by Tommy H. Thomason

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Obscureco 1/72 F7U-3/3M Detail Set

 Obscureco Aircraft ( has produced yet another detail set that will be of interest to U.S. Navy airplane modelers, OBS72030. It includes a full cockpit including an early and late ejection seat pan; the top of the fuselage behind the ejection seat including the canopy actuator; the nose gear wheel well; and a refueling probe. It replaces the equivalent "okay" parts provided in the otherwise excellent Fujimi F7U-3 kits with much more accurate and detailed resin ones.

The two-page instructions provide a detailed, step-by-step assembly guide and detailed color information.

Chris Bucholtz

Obscureco is in the process of updating their website so this kit may not yet be listed but it is available to order. The price is $20 plus the shipping cost provided here along with other purchasing information:

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Roden 1/72 North American AJ-1 Savage

 4 August 2022: I've added a post summarizing the configuration of the different AJ Savage canopies here (at this point, the kit has the No 1 canopy that was on a few early AJ-1s):

Totally unexpected, reportedly to be available this coming September:

I got a preview of the instructions and pictures of some of the tooling a month ago. It looks very good: lots of interior detail (and a Mk 4 bomb, around which the Savage was designed). One nit of confusion with the -2 configuration, easily remedied, is the nose landing gear door configuration (I had previously alluded to another one but incorrectly, as it turned out). While you're waiting, here is some reference material to peruse:

More later...

Sunday, April 24, 2022

AD-4 Skyraider Variant - AD-4B

Because of its range, the AD Skyraider would be one of the U.S. Navy's carrier-based airplanes assigned to missions employing nuclear weapons. One of the relatively lightweight ones was the Mk 8. Like Little Boy. which was dropped on Hiroshima, it utilized a gun-type method of creating a supercritical mass by literally firing one non-critical mass, a cylinder, down a steel tube onto another non-critical mass, a post. When the cylinder reached the post, the combined mass was supercritical and exploded.

While relatively inefficient compared to an implosion device like Fat Man, not to mention very heavy (because of the big "gun" barrel) compared to the yield, it was also much less likely to malfunction when used to destroy an underground target like a submarine pen. The Mk 8 could reportedly penetrate 22 feet of reinforced concrete before detonating.



The center pylon and belly of the AD-4 had to be modified for the Mk 8 because its weight, about 3,250 lbs, far exceeded its 2,000 lb design capacity, and its suspension lugs were 30 inches apart compared to the 14 inch distance between the latches on the existing Skyraider center-line bomb rack. Since the two forward spars of the wing weren't far enough apart for the longer rack required, instead of being embedded in the bottom of the fuselage it was located below the AD-4B's belly and housed in a streamlined fairing. In addition to beefing up the structure to which the bomb rack was attached, the modification also included the creation of a recess in the belly to provide clearance for the Mk 8 tail fin.

The recess was closed off by a panel when a Mk 8 was not being carried.

The AD-4B could also carry the Mk 7 nuclear weapon, which was much bigger than the Mk 8 but only half as heavy.

The external center-line pylon was retained for the AD-5 and -6/7.

Thanks to Ed Barthelmes for his help with documentation needed for this post.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Douglas AD-4 Skyraider Variants

 This is a work in progress...

 The AD-4 prototype, BuNo 122853, on 27 September 1949.

I've done a few posts on the AD-4W, the Airborne Early Warning Skyraider:

I've also recommended three softcover monographs on the Skyraider with material of interest to the scale modeler:

This is a summary of AD-4 variants (other than the AD-4W and one or two others that were not produced in quantity) and associated Bureau Numbers:

AD-4: Single-seat conventional attack

AD-4B:  Single-seat special stores (nuclear) attack: added external center pylon and Mk 8 tail fin recess

AD-4L: Winterized with deice boots on wing and empennage leading edge and propeller and windshield anti-icing

AD-4N: Three-place (no dive brakes) all-weather attack, ECM, and ASW

AD-4NA: All-weather mission equipment removed

AD-4NL: AD-4N with winterization

AD-4Q: Two-place radar location and jamming and provisions for target tow

Bureau Numbers

122853 AD-3 (AD-4 prototype)

123771 - 124006 AD-4 (123935 and 123952–124005 to AD-4L; 124006 to AD-5)

124037 - 124075 AD-4Q

124128 - 124156 AD-4N (124760 to AD-4NL)

124725 – 124760 AD-4N (All to AD-4NL)

125707 – 125741 AD-4N

125742 – 125764 AD-4NA

126876 – 127018 AD-4N (Most to AD-4NA)

127844 – 127853 AD-4 (127845-52 AD-4L)

127854 - 127872 AD-4 (127854-60, 127866, 127868-72 to AD-4B)

127873 – 127879 AD-4

127880 – 127920 AD-4N  (Most to AD-4NA)

128917 – 129016 (128937-43 and 71-78 to AD-4B)

132227 – 132391 AD-4B

Skyraider kits other than AD-5 and AD-4W almost all represent the AD-6. The most notable difference between the late AD-4 and the AD-6—other than antennas and similar small details—were the stores pylons. This post illustrates the pylon differences:

Another example of the flush AD-4 center-line store rack is provided here:

The AD-4 configuration also changed during its production run. Most of the improvements were retrofitted to delivered airplanes as well. The two most significant were the addition of another 20 mm cannon in each outer wing panels just outboard of the fold join and "armor". For the latter, see Others included the exhaust glare shield addition, static-pressure source location, antenna changes, and wing-tip navigation light location.

The AD-4 also predated the development of the Douglas high-speed fuel tanks. Some examples of these post-WW II fuel tanks are illustrated here:

Even the single-seat AD-4 had provisions for radar. Some of the different types of radar pods that it and the multi-seat AD-4 attack variants could carry are illustrated here:

 More to follow...

Sunday, February 27, 2022

SUNDOWNER Phantoms by Angelo Romano with Michael Grove

The full title says it all:

It's a good synopsis of 68 pages of text and high-resolution color photos on heavyweight gloss paper.

It also includes a brief history of VF-111 going back to October 1942 when its predecessor, VF-11, was established and the origination of its name and insignia that alluded to its purpose, helping win WW II in the Pacific.

The remainder of the large, landscape-format paperback is devoted to a fairly well detailed, extremely well illustrated history of the squadron's operational history flying the F-4 Phantom. It includes a listing of Bureau Numbers assigned (and summary history), their tail codes and side numbers, large color photos of almost every one at some point in its assignment to the squadron, notable configuration changes, and marking changes over time with closeup pictures of significant ones.

It concludes with a multi-view (top and bottom, left and right side) color illustration of the paint and makings of F-4B BuNo 153019 after its crew had shot down a NVAF MiG-17 on 6 March 1972, including color and marking specifications.

Although billed as a modellers' guide, the text includes a summary history of both the squadron's operations and world events when it was assigned Phantoms.

One picture of a Sundowner F-14 is included along with the promise, "The history of the SUNDOWNERS and the F-14 , from 1978 through 1995, will be the subject of a future book in this series".

For more detail on the configuration differences among the F-4s, see

I urge you to buy this monograph directly from Fly Shop if you can, which benefits Angelo more financially, enabling him to continue to research and produce his excellent books on U.S. naval aviation.