|EA-6B Prowler VAQ-131 Lancers Last Cruise USS Constellation CV-64 by Jose Ignacio Hernandez|
|Modeler:||Jose Ignacio Hernandez|
I started the assembly of this fantastic aircraft in late 2006. The only model that was available then was Monogram's kit, at 1/48 scale. I have built an ICAP-II Block 89, so there's a great difference in antennae and equipment compared with the ICAP-I from the kit. I have finally spent 19 months building the plane and the elevator section.
After searching and searching for information and books of all possible editorials, I venture to say that I have five wonderful books that have given me the necessary information for building and detailing this aircraft, apart from that great source of information, internet. I also used reference books devoted to the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, which show excellent photos of routine life aboard these huge ships. I downloaded various pictures such as radar and several “routine life” photos aboard these ships from the U.S. Navy.
I used Cutting Edge Modelworks correction set, and some few parts from Eduard's Exterior Detail Set for Kinetic's kit, which recently appeared to market.
I used lots of plasticard, round, squared and I-Beams Evergreen sections, and a Flightpath Detail Set, US Navy Carrier Deck Detail Set. I used Aires cockpit set, very well casted and detailed.
I erased the raised lines from the kit and engraved them in the correct position, apart of scratch-building avionics compartments, birdcage, radar, hook, RAT, shaping the radome correctly and extra-detailing some other interest parts.
After 12 months of continuous work of cutting, sanding, engraving lines and performing scratched various detail pieces I decided to take it to one side and dedicated to "change of scenery." I built two big new exhibitors for my finished models.
Today, January the 7th 2012, the whole scene is inside one of my exhibitors.
I want to thank one of the crew of this same plane, Electronic Countermeasures Officer Number 1 (ECMO 1, sitting beside the pilot), Lt. Col. Jerry Burns, (he was Lieutenant then) call-radio "Smallboy", whom I met via email by chance and that could provide me with valuable information of pilot's nicknames, squadron colours and emblems, etc.
I'd like to thank here to Italian modeler Girolamo Lorusso, who unconditionally helped me with some photo.
And finally, I want to thank enormously to another American modeler, to whom I met in www.carrierbuilders.net, Scott David Oram, who could solve some doubts about the elevator of the USS Constellation CV-64 on which rests this plane and crew.
As I said before, I have used several detail sets, apart of some scratch-built pieces. I started with the wings, correcting lines and engraving new ones. I scratch-built the RAT (Ram Air Turbine), which is mostly opened on land.
I built the Birdcage (EEP) too, as I wanted to show a high-detailed plane. with some plasticard and Evergreen sections. As I built this last equipment, I had to do the same with rear fuselage avionics too, as it could be possibly be seen. Again, some rod, copper wire and patience were used here.
I rebuilt the radome, as it was completely wrong. It was too short, so I had to glue plastic sections and fill the holes later with Andrea's two components sculpt. Once dry, I sanded with 1500 and 2000 grit files. Later, I emptied the interior with a drill.
As the radome was "opened", I scratch-built the whole radar too.
Rear cockpit avionics compartment was scratch-built too, as front ones below the cockpit. I rebuilt the left crew access ladder and built completely from nothing the right side one.
I used Paragon Design's wing fold set too, casted in a very good quality resin full of details.
I completely scratch-built the arrestor hook too with some Evergreen rod, H-beam and plasticard sections. I only used the hook itself from Monogram's kit.
I had a trouble once the kit was ready for priming. The tail was twisted and i could not do nothing to solve the problem. So I purchased Kinetic's kit and used the tail. I cut Monogram's one with a diamond disc. Once I glued Kinetic's one, I glued and leveled surfaces.
I used Cutting Edge Intake nozzles, as the ones from the kit are really too short. Fitting them was a little difficult, as there as no space to fit the front wheel well.
I used Kinetic's AGM-88 missile and detailed fins, as they are too thicker. I used electronic pods too, as they were really well detailed.
Once I had every detail ready, I airbrushed Tamiya's white primer and painted the plane with TPS camouflage. I used Gunze's colours, as they're really fine and matched-colours.
The decoration showed in this aircraft was mostly airbrushed. I purchased CAM Decals 48-090A and Super Scale Decals 48-1167, both relating VAQ-131 Lancers, but the only decals I could use were squadron and carrier prints (placed on the rear fusejage). I had to mask fuselage and tail to paint the squadron emblems, lines and tailcode. I used yellow H329 FS13538 and H328 blue FS15050.
I finally used Raw Umber and Oxide Black oils to weather the aircraft.
The construction of the elevator took me about 3 weeks. I purchased scale drawings at Floating Drydock and scaled the few usable measures I could. I scaled some high quality pictures and built a section from elevator number 1 from USS Constellation CV-64. I used 1 mm thick plasticard, 4.0 and 9.5 mm I-Beams and 0.5 * 3.2 mm Evergreen.
I simulated the wrinkle anti-slip texture with polyester putty and 0.5 mm zimmerit blades. The Tie downs belong to Flightpath US carrier deck set.
I built the railing with 2.0 mm rod. The twisted 0,6 mm wire is from Aber.
Tow bar and chain slings belong to Flightpath's same detailing set.
If you want to see a more detailed and explained article, you can visit my website, www.indetailmodeling.com
This scene will be uploaded very soon.
Thanks for looking, and Happy Modeling!!
Jose Ignacio Hernandez
Photos and text © 2012 by Jose Ignacio Hernandez
January 7, 2012