Fuerza Aerea Argentina
is an M model but with the cockpit of an F. It is not a good base to build an
A-4AR because the windshield and canopy have the wrong shape. Thinking that this
problem was too difficult to overcome, I then proceeded to turn it into a B
model. Of course, I gave my friends another reason for them to say that I am
C-214 (BU number 142109) was one of the 50 A-Bs purchased by the Argentine Air Force in 1966. It arrived in October 1966 painted in silver with large roundels and flags. These planes had several modifications requested by the AAF, including spoilers on the wings, thus becoming A-4 Ps for the Americans. Nevertheless, in Argentina they are called B so I will keep on using this denomination.
the conflict for the Malvinas (Falklands) started in April 1982, the plane was
flown from the peacetime base in the V Brigada Aerea (Air Brigade) in Villa
Reynolds, San Luis to the BAM Rio Gallegos in the Patagonia.
identify the planes during the air actions, yellow bands were painted on the
wings and tail.
time elapsed from April 2nd till May 1st was used by the
pilots to get ready and fight in an environment they had never been trained:
aero naval warfare. In 1969 it had been decided that the war in the sea and
above it was the exclusivity of the Navy and it’s air arm. As a consequence,
the Air Force pilots lacked the training and armament for this kind of action.
first recorded action of C-214 happened when the British Task Force commenced
the landings in San Carlos waters.
1189: Code name MULA
1st Lt. Cachon
ships in the Estrecho de San Carlos (Falklands Sound)
4 planes flew high during the inwards leg, refueled (Cachon’s plane could not
do so due to a mechanical failure and had to return to base) and then descended
to sea level. While approaching the West coast of Gran Malvina (West Falkland)
they found that clouds covered the ground so they had to alter their course and
fly to their right, on a slightly Southern direction. While scanning the air for
Harriers, Rinke informed Carballo that one of his external fuel tanks was not
transferring to the main ones but that he still wanted to continue the mission.
The leader commanded his wingman to return to base because he might not have
enough fuel to return to base. Rinke insisted.
time Rinke obeyed. After passing the Hornby mounts the two remaining Skyhawks
turned East until they found the Sound and then flew to the West coast of Isla
Soledad (East Falkland) where they turned North towards San Carlos bay. Shortly
afterwards, Carmona told his leader that there was a large white transport ship
in one of the bays and they turned towards it. As there was not anti aircraft
fire or reaction from the ship, Carballo did not drop his bomb and ordered his
wingman not to do it but it was a fraction of a second too late and Carmona had
already dropped his (British accounts say that this ship was in fact the
Argentine transport ship Rio Carcarana that had been previously damaged by the
Task Force but the Air Force maintains that this incident happened further North
from Rey Bay where this ship was located).
no more offensive armament left, Carmona was ordered to return to their base by
Carballo, who kept on flying North until he found HMS Ardent and faced the anti
aircraft artillery alone (the only pilot of the Air Force who flew in a mission
alone two times facing enemy ships during the conflict). He dropped his bomb
when the frigate was covering his windshield and then stood his plane on his
right wing to pass between two of the antennas of the ship. While watching it on
his way out, HMS Ardent fired her gun and the shell fell 100 mts. behind
Carballo’s plane. Instants later, the ship was covered with smoke and pieces
of structure splashed on the sea. Captain West of HMS Ardent says that Carballo
dropped two bombs, one falling short and the other one long. But Carballo’s
plane was only carrying one 1000 lb bomb so if the account is true, then the
bomb bounced before the ship and then sunk in the water after flying above it.
As per the “explosion” on the ship, it has not been explained by the British
sources (a Sea Cat? The bomb actually going off?)
4 planes returned safely to base and HMS Ardent was later sunk by the Daggers of
the Air Force and the Skyhawks of the Navy.
1203, second mission of the day for C-214. Code name: MATE
planes flew from the South to the North of the San Carlos sound but the Task
Force had left that area and was hiding inside San Carlos Bay.
This, added to the fact that it was almost nightfall, prevented the
pilots from seeing any target and return to base without entering in combat.
23rd: OF 1208. Code Name: TEJO
1st Lt. Filippini
the return due to mechanical failures of C-231, the LANZAs joined TEJOs and
early in the morning flew in the San Carlos area without finding any target.
24th. O.F. 1224. Code name: NENE
1st Lt. Sanchez
was one of the oldest members of the V Brigada (the other 2 being Zini and
Douburg) and was initially left in the Brigada but insisted on joining the rest
of the pilots and when he finally succeeded, he started to argue to get a place
in one of the Flights. Him, being one of the ones who decided who would
participate in the missions, was not supposed to fly in one but on this date he
managed to take part in his first one, something he would never regret because,
as he later said, it meant that the 16 years of training had finally come to
refueling from the KC-130s, the leader of the CHISPAs (O.F.1223) lost his bombs
when he connected his armament panel; the two other planes of this Flight (Alf.
Moroni in C-226 and Lt. Cervera in C-215) joined the NENEs.
again low over the sea and with the sun ahead, he mistook some rocks with a ship
and started his bomb run but then he realized his mistake. His flight plan took
them West of Puerto Argentino (Port Stanley) and from there they had to turn
Norwest to attack from an unexpected direction. When his timer told him that
they should be on the target, they were still flying above ground so he thought
that they had made a mistake during the navigation. But suddenly, after passing
a mount, he found himself facing at least 9 British ships in San Carlos Bay.
“There they are!”
ship and soldier were firing at the 5 planes. The pilots could listen the enemy
guns. Immediately ahead of him he had one large light grey transport ship and a
frigate parallel to his course. He first thought of attacking the war ship but
then changed his mind because the transport ship was closer and was bigger. This
second it took him to make his decision meant that Roca passed him attacking the
same ship. Mariel’s plane shuddered when the central station with the bomb was
hit by enemy fire. He could see Roca’s guns firing and making a trail on the
water, his bomb falling short before the ship. As a consequence, Mariel waited a
fraction of a second more before dropping his. Two missiles flew below Roca’s
plane, narrowly missing it. After his attack, Mariel again dived to sea level
and turned left, climbing the mounts of the South side of the bay and thus
hiding from enemy fire.
plane has been hit but still flies”
on, come on! Silence on the radio”.
was important to keep quiet to avoid being detected.
radio broke on the return leg and Mariel did not know who had made it but he
found two of his wingmen above San Carlos Sound. At least 3 were coming back.
Here they crossed some Daggers on their way to the beachhead.
got very happy when approaching the base and learnt that the 5 were there. With
only 600 lb of fuel remaining, he landed. As a memento, one of the armament
experts gave Mariel the cable that is connected to the bomb before it is
result of the attack was, according to the FAA, hits on RFA Sir Lancelot and Sir
Galahad. Hobson claims that they only achieved a near miss to Fort Austin.
Every May 24th, all the 5 pilots and their families have a barbecue in Mariel’s house to celebrate the success of their mission and the fact that they are still alive.
1236. Code name: VULCANO
is the Argentine National Day and during the morning HMS Coventry and HMS
Broadsword, as radar picket operating some miles North of Borbon (Peeble)
Island, had shot down two Skyhawks (Capt. Palaver of Grupo 5 and Capt. Garcia of
Grupo 4, both acting commanders of their Squadrons) that were returning to the
continent flying high as they had been hit during attacks to San Carlos and were
loosing fuel. The Air Force decided to end this threat (the “64 (Type 42 +
Type 22) combination” as Admiral Woodward called it) and sent two waves of 3
refueling and finding that his vision was somehow impaired by the sea salt stuck
to his front (oval) windshield, Carballo decided to continue flying above the
water not to crash against any ground obstacle. The Tactic Controller told them
that a CAP of Harriers was to the South of them and flying in their direction
(Lt. Com Thomas in XZ496 and Lt Smith in XZ459). Realizing that he would get to
the target before the enemy fighters were able to get into firing position,
Carballo decided to continue with his mission. Carballo spotted the ships in the
horizon where they were supposed to be and called Rinke to the attack. Worried
that they were going to be exposed to the defenses for a long time (from the
coast to the ships), Carballo accelerated as much as his plane could.
girls, I have them in sight! Viva la Patria (long life our Homeland)! Full
(throttle)! To the one behind!”.
moment they started flying over the water, the ships started firing at them. The
CAP was called off because the missiles that the British were about to fire
could shoot them down.
one shall we attack?”
“Let’s go to the one behind because she is less defended”.
was Broadsword. The Sea Wolf system could not get a lock on them because the
planes were difficult to detect with the island behind them and then it shut
itself off, leaving the ships undefended during this critical moment. After
passing the British defensive gunfire they arrived to the calm waters just
before the ships. As his windshield was covered in salt, Carballo released his
bomb when the ship was covering his whole vision. The leader’s 1000 lb bomb
bounced on the sea and while going up in the air it hit the hull, breaching the
flight deck and removing the nose of the Sea Lynx parked on it. It then fell to
the sea on the other side without exploding. The bomb of C-214 missed the
you passed, #2?”
sir, I have you in sight and I am behind you”.
ships kept on firing at them and shrapnel hit C-225 under the right wing.
later they heard the leader of the ZEUS (1st Lt. Velasco in C-212 and
Alf. Barrionuevo in C-207) saying that they could not find the ships. Carballo
marked gave them a reference.
”There they are, right on our left”.
and Carballo, while getting away in a gentle turn and now not being challenged,
could see the attack of the next Section.
had stopped and was smoking. Coventry turned around and when facing the planes
fired a Sea Dart that missed.
missile, look at the missile!”.
Broadsword had acquired the attacking planes and was about to fire a couple of
the very effective Sea Wolves, Coventry got in the way and shielded the planes.
The leader dropped his 3 bombs.
you passed, #2?”
sir, you hit it perfectly, it was a CL-42, I was able to see her clearly, I
almost hit one of the radomes, I saw your bombs hit the hull and the other ship
has black smoke coming from the water line”.
that moment, the four pilots started to shout excitedly until the Tactic
controller called them to silence.
divide the attention of the CAPs, they returned separated. C-214’s speedometer
broke and Carballo was able to find his wingman and they formed. While checking
the status of Rinke’s plane, Carballo spotted a condensation trail following
them. Assuming it was a Harrier, they dove into the clouds below them.
were getting close to their base.
the National Day, with the strip in sight.
We are all coming back with the mission accomplished”.
I never thought that a landing strip would be so beautiful. Let’s make a
fly-past above it”.
you nuts? We escaped from the British and you want our own guns to shoot us
must be remembered that 2 Argentine planes were shot down in two separate
incidents by friendly fire over the islands)
So they proceeded to land immediately. The 4 planes made it back to their base. HMS Coventry sunk in 30 minutes with the loss of 19 of her crew as the bombs exploded inside her, below the CIC. HMS Broadsword was damaged but was able to return to operations 5 days later.
1254 and 1258. Code name: CUNA & NENE
C-204: Capt. Varela
C-225: Vicecomodoro Dubourg
refueling from KC-130 SALTA 2, they arrived to Ruiz Puente Bay in very bad
weather and were unable to locate the ship that they were to attack. They all
returned to Rio Gallegos.
Sometime around these days, the yellow bands were over painted with dark brown.
1281: Code Name: PUNO
1st Lt. Berrier
1st Lt. Bolzan
searched the area of San Julian bay without finding a ship that was seen on an
air picket mission. It was an uneventful mission.
1282. Code Name: TRUENO
target this time was Mount Kent, where a concentration of British troops had
been spotted. The attack was going to take place from high altitude, the bombs
to be released when Puerto Argentino’s (Stanley) ground control (guided by the
radar of the Air Force based in that town) would tell them. Nevertheless, only 1
minute and a half before this moment, they were ordered to abort the attack
because a ship had been detected on their route, with the risk of being shot
down by Sea Darts. The TRUENOs returned to Rio Gallegos without further
8th, The “Royal Navy’s darkest Day” of the campaign (according
to British sources).
1289, Code name: DOGO
1st Lt. Filippini
the temperatures where too low by now in the continent, Autiero’s refueling
probe was frozen, as it was Filippini’s and Carballo’s. Therefore, Lt.
Cachon of the MASTINs in C-222 took the lead for the first time
them to Glory. Attack with 3 planes first followed by the other two 1 minute
5 planes formed with the 3 MASTINs ahead, followed by the remaining 2 DOGOs.
flew skimming the waves, turning North after leaving the Southern entrance of
San Carlos sound behind. After passing close to Darwin, already in British
hands, Cachon ordered them to speed up. Close to Fitz Roy they flew inside a
storm for 30 seconds and when the exited it they could not find their target, 2
transport ships unloading troops and equipment. The crossed the path of two
different British helicopters and hid of them behind some mounts. Troops on the
ground started to fire at them but they could not see the ships in Fitz Roy bay.
A SAM flew ahead of them. Cachon decided to fly 30 seconds more and then turn
back home on a Southern heading. In the middle of the turn:
ships are there!”.
steeply to their left, they faced the ships that were anchored close to the
coast. The bombs of the leader of the MASTINs hit RFA Sir Galahad and it caught
fire with the loss of at least 50 lives, the bombs of Rinke missed the ship but
then exploded in the middle of the troops and vehicles that had were on the
coast. Seeing that the crane of Sir Galahad was falling down like a house of
turn to attack the other ship”.
again 3 bombs hit the ship (RFA Sir Tristam).
5 planes returned safely to Rio Gallegos. Sir Galahad was so damaged that the
British sank it, while Sir Tristam had to be towed on floaters back to Great
Britain, where it took 3 years to make it seaworthy again.
a side note, HMS Plymouth was sent to give protection after the disaster, only
to be attacked by 5 Daggers of Grupo 6, hit by 5 bombs and left out of action
for the rest of the conflict. One landing craft from RFA Fearless was found by 4
more Skyhawks of Grupo 5 and sunk with the loss of more lives, this attack being
the only one that the Air Force paid dearly that day, as 3 of the planes were
shot down by Sea Harriers that at last were protecting the beach head. In
summary, all 4 vessels that took part in the landing were sunk or seriously
damaged, for the loss of 3 pilots out of the18 planes that were directly
involved in the air to sea actions that day.
was the last action C-214 took part during the war. She took part in 3 of the 4
actions where the Grupo V sunk enemy ships. All the pilots that flew her
survived the war, except for Bolzan, shot down and killed on June 8th
at Bluff Cove / Bahia Agradable. Carballo was one of the 5 pilots to
receive the most important medal (“To the heroic valour in combat”) from the
Argentine Congress (the other 4 being the ones who attacked HMS Invincible).
kept on flying with the Air Force and received the new DEFA 30 mm cannons that
replaced the 20 mm ones that proved to be a failure during the war, with
the A4-AR were received in sufficient numbers in 1999, C-214 was “retired”
along with the remaining Skyhawks B and C. The old warrior now rests in an
hangar of the V Brigada Aerea in Villa Reynolds, with 3 ½ kill marks painted on
first started by writing some panel lines with a knife and erasing others with
putty. (See comparison between the Esci kit and the Hobbycraft one, and before
and after rewriting the panels).
One area to be modified was the tail, as the M had a square top, while the Bs is curved. So I placed the left side of the M on top of the right side of the B, draw with the pencil the area to be cut out and then proceeded with the surgery. With this side ready, I then presented it to the right side of the M, and repeated the operation.
The nose of the M is different from the one of the B, the last being shorter and with different panels. The Esci nose was cut off. The make the B’s nose, I took the Hasegawa’s pieces (more accurate than the Hobbycraft one), cast a mold in latex and them made them with resin (Araldite). Some bubbles here and there were fixed.
other main difference is the air intakes, which are not separated by a deflector
in the Bs. The base for the deflector was sanded to oblivion and the new air
intakes were copied again from Hasegawa.
The cockpit was assembled and the seat was modified to more accurately represent the one in use in the Air Force. The sides of the cockpit were painted in green and then I drew the cushions using a black pencil.
glued the cockpit to the fuselage halves, which were then glued together. The
curve of the tail was sanded and rounded, still using the other kit as a
reference. The joint of the halves on the right side of the tail is too deep so
I covered it with putty.
interior of the air intakes was painted in white to check for imperfections. The
resin intakes were glued after they were sanded a little bit to make the sides
match the fuselage. Regretfully, I ran out of patience and left a little lip,
thinking that then I was going to be able to sand it out. But when I started
doing it, holes started to appear so I added a little bit of putty to the
fuselage side and smoothed the union. The bubbles where covered with putty and
the difficult ones were obliterated with thin coats of Future.
The Bs have a radome before the tail. As this is very different from the hump the Ms have, the beginning of the tail is missing in the Esci kit (the M hump is supposed to be used so theorically there is no need for this part). I used one half of the container of chaff and with putty hid the union. The radome of the B was made with two different parts: the forward half was taken from Hobbycraft (spares box), the back part with the light I had made several years ago and have a mold to copy it with resin. Some grams of putty were required to make it appear as only one piece.
I moved to the nose, which was filled with balls of lead. Some putty was
required to hide the union of the halves, and to smooth the matching area with
this, the fuselage was finished.
holes for stations 1 and 5 were covered with putty, as the Bs only had 3: two
under the wings and one under the fuselage. The bottom half of the wings was
glued to the fuselage, followed by the top parts.
The pieces supplied as neck/root for the guns are not correct (they are too short) so I took the ones that are to be used for the Israeli version, cut them to the right length, and glued them in place.
The stations were attached along with all the landing gear.
As the exhaust is too short, I had to supplement it (make it longer) using a wheel from Hobbycraft, which has approximately the same diameter as the base of the exhaust.
The refueling probe supplied in the kit is the curved one for the M so had had to cut it in 3, discard the center and look for a strip of plastic in the spares box that had the same diameter and the required length. After some hard search I found what I was looking for. The union of the 3 pieces was tricky to hide because the part became too fragile and I tried to strengthen it with several layers of Future. It was then fixed to the fuselage.
fuel tanks were assembled.
Two tiny probes were scratch built and glued in front of the cockpit, along with some other small details (see picture).
The antennas on the tail were copied from Hobbycraft in resin.
used during the late period of the war were mainly delayed with parachutes. I
wanted to represent the plane as in the early June picture so I had to scratch
Using the Fujimi and Hobbycraft bombs, and fins that were scratch built, I made one prototype. I copied it latex and resin but was later corrected by Fabian Vera, who told me that the shape and length were not right. He passed me the dimension and some scale plans and I was only able to save the rear part. I cut out the front end and attached the Hobbycraft tips, using Putty to smooth the union.
The belly and wheel wells were painted with a mix of Model Master FS 35414 and Humbrol 65. Using BlueTac (thanks Mike Parr) and paper and masking tape, I protected the painted areas. Then I used Model Master FS 30118 for the olive green and Humbrol 186 for the brown. The demarcation of these colors was made with more BlueTac and Maskol. With the slats attached to the wings using masking tape, the identification bands were prepared and painted with Dark Brown Humbrol 160. The slats area was painted in red.
tip of the nose and the area around the cannons were painted in black.
glued the antennas on the tail and painted them with a brush.
refueling probe was able to endure almost everything, except for a hit of my
painting mask while I was handling the plane to check for imperfections in the
paint…I decided to fix it again as last stage.
I dry brushed several areas (ailerons, spoilers, flaps, rudder, guns, etc) with black dust to give the plane a dirty look. The pipes inside the wheel wells were painted with a black pencil.
moveable parts were marked with a black pencil (airbrakes, rudder, etc)
layers of Future were airbrushed to then move to the next stage, the one I like
APPLYING THE DECALS:
mostly used the Aerocalcas set, but the following exceptions:
marks and “No empujar” stencils (for the slats) from Condor decals. The
ships are the most accurate in shape.
on the tail and Roundels on the air brakes from Hobbycraft. This was done this
way because the other two manufacturers made the flags too large for the size
used during the war, according to the pictures I have seen. The HC ones have the
right dimensions. And then, to keep the same tone of light blue, I had to use
the Canadian manufacturer’s roundels.
plane and tanks were given a coat of Matt varnish to seal the decals.
yellow bands on the nose of the bombs were painted.
Seatbelts were done with strips of painted masking tape. The top handle was made of brass wire. The gunsight was made with two pieces of plastic from the spares box. The VHF antenna is from Hobbycraft. The AN/APX-6 pod below the tail, which I had seen in a picture of C-214 at this late stage of the process (!) was made in resin after I made it with parts from the spares box (Me109 heavy machine guns bulge for the top part + Spitfire IX gun bay panel for the bottom half). The rim was painted in aluminum and the rest of this part in white.
bombs were glued to the TER rack, which on time was fixed to the ventral
the canopy I built the 2 rear mirrors using a plastic chocolates container that
is golden on top but has silver undersides. So I cut the mirrors, painted the
golden side in black and glued it to the frame of the canopy. A box of
instruments was scratch built and fixed to the center of the frame.
I added the windshield, the drop tanks and the broken refueling probe.
that, on January 3th I ended 4 months of struggle. Quite fittingly (and by sheer
coincidence) 173 years after the Argentine peaceful population of the islands
(that are 700 km away from Argentina and 14.000 km away from England) was
expelled by the frigate Clio, without any provocation from the Argentine side or
previous warning from the British Government.
This article is dedicated to Mariel, Zini, Carballo and all the other brave pilots who fought in this conflict.
Also to my father, who while visiting us shared the first stages of my struggle with the Esci kit and endured my ill remarks about it...
Exequiel Martinez, for his paintings and support
Fernando Benedetto, who passed me the pictures from SM (Ret) Alfredo Gonzalez, Vta Brigada Aerea
Mike Parr, for the masking technique
Fabian Vera, for the decals and instructions for the bombs
Hernan Casciani, for the information and pictures
Photos and text © by Pablo Calcaterra