ON THIS DAY 28 FEBRUARY, HASEGAWA 1/72nd General Dynamics F-111F Aardvark, Gulf War USAF
This day was the last day of combat operations in Desert Storm. For the aircrews of the the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, 492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron the last mission of the war was about to launch. Just 2 aircraft with GBU Bunker busters. The F-111F had an excellent campaign during the war. Suffering no combat losses through out the war is quite an achievement, Conducting missions primarily at night. The F-111F's were flown from RAF Lakenheath to Taif Air Base in Saudi Arabia in early August 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. From day 1 taking out command and control, SAM sites, air fields and armor. Equipped with the Pave Tack Pod, dropping Paveway II laser guided GBU-10, GBU-12, GBU-15, Paveway III, GBU-24A, GBU-27 and GBU-28 5000ib bombs. As well as LGB when using a LANTIRN targeting pod. 60 F-111's participated in Desert Storm, including the EF-111's from Upper Heyford and the F-111E's out of Incirlik AFB in Turkey.
Hasegawa "K" series of 72nd scale that debuted in the late 70's were at the time excellent kits. And like Monogram, they still are with the then technology. Engraved panel lines, not all though, like the P-3 for instance still has raised panel lines. But also went through several upgrades over the years. Hasegawa did a series of F-111's starting with the F-111A, FB-111A, F-111C, F-111D/F, F-111E and the EF-111A, later the FB-111G. Building the "E" several years ago, it didn't take long once I got into the build how well this kit goes together. Like the F-14, it is a complicated airframe. Yet this is not as fussy or fiddly to assemble. The main landing gear is excellent. A step that can really throw the whole thing off if not carefully assembled. Yet Hasegawa engineered this step in such a way with clarity that it is quite easy to complete the process with very little chance of screwing this up. The only point of criticism is the lack of weapons and at times the cockpit can be sparse on some of the 72nd scale kits. For the price of the day, and they are still pricey in this scale today retail, not having weapons in the kit didn't sit well with a lot of modelers. In this case weapons set IV if I remember correctly supplied the 4 GBU-10's that are slung under the pylons. The "F" was the one and only variant that carried the Pave Tack pod that was housed in the forward bomb bay. The "F" specific parts are supplied in the kit as a separate sprue. I used Tamiya Flat Black for the under surfaces. Gunze Tan 30219, Med Green 34102 and Dark Green 34079, and Dk Gull Grey on the nose cone. Now looking at several websites looking for this particular aircraft with the nose cone in grey. Why is it grey not glossy black, I asked a friend of mine who was crew chief on the FB-111G's, and he told me it may have been a replacement nose cone that was not painted yet. Being that the aircraft was at a base that had no painting facilities it was just bolted on and continue operating. At home base the nose cone would already be painted glossy black before replacing a damaged radome. Wolf Pack decals were used to represent 72-1445, of the 492nd TFS, operating out of the Taif AB in Saudi Arabia. She is currently residing at AMARC Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona.
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