Gold Medal Models has taken a unique approach in the great 1:350 scale Nimitz aircraft photo-etch derby. The aircraft set is called the CVN ¼ Air Wing Set and is set GMM 350-30. The set is designed to equip any modern CVN kit in 1:350 scale, whether the Tamiya CVN-65 Enterprise, Trumpeter CVN-68 Nimitz, or follow on kits from Trumpeter of other ships in the Nimitz class. For coverage of both the large scale kits currently available, Loren Perry chose to provide brass photo-etched parts for not only the A6 Intruder, A7 Corsair II, E2 Hawkeye, EA3B Skywarrior, F4 Phantom II, RA5C Vigilante, S3 Viking and SH3 Sea King aircraft found in the Trumpeter Nimitz kit, but also F14 Tomcat and F/A18 Hornet aircraft found in the Tamiya Enterprise kit or follow on Trumpeter kits with a more modern air complements.
Loren chose to call the set the CVN ¼ Air Wing set because that is just what one fret will do. It provides all of the exterior parts necessary to equip one-fourth of a complete air wing for either the Nimitz or Enterprise, plus a few extra parts. One fret is sufficient to equip all of the aircraft that come with the Trumpeter Nimitz kit. What if your aim is to have a lot more plumage on your bird farm than just the aircraft in the kit? No problem! If you want to have the entire flock four sets will allow an entire Nimitz Class air wing to be prepared and your only problem will be finding flight deck and hangar space on your Nimitz for them to roost upon. If that goes beyond your goal, three sets will fill the flight deck with enough aircraft left over to be seen through the hangar door openings. Two sets will still give you a busy flight deck with a couple of aircraft left over to be placed in the hangar. One GMM 350-30 equips six Intruders or Prowlers, six Corsair IIs, two Hawkeyes, two Skywarriors, six Tomcats, ten Hornets, six Phantom IIs, two Vigilantes, two Sea Kings and three Vikings.
The A6 Intruder was placed into service in the 1960s and was one of the key attack airframes used by the USN during the Vietnam War. The A6E variant was introduced in 1979. It provided a high speed, low-level bomber able to delivery its ordnance at night or in inclement weather. With a two-man crew, seated side by side, the Intruder could carry five 2,000-pound bombs or twenty-eight 500-pound bombs. The EA6 Prowler was a substantially modified Intruder designed for electronic warfare. This variant carried a four-man crew and carried electronic receivers and jammers used to mislead or suppress enemy radar and radio. Because of the complex electronics fit of the aircraft, the Prowler was one of the most expensive airframes found on a modern USN carrier. GMM parts on the fret equip six Intruders/Prowlers and consist of nose landing gear, main landing gear, three doors for nose gear on each aircraft, two doors for each main gear on each aircraft, main gear wheels, nose gear wheels, boarding ladders, refueling probs, inboard bomb pylons, outboard bomb pylons and for a special touch, outboard pylons with missile rails attached.
The A7 Corsair II was first flown on September 27, 1965 and with the successful trials was quickly placed into production for the USN. The first Corsair IIs went into USN squadron service on October 14, 1966 and the aircraft provided a nimble fighter-bomber during the Vietnamese War, able to act as a bomber or fighter. Lighter than the A6, the Corsair II did not have the all weather capability of the Intruder but still proved to be very accurate in delivering its ordnance. It had a 20mm gattling gun cannon for air combat and could carry an amazing 15,000 pounds of external stores on wing pylons on its small airframe. The A7 was originally powered by the Pratt & Whitney TF30 engine but this was replaced in the A7E by the Allison TF41-A-2 turbo-fan engine with 14,500 pounds thrust for a top speed of 698mph without wing stores. After a long and honorable service the A7E was replaced by the F/A-18. With each of the six set of parts for the A7, GMM provides nose gear, nose gear wheels, main gear, main gear wheels, nose gear doors, main gear doors, inboard bomb racks, outboard bomb racks and sidewinder AAM rails.
The E2C Hawkeye is a preeminent airborne early warning aircraft. The two engine propeller powered Hawkeye patrols the perimeter of the carrier task force and has an all weather threat detection capability of over 250 miles. With the intensive electronics fit it has automatic target track initiation and the ability to simultaneously track more than 600 targets and control 40 intercepts through onboard high-speed data processing systems. GMM provides parts for two Hawkeyes. Parts include propellers, nose gear, main gear, nose gear wheels, main gear wheels, two door main gear doors, three door nose gear doors and tail hooks for each aircraft. There are also some spare wheels provided.
The EA3B Skywarrior is an electronic/reconnaissance variant of the A3D Skywarrior bomber introduced in the 1950s. Originally developed as the nuclear attack bomber for the USN, the A3D was normally deployed in detachments aboard USN carriers. Early squadron insignia for the A3D squadrons normally had a nuclear symbol somewhere on the squadron patch design in a not too subtle reference to their main function. As nuclear packages became smaller, lighter and smaller airframes were capable of carrying them and a new mission was formulated for the Whales in the electronic warfare and reconnaissance field. They still remain the largest airframe to be operationally deployed on USN carriers. GMM provides parts for two Skywarriors. Parts are provided for main gear doors and a relief-etched waffle design nose gear door.
The famed F-14 Tomcat has been the primary aerial combat platform for the USN for almost 30 years. Developed to carry the long range Phoenix AAM, the Tomcat also carried Sparrow and Sidewinder AAMs, as well as gun-fighting capability furnished by a 20mm gattling cannon. The variable wing configuration fighter is all weather capable and has a maximum speed in excess of Mach 2. GMM provides parts for six Tomcats. Each aircraft has parts for nose gear, nose gear wheels, main gear with wheels that fold together for double thickness with relief etched hubs, nose gear doors, two piece main gear doors, and tail hooks. Loren throws in some extra nose wheels.
The multi-purpose F/A-18 Hornet was developed from the YF-17. This very versatile aircraft can be configured for pure fighter intercept and aerial combat missions or can be reconfigured for attack missions. Once she started entering squadron service, the F/A-18 replaced the older A6 and A7 aircraft in carrier air wings in the attack role. Because of her versatility she could carry out the attack missions of the Intruders and Corsair IIs as well as providing an air-superiority airframe in conjunction with the Tomcats. There are parts for ten Hornets on GMM 350-30. The fret provides each aircraft with nose gear, nose gear wheels, main gear with attached wheels that fold together for double thickness, three door nose gear doors, two piece main gear doors and tail hooks. Like the folding main gear wheels on the Tomcat the hubs of the wheels are relief-etched.
The earlier F-4 Phantom II is also covered on GMM 350-30. In service with the USN, USMC and USAF for 20 years, as well as equipping the airforces of a host of allies, the big twin engine, two-place fighter was finally replaced as the main USN air-superiority platform by the F-14 in the late 1970s. When Nimitz first became operational, she carried the Phantom, rather than the Tomcat. The GMM fret contains parts for six Phantoms. Each of the Phantoms has parts for the main gear with folding wheels for double thickness and relief etched hubs, normal nose gear, extended nose gear for catapult launch, nose gear wheels, two piece nose gear doors (main gear doors are part of the gear), ordnance pylons, boarding ladders and tail hooks.
The S3 Viking is an ASW with a long service life. The heavy electronics fit allow for the crew of four to collect, analyze and prosecute ASW missions. However, one of its greatest attributes is long flight endurance of seven hours, which is needed for effective ASW operations. Three Vikings can be equipped with GMM 350-30. Parts include nose gear, nose gear wheels with spare wheels, nose gear doors and main gear doors.
The RA5C Vigilante is another design that was originally developed for the nuclear attack mission. Designed as a high-speed supersonic replacement for the subsonic A3D Skywarrior in the heavy (i.e. nuclear) attack role as the A5A (originally A3J), the design was a failure in its designed mission. It first flew in 1958 and to promote procurement of the design the Navy established several speed and altitude records at the time. Designed to launch a nuclear bomb from the rear of the aircraft to allow for low level missions (in theory the aircraft could vacate the area before detonation of the weapon), the bomb launching mechanism was unreliable, so the A3D continued to serve as the nuclear strike craft and the Vigilante was converted into a reconnaissance variant. The Vigilante proved very effective in this role during the Vietnamese War and served on carriers until the mid 1970s.There are parts for two Vigilantes on the GMM fret. Parts include two piece main landing gear doors for each aircraft.
The large SH-3H Sea King helicopter had the primary mission of providing the carrier task group with inner zone ASW capability with the S3 Viking providing the outer zone capability. The big chopper had a long on-station endurance of five hours. The secondary mission of the Sea King was to provide Search and Rescue (SAR). At least one Sea King was in the air during all flight operations in case rescue was needed for the crew of an aircraft that had to ditch. There are parts for two Sea Kings on GMM 350-30. Parts include main rotor with rotor blades extended for operation (one), main rotor with rotor blades folded (one), relief-etched main rotor head caps, tail rotors, tail wheels, SAR winches, right cabin doors and two piece left cabin doors.
There is a one page, single sided set of instructions. Each of the eleven aircraft whose parts are included on GMM 350-30 has a module devoted to the attachment of the provided parts for that aircraft. Each aircraft has a profile drawing, two for the Sea King, that through graphics and text clearly and concisely show the modeler how to assemble and attach the brass parts to the plastic aircraft assembly. Loren Perry has provided relief etching on a great many of the parts of this fret. Also, in addition to the extra parts already mentioned, GMM provides extra tail hooks and generic boarding ladders.
Etched in .008" brass to provide extra strength, these parts won’t crumple on your birds. With these GMM parts you get this extra strength without sacrificing any of the relief-etched detail which Loren has worked into the extreme detail of this fret. Gold Medal Models has provided a very attractive brass super-detail fret for your entire modern USN carrier wing needs. No matter what the aerial complement of the air wing of your CVN, GMM 350-30 has the parts that you’ll need. Your biggest decision will be the quantity of birds for your farm.