F6F-5K Hellcat + XAAM-N-2 Sparrow I (1/144 Platz)
Here we are in late 1940s / early 1950s, Point Mugu Test Center – Naval Air Station west of Los Angeles. First Sparrow, named XAAM-N-2 (X for experimental, A for air launched, another A for air target, M for missile, N as Navy and 2 – well – number two) is casually tested on F6F Hellcat, one that is well outside its color comfort zone (as indicated by further research).
Perfect, isn’t it?
After the WW2 the dawn of jets saw Hellcats quickly shifted to secondary/support roles. Fortunately the aircraft was designed in traditional Grumman fashion – sturdy, tough and capable of taking abuse. The test machine was F6F-5K (drone) converted back to be piloted. Steel blast shield was added to the cabin wall in expectance of test missile bahaving unexpectedly. The regular centerline fuel tank was substituted by a pod containing cameras, pylon was fitted to the right wing and the carrier for the missile was ready.
The (X)AAM-N-2 Sparrow I was much more pointy than its later, better known, variants. Much faster looking indeed, but on the other hand hugely cumbersome homing process required the pilot to maintain the target locked throughout the whole flight of the missile. Sparrow I found very limited use in late 1950s on F7U Cutlass and F3H Demon but was quickly phased out and replaced by semi-active homing Sparrow III (AIM-7B and its further versions).
This is Platz kit which in 1/144 language means “Tamiya” – whatever’s faulty is therefore my own contribution.
Of course no manufacturer does such exotic one-offs, therefore own input was required with regard to:
– missile (3d print)
– pylon (plastic sheet)
– centerline pod (plastic sprue+some small bits)
– lengthened tailwheel leg (brass rod)
– decals (custom printed in MF Zone)
– blast shield (aluminium foil)
14 additional images. Click to enlarge.