I wanted to give my
father a unique Christmas gift while honoring his 30+ years in the Navy, so I
picked an aircraft that I always found interesting plus I was able to find a kit
with the squadron decals I needed. My father was an avionics technician in
VA-15 in the 70's and I remember going to the base and watching the planes
getting worked on in the hangar and on the tarmac.
images below to see larger images
The Hasegawa kit
unfortunately took me several years to build only due to the lack of time I
could devote to it. I built the kit out of the box and then added Eduard
photo-etched details to the avionics bay and landing gear bays. The
cockpit was entirely replaced with a resin Aires cockpit set and ejector seat.
Using the gallery photos from this site, I added some scratch details with
different gauge wiring and solder. I added quite a bit of solder in the
wheel bays to match the photos, but it is quite hidden from notice. The
kit assembles nicely other than some extra time spent puttying the intake area
and the wing to fuselage connection. I didn't have to mess with the
armament since they would not have been attached at a local air base as I
depicted the model.
I airbrushed the
model with Testors enamel and weathered the panel lines using a toothpick and
diluted acrylic paint. I used the hi-vis decals provided with the kit and
applied them with Micro-sol. The entire model was then sprayed with
The base and glass
case were purchased at an art store and I added a pre-printed runway from custom
dioramics that I sprayed with dullcoat. I cut-out the 3D
"VA-15" lettering using white mattboard and the emblems are custom
Overall, I tried to
find satisfaction in making something special while enjoying the process.
I feel that I achieved both goals. My father proudly displays the model in
the Living room which makes all the effort worth it! Only problem is that
I now have to top it with a better model in the future...