A few words about the kit
At first glance, the Academy Kit wins you over…
Nice and thin to scale panel lines and parts, a thin and clear canopy in four parts but a very poor cockpit with only the essentials… The decals are very good with markings for two aircraft, US Air Force and US Marine Corps, both from the Vietnam War.
The dominant feature of the aircraft is the cockpit and its huge canopy with everything being visible, even in the closed position. I decided from the beginning to have the canopy in the open position, so super detailing of the cockpit was essential.
Based on the kits’ parts, I improved the seats, instrument panels and consoles and added all electronics and wiring from scratch.
Another part of the aircraft worth highlighting was the cargo bay in the aft part of the fuselage; therefore I did cut away the aft section of the fuselage and shaped the inner spaces, side walls, floor and upper part using styrene. Having done so much so far, it would be a shame not to build one of the engines, therefore I removed one of the panels and recreated the engine using styrene parts and copper wire.
I decided to represent a USAF aircraft operating with the 20th TASS in the Danang area in South Vietnam in 1970, s/n 67-14640. This was a allover gray airplane with white wings, following the standard Air Force and Navy “camouflage” of the time. I used Air Vallejo paints, #71046 Pale Blue Gray and #71001 White. For weathering I mixed Mars Black with Raw Umber oil paints for the gray areas and a mix of Mars Black and Titanium White for the distinctive weathering of the white wings.
The model was placed on a base representing an airfield apron. I used DAS clay spread with a rolling pin on the wooded base, formed with a synthetic sponge. I painted it with various acrylic gray colors and weathered it with oil washes. As a final touch up, I highlighted different part with Titanium White oil.
It was a demanding construction so that this small model becomes as accurate a representation of the real as possible with a relatively easy painting and particularly discreet weathering.
An enjoyable construction until the end …
Build and text: Stamatis Anthis
Translation: George Roumbos