Republic F-105 Thunderchief, one of the greatest airplanes ever…
January 5, 2014 in Aviation
I always have liked the Republic F-105 Thunderchief. Designed to do a clean, precision, tactical nuclear attack, back in the Cold War days. And then never doing that, but saddled with a grunt job of delivering conventional ordnance at low level in Vietnam, and doing it, but suffering horribly as a result. And in spite of everything thrown at it, emerging a victor in many ways, and to top it all off, it is one of the prettiest airplanes ever. I remember an author (sorry, I can’t remember who!) said in the beginning of his F-105 book, something to the effect of “why did they hang bombs on such a beautiful aircraft?”
The beauty of the F-105 is due to a Russian aircraft designer, Alexander Kartveli, who emigrated to the US, following his fellow countryman, Alexander Seversky, who he went to work for. Their company evolved into Republic Aviation, on Long Island in New York. Of course Kartveli made his name with his design for the P-47 Thunderbolt, an airplane I have kind of a “like – dislike” relationship with, because of its size and proportions, compared to other WW2 fighters. I know the deep fuselage is due to the turbosupercharger being in the aft fuselage, and the necessary ducting, but it is a somewhat “whale like” fuselage (although pretty well streamlined). Even Kartveli said “it is too big”. But it went on to do a fantastic job in winning the air war against Germany.
Anyway, the F-105, in spite of its size, has always appealed to me from the aesthetic point of view. It really is a beautiful airplane, even though it is big. I can remember on one of my Air Force trips, to Eglin AFB, standing next to a F-105 in a hangar, and marveling at how huge this airplane is. I guess Kartveli was still designing big airplanes, but the 105 is to me always a beautiful one, and I don’t have quite that same feeling about the P-47.
This model was built before the “Ferrari air racer” I showed earlier on iModeler. So, like the Ferrari, it was also done before Monogram had done the single seat version of the F-105. Using their initial 2 seater, I cut out the section of fuselage containing the second (aft) cockpit, and mated the front to the rear. Using all the info I could find at the time, I believe I did a pretty accurate job of this, and it gave me a bit of experience before doing the Ferrari. As a fitting footnote, Monogram came out with the single seater a month or so after I did the conversion! The model depicts F-105D “Daisy Mae” of the 357th TFS, 355th TFW in Vietnam. This was the 27th F-105D built.
Over the years, when you keep a model, things may happen to it. This model just survived one of those adventures. A couple of weeks ago I was dusting before vacuuming, and had taken the 105 off the top of a bookshelf to dust, and put it on the bed. Just like that, our new orange cat Fergus, was jumping up on the bed, landing on top of the 105, and we had a repair job on our agenda! As I was starting the repair a day or so later, I seemed to recall this happening once before to the same model, though I don’t think that time it was due to one of our cats. F-105’s are tough airplanes!
11 additional images. Click to enlarge