Two “Sixes”, Convair F-106 in 1/48 by Monogram, who else?
The Convair F-106 Delta Dart will always be one of my most favorite aircraft, and not just because I was able to fly supersonic in one, but that probably helped! In September 1972 I flew from McClellan AFB in California to Tyndall AFB on the Gulf coast in Florida (in a C-121 Constellation, which was an experience in itself), as an Air Force artist. This was during the William Tell Air Defense Command contest that year, and my 106 flight was in an F-106B of the Air Defence Weapons Center, the hosts of the affair. We were alternately targets and then hunters, and it was an experience I will never forget. My “Avatar” shows me on the right, with the Major who was my pilot, standing in front of our F-106B, 57-2543. I’ve included a couple of photos from my ride, one of me in the back seat, and one from the cockpit, of the Gulf of Mexico about 30,000 feet below, the only shot I took during the flight, I was so spellbound. I remember the “max afterburner” takeoff as a great force that was going to push me through the bottom of the aircraft. The P & W J-75 was an awesome powerplant in its day. It was also used in the F-105 Thunderchief.
For many years I have been happy that no other kit manufacturer than Monogram has got their claws into the F-106 in 1/48 scale. I still am. I think it is a great kit, not without its build problems (the front fuselage join is the one that sticks out for me), but if carefully done produces a striking model of an amazing aircraft, and there are some pretty nice looking squadron marking decals available to go with it. And all this at an affordable price, unlike almost every new kit that comes out nowadays.
There are 2 models in this posting. The first is of the “Red Bulls”, 87th FIS (kit decals), and the second of the 27th FIS (Super Scale decals). The 27th FIS bird had a little battle with the sun over a short period of time, and the sun won. So, the starboard side decals got a bit crazed, and that’s why I’m just showing the port side. After discovering this, the curtains on the windows of my “model room” were closed, and remain so!
On my F-106 flight back in 1972, I did take the controls (stick only, no rudder), and flew the bird for some miles over the Gulf of Mexico, including a roll (fairly well done, and if I remember right, kick the nose up first, then bump it port or starboard). When the Major took over again, however, he let me know I had lost 1000 feet of altitude, because I hadn’t paid attention to the altimeter, and hadn’t pulled enough back pressure on the stick. I made a mental note to do that in my next 106 flight, whenever that may occur, perhaps after I have “crossed the bar”. Anyway, while the Major was flying us, we incidentally went over Mach 1, which was no problem for this thoroughbred aircraft, which could go twice that, with great ease. Why shouldn’t I love this beautiful machine?
And, somewhat like all Republic F-105s (another of my favorites) being made by Republic in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, all F-106s were made by Convair in the beautiful city of San Diego, California. In other words, these aircraft were built by the companies that designed them, in the same cities where they were designed.
Nowadays, the names of our aircraft designers and manufacturers seem so mixed up, it is hard to tell who is building their own aircraft designs anymore. I always thought a classic example of that was McDonnell Douglas making F-18s, originally a Northrop design. I bet Jack Northrop rolled over on that one! And to make matters worse, now it is a Boeing!
I am a great fan, however, of Russian aircraft, and they, I believe, have a similar setup (but not identical-they don’t seem to involve mergers), where their aircraft design bureaus design the aircraft, but when they go into production, the aircraft are assigned to be built in various factories that don’t necessarily have any affiliation with a design bureau. I mentioned this in my posting of the Sukhoi Su-7. I guess it is a “sign of the times”, with things getting less personal, and more efficient, as time goes on. I believe the Russians may have started this trend some time before we did.
16 additional images. Click to enlarge.