Trumpeter 1/32 Republic F-105G Wild Weasel
Review by Steve Jantscher
|Plastic Quality:||A- (rivets and tail outline?)|
|Decal Quality:||A+ (Microscale & Two Bobs)|
Trumpeter has come through again with a gift to those who like modern (at least not WWII aircraft) aircraft. As an owner of a couple of their MiG-21s and a MiG-19 in 1/32nd scale, I know just how good some of their models have been. I've also seen their 1/24th P-51 Mustang and read reviews of their Wildcat. They seem to run "hot or cold" in the success of nailing a subject. It seems that they've generally been acknowledged to have hit more home runs in their different jet series, rather than the prop jobs. I have to add the Wild Weasel version of their F-105 series to that list on the positive side of the ledger.
First things first. This is going to be a big model, over two feet long! It was a big plane, and the kit will be no different. This kit follows on the Trumpeter line with a softish gray plastic, petite but not Hasegawa "crisp" recessed panel lines, and with just a hint of the smallest flash. As you can see, there are many zutz or rivet holes along the length of the body and wings. These aren't of the depth and size of your normal Otaki type "1970s" style rivet holes. Rather these are just a hint of a hole, and I won't be surprised if they become just a slight and barely perceptible representation of a fastener when painted. As you can see in the wing detail photograph below, there are also some raised support skins or panels on the bottom surfaces of the wing. I have no reason to believe that they represent anything except the aircraft as flown, and don't represent a "battle patch".
Trumpeter returns with a fully articulated model. Just about all the flying control surfaces are not only positionable, but are engineered to be movable using the now standard photoetch hinge and pin method. Similar to that used with the Tamiya Zero, and previous Trumpeter kits, this now standard feature I guess is nice to have, but is perhaps too much of a good thing. I know, if they didn't offer it, we'd complain. It just seems to still add too much of a 1960s movable control Monogram (toy model) feel to what other-wise tries to be a detailed scale model kit.
I like the cockpit, with my eye going to the ejection seat detail. My photo references show the seat without the parachute / back pad in place. Just a riveted back plate, which Trumpeter kindly provides. Missing in this kit of course is some option of a crew. I must hand it to Tamiya and their 1/32nd scale jet series in that they all offer seated crew, and sometimes standing figures to complement the jet. I've always thought that seated crew figures would make a good after-market product, especially if they were made to fit a particular model, perhaps molded to the seat too.
The kit clear parts are like crystal. very thin and clear, and come packed not only in their own bag (the two clear sprus are bagged together, facing away from each other), but in an inner box that also included the rubber tires and 20mm ammo belts, photoetch hinges and two bags of pins. As you can see, the instrument panels are cast in clear plastic, with acetate inserts provided to represent the instruments. These items show an "attention to detail" on matters where Trumpeter continues to show improvement in their model series.
Markings are provided for two aircraft included on a large Two Bob's designed and Microscale printed decal sheet. I have no reason not to believe that Two Bob's didn't get their markings correct, but the fact that they are printed in the United States by Microscale is a BIG PLUS! In addition to the decal sheet that provides markings for two 1972 Korat based wild weasels ("Bam Bam with a "WW" side code, and "Zero" with a "JB" side code) there is another whole sheet devoted to weapon ordnance markings. First Academy gives us a Hornet in 32nd scale with a full up load of properly marked bombs. Now Trumpeter follows suit with a beast loaded with nicely stenciled ordnance. It's these little details that make it a good time to be a modeler.
In the matter of bombs, and things under wings, Trumpeter includes two of the Bullpup and Standard ARM sprus you see below, and four of the Shrike missile and bomb sprus you see below. Included in the bomb selection are some Mk 82s and some older Mk 117 bombs. The later bombs are just a little anemic to my way of looking. Just a little thin in profile, but I could be wrong.
The perhaps only significant problem of the kit is in the outline of the tail, which is provided as a separate piece to insure other parts commonality with the previously released F-105D. With the development of the "F" version of the F-105, the tail was enlarged, both in length (it was taller) and length of chord (it was longer at the base). This combination was carried over to the "G" model, which I believe were further modified "F"s. If you look at your sources closely, the F and G models of the F-105 have a noticeably more rakish look to the tail, and the curved air intake step of the earlier types' fins are noticeable lessened, almost to the point of not being noticeable when seen from the side. I think Trumpeter got the taller nature of the "F&G" tail, but didn't get the longer chord nature of the tail. I'm fairly sure that efforts are being made as I type this to offer an after-market solution to this, the only major problem of outline I see in this kit. Of a lesser degree, one might have liked metal landing gear struts to better take the strain of this big bird. This might not be a problem as the landing struts of the real aircraft were substantial, and the kit follows suit with a thick piece. Remember your weight in the nose when you build this kit. It otherwise might be a tail-sitter.
I almost forgot to mention that in addition to movable (position able) flying surfaces, the kit includes an optional open and detailed refueling probe, 20mm vulcan canon compartment, a detailed radar with position able nose cone and position able afterburner pedals.
In conclusion, I hope to see many of these at contests in the future. The Wild Weasel pilots really hung it out on the line, many paying for their bravery in the ultimate sacrifice or in long stays courtesy of the North Vietnamese. This kit faithfully captures the look of this important plane, and heralds the mission of SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) that these pilots and this plane helped pioneer.
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