This is the 1/72 scale Heller E-3 Sentry kit I built for a former squadron-mate and friend. He was a member of the mission crew in the back, flying many missions during the Second Iraq war. He had seen some of my previous builds and requested that I build an AWACS for him. After discussing what he wanted and what options were available, he provided a photo of the A/C that he flew the majority of his missions on. I suggested that adding some AGE and maintenance personnel would provide scale reference. The kit was supplemented with Flight Path resin engines. The Flight Path set included photo-etch parts for the engines, landing gear, roto-dome and air-frame. Also added was a resin antenna upgrade set from Contrail Models. This consisted of the phased array antenna on the fuselage sides, along with the chin array and the tail sensor. Hasegawa maintenance personnel and AGE equipment kits were used. I created the tail markings on my computer. I used Model Master Voodoo Gray (which I am told is the closest match to the Boeing gray paint used on the real thing).
The flight line base was created using artists paper glued to ¾ inch thick plywood. I used Google Earth to look at the flightline at Tinker to determine the correct size of the concrete sections, proper markings and staining. I drew the lines for the concrete sections with a pencil and used artists acrylic paints to create shadows and depth, along with stains. And for all you former USAF aircraft maintenance folks, note that all personnel are wearing reflective belts and double hearing protection. You’re just going to have to trust me on the last item.
All in all a very challenging, yet enjoyable project. The best part of the build was the reveal to my friend, who was extremely pleased with the end result. A win/win.