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  1. I recently completed the seventh addition to my collection of Wisconsin Air National Guard aircraft, the OA-37B "Dragonfly", which left just two more aircraft to complete my project: the A-10A Thunderbolt II (a.k.a. "Warthog") and the O-1A Cessna Skymaster. I've never been a fan of the Skymaster, mainly because that's the aircraft the Wisconsin ANG was given when their F-102 Delta Daggers were taken away from them. Imagine, going from a supersonic hotrod to a pedestrian, prop-driven general aviation aircraft! But, that's what happened. In 1974 the Wisconsin ANG's 115th Fighter Group converted to the forward air control mission and became the 115th Tactical Air Support Group, trading in their Delta Daggers (top speed: Mach 1.22) for Cessna Skymasters (top speed: 200 mph). The group flew Skymasters until 1979, when they transitioned to the OA-37B "Dragonfly". My plan was to begin work on the A-10 as my next Wisconsin ANG model. However, a few aftermarket items I had ordered hadn't yet arrived, so I decided to do a quick build of the Airfix Skymaster sitting in my stash. My thought was, being a simple kit, I could get the Skymaster done in a few days (a week at most) and then start on the Warthog. No WIP, just build the Skymaster and post a quick RFI. Little did I suspect . . . Here's the kit: And a dog it turned out to be! Bear with me while I do some belly-aching (and feel free to bring out the violins!) For starters, the clear parts don't fit at all. The windscreen is too wide, the openings for the side and top deck window are much larger than the clear parts meant for them, and the windows on the lower right-side are pure trash (wrong shape, and too small for the fuselage openings). I ended up cutting a vertical slice from the windscreen, to narrow it down, and replaced the top deck with a new piece, for which I cut properly-sized openings. I also replaced the lower-right side of the fuselage with new styrene, and created correctly shaped & sized windows using clear UV acrylic: The twin booms are another problem area. They are supposed to fit into slots in the wing, but the slots are much too wide. I corrected this using styrene shims: Airfix's interior is for the four-seat civilian Skymaster. I removed the two rear seats and scratch built an electronics rack. Unhappily, not much of this can be seen through the kit's thick windows: Those are the biggest problem areas. The rest of my work consisted of adding details that are missing from the kit. I opened the forward engine air inlets, and made an inlet for the rear engine (the kit has this as a blank face): I lowered the flaps to match the photo at the top of this page of a Wisconsin ANG Skymaster on the ramp: I added landing/taxi lights on the wing leading edges, made from adhesive fingernail "gems" and packing tape: I used thin brass tubing to create exhausts for the two engines: I replaced the crude underwing pylons with better ones from the spares box. I used aftermarket items for the rocket pods, as the kit items were simply horrible: The fuselage top is bedecked with various antennae, which I added, along with PE fuel filler caps on the wings: The kit is missing the anti-collision beacon on the starboard fin, so I scratch built one using styrene rod and UV-activated acrylic gel, coated with transparent red paint, for the lens: I also used the UV gel to create the wingtip navigation lights and the clear lights at the rear of the fins: Lastly, I made a pitot tube from brass rod and a bit of styrene, to replace the kit's crudely-molded item: I painted my Skymaster with MRP Sky Grey paint and Mr. Base White 1000, referencing photos of Wisconsin ANG birds: While I was painting and masking, Airfix's iffy landing gear gave way. After gluing the broken pieces together, I added reinforcement using CA glue and baking soda. The result definitely isn't scale, but at least I have some peace of mind. Decals were mainly from the kit (this boxing has decals by Scale Masters, which performed beautifully even being decades old). I printed custom decals for the Wisconsin ANG, and also used a few decals from the spares box where needed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now (if you're still with me), let's see the results of all that work! One more pic, this time in an appropriate setting: And finally, to give a sense of scale . . . . Thanks for viewing, and thanks to everyone who followed my build and gave me support during this challenging project. And, if you are interested, the details of the build are in my Work In Progress:
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