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.