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Found 2 results

  1. For years I've been hunting Ebay for the 1/700 Dragon kit of Tarawa-class LHA. Unfortunately both original Dragon (Tarawa/Saipan/Peleliu) and Revell-boxed (Saipan) kits are fetching prices above 60 $, sometimes reaching even the three-digit level. And then some weeks ago at Scalemates I have found the assembly instruction sheet (in PDF) of Italeri 1:720 USS Nassau that I (and thousands of other people) thought to be the rebox of the crude 1970s-vintage Revell 1/720 Tarawa/Saipan kit. Then I compared the Italeri sheet with Dragon one and the conclusion shocked me totally: the 1/720 as stated on the box and instruction sheet cannot be true - this mistifaction has been done by Italeri perhaps only to "fit into" their line of 1/720 ships. And Italeri #530 USS Nassau can be easily bought for 20 Euros ! In 5 days such an opportunity appeared on Ebay and in next 3 days the kit in pristine condition (wrapped/unopened box) joined my stash. After opening the box you can find the sealed bag of plastic sprues labelled "Made in China by DRAGON" and all the sprues are identical to DRAGON 1/700 Tarawa-class ships. Even on decals set there's "1/700 USS Nassau" inscription and THIS IS THE TRUE... Nevertheless the kit features the airwing consisting of 4 AV-8B Harriers, 4 CH-46E Sea Knights and 2 CH-53E Super Stallions - the same aircraft are already standing on the deck of my 1/700 USS Wasp LHD-1 model by HobbyBoss. Wanting to differentiate these two amphibious ship class a little I decided to build the USS Nassau with her 1982 airwing. Of course 1982 means no AV-8B and no CH-53E. Moreover the aircraft supplied by Dragon/Italeri can be only called the caricatures of the original thing. So I dug my drawer a little to find several Trumpeter/HB aircraft surplus to fit the deck of USS Wasp and USS Nimitz. The lone AV-8B will be modified to represent the AV-8A, while two CH-53Es will be backdated to the CH-53D standard. Then I'd like to build 3 or 4 UH-1Ns using parts of SH-60s and (if patience allows) scratch-build some 2 or 3 OV-10 Broncos. So let's look at the Harriers: The main fuselage is almost the same. The nose must be shortened, the canopy lowered and the tailplane leading edge must be modified too. The biggest task however is modifying the wing - AV-8A had shorter span, more sweep, outriggers closer to the wingtips and the LERX must be omitted. Here you can see the AV-8A fuselage and the tailplanes after surgery (there's an unmodified AV-8B left on the same sprue): Then there are the Stallions: Here also happily the main fuselage is the same. The sponsons must be shortened, the third engine deleted (as will be one rotor blade too), the tailboom must be shortened and thinned, both vertical and horizontal tail must be shortened and the dorsal "hump" must be seriously modified. After all these operations cutting 0.8mm off each tail rotor blade and 1.4mm off each main rotor blade looks trivial. Here you have the modified CH-53D airframe next to the "stock" CH-53E also awaiting paint job: And here some old joke - a safety match just to remind you how tiny the 1/700 aircraft really are. To be continued Cheers Michael
  2. Do you have any idea (better supported by pictures of course) about the camouflage of UH-1N, CH-46 and CH-53D helicopters operating from LHA amphibious carriers between 1982 and 1984? Currently I'm building the Dragon/Italeri 1/700 USS Nassau LHA-4 featuring the airwing consisting of three abovementioned chopper types plus AV-8A and OV-10A planes. Harriers are already sporting the low-vis grey+green over light grey camo with black lettering and all-black insignia. Broncos are overall dark green with black lettering and insignia, but how did the helos look these days? On a picture showing AV-8As aboard Nassau there's a "monocolor" UH-1N looking decidely more grey than green, but the tailboom is outside the camera scope and I don't know, whether is this a Marines or Navy machine (white lettering USS Nassau on side door directs me closer to the Navy option). AFAIK the beautiful green+2 greys (or is it grey/black/green?) wraparound camouflage has been introduced on USMC choppers a little bit later (1985/86?), so the machines contemporary to the AV-8A and Bronco on the LHA-4 deck should be rather uniform dark green. But was the lettering white or black? Were the insignia still colourful or already all-black low-vis version? Any help will be appreciated. Cheers Michael
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