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About bushande

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  1. Yes you do! The reason for this (actually quite frequent) "obscurity" is that these panels were removable panels and esspecially during cruises were interchanged with other birds and/or hangar queens. You wouldn't have as many replacement parts aboard the boat as you have while on base and if a panel needed maintenance or repair you would go and use a panel from another bird sitting under deck in order to get one jet in the air. On the other hand, the '89 Mig-killers were both Block 80 and 85 birds. As the birds were direly needed in the fleet upgrades and changes on behalf of the manufacturer (if not possible on depot level) were only done infrequently and not all Block-upgrades could be done to the entire fleet at the same time but just kind of "creeped" into the fleet over time. It was not uncommon to see early block birds with boat tails but already some TCS or two louvre gun grills or birds with a seven louvre gun grill but a newer Block beaver tail etc. Chances are pretty high that the killer birds either just had a replacement panel from another bird or that they were among those ships that just didn't receive the full compliment of all later Block upgrades at that time.
  2. That Iran gave a Phoenix to the Russians is at least to the date only an unconfirmed rumor and is at least mostly denied by Iranian officials. Regarding Russian missile systems on a Tomcat, it is at least proclaimed by Iran that the few Tomcats that apparently underwent the current "Baba'ee" upgrade program are capable of employing the R-27 with plans to also integrate the capability to employ the R-73 but so far no visual evidence has ever surfaced that might give actual proof to these claims. To what extend Iran still pursues any upgrades on their Phantom fleet has become somewhat questionable now that a lot of effort is placed on acquiring SU-30s which would be slated to replace the F-4 fleet.
  3. Well, just as a little add on the Iranian birds issue. Actually Tom Cooper is the expert on all things reg. the Persian cats but AFAIK, while no tanks had been on order with the first lot of Block 90/95 Tomcats, the Shah actually DID order some external tanks to be delivered later on together with new equipement, missiles potential new airframe lots etc.. They wanted some ext. FTs right away but due to the necessary rework that had to be done on the tanks (the little winglets kept them just long enough gliding under the trunks upon a potential drop to damage the ventral vins) they skipped that and postponed it to supposed later stock-ups. The intent was not so much to extend the range of the jets but rather increase independent loiter time. There apparently were some supposed attempts to manufacture some indigenous EFTs and some basic test sets had actually been produced but due to lack of further funding (the IRGC from where the money actually comes, considered an increase of loiter time not relevant enough) the whole program was shelved. It apparently resurfaced as a point of the current "Baba'ee" update program but once again it seems that IRGC has not yet issued the funds for it because most of the money currently goes to anti-ISIS efforts. This is also the reason why the current Baba'ee-, i.e. AM-upgrade program seems to be at half pace at best. originally it was said that the IRIAF wanted at least half of the fleet upgraded by 2020 but as rumor currently indicates the new timeframe is somewhere around 2025. If tanks will ever be an issue remains to be seen I guess. Oh and nowadays the airbase north of Esfahan isn't called Kathami anymore, at least as far as I was able to learn. Currently the base seems to be run under "TAB8 Babai". While most of the Tomcats seem to be stationed there, it seems at least 6 ships are forward deployed to a base close to Busheer and a few more seem to be based further down south closer to the Gulf region. As Skull Leader said, Mehrabat/Esfahan is only a temporary rotation point for overhauls and potential upgrades.
  4. Very true but I gotta say it's a great and enjoyable challenge. 164604 i.e. Vandy-1 was one of the last live Kitties I got to see. Had a chance to catch her briefly in 2000 and one last time in 2004 and was lucky enough to sneak some little snitbits of the bird away that the squadron removed during maintenance and didn't present a security breach. The nice thing about this birdy is that she was (in opposite to her three black Alpha predecessors in the 80s and early 90s, i.e 161287, 161444 and 159853) a fully fletched test bed that apparently went through the same paces as her low viz sisters and hence featured quite some wear and tear and was far from having the glossy show bird look of 159853, the black bunny Alpha Tomcat of the early 90s for instance. I think the only time 164604 had a true pristine gloss black appeareance without a stain, was when she was delivered to then VX-4 just short before their merger with VX-5 to VX-9. I know it's bad attitude to highjack a thread with one's own WIP threads, please forgive me the stinky self praise but I wouldn't dismiss the color choice solely for the reasons stated here in the thread just that easily and since that bird is one of those F-14s that I'm more fond of than others I did a 1/32 interpretation of her a few years back using the old Revell kit and frequently reworked the kit. The first time I sort of outdid it a bit but after some rework I'm quite happy for the time being The gloss black coat is a challenge but if you take your time you can really make this stand out among the others. I'd do a lot of things differently today though and AMK might just give me that chance at least in 1/48. http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?/topic/276004-132-tomcats-late-f-14d-vx-9-vandy-1-and-early-f-14a-vf-1-wichita-101/ I for one am quite happy about this choice of AMK. Admitted, the only thing I might have liked a tad more in terms of testcats would have been a VX-30 Delta with the Bloodhounds insignia on the tail. The only way to portray sucha bird is via the sold out decals of VF- and subsequently Fightertown decals.
  5. That particular jet never flew an actual display in these colors. I think the colors went on by mid or end of August 2006 and it was just sitting in the static at Oceana airshow in 2006 and was used for another static incl. some inert weapons displayed around it at the Sunset ceremony Sept. 22 in 2006. Try to google "Tomcat Sunset Ceremony" and yo should find plenty of this ship in these colors. Originally they just painted the bird without any tanks but also painted a set of palletts in white as well. While in these colors it still flew some training missions albeit only a few until it was eventually delivered to the museum. During these days they ocassionally put on whatever pallett and rail was available including some standard grey ones. During the Sunset flyout ceremony they put the white palletts back on and upon its final flight to the museum Palmdale they also put the gloss white tanks on featuring a "Felix Rulez" writing. Far as I know the tanks were only on during its last flight to the museum. So it's basically your decision how ou want to portrait the bird. Feel free to put on whatever you like. But the jet didn't carry any weapons load anymore in these colors.
  6. Now that is one pretty bird!!! Do you possibly have another shot of the whole plane as well? Thanks for posting these!
  7. Awesome finish. Really cool bird. Congrats!!!
  8. I would assume, this shot has rather been taken during the 76/77 cruise. Which means that these were already other birds. You can rework it but it needs more extras and changes than the 1980s edition of the kit. They included the fuselage halfes with the late NACCA gun grills and the beaver tail has the ECM blister.
  9. Thanks a lot Stefan, happy if it is still liked. As said, today I would do a crap load way differently. Anyways, your observation on the upper surface control panels in LGG on 7980 is actually rather a trick of light. I got shots of her roll out where it is clearly visible that 7980 has the standard white panels as well.
  10. Most welcome. Really cool looking bird actually.
  11. Well ominous just because of the radome. Has been fairly unusual for the Wichitas without the white belly. Is all. Don't get me started on those darned prototypes. I have amassed so much reference on them over the years, I even have a piece of no. 1s center beam and some shreds of 7989, i.e. no. 10 (the one that crashed short after the first carrier trials) and there's still hardly a time I look at all the stuff and don't find something new which differs from the rest and in between them and that needs to be considered. As far as I can make out of the shots I have, the mock up had an individual tail and hence individual speedbrake, 7980, i.e. no. 1 had it's own style of a speedbrake, namely a big flat almost foursquare panel, 7981, i.e. no. 2 had yet again a different layout of the speedbrake due to the spin chute in the tail, no. 3 had a different layout of the tail as well resulting in yet again another panel for the speedbrake, which seems to not be as broad as no. 1s but also not as lean towards the upper end as no. 2s. It seems that around no. 5 the typical speedbrake layout for the boat tail had finally been established. effin' Tomcats. Gotta hate them.
  12. Well, it's a pity .... I found quite a pile of the regular Gayblades from the mid 70s and also plenty of the squadron birds in the bicentennial colors, albeit I'm afraid there's not much of your specific serial in that bicentennial camo in addition to the one you already have. I got a lot of 9612 as a VF-33 and -102 bird and also some of her in the regular early VF-32 colors with the yellow stripes but there's only so much of her in the bicentennial scheme, i,e, with the red and blue stripes and the extra swords. However, I was able to dig up a shot of the starboard site, two shots on the carrier and two close ups. Seems the bird was only one of a handful that already had the two louvre gun grill and you are free to properly weather the bird as it seems. Also note that despite the overal gloss finish at least the tailfin must have lost the gloss rather quickly. Hence maybe a soft satin shine would be more appropriate for your model?! Hope that helps and happy modelling.
  13. I actually saw the red striping also on - admittedly very very few - images of other squadron's birds. That striping goes over those areas that cover the center wingbox. This spot is not covered by removable panels but the fuselage skin is directly applied over the titanium wingbox. It was basically just supposed to indicate that there is nothing for maintainers to look for.
  14. That pretty much remains the question. According to some albeit UNCONFIRMED sources VF-1 did some strafing on yet never further clarified ground targets. But as said, it all remains a rumor so far. The tan nose didn't seem to meet much love with VF-2. There are only very few shots of some VF-2 birds during the work up and transition time that show the tan nose but it seems they got omitted rather quickly. My opinion: If you want to stay authentic, rather leave the tan nose away. Another shortlived attempt in '83: Oh btw, here is also that ominous 1978 VF-1 birdy with the tan nose. Just the same here. I personally think it is just a curious "flower" during transition / repaint. Curious nonetheless.
  15. Thats correct John. There are several good ressources here on ARC that clarify the issue as that has been a frequent question by many modellers. If you search for "boattail" here on ARC I'm sure some threads will surface. Most folks usually refer to the well known MATS site of Torsten Anft. I think he has some decent drawings there as well, that illustrate at least the major differences for those that are not complete Tomcat nuts. http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-detail-beavertail.htm The broader boat tails had only been installed by Grumman for a rather brief time on only the first few lots of production ships (prototypes had boat tail layouts that differed even from the boat tails of the early production blocks and even from prototype to prototype!). However some earlier ships that hit the fleet before the change to the leaner beaver tail design and wouldn't get a proper upgrade, flew with the boat tail until the late eighties. The dialectic panels had been removed very early and permanently partially before and no later than during the first cruise. Your rendition of 8992 in August '75 would imply a boat tail albeit without the dialectic panels. It's no sorcery John. What I learned works as a good pattern for sucha scratch work are old laundry pecs for example. Just cut and sand and clue and the biggest part would already be done in 1/72.