Revell 1/48 Grumman A6-E TRAM Intruder “Libya Raider”
This is my first finished build of the new year :); completed on Sunday, Jan.1, it was started in mid-July 2013! At some point, it was relegated to a safe spot and more or less abandoned. I would dust her off from time to time, always thinking I’d get back to work on the kit but again, time would soon find her back on the shelf. Not long before the holiday season just past, I started yet again and with a new resolve to finish her and move on to other builds.
The model represents aircraft number 501(build number 161685) of Navy squadron VM-85. It took part in the Navy’s attacks on Libyan patrol boats in the Gulf of Sidra, March 1986. The aircraft carries two AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and three drop-tanks. I am not sure that that is the exact load-out for 501 on any actions there but it’s close enough for me.
The paint is Model Master enamel; dark ghost gray on top, light ghost gray underneath. The decals are from “The Intruder’s Sandbox” set by AOA decals. I had a couple fairly good reference photos of this aircraft and that helped as I tried to replicate the worn, patchy appearance of those Intruders.
The ochre colored anti-erosion tape seen on the leading edges is clear decal film sprayed with Humbrol trainer yellow. The rod for the flak curtains is fine wire, secured to a tiny length of aluminum tubing in front and into a hole in the canopy bulkhead. And the exhausts are sections cut from old ballpoint pens.
I used my Paasche Model H for the spraying and used various shades of gray, rectangle and square cut-out “stencils”, file card as a straight edge, Flory washes and some pastel chalks to weather her. I used a mechanical pencil with the point sanded down quite finely and pieces of old vacuum cleaner belt to draw the panel lines. The drop tanks were done the same way and then I used a cotton bud to blur the pencil lines a bit. I think that technique gives a good result.
The kit went to together fairly well and the worst ordeal was attaching the tanks and ordnance. The attachment points were poorly engineered and seemed way too fiddly to me. I was not greatly impressed by the AOA decals either. Some resisted adhesion and none seemed overly rugged but rather too fragile. But after much gnashing of teeth and entirely too much time, she is finished and already in the display cabinet. But before that could happen, I had to get some pics. Here are some taken inside, and a few from the Cameron airport too. January 2 was a lovely day out there and I had a nice interaction with two local police officers. They were very cool! Thanks for taking time to look!
19 additional images. Click to enlarge.