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1/32 ERA-3B Skywarrior - 3D printed / scratchbuilt


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I am sadly stuck with my MH-53E at the moment - I haven't found a source selling litho plate for a reasonable price over here in Europe (buying it in the US would mean very high shipping cost), so I have to build something else.


The choice fell upon the project which lost out to the MH-53E when I had to decide what to built earlier this year: an ERA-3B Skywarrior. I have a soft spot for electronic warfare aircraft and esoteric subjects, so the ERA-3B is just perfect as only 8 of them were built (converted from RA-3B). Two of them had the late CLE wing (BuNo 146446 and 146447); the idea is to build one of these 2 in the early configuration with the long canoe under the fuselage. 




I have printed the main components last year already. It's quite a big beast. It's basically an A-3B, so several changes are necessary to convert it into an ERA-3B. 



The A-3B is a "bomber" whilst the ERA-3B is based on the RA-3B, which is a so-called "version". There are several differences such as thicker canopy framing, different main wheels, no bomb bay, different APU exhausts and the entry hatch being located closer to the front landing gear bay on the versions.  


Here you can see the re-located opening for the entry hatch.



The nose profile was modified as the nose of the CAD file was too pointed. One of the APU exhausts was already installed as well.





The cockpit has to be built from scratch. I have made a cut to insert the bulkhead between the cockpit and the ECM operator compartment which is located in the former camera bay. 



The typical tail extension was drawn in CAD and 3D printed. There were at least three differently shaped tails, this one being the "early" version. It contained a chaff dispenser. 





The ERA-3B carried ALQ-76 pods which were also used by the EA-6A Intruder. Whilst externally similar to the ALQ-99 carried by the EA-6B, it is completely different in shape and overall dimensions. Luckily, Angelo Romano's excallent book on the Electronic Aggressor Squadrons provided the dimensions to enable me to draw the pod in CAD. More details will be added before it'll be printed; I'll probably use Eduard's PE parts for the heat sink radiators, just like Rich did in his excellent EA-6A conversion thread. 



The canoe was drawn and printed as well; it initially was too short but has been lengthened in the meantime. 



That's where I am at the moment; I hope this one continue to run smoothly - I'd love to finish this one until end of 2020 which would mean a new record for me. We'll see! 





Edited by Starfighter
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Oá meu amigo Ben! Tudo bem no seu outono europeu? Aqui tudo tranquilo no Brasil, não falemos de política kkkk.

Parabéns pelo nova empreitada, gosto muito do EA-6B prowler, enho um scratch dele aqui para terminar faz uns anos, quem sabe recomeço em breve?...

Estarei te acompanhando nesse seu novo trabalho!

Grande abraço do se amigo aqui do Brasil.

Hercules de Araujo

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Brilliant subject matter choice Ben...and you're off to a flying start! The Skywarrior is a nostalgic favorite of mine. I grew up near the Alameda Naval Air Station during the 1970s and 80s - lots of "Whale watching" to be had back then. :)


Like all of your other projects, this one I’ll be following closely.




(edited for grammar)

Edited by allthumbs
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