Saturday, 27 August 2016

Italeri S-3 Viking ongoing

Some updates on the (slow) progress of the model.
Today I received the Two Mikes resin update set for the S-3B Viking and I'm so glad I did'nt have the fuselage glued together as it requires some hacking to fit new parts. One of the parts is the new APU exhaust on the port fuselage side forward of the bomb bay so the area to remove was marked out and holes drilled around the inner edge;
The centre was removed and the hole cleaned up;
Then after some final adjustments the new part was fitted;
Much better!
Then I turned my attention to the vent underneath the fuselage using the same method;

The new cockpit is OK but is missing the shroud for the instrument panel so a new one was made from bits of styrene sheet and sanded down to smooth it all out a bit. Also some extra sanding was required as the shroud interfered with the fit of the canopy. This is how it looked before all that sanding;
The actual aircraft I want to model is an S-3B that was assigned to VS-21 'Fighting Redtails' onboard the USS Kittyhawk circa 1999 (Bureau Number 159413/ NF-700).
The Viking fleet has received many updates over the years but one in particular saw a big change to the airframe under the AFC-284 ASW Deconfiguration Programme (ASW=Anti Submarine Warfare). This included the reduction of sonobuoy launchers on the fuselage underside from 60 to 16 and the deletion of the MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detector) boom at the rear as well as other mods.
The programme began in 1999 and ended 2000 and I had assumed that my Viking would have to be modified as a consequence, however looking at reference pictures in the Tony Holmes book 'Supercarriers' (ISBN1-84176-026-9) I found one image of 159413 that showed the MAD boom still in place. This one image is what stalled the build originally a few years ago as I was'nt sure what configuration the aircraft was in so coming back to the model meant I had to do some further research as to whether the aircraft had been modified under AFC-284.
I spent a fair few hours trawling for images and info and came across two pictures of 159413 on the ground at Atsugi Naval Air Station in Japan during September 1999 and one of the aircraft in flight in the same markings that actually showed the full amount of 60 sonobuoy launchers underneath and the MAD boom still fitted. The decal sheet I have depicts the aircraft in June 1999 and coupled with the fact that I found out the ASW Deconfiguration Programme actually started in late 1999 meant that I was good to carry on.
I did find more pictures of 159413 after the modifications but it had been assigned to VS-41 'Shamrocks' and no decals exist for it. 
This is one of the problems of modelling US Navy aircraft as they are VERY specific markings-wise and can very often change between cruises as aircraft are rotated, reassigned, repainted etc etc etc. One example of a difference in markings that features on this particular aircraft is the logo of an oil company (Phillips 66) on the refuelling pod when 159413 was onboard the Kittyhawk mid-1999, later pictures at Atsugi in September 1999 show a different oil company logo so the refuelling pod came from a different aircraft or it had been repainted at some point.
Anyway just some useless information for you to digest, unless somebody else is building a Viking using the CAM decal sheet I have in which case the info above will prove useful :o)

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