Revell 1/48 F-105F/G Thunderchief Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Best F-105F/G in any scale
|Out of production
|Out of Production
In mid-1965, the first USAF aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, the SA-2. To counter this threat, a quick-reaction program was put in place to modify five two-seat F-100F Super Sabres into the first Wild Weasel aircraft. These aircraft had a rough time in their first weeks in theater as tactics to evade a surface-to-air missile had not yet been fully developed and experience proved expensive. Nevertheless, F-100Fs were able to 'ferret' out the FAN SONG radar sites and mark the these targets with rockets and gunfire.
The F-100Fs operated in a hunter/killer team concept with one F-100F and a flight of F-105s loaded with bombs. The whole time on station, the team forced the North Vietnamese (Soviet) radar operators to stay off the air while USAF strike flights could safely hit their targets and 'get out of Dodge'. When the 'killer' Thud pilots had enough, they'd egress at the speed of heat, leaving the 'hunter' F-100F to motor out as best it could. Such became the reality of 'First In - Last Out'.
It became quickly obvious that the Wild Weasel needed an aircraft to keep pace with the aircraft it escorted. The F-105F two-seat Thunderchief was the next logical choice as the aircraft had the speed, range, payload, and even room inside the airframe for the improved sensor suite. These 'EF-105F' Wild Weasels could carry their own bombs to target, but these aircraft were also updated to carry the first anti-radiation missile (ARM) - the AGM-45 Shrike. The good news was that the Shrike would home on the FAN SONG radar and destroy the control van, the bad news was that the Shrike's range was shorter than that of the SA-2, the Weasels still had to evade the SAMs to strike their targets.
The 'EF-105F' Weasels were upgraded into F-105G configuration with more improved electronics and a new missile, the AGM-78 Standard ARM. The AGM-78 was essentially the same airframe used as a surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile by US Navy destroyers and cruisers, modified with the anti-radiation sensor in the nose. This missile could be shot outside the SA-2's maximum range, but in those days, those SAM operators that survived the earlier Weasels knew that they could differentiate the flight profiles of strike aircraft verses the Weasels. If a Weasel was heading their way, they simply shut down the radar. If the radar went off the air, the Shrike missile had nothing to home on and became a high-speed unguided dart. The Standard ARM allowed the Weasels to target a SAM site without flying toward it. They could shoot the missile away from the intended target and then program a turn into its flight profile that would take it 'home'.
The F-105G was supplemented, but never replaced by the 'EF-4C' Wild Weasel, but eventually the Thud was replaced with modified F-4E Phantom IIs that became the F-4G.
The Monogram two-seat F-105 in 1/48 was first released as the F-105G, typically molded in green styrene and later re-released as the F-105F. The latter release lacked AGM-78, special launch rail and pylon, ECM fairings, etc., you can see on that last gray parts tree. This release is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts.
Like the other members of the Monogram 1/48 Century Series, this kit features a very detailed cockpit, decent ejection seats, and some nice all-round engineering. The kit provides a main spar that extends out of the sides of the fuselage to ensure that the wings are properly aligned and reinforced after assembly. The stabilators had a single pin instead of a tab to mount them to the fuselage, allowing the stabs to be posed instead of standard kit-maker 'neutral' position using a tab.
The speed brake pedals around the tail pipe are posed with the bottom one hanging as seen after engine shut down. Stop here to see some examples of that. If you want to model the Thud powered and crewed up, simply modify the pedal to close.
Kit options include:
- Positionable canopy
- Optional crew figures
- Positionable stabilators
- F-105F, EF-105F or F-105G configurations
- Positionable speed brakes
External stores include:
- Three Mk.117 750 pound bombs
- Three Mk.117 w/fuse extenders
- Two Mk.82 slicks w/fuse extenders
- Multiple Ejector Rack on station 3
- Two AGM-45 Shrike
- One AGM-78 Standard ARM
- Two external tanks for stations 2/4
- One external tank for station 3 (centerline)
As with other members of the Monogram Century Series, this kit is an easy build and is very detailed straight out of the box, even by today's standards.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- F-105F, 63-8299, 128 TFS/116 TFW, GA ANG
- F-105G, 63-8320, 562 TFS/35 TFW, 'Hanoi Hustler'
A note on 320 - this aircraft is the only Thud with three MiG kills (and none higher). 320 achieved all three kills while still an F-105F, carried the kills through its service as an F-105G, and still wears them today on display in the museum. Depending on who you ask, you'll hear a variety of interpretations of how those kills came about. My favorite: one kill was with a well-placed AIM-9B, the second with the 20mm cannon. The third is the most controversial, but as I understand it, 320 had a MiG-17 trapped at its six o'clock and the MiG was getting tracers close to the aircraft. The crew wasn't able to evade fast enough and the pilot pulled the emergency jettison handle to dump everything off the aircraft so he could clean up and bug out. Another F-105 was rolling in on the MiG about the time 320 punched off its externals and saw the centerline MER tumble off the underside of the scared Thud and right into the face of that MiG-17. Three kills! I don't particularly care if this is exactly accurate, but it was certainly good conversation at the Weasel bar at George AFB many moons ago...
This is still the only F-105F/G in 1/48th scale though it has been released by Revell, Monogram, Revell-Monogram, and Hasegawa with different kit numbers and decal options. Trumpeter did release their F-105G in 1/32, but with all of the shape problems with the kit, I still declare this model as the best F-105F and F-105G in any scale.
While this kit is currently out of production, it is one of those kits that gets released periodically and is still in good supply at kit swaps and even eBay.