Happy new year to you all. It's been quite a long time since I've posted on kitmaker, and it feels good to be back! I've recently started a new build for a coworker. This is the first build I've done for another person I've done where I have been asked to replicate a very specific airframe and loadout.
My coworker's father was an A-7 pilot during Vietnam, stationed at Korat air base in Thailand. In late 1972,he was involved in a well-known mission to rescue two downed airmen. Arnie Clark was the leader (flying 71-970 which is now at the Wright Patterson museum). My coworker's father marked the locations for the smoke curtain drops with smoke rockets, then covered the helicopter as it picked up the pilots. The mission lasted nearly 9 hours, and was a success. He turns 80 years old next month, and this model (a replica of 71-354 that he flew in the mission) will be a surprise gift for him.
To aid in getting the model as accurate as possible I've had a wealth of information given me by my coworker. I have all the loadout and aircraft notes, photos, declassified mission maps, and I've even been allowed to listen to the actual radio transmission recordings of the mission. I've never had this level of reference information on a project before, and it is amazing. I'm so humbled and grateful for these great men who risked so much to bring two pilots home.
A few of the build specs:
- Loadout: 2x CBU-52, 2x fuel tank, 2x AIM-9, 2x 7-shot LAU w/smoke rockets
- No chaff/flare
- No pave penny (not used 'til the '80s)
- combat camera installed
- Aires cockpit
- Master Details USAF Vietnam pilot kit
- African mahogany model base
- Model base may have a laser-cut, layered mahogany topo map of mission zone on it if time permits.
I'll be posting up a bunch of photos for your expert critique in the coming weeks. I am not an expert on the A-7 (I'm usually more of a modern aircraft kind of guy). So hopefully you all will be able to give me guidance along the way.