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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.

"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.


Fly Navy

37 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. Good looking Aardvark Chuck.

  2. Great paintwork, Chuck!

  3. Nicely done! Looks great. Nice grouping.

  4. Chuck, @uscusn
    Wow ! This Aardvark looks wonderful... Oddly enough, what strikes me the most besides the outstanding camouflage paint, is the contrast between the red on the inner surfaces of the extended controls and the surrounding camouflage.

    I especially enjoyed and appreciated the story behind the combat actions that these men flew at night. My hats off to them all but I have a special thoughts about the A-10 drivers. Those pilots often impressed me with how they were flying so close to the ground. Something that’s spectacular and quite scary at the same time is to watch an A-10 do a strafing run. The noise from the Gatling gun is something that sounds a lot like a chain saw running at wide open throttle. The tracers look like a single stream coming out of the nose like one would expect from a garden hose.

    As a former US Army tanker my hats off to all the ground support pilots. I’m also glad they were on our side.

    Funny how time flies. Just think, it's been almost 30 years now since Desert Shield started when my old unit (3rd CAV) arrived in Saudi Arabia with the 82nd Airborne as part of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Going from memory they received orders to deploy on August 7th, 1990.

    This would be a good idea for a group build too. If you started one I have a few examples to go with it... : ) I know we have talked about this before. Like you said, it could follow the same timeline as the event. Start it on August 2nd this year and end next year on February 28th. Something to think about...

    I don't think it would interfere with the Korean War GB since it's going to last so long.


    • Thanks Louis,, I do particularly like the SEA scheme the USAF has used since Vietnam. Add some Red and squadron specific color ID like Blue for instance on the tail and you get something other than the typical mono-chromatic Grey's. I know what you mean about the time. Those 30 years have been like a blur. The DS GB suggestion to mark the 30 year anniversary i was going to propose an Aug start into March 2021. With all kinds of land, sea and air equipment is available and eligible for the event. Coalition and Iraqi forces have all kinds of subjects to choose from.

  5. Great build and story Chuck, I remember this job for the Aardvark crews. Earlier than that, I think a flight of F-111 also bombed Libya in the eighties in retaliation for a Berlin night club (La Belle) bombing. That was the first time I saw an F-111 on the television as an 8 year old.
    You did pay a great tribute to these crews my friend!

    • I remember that very well too. What’s so sad is how they had to fly around France’s airspace. I’ll bet they wouldn’t have had to ask about 70 years ago. My how we often forget about the sacrifices that others have made so that we can enjoy what we do today. Unfortunately some take what we have for granted and think that they’re entitled to it.

      Thanks for bringing this up too.

      Never forget.

  6. Thanks Michel, and yes it was operation El Dorado Canyon, a 2 part tasking, USAF to target Tripoli, while the Navy hit Benghazi. Also Spain and Italy did not grant overflight in their airspace for the mission.

  7. ‘On This Day...’ lovely to see her back, Chuck.

    A fantastic build, been checking in all the way through, and if anyone missed it...please have a look.

    A great write up and beautifully built ‘111’.

    Well done, Chuck. As you say...Fly Navy.



  8. A sweet looking build Chuck @uscusn! Well done.

  9. Thanks James, appreciate that.

  10. A solid build Chuck! Well done.

  11. The F-111 was always an impressive brute -especially so 'in the flesh' - nice work Chuck!

  12. Beautiful finish on your Lakenheath F111. I remember them and no doubt this particular bird, peering through the base perimeter fence trying to get a photo or two. Fairly common around the UK in the 70's/80's also with Upper Heyford including their EF111's which were equally cool. Find memories for your pleasure attached.

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

    • Thanks Alastair the images are really appreciated. I remember a friend who was a crew chief for the F-111, and the adventure when testing the nap of the earth system,(NOE) how the horizontal stab would vibrate when keeping level with the ground. Things that would be unknown to me as most of my experience was in the rotary community. Though we had that capability in our Seahawks, I never took the time to check out the techs when they were testing it. I wish I had. As we used it quite often flying around here.

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