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Mach2 1/72 AJ-2 Savage

Our club started a cold war build last summer, to be revealed at our December meeting, and this is the subject I selected. It was only a few years ago I became aware of the Savage – the first carrier-born bomber capable of nuclear delivery. The Savage also contained a jet engine, which you wouldn’t know from many angles!

The Mach2 kit was a trial! Panel lines are very roughly etched, and in some places filled with crud. So much flash I almost had to use a fan to clean off the filings and find the parts I had been working on. Part shape, kit design, just about every horror imaginable! I had purchased aftermarket decals, and after seeing the shape of the kit, I decided that going with the blue scheme would hide the weaknesses better than the grey/white scheme. This was also my first attempt using an airbrush, so thought a one-color scheme would be a better start. 🙂

I did do some modifications to the cockpit, but not much, since I knew that very little would be visible due to the thickness of the canopy chunk. Added pilots, but no navigator, as there wasn’t room to place him the way they had the cockpit laid out!

I should have sanded off the canopy frame lines and masked according to references, as the framing was too thick for scale, but – well – I had masked before I realized it, and didn’t want to start over!

I did sand off the engine nacelle exhaust details and added exhausts using two sizes of styrene tubing – same for small vents at the tail end of the nacelles. There was nothing but a hole for the jet exhaust, so I modified an exhaust from the spares box to provide a bit more detail, though it’s not seen unless you look up into the end of the fuselage.

The hump that arises from the back of the fuselage was pretty much missing on the starboard part, so once together, several applications of auto putty and lots of sanding/filing were required to add it back. Lots of other filling and sanding in general…

I used Tamiya paint, and it took me awhile to figure out how to get coverage in “hard to get to” areas, such as around the nacelles. There will be a learning curve…

Decals were a trial. Even though I laid down several coats of Testors Glosscoat (rattle can), I started with the wing-walk decals, and it was a slivering mess. Nothing I could do to solve it, so I ripped/sanded the decals back off, repainted the top of the wing, laid down some dull coat, then painted the walkways. I had accidentally purchases two sets of the decals, so I used the second set, cut from the decal sheet, as a pattern to mask around. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite accurate, and there is a little unevenness in the layout, but unless being judged for a contest, it’s not noticeable at a glance…

Once I got these painted on, I went back with several more coats of gloss, concentrating on some areas where the paint didn’t seem to go down as smooth (joint areas around tail and nacelles, etc.). Use a bit of microfiber polishing to help.

There weren’t any of the smaller stencils that my reference photos indicated, other than the walkway markings, and I couldn’t find any white ones in my decal spares box, so I found a set of Verlinden dry transfers for 1/72 on eBay, and use those for all the stenciling on the lower parts of the airframe and on the nacelles. I LOVED using dry transfers – and am so glad I found a set for my Japanese Phantom. I was a little skittish about using them, but no longer!

I decided to use a panel line wash, though I’m not sure you can even see it. I also experimented with pastel panel line post shading (beneath the tailplanes), but decided it wasn’t worth it, so didn’t carry that over the entire model. I did use a highly thinned oil wash to tone down the white decals just a smidge, and to provide just a bit of walk-wear on the upper wing.

There you have it! I loved the big, bulky Savage when I first ran across it, and I’m please with the outcome, especially with a short-run kit. The Savage was replace in the late 50’s by another aircraft that seemed awful big for carrier ops – the Skywarrior.

14 additional images. Click to enlarge.


34 responses to Mach2 1/72 AJ-2 Savage

  1. Very impressive Greg, that is one tough kit and you stuck with it and finished it. The Savage is one brute of an airplane. Your patience and passion shows on this build Greg. Well done, thanks for sharing.

  2. I don’t think it is still a Mach2 kit after all that work. It looks way too good to me.

  3. Beautiful results after all your trials and tribulations, looks great!

  4. Congratulations on finishing a Mach 2 kit, Greg, that is an elite club! It sounds like you challenged yourself in several ways on this build and it looks like you triumphed!

  5. Nice one! lots of work…

  6. I like it Greg. That fact that you had to so many ups and downs with it, and what you have accomplished here, I would have never known without your description. Nice job!

  7. Beautiful result from a very poor kit.

  8. It’s one big beautiful blue bird Greg, all that tenuous work this demanded really paid off, like Haslam said, it’s not a Mach 2 kit anymore, it’s something else far better. The only thing that reveals how bad the kit comes is the canopy, like you said, thick and not at all clear. Splendid work my friend!

  9. Excellent result!
    Your patience was rewarded with an item that you can seldom (if ever) see in a collection of Navy airplanes. To be honest, I ignored about it until I read this post but I have to agree that it is quite a nice aircraft…
    Thanks for sharing your experience with that model.

  10. I am totally and completely impressed! I once battled my way through one of these kits to make it for a good friend – we almost stopped being good friends over it! Terrible kit!

    Yours came out the way I hoped mine would (close, but no cigar). This is really beautiful and a monument to obstinacy over plastic to accomplish it. Really nice!

  11. Greg: Great job on the AJ Savage. I wish an injected one in 48th scale was available; that would be very neat.
    In 1965 (or thereabouts), I had occasion to visit the Lockheed Burbank plant, and was very surprised to see an AJ Savage parked just behind the fence, located near the front parking lot. I was also very surprised at how huge the Savage is, especially since it was the USN’s carrier-capable, nuclear deterrent. I guess it had to be big to carry the big nukes that were in the inventory back then.
    Again, great job on the Savage, and thatnks for sharing it here.

  12. Great job on a not great kit Greg. I never tried to battle thru the Mach2 kit, but I did build the Anigrand resin kit. I too went with the Gloss Sea Blue scheme. Thought I was gonna go nuts putting all those white stencils on.

  13. Amazing work, Greg!!

  14. I have to join the choir on this one Greg. Outstanding job on that kit! She looks great!

  15. Well done Greg, looks good, Mach 2 kits are a challenge but the end results are worth the effort, I have completed a couple with more in the stash !!

  16. Congrats! Looks really good in spite of all that had to go on! I know, as I beat a Mach 2 PBM into submission, and had to reshape the nose/turret as well as sand and polish the canopy, and paint the correct frames in, as well as research and sort out the tail turret and braces for wing floats. I swear they took a Hasegawa Marlin and chopped and changed it to get their PBM molds set up! I was so worn out at one point, I sat it on the shelf o’ doom. It only needs windows placed in the fuselage and then it is done, and can be photographed for posting. I just got plum worn out!
    A great job- thanks for sharing.

  17. This is an AWESOME rendition of arguably my all time favourite US Navy aircraft of the early Cold War period. I always liked the look of the Savage. I can only hope that a mainstream kit manufacturer can give us a 1/48 version!! Well done and thanks for posting!!

  18. absolutely splendid work sir

  19. Wow Greg! Perseverance paid off for you. That’s a unique model to have in your collection.

  20. Superb result Greg.

  21. Outstanding work Greg !! You’re perseverance has paid off handsomely………….. I have only seen a few of these build online, and none ever in person. It looks like a very big model for 1/72 scale. I’m surprised that the full sized version was able to take off in such a short distance from the deck of a carrier, (especially when carrying a tactical nuke onboard).

    Well done my friend, and “liked”.

  22. Great work Greg! I believe the late Phil “Bondo” Brandt would be proud of you!

  23. And a great job you did! This is a beast of an airplane, and it looks great in blues. Very thorough masking pays off in the end – I don’t get why would someone would consciously prefer decals for that.

  24. Greg. Its nice to see something different, especially when its done this nice. I particularly like the dark walkway lines on the upper surface. Overall a very attractive looking model. Well done !

  25. The running joke about Mach 2 kits is that they are named for the speed they are thrown at the wall.

    Always impressive to see one built with such care and detail.

  26. Looks good Greg, nicely done. Especially since I’ve heard nothing positive about Mack2 Kits.

  27. Great project Greg! Interesting story, had not heard much about this plane before! Liked!

  28. First time I see this plane, completely unknown to me but the result is fantastic congratulations 👍👏

  29. I know what a dog this kit is, and to even finish it is an accomplishment, but did an outstanding job on it. I opened the box on one and quickly put it back.

  30. Impressive model and work!

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