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    WWII, Vietnam-era U.S. Jets, Post-Vietnam to Present Day U.S. Jets

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  1. "Thanks Alfonso! Yes the fight for the inside is almost done, the fight for the outside is about to begin " Very Churchillian outlook. I love it.
  2. An apple. Deftly lifted from the chow hall early, early that morning.
  3. Nice! I don't have the Daco book; but I do have some references I can send you that show the access seams on the radome, as well as the exposed portion of the IRST. Basically a parallel cylinder housing, with a mirror-coated glass ball to house/protect the IR sensor which gimbals under the mirrored glass portion. I'll send you my contact info via direct message and I can send you some photos, etc. Cheers! Chris
  4. Can't wait to see this blue AT-38 parked next to Timmy!'s Shaguar...
  5. Mathieu - Meant to ask you earlier: notice in the color shots above of BuNo '1506 / Modex 200 (in the 'early' VF-84 scheme), it is equipped with the actual IRST sensor in the chin fairing on the radome; then on the B&W shot, in the later version of the VF-84 markings (black tail), it has the "short" dummy cap on the chin fairing. The common plastic molding on virtually every F-4B/C model (except maybe the 1960's version of the 1/72 Airfix kit) has the "long" APR-25 antenna cap on the chin fairing, including the 1/32 Tamiya kit. Are you planning to model the IRST sensor on your Tamiya model? I would really love to see someone catch that detail and bring it out on their model... Love how your model is going so far, enjoying watching it. Cheers! Chris
  6. Peter: you’re right-on about the CQ aspect of this photo. There are other shots from this series out there in the ether, and all of the VF-84 jets have their main gear doors removed… The missing gear doors was one of the first things I spotted first time I saw this picture a few years ago…asked on the Facebook Phantom forum if anyone had background. A former Navy Phantom pilot from that early era said the thin/high-pressure tires on the As and early Bs regularly burst during repeated CQ cycles; and the exploding tire debris damaged the gear doors. Easy fix was to just remove the doors during CQs. This guy followed up that McDonnell eventually sourced better quality tire sidewalls that didn’t explode on every hard landing and the phenomenon went away within a year or so after the first squadrons had deployed with Phantoms. That’s the most believable answer I think I’ve ever seen from a Facebook crowd… Cheers! Chris
  7. Thanks Tony - I think that adds clarity to a minimally-documented history...does that mean that the chin and fin cap antennas, when paired with the four quadrant nose antennas, were all part of the APS-107, and *not* APR-26 (or APR-25, depending on source) in the chin and fin cap; with the APS-107 in addition to that, as two non-integrated systems adjacent to each other? Since the APR-27 blade antenna was still present on the underside, just ahead of the nose gear door, I assume that was still an additional SAM guidance warning source... Like I said, the available literature on this is sparse, conflicting, and contradictory, since the Air Force and Navy were fairly desperate to solve the radar threat, and they seemed to be racing various manufacturers' systems to the field at nearly simultaneous times; then dropping some systems very quickly for "the next development" within months of fielding "the last thing."
  8. Chek: Only know that at the time of this photo, Miss Carriage was an F-4D in factory camouflage and stenciling; assigned to the 480 TFS, 366 TFW Gunfighters at Da Nang, ca. '68-'69. But I do not know the tail code, tail number, or serial number. The 366 TFW at Da Nang still had individual tail codes for their aircraft in '68-'69, so a 480 TFS jet would have a tail code of C __ Additionally, back to John's question: the little black "dart" antennas on the four quadrants around the radome were part of the APS-107 installation. Similar to the F-105D/F/G employment, the APS-107 was supposed to provide more accurate directional SAM and AAA radar warning than the previous APR-25/26 systems could. Also note, it seems that different direction-finding systems used the same antennas...so the F-105s may not have had APS-107 installations...their system development may have been different, and may have been more reliable than what the F-4D community experienced. The history of all these RHAW systems, their nomenclature, and their associated antennas is very incomplete and contradictory. The best information is found on 20-year-old chat boards among the guys that flew and maintained these systems at the time. The APS-107 system performance on the F-4D was inconsistent and easily prone to broken cables to render it completely inoperative, so crews quickly stopped using it. The Air Force began removing those dart-shaped antennas ca. 1970; and on many Ds, you could see the dart-shaped mounting plates throughout the rest of their service life. Since F-4Ds were blasting out of the production line at McDonnell Douglas without any RHAW installed at all (and all the early blocks of F-4Ds rolled off the production line with "slick"/chinless radomes and clean fin caps on their vertical tails), nearly all F-4Ds headed for SEA had to go through the mod line at the Hill AFB, UT depot to get these three RHAW systems installed (APR-26, APR-27, and APS-107). All the initial F-4Ds that arrived at Ubon in May-June 1967 had these APS-107 antennas; and the APR-26 installation on the F-4D differed from the F-4C with the addition of a "pre-amp" or low-noise amplifier, which created the small hump on the aft side of the RHAW antenna fairing. The forward antenna cap on the F-4D was identical to that on the F-4C with the APR-25 RHAW forward antenna installed; the only difference was the new pre-amp hump on the aft side (seen in this photo, above). Meanwhile, the F-4Ds assigned to wings *not* involved in SEA combat operations across PACAF, USAFE, and TAC, kept their slick radomes for several years, and I think that by the time most of those aircraft received RHAW upgrades, the APS-107 implementation was already over, so many of those airframes never had the dart/diamond-shaped antennas installed. <Interestingly, I've only seen one photo of a slick-nosed F-4D flying combat missions in SEA, and it was a 389 TFS aircraft assigned to Phu Cat in South Vietnam in '69. Every other photo I've seen of F-4Ds in SEA service had the RHAW chin/fin cap antennas or both the chin antenna and the four APS-107 antennas.> EDIT: After more research on this single photo of an "HB" tail coded F-4D, I've figured out that the book caption is wrong, and instead of a 389 TFS slick-nosed F-4D at Phu Cat in 1969, it is instead a TAC-badged, blue-fin cap, 7 TFS slick-nosed F-4D with full-color 7 TFS Bunnyap crest on the intake, taken at Holloman AFB, NM, ca. 1969, and not deployed or assigned to Phu Cat at all. And, yes, for some strange reason, PACAF's 389 TFS/37 TFW at Phu Cat flew with the HB tail code at the *exact same time* as TAC's 7 TFS/49TFW flew with the HB tail code from Holloman. So, now I'm back to my standing position, that I have never seen a photo of an F-4D in SEA combat service without the RHAW antennas on the radome and fin cap; and the vast majority also had the APS-107 antennas on the nose, until they were removed (ca. 1970). I have seen many photos of slick-radome F-4Ds departing Hickam AFB, HI, while supposedly deploying to "West Pac" during the 1968-'69 period; but I don't know that those aircraft flew combat missions from Thailand or South Vietnam without the various RHAW mods. Notice, I'm not asserting there were *never* any slick-nosed F-4Ds in SEA; just that I have never seen a photo of one...even the Seymour Johnson 4 TFW jets had the full radome, fin cap, and APS-107 dart antennas for their deployment to South Korea in 1969. Hope that helps. Cheers, Chris
  9. Dave - Just doing a cursory, drive-by comparison with images of 36315 on a Google search, the Zotz rendition of the "Ding Hao!" looks much closer to the original article in letter size, stroke (width for each portion of the letters), and spacing among the characters. I think Mark's suggestion to cut paper scans as a mock up is a great idea to verify size/position/proportions on the model's nose, itself, etc. Also, the CAM national insignia are way off in proportion, whereas the Zotz national insignia are in textbook proportion. I would not use the CAM national insignia for any application. The CAM national insignia designers appear to have had a common difficulty interpreting the proportions of U.S. National Insignia, in that many profile illustrators, artists, and now decal manufacturers can't wrap their head around how the star sits on a disc, and the disc and bars together, have a proportioned surround. Too many illustrators try to make the star points "touch" the outside of the surround, and can't get the proportions correct by doing that...All the proportions are set by the radius of the central disc (and all five star points "touch" the edges of this inner disc). The white bars should be 1x radius long by 1/2 radius high; upper edge of the bar aligned with the horizontal points of the star (the radius of the blue disc encroaches on the white bar dimension, below the horizontal star points)...and there is a blue border 1/8 the disc radius, that encompasses the entire disc and bars...since the disc and border are both insignia blue, there isn't a defining outline to the border, and I think that's where many of these illustrators and designers run into problems. As a post-script, the red bar added to the insignia after January 14, 1947, has a measured proportion of 1/6 of the radius, effectively dividing the white bar into thirds, with the red bar in the middle. Regards, Chris Mayer
  10. "Hi, I'm Snort," is how he introduced himself to me one day not that long ago. We were in the Draken hangar in Lakeland, Florida, and Snort had just flown one of their former Kiwi A-4Ks back from Nellis for a periodic phase inspection...Of course I knew who he was; I knew all about him, but had never met him. He was as matter-of-fact and down to earth as all the cliches. But he was different, and in the best ways. I suppose I absorb news like this similarly to how other people react to the news their favorite pop star has died suddenly...but I'm just snobbish enough to think that it isn't the same thing. I'd gotten to see Snort's F-86 airshow routine, and had long known of his legendary status in Navair history. I'm not sure legend adequately covers it. It's a gut punch and simultaneously a comfort that he was in an airplane, doing what he naturally did his entire adult life. Fair winds and following seas, amigo.
  11. Hi John - I know it's a lot of "unknowns" for the nose/radome configuration on the actual Bolo flight. Note that even the standard radome with the IR sensor fairing (aka the donkey dick), prior to the APR-25 RHAW installation, was fitted with a short, dummy (empty) IR-sensor cap, which was 2"-3" shorter than what became the standard RHAW antenna fairing for all USAF Cs and Ds after 1967. When the RHAW was installed, that round cap was an extended version of the factory blank cap installed where the Navy IR sensor was meant to be mounted. Jennings's first illustration, "B," has the short cap (and a smooth vertical tail surface above the rudder); while the later, "Aug '67" illustration "L" from your earlier post, has the longer RHAW cap, as well as the acorn antenna above the rudder on the trailing edge of the vertical tail. We really have no way of knowing how 7589 was configured on 2 Jan 67, during the Bolo mission. It reasonably could have been any one of those three nose radome options. The 8 TFW seems to have been using "slick" radomes without the IR sensor fairing as temporary replacements for aircraft that needed their original radome repaired or replaced; and potentially while the primary radome was getting fitted with the APR-25 RHAW antennas. Any photo on one day showing a slick nose could have been instantly out-of-date on the next day, when the radome was replaced with the new RHAW system...it seems that those configurations were changing that fast. When looking at August '67, however, those configurations were more stable, and nearly every F-4C in Thailand and Vietnam (Cam Ranh Bay and Da Nang) had been fitted with the RHAW radome by then, as well as the USAF-standard "curved" inboard pylons with the MAU-12 munitions rack. Note also that by Aug '67, the 8 TFW was quickly re-equipping its squadrons with F-4Ds, and the remaining C-model airframes were shuffling through the 497 and 433 TFS (the last two squadrons to convert to the D) and getting transferred to the 12 TFW at Cam Ranh Bay, or back to stateside units. I think by late Nov/early Dec '67, all the Wolfpack's C-models had been transferred out, and they had established four squadrons with F-4Ds: the 555 TFS, 435 TFS, 497 TFS, and the 433 TFS. The 12 TFW at Cam Ranh Bay, tasked primarily with CAS missions within South Vietnam (and later, interdiction missions over Laos and Cambodia), stayed equipped with F-4Cs through at least 1970, while the 366 TFW Gunfighters at Da Nang re-equipped with F-4Ds at the same time the 8 TFW Wolfpack did, at Ubon.
  12. John - I've had the same issue trying to find good color references with enough resolution to be helpful. I think your best bet is some low-res color shots for references to color details; and some higher-res B&W shots I've found for shapes and details...I'm on travel and can't load any photos right now; but I can next week. Alternatively, I can exchange some digital pictures with some commentary on colors, etc. via PMs and e-mail... The short version is that the parachute pack for the H5 is a soft-shell with a uniform forest green color while the chute risers/shoulder restraints combo are the typical sage green/blue color like the later H7 with the hardshell. The parachute pack retaining strap (forms the 'V' shape coming out of the middle of the soft parachute pack) is silvery-white nylon strapping that routes to the upper aft seat frame; and then forward and around the front of the "headrest" portion, which has a tan/light brown leather patch just under the face curtain D-rings...that brown headrest patch is over-sized in real-life, and overlaps the chute pack on the bottom side, and the face curtain box assembly on the top. The D-rings should be a very faded yellow/dark gray (weathered/faded) rather than stark yellow/black; and the lap belt should be the same silvery-white as the chute retaining strap...the survival kit belts should have green anodized aluminum buckles with sage green/blue straps (matching the parachute risers/shoulder restraints). A good color reference are the famous photos of Robin Olds in the cockpit of 0829, looking up at the camera, and the other color shots of him standing in front of the nose of 0829. I have some better resolution B&W shots from Martin Baker and from crew photos of the guys at Cam Ranh Bay, posing in one of their jets, that shows good details of the upper sections of the seats, including the layout of the straps and belts... Hope that helps as a start...be glad to fill-in with photos when I get back to my cave. Best, Chris
  13. Hi Brad - I'm not formally one "of the people at Fundekals," but I did help Jennings with the research for that sheet as well as the aircraft profiles and information within the accompanying instruction manual. Based on your question, I re-looked at that B&W photo of 63-7683 you point out on p. 13; and while I do see the tonal difference in both stabilizer tips and the overall color of the underside of the stabs, I stand by our judgment that '7683 in particular, and most of the pre-Block 25 F-4Cs in the 8 TFW during 1966-1967 had white bellies. In this particular photo, if you look at the light tones of the undersides of the wings and aft fuselage, you can easily see that the underside of the wings matches the tonal qualities of the (white) underwing stores pylons (the inboard pylons are still the original white, Navy-style LAU-17 missile rails) the (white) AIM-7s in the forward wells, as well as the (white) centerline tank. Additionally, you can see light reflections on the undersurface of the wings consistent with a gloss finish including reflections of light due to a low sun angle from the pylons themselves on the surface of the wing. Also prominent on the lower-aft fuselage are the red turbine stripes (look just behind the aft-most high-drag Mk-82 fin on the port outboard MER), which were not typically masked or re-painted on aircraft with the FS36622 flat gray applied on the lower surfaces. Further, the low-sun angle may be catching the very tip of the starboard stab, and that could account for the apparent brighter, white tone. Notice how the low-sun angle highlights just the tip of the port wing? The right stab tip might also be just below a shadow line: hard to tell with the B&W halftone and resolution of the reproduction. [Edit: the more I look at this photo, this is exactly what I think is going on: the right stab tip is just below a shadow line and is lit-up by the low sun angle and looks much brighter than the rest of the stab. I'm not even sure if '7683 has the white stab tips seen on other MacSorley images...but I'm keeping the rest of my thoughts in this response as a more in-depth explanation of the white-bellied Phantom era in SEA.] As for the tonal differences of the lower surface of the stabs in comparison to the stab-tips: We don't know if the "white tips" were masked when the camouflage was applied (not very likely -- recall that the upper side of the stabs were also gloss white, with the factory-applied LGG and white scheme), or if crew chiefs painted the white tips later (more likely); in which case the white tips would likely be a "different" variation of white paint, not to mention that those white tips would be much fresher than the ca. 1964 factory white paint applied to the undersurface of the airplane. Also realize that the underside "Gloss White" FS17875 on the Navy/early-USAF scheme was still an "off-white." So, even a fresh coat of FS17875 would have a tonal difference from a stark white paint color. But in this case, you are also looking through 2-3 years of J-79 soot, leaked hydraulic fluid, jet fuel, and other air pollutants on the underside of these aircraft. The influence of J-79 smoke and soot alone would easily explain the tonal differences of the inner sections of the stabilator undersides and the tips. Early Phantoms in the Vietnam era produced huge volumes of engine smoke and soot; much more than updated Phantom engines in the 80s, 90s, and modern era. And, throughout any "era" of F-4 service, it is common to see many hues of red, brown, and black smudges along the lower-aft fuselage, aft portions of the wings, and the stabs from the many fluid leaks through those panel lines and flight controls, as well as the smoke and soot build-up on the fuselage and stabs aft of the jet nozzles. I don't doubt that by spring 1967, as the SEA Theater F-4 depot line built up momentum at the Air Asia facility in Taiwan, that there were F-4Cs returning to the three main theater operating bases (Ubon, Cam Ranh Bay, and Da Nang) with freshly painted gray 36622 bellies, but this photo of '7683 in late 1966 or early 1967 shows a well-used and dirty, original gloss white underside. HTH, Chris Mayer
  14. "...it looks overscale here..." Well, to be fair, the prop looks overscale on the 1:1 version as well. This build is just wonderful to watch. I admit to not having much previous knowledge about the Fury; but learning about this beautiful little Golden Age and Pre-war wonder through your build has been a thrill! My largest take-away on the lines of the machine: you can really see the family lineage from Fury to Hurricane. Especially the vertical stab, the cockpit area to the cowling, and that two-bladed wooden prop looks just like the prototype Hurri. Brilliant work, Peter, and a pure joy to watch. Thank you for sharing it all. Best, Chris
  15. I don't have measurements for the -8/-15 short cans (those used on the F-4B/N, C/D, RF-4C and early RF-4B); but I was able to measure the diameters of some -17s (USAF F-4E), both while mounted on the aircraft, and while stored on the engine trolley; and both a fully closed nozzle (as it would be in mil power while in flight), and fully open, as they were most often while shut down/parked. EDIT: To clarify, these measurements from a J79-GE-17 apply to the -10, as well, so the data is good for the entire F-4E/EJ/F/USAF G as well as the J/S and late RF-4B (with -10 motors) and RF-4E series of airframes. Straight measurements in inches: Length of the -17 augmenter petal (turkey feathers), from the edge of silver mounting trim to the end of the petal (fully open nozzle*): 26" [1/32 scale = 13/16" or 20.65mm] Base of the Augmenter (diameter): 38" [1/32 scale = 1 3/16" or 30.18mm] Diameter of the fully open augmenter (straight across the open petals at the aft end of the can): 37" [1/32 scale = 1 5/32" or 29.35mm] Diameter of fully closed nozzle (engine resting on maintenance trolley): 29.75" [1/32 scale = .9297" or 23.50mm] Diameter of metal mounting trim (thin metal ring around the augmenter nozzle): 38.25" (basically a 1/8" gap around the augmenter) [1/32 scale = 1.195" or 30.36mm] Width of the metal trim midway down the augmenter: 2 5/8" (from the camouflage skin to the augmenter); note: this applies to -10/-17 type aircraft only [1/32 scale = .082" or 2.08mm] Length of the engine bay vent (4x metal vents at the top of the engine mounting trim): 4 7/8" [1/32 scale = .152" or 3.87mm] Measurement accuracy: with an assistant to manage all the tools, I used sections of 2x4 and a level to extend the baselines from the top/bottom of the mounted engines to get a straight diameter for the base of the augmenter; could be off a 1/4' here or there. But the measurements for the open-end of the augmenter are accurate within 1/32 of an inch, as I was able to pull the tape measure directly across the open augmenter petals (outside to outside measurement), without any contortions or obstructions. Even so, I wish I had a 6-foot caliper micrometer... I also took measurements of the intake along with the fixed and variable ramps; but the values I got are the same or very close to the measurements I've seen posted by Derek and Ian from their work on the F-4J (UK), so I haven't added those to the forum (all J-79 Phantom intakes and fuselages should have the same measurements and contours). * - Also a word about the length of the augmenter petal: I didn't measure the "length" of an open vs. closed augmenter (I wish I had); I merely measured the length of an individual petal (26") which will be the same length whether the augmenter is open or closed...what would also be useful, would be the distance from the metal trim, to the end of the augmenter when it is fully open, and fully closed...I imagine the fully open dimension would be just a hair under 26", since the petals are not quite perpendicular to the mounting ring when fully open, and the closed distance would probably be somewhere close to 23"-24", as the nozzle closes into a tight, conical shape. Hope this helps. I don't have a Tamiya F-4 to measure...and I've always read, "the Tamiya Nozzles are horribly undersized...." But looking at photos of the great builds I've seen on this site and elsewhere, I've also wondered if the Tamiya nozzles were actually too small in diameter, or if their aft fuselage was too fat. Over time, however, I'm now convinced both are true: their nozzles are too small and the aft fuselage is also too large. Good Hunting! Chris
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