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  1. This is a build of the 1/48 Tamiya A-1H Skyraider for a client specifying the airplane flown by his father while embarked on the USS Enterprise with the VA-65 Tigers during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1/72 scale Hasegawa has a kit that would have fit the bill perfectly (save for the BuNo and cowl number)… … but 1/48 scale was strongly desired, which points squarely to the Tamiya kit. So, there will be some custom artwork required to replicate BuNo 35322 and other VA-65 specific markings. This is the only photo of that specific aircraft that I have been able to find, although it is from a slightly later date while the Tigers were embarked on the USS Intrepid. The artwork has been roughed out in Adobe Illustrator and will be printed on a laser printer a bit later. The fuselage thunderbolts will be airbrushed with the use of custom-cut stencils (more on that later). One thing that I needed to address early was the client’s desire to have a helmet sitting in the cockpit, waiting for the pilot to arrive. The kit includes a seated pilot (seemingly rare nowadays) but the helmet details are indistinct and won’t really impress if displayed separate from the pilot. (Besides, the pilot’s head would have to be drilled out of the helmet… yeck!). To get an acceptable helmet I designed a rough APH-6 helmet in CAD and printed it on an SLA printer (FormLabs Form 2). Although it’s hard to photograph (it’s so TINY), the details look great and really pop with white primer and a gloss white base coat. There are white thunderbolts on each side of the helmet, so the plan is to cut stencils to mask the white before painting the helmet an overall coat of FS32246 Navy Torpedo Orange. The white stars will be applied via decals. I’ll return to the helmet later… One question for the hive mind here: The AD-6 / A-1H had nose flaps that could be closed to isolate the engine in cold weather conditions and permit a faster warmup when the engine was first started. In this photo the nose flaps are closed: But this next photo is the actual configuration that I am recreating albeit with the client’s custom markings. It appears to me that the nose flaps are open in this photo, and I see that the cowl flaps are also open which – I believe – would require that the nose flaps be open. This question of nose flaps open / closed is important because it significantly alters the appearance of the aircraft (the engine cannot be seen when the nose flaps are closed). Would anyone here know if the nose flaps were REQUIRED to be closed while aircraft were parked & chocked as shown in the photo? Or was it possible that the nose flaps and cowl flaps could both be open while parked at rest, as the photo seems to indicate?
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