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Douglas A-1H Skyraider "Midnight Cowboy" (Airfix 1/72)


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Hello modellers,
let me present you my latest build, an A-1H Skyraider of the 56th Tactical Fighter Wing in Nakon Phanom (NKP) Thailand, taking part in the “Secret War” in Laos. I remembered a drawing in my old Aeroplane magazine and decided to depict that plane, although have seen an aftermarket decal sheet, showing a slightly different tail code.
I chose one of my Airfix kits for the project (the fifth A-1, I made from that old kit). This time I rescribed it completely, and added a lot of scratchbuilt details. In the cockpit, the seat was improved and a pilot from the Revell Nato Pilots Set added. Some stripes of styrene sheet helped to make the canopy look more realistic. It was also used to make the antennas as well as stretched sprue and a hair from a broom.
Positioning lights are from clear sprue, gun barrels from hypodermic needles and the pitot probe from brass tubing and silver rod.
Greatest challenge was the ordnance and only the starboard wingtank was used from the kit. The centerline fuel tank is from a Revell A-4, glued vice versa to the pylon. Rocket pods are from Hasegawa, the minigun pod from a Matchbox AH-1G kit and the SUU-14 bomblet dispensers are made from needles, plasticcard and epoxy glue.
Decals from spares box and “Midnight Cowboy” nose art self-printed.
Camo paints were self-mixed from Modelmaster and Revell Enamels, applied with the help of Patafix sausages.
Weathering was achieved by airbrush, oil paints and pastel chalks.
Hope you like the old/new Airfix Skyraider

Mario

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Edited by Mario
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I just finished reading Richard S. Drury's book, "My Secret War". Your model looks fantastic! I hope I can find those markings in 1/48. Nice work on the camo and weathering. Drury mentions how slow the A-1 was when fully loaded. Simply amazing that more didn't get shot down carrying all that weight and drag.

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Hi Uncle Mario!!!

Its nice to know what your secret project was, and is a very nice surprise to watch this venerable kit made with an update and improvement work that really makes one to think about buy a nice lot of them to build as many as possible.

Without a doubt this kit very wellbuilt and with a real heart and love for the machine to extract the very best of it has its nice reward when a nice one as your nice work is in show.

I liked a huge lot the way you finished her,the version, the overall work and specially the weathering properly done to show a very well used workhorse. For sure will take a note about the improvements you did in this one and hope mine will be at least 40% as good as yours and for sure I will be more than happy with the result. With works as this one you must have to make a WIP to present later as doubts surface, for example, I would like to replicate your SUU14's but hope you have had at least a drawing to share or will ask later when we talk to share some know-how about that one day.

Keep On Master, which one is next???

Thank you very much for sharing,

Cheers,

Luis Alfonso

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Fantastic job on that old kit Mario, can hardly believe it`s the Airfix one, nice one

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Thank you Will, Mark4700, Andy, Russ, Nachtwulf, king daddy and Nephew Luis Alfonso for the positive comments - very much appreciated!

Have ofter wondered why there are so few 1/72 Skyraider kits available. Obviously a neglected subject despite a strong interest from a lot of modellers.

To Nephew Luis Alfonso:

Have chosen this subject to surprise you. Thought for sure that you had several of the Heller/Airfix kits in the stash and therefore mustn´t feel guilty that you had to buy something new!

Edited by Mario
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To Nephew Luis Alfonso:

Have chosen this subject to surprise you. Thought for sure that you had several of the Heller/Airfix kits in the stash and therefore mustn´t feel guilty that you had to buy something new!

Hi Uncle Mario:

Thank you very much for the surprise,for sure the MAIN modeling interest will be Vietnam War Again. I remember when in 1978 I read about Bernard Fischer Story in Reader's Digest, there was an article dealing with this mission and after some very heavy research (LOOK THAT Internet was not as normal and widely used way to do reseacrh as today......), I instantly became interested and in love with this magnificent and big very capable aircraft.

At that time there was only Three kits in the market: (1) The multiplace Monogram A-1E (2) The Venerable AIrfix A-1H and (3) The "Battle Damaged" Clone wide fuselage single place from IMC now disapeared as Monogran did a Huge claim that involved this kit and the also Battle Damaged F105D

as those kits were clear copies from the Monogram ones....so after I found that the Airfix was not available was more than happy ro have Bernard Fischer A-1E and eight then after clear customs ar home, began the task to build it!!! At one time we were happy as someone with "Big High Connections" filtered outside the militia that the Government have asked the US to provide some of those "Flying Dump Trucks" to deal with the guerrilla trouble here...then I bought two more just in case...

After a long time and long and painless negotiations with another modeler who BTW have a huge stock of unbuilt models I got my firts Airfix Skytaider and looking at yours for sure is now a very strong candidate to will follow Miss Bronco when finished in the bench.

Nice memories of the time when build aircraft plastic models was a huge joy for me...as right now!!! :)

Cheers,

Luis Alfonso.

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Hi Nephew Luis Alfonso!

Thank you very much for the comment. Always happy if my builds serve as inspiration for other modellers. Think we have forgotten the old Fujimi in our list of 1/72 Skyraiders. Have never had this kit, but two other Airfix and Revell/Monogram widebody versions. As you know plan to build it as Bernard Fisher´s plane and one of the Airfix as another Dieter Dengler machine.

Interesting what you said about possible sells to Guatemala. Was it when your country already had received the Dragonfly?

Cheers,

Uncle Mario

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Hi Nephew Luis Alfonso!

Thank you very much for the comment. Always happy if my builds serve as inspiration for other modellers. Think we have forgotten the old Fujimi in our list of 1/72 Skyraiders. Have never had this kit, but two other Airfix and Revell/Monogram widebody versions. As you know plan to build it as Bernard Fisher´s plane and one of the Airfix as another Dieter Dengler machine.

Interesting what you said about possible sells to Guatemala. Was it when your country already had received the Dragonfly?

Cheers,

Uncle Mario

Hi Uncle Mario!!!

Yes, you are right, the Old BachmanFujimi/Testors Rendition was left outside the story, and BTW have just four by accident: One which I bought to a friend and found that the cockpit canopy was missing, a pair that I bought for the Microscale decals to be used for a Vietnam camouflaged one, and another Fujimi that someone sold me so cheap that I bought it without too much forcing me...as you see, you can count that Its one of my favourite planes of all the times.

AND YES!!! The Dragonflies were operating here since 1970/71 and in 1978 there were some rumours about the coming of the big beasts here to help them in the fight as the low speed and load carriying capability of this nice plane was really appreciated when military personnel watched them flying.

Without a doubt there would be a lethal team of warplanes dealing with the fight here.

Cheers,

Luis Alfonso

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Hi Nephew Luis Alfonso!

Hope the Fujimy Skyraider is better than their Crusader! Interesting what you said about the idea in your country of purchasing Skyraiders in the late seventies! Would have been vice versa compared to South Vietnam were the A-37s were intended to replace the aging A1s!

Cheers,

Uncle Mario

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(1) Hope the Fujimy Skyraider is better than their Crusader! ----

MMMMM....its not so as wonderful than the new moulds Fujimi is selling but think that this one has something attractive as think even today this one is in the Fujimi catalog.

(2) Interesting what you said about the idea in your country of purchasing Skyraiders in the late seventies! Would have been vice versa compared to South Vietnam were the A-37s were intended to replace the aging A1s!----

THIS ONE would have been so nice to listen to the thunderous sound of this engine passing with a huge ammount of ordnance under their wings heading for the combat zone, for sure the thing here would have not lasted so much after that and would have ended in very much less time.

Cheers,

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Very nice, I always thought that the Spad looked good in SEA colours, it gave it a slightly more warlike appearance than the Navy colours. Nice base with it too.

One of the first aftermarket decal sheets I got was in the mid 70's (an Almark sheet?) as a kid. I must have build about half a dozen Airfix Skyraiders just to use up all the options. Great memories from a time when aftermarket was virtually non existent.

Cheers

John

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Thank you Meatbox 8, Nephew Luis Alfonso and John for the comments!

Very nice, I always thought that the Spad looked good in SEA colours, it gave it a slightly more warlike appearance than the Navy colours. Nice base with it too.

One of the first aftermarket decal sheets I got was in the mid 70's (an Almark sheet?) as a kid. I must have build about half a dozen Airfix Skyraiders just to use up all the options. Great memories from a time when aftermarket was virtually non existent.

Cheers

John

Thank you John for the nice comment. Agree with you regarding the Spad in SEA colors. The Airforce planes also leave the modeller more room for weathering as they are usually dirtier than the Navy birds.

Have a lot of vintage kits in the stash whose decal sheets often cause some problems.

Cheers,

Mario

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  • 3 years later...

Late to this post.  Was researching the IMC kit as I have a huge collection I am trying to price out when I saw this.  Seeing what you did with this old kit made me rethink.

Collection has an Airfix, IMC and a Hasagawa version.

 

Great build.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/25/2020 at 6:38 AM, philp said:

Late to this post.  Was researching the IMC kit as I have a huge collection I am trying to price out when I saw this.  Seeing what you did with this old kit made me rethink.

Collection has an Airfix, IMC and a Hasagawa version.

 

Great build.

Thank you philp for you kind comment. Have just discovered it since I haven´t looked here since quite a while. Indeed I invested a lot of work in this kit, especially scratchbuilding the ordnance. Still have two more Airfix and Heller single seaters in the stash and also some Revell/Monogram kits. Don´t know IMC and wonder if it is a rebox of the Airfix or Fujimi kit?

Cheers,

               Mario

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Mario,

From what I can see the IMC kits were their original molds.  Also looks like the Heller kit is the Airfix kit reboxed.

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Mario, nice job on that old kit! I know it very, very well: I spent years fiddling with one... This is how far I got, before the Hasegawa kit came out in 1996:

 

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Here's a report about my model:

 

https://robdebie.home.xs4all.nl/models/a1h.htm

 

There was one more Skyraider model during the dark ages: the Tsukuda kit, that was later reissued by Hobbycraft.

 

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I looked high and low for one, pre-internet, and never found one. But quite recently I got one after all, from a model club member. It's discussed a bit on the page mentioned above.

 

Rob

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