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1/48 Tamiya A1H Skyraider  

by Ivan Rich

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Indochina War -- 10,000Day War -- Vietnam War anniversary Jan 30 2007

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If you consider yourself a prop jockey...chances are very high you have either built this model or at least have it in your stash.  Not only was the Tamiya engineering a dream to work with, but so were all the options you had on arming the "Spad."  Loaded to bear, the A1H could make any hostile force head for cover.  That's probably one of the key reasons I was so attracted to the kit in the first place.  Check most forum galleries and you will no doubt see the bumble bee emblem of VA-176 assigned to the carrier Intrepid (CV-11). Scores of build articles abound on the 409 aircraft flown by Lt.Jg. William T. Patton.

VA-176 deployed to Vietnam as a component of CVW-10 embarked  on Intrepid (CVS 11). This was the first all attack air wing formed and the first to deploy. Two squadrons were flying the A-1 Skyraider and the A-4 Skyhawk. 15 May 1966: Flying from Dixie Station, the squadron conducted  its  first combat sorties, flying strikes against insurgent forces in the Republic of  Vietnam. 9 Oct 1966: While flying a rescue combat  air patrol mission, four  squadron aircraft engaged four North  Vietnamese Mig's. Lieutenant (jg) William T. Patton shot down one of  Mig-17s during the engagement. This was the first and only shoot down of an enemy jet aircraft by a propeller driven plane during the  Vietnam conflict. For the action, Lieutenant (jg) Patton was awarded the Silver  Star.

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I stuck with the the tried and true VMA-176 "Thunderbolts"  assigned to the USS Intrepid.  I used Polly Scale USN light aircraft grey for the topside and insignia white/flat white for everything else. I really didn't have any problems with the kit decals, although the bumble bee emblem was a bit tricky.  Dependable Micro Set and Sol setting solutions quickly took care of that problem.  I followed a suggestion from modeler buddy Jeff Brundt to airbrush Tamiya smoke and Polly Scale grimy black for the exhaust stains.  It was necessary to flatten the smoke as it has a definite glossy appearance. (I must admit I could stand a bit more practice in the art of staining.)  The rest of the finishing included P/S gloss for for decaling, followed by P/S satin for the last pass.  (Yes, I put more P/S flat over the exhaust stains.)   Artist oils mixed with turpenoid plus some pastel dust were used for weathering and panel lines, etc.  For armament I used 10 HVAR's, two 2,000 lb. bombs and two 2-1/2" rocket tubes.  I'm told a wide array of ordnance configurations are correct for that time period.  The adjustable lucite stand was another bargain. I found it on a bargain table at Hobby Lobby...marked down from $21.95  to $6.00.  
 
I completed the model in late 2005.  Hope you like it and...Happy Modeling!  
Ivan
 

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Photos and text by Ivan Rich

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