AMT 1/72 F-100F Wild Weasel Kit F-100F Wild Weasel Build Review
By Chuck Holte
|Date of Review||December 2016||Manufacturer||AMT/Round 2|
|Subject||F-100F Wild Weasel||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||8892||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy assembly, good fit, colorful decals||Cons||Detail issues with canopy, guns and slats|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||OOP|
North American's F-100F Super Sabre was originally designed as a supersonic two-seat training version of the USAF's workhorse F-100D fighter-bomber, itself a replacement for the Korean War MiG killing F-86. The "F" model "Hun" as it was known, was three feet longer than the "D" and carried only two 20mm M-39 canons vice four in the "D."
As the conflict in Viet Nam intensified in the mid-60s, US forces encountered increasing casualties due to Soviet built Surface to Air (SAM) missile systems employed by the Viet Cong. The Fan Song radar-guided SA-2 missiles were particularly effective and deadly to US strike aircraft. To counter this threat, USAF quickly modified seven F-100F aircraft with electronic counter measures, receivers and weapons allowing them to preemptively "hunt and destroy" SAM systems prior to strike packages entering target areas. The combat evaluation of Wild Weasel I, assigned to the 6234 TFW, Korat AB Thailand, lasted from November 1965 thru July 1966. These aircraft and the SAM Killer concept proved to be effective, although three of the seven were destroyed in the short evaluation program, two by enemy fire and one in a training accident. The haunting Wild Weasel mission slogan said it all: "First In, Last Out." The Weasel Huns were replaced by hunter-killer F-105 Wild Weasels (WWIII) in the summer of 1966, and remained for the duration of the war.
The aircraft modeled in this article, F-100F S/N 58-1221, crewed by Pilot, Capt. Al Lamb and Electronic Warfare Officer, Capt. Jack Donovan, is credited with the first Wild Weasel North Vietnamese SAM kill on 22 December 1965. The aircraft was subsequently lost in a training accident on 13 March 1966 due to engine failure.
More information and photos of the F-100F Hun and Wild Weasel I Program may be found at the National Museum of the US Air Force site: here
and here, respectively.
The AMT/ERTL kit used in this build may have been the first two-seat F-100 in 1/72 scale, but it was issued many years ago and the kit has been long out of production. Subsequent "F" kits were issued by Italeri and most recently Trumpeter. In any case, the AMT/ERTL kit was in my stash and fills the bill for a Wild Weasel I Hun with only a few relatively minor squawks. First, the AMT kit was molded with ports for four 20mm canons and should only have two. Fill the two outside gunports and sand smooth. Second, and admittedly a "nit," the mid-canopy frame should have been molded in the middle of the canopy rather than in the forward third of the glass. If it bothers you enough to change it, sand and polish out the existing frame and create a new one half the distance from the ends It took me 30-40 minutes to do this with sanding sticks and masking tape, per the photos. Other surgery, the "D & F" forward wing slats droop when the aircraft is on the ground. I cut the slat mechanism from the Obscureco resin wing and slat set and grafted into the AMT wing. The Obscureco wing was warped and the grafting just the slats seemed like less work – again see photos.
To make a Wild Weasel model, one needs to add two antenna mounts and the respective antennas, one directly beneath the engine inlet, the other on the existing faring near the top of the vertical stabilizer. These two antenna mounts and four antennas mounted at 45 degree angles to the aircraft center line provide 360 degree APR-25/26 Radar Homing and Warning (RHAW) coverage with both warning and targeting information to the aircrew. I made mounts from scrap plastic and punched small circular antennas using a micro punch, see photos.
The older AMT/ERTL kit, provides the larger 335 gallon external fuel tanks most often seen on combat Huns, vice the smaller 275 gallon tanks. Other than the gas bags, the underwing stores of the AMT kit don't do much for the Wild Weasel mission: Bullpups and anemic Sidewinders. I chose to use two Eduard (kit 672044) AGM-45 Shrikes on the inboard pylons, even though some references claim the Hun didn't carry Shrikes when first deployed. The Shrike is an anti-radiation missile designed to home on threat radar signals and it was available during this period. I have a hard time believing it wasn't used on SAM Killer missions. [Editor's note: The F-100F Weasel did carry the AGM-45 on at least one mission before the type was replaced by Wild Weasel II - the EF-105F.] I also lifted a couple of LAU-3 rocket pods from a Hasegawa Weapons kit for the outboard pylons. I also used the Reheat brass PE set for cockpit detail and to enhance the ejection seats. Paint was standard South East Asia camo, using Model Master enamels and Alclad II shot with an Iwata HP-CH airbrush. Although there were not many markings on the initial WW Huns, this particular aircraft was covered on the Wolfpak Decals 72-012 Trail Interdictors, one of my favorite and most used sheets.
Another enjoyable build of an older kit from the stash and a trip down memory lane. As outlined above, one can quickly build the AMT Hun into an acceptable Wild Weasel and have a nice model on the shelf. Or, one can spend a little more time and money and enjoy a more accurate model of a significant Viet Nam War aircraft and one of the real pioneers in the SAM Suppression Mission.
The memory lane piece for me – a number of the cadre Wild Weasel EWOs were instructor staff when I went thru EWO school at Mather AFB CA in the early '70s. They taught as though our innocent young lives depended on the takeaways of what they said. We believed and were eager to learn. And when we rolled into the O'Club Stag Bar after a training flight, they would drink heavily and talk of friends and times long ago and far away. Nickle on the grass!