Profile Photo
Gary Brantley
44 articles

Revell 1/48 Grumman A6-E TRAM Intruder “Libya Raider”

January 4, 2017 · in Aviation · · 27 · 5.6K

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 '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!

Reader reactions:
10  Awesome

19 additional images. Click to enlarge.

27 responses

  1. Hello Gary...What an outstanding Intruder build you've produced. Excellent attention to detail, great paint work and fine photography. All very nicely done.

  2. A real stunner! Well done.

  3. awesome! photo #3 of 20 looks realistic- the lighting and placement is just right to fool the viewer! Gongrats, Gary!
    I need to finish my EA-6A! (stalled for 6 years now!) as well as move ahead on my two Operation Preying Mantis intruders! One will be a tanker and one a standard attack bird.

  4. Outstanding work! And as Dan said, some of those pics look "real". Nice job indeed!

  5. Really nice Gary, and the outdoor pictures make it look great. Well done !

  6. Amazing work Gary, just amazing!

  7. Incredibility good Gary. really like the outdoor pics.

  8. Great start to 2017, you must be very pleased with the result, and those outdoor photographs, in particular, are amazing.

  9. I appreciate your kind and generous comments gentlemen. Your words do mean a lot to me; to receive such nice compliments from a group of model builders of your ability is, well, very fulfilling and humbling too. Thanks so much to one and all! I hope to have more work finished soon. 🙂

  10. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Very nice work on that model Gary and the photography is very well done, very interesting and captivating angles.

  11. Thats a cracking Intruder, Gary !
    You have captured the look of these aircrafts very well.
    Its a good feeling to recover a build from the shelf of doom.

  12. That's a great looking aircraft, you have done an excellent job

  13. Thanks gents! Yes, Bernd, a great feeling indeed! 🙂

    Thanks also for the comments on the photography. I never felt like I "had my mojo workin'" out there this time. It had been a year and a half since I'd taken any models out there and my photo skills seemed rusty. The Intruder is a bad tail-sitter; even with two 9mm bullets epoxied into the nose cone, the slightest wind sent her back on her heels like a chippy with the fleet in! Heck, even moving the canopy back too far will tilt her too. The slight breeze out at the airport was frustrating in that sense. I'm glad a few pics turned out well! Thank you all again!

  14. Some nice touches here, Gary. The detailing offers a lot of interest, which is hard to achieve on many 'grey' subjects.

    • Thanks Rob! I did feel challenged trying to replicate the patchy look of those all-grey birds. I've seen it done much better of course, but I was pleased with how it turned out. I guess I stopped myself from "adding just a little more..." this time at least, and, at last. 🙂

  15. Great build Gary and great photography, looks like a real one!

  16. Nicely done Gary. I too have one, started and then shelved. My's mostly white, a big problem for a brush painter. I just started using an airbrush so hopefully I can complete this

  17. That's a beauty Gary! Love the weathering and detailing - looks very realistic to me. Ditto for the photography - love the tarmac photos.

  18. A beautiful Intruder, like her very much! The outside photos add much value, congrats!

  19. Excellent build Gary, I really want to do one of these and when I get one I'll definitely come back here for some inspiration.

  20. Just bumped into it, Gary @garybrantley!
    What a wonderful result!
    Got the kit, will definitely come back here as well for inspiration when I will build it.
    Congratulations Sir!

  21. @fiveten, Thanks so much my good friend! I am so happy that you enjoyed the model; what a nice surprise for me to find your comments first thing this morning, here in Texas! I hope something good happens to you today Spiros! ?

Leave a Reply