Jet Planes from
1950s to 2000s
(Placeholder image until I post something here)
My interest in model aircraft extends from the wood, canvas and wire biplanes of World War One, through the aluminum alloy fighters and bombers of World War Two, to the state-of-the-art Air Domination jets of the present. Below, you can see models of some of the jet-engined aircraft I've built, by manufacturers such as Tamiya and Hobbyboss.
USAF N/AW A-10 Thunderbolt II (1979)
Fairchild Republic N/AW A-10A prototype (Google)
Fairchild Republic designed and manufactured the A-10A Thunderbolt II (better known as the Warthog) in the 1970s. One A-10A was converted by Fairchild into a prototype two-seat N/AW A-10A (Night/Adverse Weather), in an attempt to interest the USAF in an all-weather/night capable version of the otherwise daytime-only A-10A. The USAF decided to go with the two-seat F-15E Strike Eagle instead, and eventually A-10As were equipped with GPS and inertial navigation aids, FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) targeting pods and night vision goggles for the pilots, to achieve night/adverse weather capabilities. The sole N/AW A-10A was used for testing until it was eventually put on display at Edwards Air Force Base. (Squadron/Signal; DeMaio)
Trumpeter N/AW A-10A modified to represent projected A-10B if it had been ordered
This Trumpeter kit depicted the sole N/AW A-10A aircraft as it appeared during its flight testing in 1979. In the early 1980s, I started a feeble conversion of a Monogram A-10A into an N/AW A-10A, but was limited by my novice scratchbuilding skills and the challenge of the required two-seat canopy. In about 2016 or so, this Trumpeter kit became available and I started it with great enthusiasm. However, dissatisfaction with the sparsity of both surface detail and cockpit detail, along with a sense that something was off about the scribing of the canopy framing, caused the model to languish on the Shelf of Forgotten Models.
However, eventually several factors combined to resurrect interest in the project. First, I bought a set of Wolfpak decals for modern TAC aircraft that included an A-10A in FS 36118 Gunship Grey, the color the N/AW A10-A was painted. Second, Hasegawa released several accessory sets of USAF state-of-the-art precision-guided bombs. Third, I bought a book called Modern Air-Launched Weapons, which contained illustrations of said high tech bombs arrayed on A-10s. And last, I remembered an old reference booklet I had owned for about forty years on the A-10, by Robert DeMaio, that mentioned and illustrated the proposed alterations to the two-seat N/AW A-10A prototype, had the A-10B been ordered by the USAF, including a clam-shell canopy over the two crewmen; see below:
Illustration from Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II by Robert DeMaio, 1981
Armed with all this input, I decided to build the Trumpeter kit as if the USAF had ordered the A-10B: I sanded off the too-massive canopy scribing and polished the canopy in preparation of masking for the clamshell canopy. I hijacked the Wolfpak decals for the Gunship Grey A-10A, imagining this USAF unit could have operated the A-10B just as easily. I selected from the Hasegawa bombs and missiles kits the mix of weapons designated for an "infrastructure strike", according to the Modern Air-Launched Weapons book. And I added the extensions to the landing gear/wheel sponsons, per the DeMaio book, for the terrain-following radar in the left sponson, and the FLIR/laser targeting designator on the right sponson.
The Trumpeter kit was very easy to build, since it was designed to be assembled and painted in a Trumpeter factory, to be sold as a ready-built model. Shortcuts in the kit's design for the ready-built market made for incomplete or inaccurate details; I added or changed what I could and lived with what I couldn't or wouldn't fix. I added resin ejection seats by Tru-Details, a turned brass GAU-8 Avenger cannon muzzle by Master Model and resin engine intakes by QuickBoost. Some other details were borrowed from a spare Hasegawa kit of an A-10A. Most of the paint was Testors Model Master, lightened with flat white for scale effect, with Humbrol paint for some of the details. The decals were the afore-mentioned Wolfpak decals, which gave me a lot of trouble with silvering, despite the use of a heavy gloss coat of Future Acrylic Floor Finish, plus various decal preps, solvents and mediums. Flat finish was Testors Clear Flat Lacquer.
Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images.