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Wolfpack Phantom - 8th TFW F-4C


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John here is a nice head on view of the front seater:




and a rather used pylon under a clean and looks like freshly painted wing:




note panel 238 is a different shade compared to the rest of the pylon.



Edited by Finn
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Been slowly plugging away on this build.   Decided to take a detour and work on the ordinance for a bit.    As mentioned previously, the Videoaviation M117 750 lb bombs are very, very nice (and very reasonably priced).   My only gripe is that first, they don't supply decals for the yellow nose band and second, the decals they do supply are identical in performance to the ones I used from Brassin on their 1,000lb bomb set for my P-47D build.   What that means is that the second the decal touches the resin, it's there forever.   All the water, setting solution, etc in the world isn't going to get the decal to move, so take your time, get it lined up perfectly and they quickly slide it off into it's exact position.  You've been warned.   I had two decals pretty much get ruined.  I was able to salvage small bits only.   Normally that would be an issue but since 5 of the bombs are going on the MER on the centerline, I can pretty much find a way to ensure that those bombs are positioned with little or no direct visibility.   I also decided to provide the two forward bombs on the MER and the single bomb on the inner wing pylon TER with "daisy cutter" fuse extenders.   Here's a picture that illustrates these extenders nicely, albeit with Mk82's.  Note the red-ish bands that secure the hollow tube that the arming wire runs through.  



Here's a similar shot, this time with an M117, albeit on an F-100.   Note the filthy pylon as well. 



Note also the scruffy condition of the bomb above.   As I've mentioned in all my other builds, the vast majority of bombs in WW2 through cold war conflicts were simply stored in outdoor bomb dumbs, exposed to rain, mud and general mishandling.   The only exceptions were the tail fin assemblies which were protected to ensure none of the fins were bent.    Personal quirk of mine is seeing a model of a fantastically weathered combat aircraft with immaculate bombs hanging off it.  Here's another shot that nicely illustrates the difference between the grungy bomb casing and the tailfin assembly.  Also note the absolutely filthy, flying dumpster behind the bomb.   I don't think any jet got dirtier than those early Huns in Vietnam.   Maybe a subject for a future build?



Anyway, enough of my spiel, here is where I am at with my bombs.


Note that the holes in the top will be covered when the bombs are mounted, as will the termination of the safety wires.  Also note the sloppy paintwork around those wires.  Nothing highlights bad painting more than seeing your work in pictures.   I'll get that cleaned up. I actually found pictures of bombs with crappily painted yellow nose bands so I'm leaving those alone. 

Weathering of the bomb casing was a mix of multiple shades of OD, I also used SAC bomber green here and there.   Next up was dry brushing with lighter colors, I added some scratches and dings (I think I'll go back and add some more after reviewing these pics), topped it off with pastels.   


Need to reposition the safety wire on the nose of one of those bombs. 





The fuse extenders are only pressed in place right now.  Figured I might have to make some minute adjustments once I get everything installed on the racks.



As I see things, the 5 bombs on the MER will be only partially visible.  Only the one on the wing mounted TER will be fully on display.   Therefore, I can cull the herd and put the ones that I'm least happy with on the MER and leave the nicest looking example for under the wing.    Depending on how the lower bomb on the MER looks, I may opt to just have 4 bombs on the centerline MER and put another one on the TER.   I've seen pictures of both loadouts. 


Anyway, that's it for tonight. Sorry for the long-winded post and thanks as always for checking in. 


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John for the arming wires on bombs it was best to have them as straight as possible from the fuze to the arming solenoid on the bomb rack, in other words from one end to the other end, any bends or kinks could result in the wire breaking so the fuze would not arm and the bomb would not go boom. At the 4:55 mark in this video you can see M-117s being fuzed on a A-7A:




although the arming vane on the outboard bomb's fuze is not at the ideal 12 o'clock position the arming wire goes straight to it, the whole wire is an angle. In the photos above the bomb in the middle is correct, the other two need to be changed, the wire would be straight from the forward lug hole to the closest arming vane without any bends in the wire.



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On 7/20/2022 at 2:11 AM, Finn said:

Although a Navy AIM-9B it still shows the smudge marks on it from being handled:




the aircrew are looking at the target detector, the black area on the left.




Great picture Jari.  That gave me the urge to spend some time on the AIM-9's.    The kit ones are crap (plus they are the wrong version).   I picked up the Brassin AIM-9B's and AIM-7E's on sale at Sprue Brothers.    Spent today on the Sidewinders.   The detail on the Brassin ones is quite impressive.   Best of all, they come with a full set of decals.    I haven't done any weathering and looking at the picture above closely, I already see somethings I need to touch up / add, including the metallic circles at the forward fin attachment points.    I'll get the touchup work done but here is where I'm currently at:








This build will only require 2 AIM-9's so once I'm done, I'll cull the herd and select the two that look the best.    That's it for now, thanks for checking in. 



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Looking good John, one detail missing is the umbilical for the seeker:




when the missile is loaded it's barely visible. Here is a AIM-9D/H about to be loaded, note the front fairing of the LAU-7 is open which makes it easier the connect the umbilical:




and here is a video of early Sidewinders being loaded on AERO3 launchers at the 3:55 mark but the principle is the same, just not dayglo orange:






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Thanks for the great pictures and the video Finn.   Not too worried about the umbilical, it won't show on the loaded AIM-9's and the others two are just going into the spares box.  I always wondered how the umbilical connected to the rail, that video was very informative. 


As mentioned, I did some touchups on the Sidewinders, then used a black wash to highlight a few panel lines   No weathering per se, these missiles were downloaded between missions and seemed to stay pretty clean. 





Next up were the AIM-7's.   The Brassin Sparrows are fantastic.   Nice decals and very detailed.    Unlike the Sidewinders, the AIM-7's got pretty grungy.   Note the filthy motor sections in this picture.  Also note the odd font used for the missile's serial number.   Fundekals was thoughtful enough to provide a wide selection of these numbers in their decal sheet.   Another example of how focused they are on the small details. 



The radomes also got pretty grimy as well.  408th Munitions Maintenance Squadron (MMS) Missile Shop (tripod.com)


I noted during the build process that these early Sparrows had a range of markings.   Some missiles only had the yellow and brown stripes (indicated a live warhead and live rocket motor respectively), others also had the black stripes as well, per the pic above.   Some had the serial numbers on the nose, some didn't.   I decided I liked the extra black stripes.  They weren't included in the Brassin decal sheet, so I made them from scrap decal material.   I added some weathering to the motor section and seeker head, plus a few scrapes to the missile bodies.  Also scraped up the control fins.   These were often seen lying on the ground when the missiles were being loaded and I've seen some with a few scratches.   I'm honestly not sure I like this look or not.   I may clean these up a bit.   


So here are my AIM-7's. 







Never realized how massive these missiles were until I saw them in 32nd scale.  An impressive weapon for sure, however in SEA, during the early phases of the war, they had a horrible kill ratio.   A lot of that was due to poor tactics, especially the requirement to get within visual range before engaging a target.   Later in the war, the Sparrow got upgraded to the AIM-7E-2 version, known as the "Dogfight Sparrow" due to it's enhanced maneuverability.   That upgrade, along with new (classified) hardware that allowed US pilots to ID the bad guys from well outside of visual range, finally allowed the AIM-7 to show what it could do.   In the last year of the war, the Sparrow was credited with more kills than the Sidewinder and 20mm cannon combined.   This was the start of the modern way of A2A combat for the US - kill the bad guy from long range before he even knows you are there.  


Anyway, that's it for now, thanks for looking. 


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Another brief update.    On the AIM-7's, I've decided to tone down the scratches on the fins.   I think I went a bit heavy on the weathering.   


Speaking of weathering, I'm plugging away on two of the dirtiest parts of the jet - the main landing gear assemblies.  Between grease from lubricating the various linkages, hydraulic drizzles, greasy handed mechanics and copious amounts of brake dust, these things got pretty nasty.   Even in peacetime, on operational jets, the gear was somewhat grubby but in war time, with a high mission tempo and the jets sitting out in 100-degree sun or tropical monsoon downpours, it was very unlikely that the hard-working wrenches would spend much time keeping the landing gear clean.    Here's a nicely maintained example but you can still see various bits of grime and brake dust on the wheel hub and tire itself.




Here is where I'm currently at.   



So I think I'm going to dial back a bit of weathering on the tie-down rings at minimum   The hubs will remain as is.   The brakes generate massive amounts of heat and soot, so I think this area will remain untouched, aside from a bit of clean up on the tires (brake dust is simply brick-colored pastels, brushed on).   I'll circle back with an update once they are cleaned up and installed. 


On an unrelated note - if anyone has some good, detailed pictures of the early AIM-9 rails that didn't have the "spacers" to move them further out from the pylons, please feel free to share.   The early jets had the rails fixed directly against the pylons, which prohibited any ordinance from being carried.   Later on, a mod was introduced to add spacers to move the rails outwards.    Here is a nice picture that shows the early mounting, courtesy of the Fundekals instructions.  Note that the rails were  also angled downwards a bit 



That's it for now, happy Friday folks. 


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John the only thing i've found so far is this drawing from a F-4 Armament manual, if you look at the top pylon it almost seems that it has smaller spacers, more like washers where the launcher would go:





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Those hubs are perfect. And I wouldn’t change anything else. Just remember this was the height of the air war and it was all about max sortie generation, so you know how abused the planes were.


As for the Sparrow upgrades, look up Project Teaball it was declassified a few years ago (last decade). The US exploited the Soviet IFF and could query it and ID friend from foe, thus meeting the strict ROE. As an aside one of the reasons for that ROE, was because the Vietnamese had dual use airfields in Hanoi. MiGs or airliners could be launching. Specifically the International Control Commission (ICC) which was the group that was supposed to be enforcing the 1954 Geneva agreements after the French, was flying ancient Boeing 307s from Laos, Cambodia and Hanoi…and the US was desperate to not shoot them down in the midst of the raging air battles.  There are stories of the flight crews and stews quitting after just 1 flight due to being targeted by both the Vietnamese AND the US all in the same flight. I can only imagine…


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