Douglas A-1H Skyraider, Tamiya 1/48th USN Vietnam 1965 “Special”
It’s the last mission day for the USS Midway (CVA-41) before sailing back home to Alameda, Ca. Conducting operations into North and S. Vietnam. The XO of VA-25 ” Fist of the Fleet” CDR Clarence Stoddard, Jr. was planning the last raid into S. Vietnam, their mission would also be one that would drop the 6th million bomb into Vietnam. The carrier was operating out of Dixie Station, the strike to be carried out onto targets in the Mekong Delta. During the whole det were constant nagging from CINCPAC for what seemed like lack of mission taskings being conducted to all the carriers in theater and directly to the CAG’s then down to the squadron CO’s asking for answers why is that so? One big relevant reason was the lack of ordnance, bombs and rockets, bullets, naphalm every kind of ground ordnance was being used up in mass quantities. So much so that missions were being conducted at half loads just to get aircraft up and out to conduct daily sorties. And to keep the sortie rate up. To keep the REMF from complaining too much. Meanwhile a toilet bowl on the ship has become defective and is about to be tossed overboard, but the ordies of VA-25 rescue the wayward bowl by attaching a tail unit, home made bomb rack and a nose fuse. To commemorate the 6th million bomb dropped the unit is attached to the RH outer bomb rack station on NE/572 “Paper Tiger II”. The mission will be flown by CDR Stoddard , his wingman LTCDR Robin Bacon will be flying NE/577 which also had the last remaining wing camera left over from WWII in the fleet. As the aircraft are armed and the flight deck checker crew are cooperating with the squadron in allowing the aircraft to proceed to the cat as they also walk with her in keeping from view the special bomb from the Air Boss and Captain. Just as 572 launches, a shout from the 1mc, “is what the hell is that on the right wing of 572?” As the flight proceeds into the Delta, and arrive on station, CDR Stoddard contacts the FAC(forward air controller) his list of ordnance which the last item on the list is code named “Sani Flush”. The FAC doesn’t believe it and joins up to see it. Ok, he marks the targets and clears the 2 Skyraiders to prosecute them, first going in is Stoddard, with Bacon flying close to record the event. The toilet comes off and almost hits the FAC’s airplane, as a hole in the wind, he can hear it whistle all the way down to the ground. The origin of this whole evolution dates back to the Korean War when it was stated the Skyraider can drop everything but the kitchen sink. Well not so as a kitchen sink was attached to a thousand pound bomb and dropped showing that yes including the kitchen sink. One of the running jokes on board with air intelligence was about germ warfare and this was another one of those Navy answers to that with the toilet bowl. I know about those situations first hand while I served. Gotta have those fun moments with your squadron mates and we did. Especially when you have a great CO who understands that even though we have a demanding task at hand even during peace time, a little laughter is always good medicine. One slip your dead period. Sadly CDR Stoddard was killed in action in Sept 1966 flying 572, when hit by SAM’s over Vinh, first listed MIA, then changed to KIA in 1973.
The kit itself is fun to build. It is one with some unique twists to it than prior Tamiya builds, one is the use of polycaps to attach the drop tanks and the large 1000lb bombs. The nicely detailed landing gear, drop flaps, the option to open the dive brakes. Having built the Monogram Skyraider, which really is a nice kit, the only negative on that is the cowl is off a bit. Other wise it’s another very good Monogram kit with raised panel lines and I really don’t care about that detail raised or engraved. The other build is the Hasegawa kit in 72nd scale. Which is fine as well. I used Tamiya Gloss white for the undersurfaces and the flying surfaces and rudder. Gunze acrylic semi gloss Lt Gull Grey for the top surfaces. Eduards zoom set for the cockpit and seat belts. Quick boost canvas rear canopy actuator cover on the rear deck. Brengun models for the Toilet seat, decals for VA-25 as it appeared in November 1965. I used Tams decals for the stencils which performed pretty well. The gun barrels and antenna on the vertical tail are from Master. I also used Tamiya Smoke for the exhaust trails along the side of the fuselage, oil and grunge wash over the drop tank and in around the leakage areas under the engine and center fuselage areas. Overall a very fun and nice build. I hope yall enjoy the build. I want to wish everyone a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Stay safe and healthy.
51 additional images. Click to enlarge.