accompanying Gannets, Scimitars, Sea Vixens or Buccaneers. A 1:48 scale kit of the same tractor is also available (cat. # 4001).
Some photographs that show this type of tractor in action: linklink.

25 Oct 2013

U.S. Navy NC-1A Aircraft Start Unit Model

NC-1A is a dedicated aircraft start unit designed for service on carrier decks. Derived from the commercial light 4x4 truck (Willys CJ-3A), this vehicle is essentially a compact platform housing an electrical generator. The front drive wheels were fixed, while the small twin castor wheels at the rear pivoted, facilitating excellent maneuvrability.
NC-1A vehicles served on all aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy (including Essex / Oriskany, Midway and Forrestal / Kitty Hawk classes) from the early 1950s until the late 1960s. Within this period, the NC-1A 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 is from F4Models (cat. # 7006). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet.


Some photographs that show this vehicle in action: linklinklinklinklinklinklink.

24 Oct 2013

Royal Australian Navy Flight Deck Tractor Model

This type of flight deck tractor was in service on the Royal Australian Navy's aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne, since the late 1960s and until her decommissioning in 1982.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7010). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet. On a diorama this vehicle may accompany such RAN aircraft as A-4 Skyhawk and S-2 Tracker, as well as Wessex and Sea King helicopters. 

23 Oct 2013

Soviet / Russian Navy Flight Deck Tractor Model

These tractors, known as project 3913, were specially designed for towing and maneuvering aircraft on the aircraft-carrying cruisers of the Soviet Navy. They entered service on the Kiev class ships in the mid 1970s and later continued to serve on the Admiral Kuznetsov.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7003). The kit contains resin parts, clear parts, photo etched parts, decal and instruction sheet. On a diorama this vehicle may accompany such aircraft as Yak-38, Su-33, Su-25UTG as well as Kamov helicopters (Ka-25, Ka-27 and Ka-31).

U.S. Navy BNO-40 Flight Deck Tractor Model

This type of tractor was first used by the U.S. Navy in 1943 to tow and position airplanes on the busy flight decks of the aircraft carriers. These ubiquitous vehicles served on all USN carriers, including CVs, CVLs and CVEs.
By the mid-1950s, after seeing through both the World War II and the Korean war, these tractors were replaced on the U.S. carriers by newer types, while a number of them went to work for the French Navy along with their mother ships that became R96 La Fayette (ex USS Langley) and R97 Bois Belleau (ex USS Belleau Wood).

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7007). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet.
Here are some photographs of this type of tractor in action: linklinklink.

22 Oct 2013

U.S. Navy MD-1 Flight Deck Tractor Model

MD-1 flight deck tractors entered service with the U.S. Navy in the mid 1950s. Apart from the aircraft towing and positioning, they were employed to start up aircraft jet engines. For this purpose many were fitted with gas turbine start units mounted on the platform in the rear. MD-1 tractors served on Essex / Oriskany class, Midway class and Forrestal / Kitty Hawk class carriers of the U.S. Navy until mid 1960s. They have also been employed on the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Bonaventure and on the Brazilian Navy's Minas Gerais carriers.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7001). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts that allow for several different options: with or without the starter unit; different front grille; arrangement of the ballast weights. Decal and instruction sheet are included.

A model of this tractor will fit nicely into a U.S. Navy carrier deck diorama. In particular, when such aircraft as F3H Demon, F4D Skyray, FJ-4 Fury, F9F-8 Cougar, F11F Tiger, early Skyhawks and Skywarriors were in service, the MD-1 was the only type of shipboard tow tractor.
Here are some photographs of this type of flight deck tractor in action: linklinklinklinklinklinklink.