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.

26 Feb 2015

Correction Set for NC-2A & NC-8A U.S. Navy Mobile Power Unit Model Kits

There is a 1:72 scale resin kit (Verlinden # 2584) that contains parts to build two U.S. Navy support vehicles: NC-2A carrier-based mobile electrical power unit and NC-8A land-based power unit seen on Naval and Marine Corps Air Stations. Although well moulded, this kit has a number of substantial inaccuracies. These are highlighted in a review article that can be found here.

Therefore, we present a correction set that is intended to rectify most of the problems of the aforementioned resin kit. This 1:72 scale photoetched metal set, made by F4Models (cat. # 7032), contains correctly shaped front and rear panels for both NC-2A and NC-8A vehicles plus fine mesh radiator grilles, dashboards, steering wheels, tie down rings and other tiny details. For the NC-8A model, some interior parts are also included, allowing to open up a rear compartment that houses cable reels and is visible when the vehicle is actually powering up an aircraft.

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

Here are my NC-8A and NC-2A models built using this set:



Also, here are some historical notes on those vehicles in service with the USN and the USMC. First, it must be noted that neither vehicle is a tractor; they are not designed to tow aircraft. Then, diorama builders should remember that the NC-8 units are for land bases only and do not go to sea on carriers, whereas the NC-2 units are, vice versa, strictly carrier-based. Finally, one should always take the time frame into account. Both types have been in service since the early 1970s and until the end of the century; they are in active service no longer. NC-2A's replacement on carrier decks, the new A/M37A-3, although similar in appearance, has a number of substantial external differences – see the diagram below. One should not therefore place an NC-2A model along, say, a present-day Super Hornet.


For reference purposes, here are some historic photographs that show NC-2A (linklink) and NC-8A (linklink) mobile power units in action. Also, here one can see a picture of a Hellenic Air Force NC-8A in active service as late as 2007.