by Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Warpaint Series No. 99: McDonnell F3H Demon

From a detailed and illustrated Britmodeller review HERE

Tony Buttler, a well-known and prolific author, has written an excellent, well-illustrated monograph on the less-appreciated McDonnell F3H Demon. It is a very complete history in 48 pages plus softcover. There are lots of photographs, many in color, of the XF3H-1 prototypes, the J40-powered F3H-1N, and the J71-powered F3H-2 variants. Several pages of color profiles are provided as well as well as a large multi-view drawing at the centerfold. The paper quality is more than adequate for good reproduction of all the illustrations. See the link above for details.

Since this book deserves to be the cornerstone print reference, if not the only one, for the F3H in some libraries, I feel obligated to correct a few misstatements. First, the F3H wing did not have anhedral (page 22); see I'm all but certain that the first Sparrow missile firings by a deployed squadron were accomplished by a VX-4 detachment of F7U-3Ms on Shangri-La in early 1957, not VF-64 F3Hs in December 1958 (page 35). A really minor correction is that the drawing of the F3H-2M is shown with the short beaver tail in the centerfold; all were built with the longer one and I doubt that any were retrofitted.

I'm pretty sure that the lineup of F3Hs on page 17 are four of the six involved in the Fleet Introduction Program described in the text with side numbers 10 through 15. Note that these, as well as some other early production Demons, have small, blue, government-furnished AERO pylons on the wings as the changeover to gray/white exterior paint had just occurred.

An oddity not mentioned or illustrated was one of the attempts at providing self-boarding (no separate ladder) on these big jets that set so nose high. See and

No photos or illustrations of the cockpit are provided. For the F3H-1N cockpit layout, see For very complete coverage of a restored cockpit on the F3H at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, see Don Hinton's photographs here: (I suspect that the instrument panel was really dark gull gray with black instruments before the restoration; see for a picture of the cockpit of a different F3H, Intrepid's, during a restoration.)

For details on the Sparrow I (F3H-2M) and Sparrow III (F3H-2), see

Minor omissions and errors like these do not materially detract from the value of this book to the naval aviation enthusiast. I am very pleased to have been provided a copy by Tony.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cyber-Hobby SH-3H In-box Review by Jodie Peeler

Courtesy Sprue Brothers, Arguably the Best Online Hobby Retailer

Jodie Peeler previously provided this blog with a detailed build review of the Cyber-Hobby SH-3D: see

Herewith her in-box review of the newly released Cyber-Hobby SH-3H kit:

Hi Tommy,

Since we've talked Sea Kings every now and then, over the weekend I
bought the SH-3H issue of the Cyber-Hobby Sea King. The new parts trees
in the kit include not only the new sponsons and some other needed
components for the SH-3H, but also include the operators' consoles, ADF
fairing and other necessities for any SH-3. These parts appear nice
enough to satisfy, and I think the shape of the -3H sponsons is also
decent, though I haven't compared them to drawings yet.

The rest of the kit looks identical to the other SH-3 issues and even
includes the teardrop-shaped sponsons for earlier Sea Kings (since those
parts are molded with some parts you'll need regardless), so this means
the -3H kit becomes the one a builder will want for any SH-3 project.

Unfortunately, numerous inaccuracies remain: no doghouse aft of the
transmission hump, no accurate sling seats for the aft cabin, and still
the holes and slots and electronics box on the fuselage that you must
either remove or leave off, etc. The decal sheet gives an effort at four
hi-vis schemes but looks kind of cartoonish.

That said, unless Airfix's forthcoming new-tool Sea Kings eventually get
into American variants (or at least get close enough to convert), the
Cyber-Hobby kit may be our best hope.


For background on the SH-3 configurations, see:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Things Under Wings: AN/APS-4

Many Navy carrier-based dive and torpedo bombers in late World War II and for a few years after carried a white pod, the AN/APS-4 radar, on a bomb rack under the wing. (For a summary of underwing radars of this type, see It is sometimes mistaken for a drop tank.

Larry Webster of The Quonset Air Museum (see recently provided me an excellent drawing of the AN/APS-4:

In case you can't read the dimensions, the diameter is 17 1/8 inches and the length, 60 13/32 inches.

Larry also hosted me on a visit to the Museum, where I took these pictures of an AN/APS-4 on the wing of a Grumman TBM.

Note that it a more streamlined fairing aft of the strongback than the earlier pod.

Most of the exterior of the pod was a removable forward and aft shell for access to the electronics and radar antenna. An adapter was therefore required to attach the pod to a standard two-hook bomb rack, in this case a Mk 51 Mod 12. (Note that the adapter pictured is somewhat different from the one in the three-view.) A large wire bundle also had to incorporated that resembled a fuel line.