1/72 Hasegawa EF-111A Raven

Gallery Article by Pjotr van der Ploeg on Jan 17 2011

20th Anniversary of "Operation Desert Storm"

 

The EF-111A Raven was an unarmed Electronic Warfare version of the F-111 Aardvark. Instead of using bombs or missiles to fight the enemy, the Raven used its extensive electronics in combat. For self defense it relied on flying fast, far, and low. Capabilities it still had from its fighter bomber days. Developed by Grumman in the late 70's, a total of 42 were converted from F-111A's with the final one being delivered in 1985. The Ravens went to two USAF units, the 390th ECS based at Mountain Home, Idaho and the 42nd ECS based at RAF Upper Heyford in the UK.

The EF-111 got its baptism of fire during Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986, the retaliatory attack on Libya. It was also used during Operation Just Cause in 1989 over Panama. When in 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait, it was time for the largest deployment of the EF-111A force ever, like it was for so many types of planes. Both the 390th and the 42nd ECS sent planes to the Gulf theater, with the 390th going to Taif in Saudi Arabia, and the 42nd going to Incirlik in Turkey. From these bases, numerous missions were flown in support of coalition forces. On one of these mission during the first night of the war, a Raven from the 390th ECS even managed to get a "kill". After being jumped on by an Iraqi Mirage F.1 fighter plane, the crew of the Raven hit the deck, its best defense. The pursuing Mirage couldn't keep up and flew into the ground.

After Operation Desert Storm, the Raven flew for a few more years in support of actions in the Middle East and former Yugoslavia. By this time the EF-111 force was concentrated in the 429th ECS at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. In 1998, 15 years after being accepted by the USAF, the days for the EF-111A were over and all remaining planes were sent to AMARC or put on display.

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For this build, I used the excellent Hasegawa kit. Part of a whole family F-111 kits, it has the typical modularity we see more in Hasegawa kits (F-4, anyone?). Detail is good, panel lines are recessed and very fine. The only minor nitpick is the lack of detail in the cockpit, only decals are supplied.

The kit goes together without much trouble, and only a little filler was needed on the mating of the front and rear fuselage. Flaps and slats are provided in the kit, and the instructions only show the option of these fully deployed with spread wings. It is still possible to pose the wings in a different position, but this requires some surgery. Mind you, the real thing only had its wings fully spread with flaps and slats down with engine power on, so you might want to add a crew to the cockpit. I didn't notice this until the build was almost finished and decided I could live with it. The Raven only had one paint scheme throughout its career, being FS 36492 for the lower surfaces and FS 36320 for the upper surfaces. I used Humbrol 196 and 128 for this. Other surfaces like the radome, wing-gloves and tail panels were painted with various other grey shades, some custom mixed. Various ModelMaster Metallizer paints and Alclad II were used for the exhausts.

I decided to build mine as 67-0035, a Raven based at RAF Upper Heyford and deployed to Incirlik. Markings were done with a mix of kit decals, Superscale decals and a roundel from a Wolfpack sheet. Weathering was done using a pastel wash to get a subtle effect.

I really enjoyed building this EF-111 model, and I hope you will enjoy the result.

Thanks for looking.

Pjotr van der Ploeg

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Photos and text by Pjotr van der Ploeg