How did they do it? How did Mad Pete and the Token Yank get aboard a Nimitz Class aircraft carrier to get all of the detailed information on the aircraft carried in the carrier air wing. An even greater question is how did they manage to get back to 1978 to get the information on aircraft originally flown off of the carrier but soon supplanted by newer birds, such as the F4J, A3D, A6 and A7? SteelNavy's ace reporters have discovered the WEM secret, which will be unveiled with the review of the White Ensign Models Nimitz ship set to be posted in the near future. In the meantime readers can see photographs of the new White Ensign Models brass photo-etch detail set for the 1:350 scale Nimitz Air Wing set, WEM PE #3563.
This set is of course designed specifically for the Trumpeter 1:350 scale USS Nimitz CVN-68. This kit reflects the carrier as she was fitted when first commissioned in the mid 1970s and the aircraft included in the kit are the A3D Skywarrior, A6 Intruder, A7 Corsair II, E2 Hawkeye, F4J Phantom II, RA5C Vigilante, S3A Viking and SH3 Sea King. There is not a Tomcat or Hornet to be seen but plenty of variety in the form of the glorious older airframes. When White Ensign Models released the 1:350 Carrier Air Wing set for the Tamiya Enterprise (click for a review of the Enterprise Air Wing Set WEM PE #3523), they set the standard for photo-etch for 1:350 aircraft. The new Nimitz Air Wing set fully lives up to this extraordinary standard. With White Ensign Models it is not just the exterior aircraft parts that receive Mad Pete's treatment but also full interior detail for each aircraft type and also all important ordnance carts and deck equipment that add a truly significant extra touch in detailing the big flattop. However, first of all let's examine the numerous detail parts for each aircraft type.
First flown in 1956 the Douglas A3D Skywarrior had an extraordinarily long service life. The last airframe was removed from the USN inventory in 1991 and type was aboard Nimitz when she was first commissioned. The A3D was nicknamed the Whale because she was the largest carrier borne aircraft to be part standard carrier flight operations. In the early years aircraft crews also came up with a more sarcastic nickname for the type based on the A3D nomenclature. The three man crew did not have ejection seats. To escape the aircraft they would have to either get out a sliding top panel in the cockpit or leave through the lower exits. That is a tough order, even in a subsonic plane and because of this the A3D Skywarrior was nicknamed, All 3 Dead. Contrary to this nickname, with WEM PE #3563 your Whale will come alive as WEM provides to complete sets of interior and exterior detail. The interior parts include the spacious cockpit with instrument panel with individual dials relief etched, two seats and two control yokes. Because of the large cockpit canopy the A3D interior should be readily observable. For exterior detail WEM provides; main gear doors, nose gear doors, sensor fitting, wing flaps, air brakes, wing pylons, nose gear and tail bumper wheel.
The A6 Intruder was a workhorse with the USN from introduction in the early 1960s, throughout attack mission during the Vietnam War and all the way into the 1990s. Special electronic warfare Intruders continued to fly long after the A6 attack birds were retired. Known for their huge ordnance lift capacity, WEM PE #3563 amply rewards the Nimitz modeler with wing contact points for even the most heavy laden mission. Included are exterior and interior parts for three Intruders. The exterior parts include; nose gear, nose wheel, main gear, main wheels, main gear doors, dive brakes, wing tip air brakes, wing fold supports, weapons pylons, refueling probe, wing flaps and arrestor hook. The A6 is another bird with a large cockpit so the WEM interior parts can be prominent. Those parts include the large cockpit with control panel, single yoke and ejection seats. Mad Pete delved so deep in his dementia that he even included the overhead ejection handles on the seat frames! With the A6 seats as well as other aircraft types' seats, seat cushions, backrest and headrest need to be added with plastic card within the brass frame.
The A7 Corsair II was first delivered to the USN in 1966. The Corsair II provided light attack and fighter capability to USN, USMC and later USAF squadrons. During the Vietnamese War 27 squadrons were fielded by the USN and the aircraft flew over 90,000 combat missions with the USN, USMC and USAF. WEM PE #3563 provides six complete sets of exterior and interior detail parts for this workhorse. The exterior details include; nose doors, main doors, missile rails, inner weapon pylons, outer weapon pylons and arrestor hook. This single seater comes with the following interior details; cockpit, joy stick and ejector seat.
The E2 Hawkeye provides the big eye in the sky through the very prominent radar dome. Obviously the radar of the Hawkeye can see much farther than the sensors aboard the Nimitz and further allow the ship to remain safely protected by early warning with the carrier under emission control for electronic invisibility with passive measures only. The WEM exterior parts for the Hawkeye include, nose gear, nose wheel, nose doors front and side, main gear, main wheels, main doors front and rear, wing fold plates, inner flaps, outer flaps, and arrestor hook. Because of the small glass area on the type, interior detail is not included as it probably could not be seen. Parts for one Hawkeye are included.
The F4 Phantom II is one of the most famous modern aircraft produced. She is another aircraft that was flown by the USN, USMC and USAF and was the first line American fighter from before the Vietnamese War until the advent of the F-14 and F-15. Big, brassy and noisy, the Phantom's two huge engines produced great amounts of exhaust smoke but made her one of the fastest operational aircraft of her time. Since the Trumpeter Nimitz is fitted with the F-4, rather than the F-14, WEM gives the modeler six sets of exterior and interior details. Exterior details include, nose wheel, two nose gear pieces, nose doors front and side, main gear outer doors, main gear inner doors, drop tank pylons, inner weapons pylons, missile rails, wing flaps and arrestor hook. Interior detail includes; cockpit with front instrument panel, rear instrument panel, joy stick and two ejector seats.
The A5A Vigilante, originally designated A3J, was the attack version originally designed as a nuclear delivery platform to replace the A3D. She was a failure in that capacity as the bomb ejection mechanism of having the bomb stored between the two engines and ejected to the rear proved unsatisfactory. The Vigilante entered carrier service in 1961 but due to their unsatisfactory attack performance, almost all of the A5A and follow on A5B were converted to the RA5C reconnaissance aircraft. Only a total of 156 of all models were built and there currently is only one surviving example, which is housed at the Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola NAS. WEM provides one set of exterior and interior details for the Vigilante. Included in this big bird's exterior parts are; nose gear, nose gear doors, main gear doors, wing flaps, drop tank pylons and arrestor hook. Interior details include; cockpit with instrument panel, rear instrument panel, joy stick and two ejector seats.
For anti-submarine missions, the USN fielded the S3A Viking. This large two engine aircraft has been the primary fixed wing ASW platform for many years. WEM PE #3563 contains exterior and interior detail parts two of these sub hunters. Exterior parts include; nose wheels, nose door, nose gear, main gear outer doors, main gear inner doors, main gear rear doors, wing fold support plates and weapons pylons. Interior detail includes; cockpit with instrument panel, center consol, two joy sticks and two ejector seats.
The other half of the ASW solution as well as providing Search and Rescue SAR capability is provided by the SH3 Sea King helicopter. Two of these large choppers can be fully decked out from the parts in this fret. Exterior details include; a choice of main rotors extended for flight or folded for storage, tail rotor, sliding cargo door, forward personnel door, FOD shield, and stub wing supports. Interior parts include; cabin floor, instrument panel, center consol, cockpit bulkhead, two control sticks and two seats.
White Ensign Models has a tradition of going far beyond the average in providing a wide assortment of 1:350 scale aircraft brass detail parts in their frets. One obvious example is the inclusion of full interior details. However, the other example of going above and beyond the call of duty is the WEM inclusion of aircraft handling and deck equipment detail in their major brass fret sets for carrier aircraft. With WEM PE #3563 you get all of the deck scooters, trolleys, gadgets and various model eye candy with which White Ensign Models is associated.
About 25% of this fret is devoted to items of ground equipment. These detail parts add much greater realism to any modern carrier model as they are almost always present in actual operations. The largest of these parts is the prominent crash barrier, which will certainly add a great deal of visual attraction to the stern of your Nimitz. WEM provides eight large aircraft hangar handlers, eight missile trolley racks, five flat bed trolleys, six sets of F4 entry ladders, four aircraft towing arms, eight tow bars, nine liquid replenishment trolleys in which the tank is cut from plastic or brass tube, eight start cart hoses and 24 aircraft jacks. That is a huge amount of yellow eye catchers for your bird farm's deck.
As usual White Ensign Models provides outstanding directions with their fret. This set of instructions is five pages in length. The first page has a photo of the fret and each part is identified by number and text. There are also some generic assembly instructions as well. The other four pages contain detailed assembly instructions presented in clear text and excellent drawings that make attaching the brass parts to the aircraft as error free as humanly possible. All of the aircraft are shown as separate modules for each type with full coverage of all interior and exterior part attachments. The last page also includes six separate assembly modules on various items of deck equipment. It doesn't get any better.
Ho-hum, it's another toe-curling good, outstanding product from White Ensign Models! That's not news, WEM does that all of the time! What would really would be news would be if Mad Pete and the WEM gang did something that was ordinary, rather than spectacular. Now, I'm not asking for them to fall on their faces with some product that was sub-standard but the least they could do is to occasionally appear mortal with the production of an average product. However, WEM PE #3563 fails to be ordinary, as it is yet again, another example from those Battling Britons of another brilliantly designed and executed brass photo-etch product.
Of course John Snyder, the famed Token Yank; Caroline Snyder, the WEM she-goddess; and the ever present Dave Carter, will be more than happy to part with one of these frets for a nominal sum. It will arrive on the wings of Mercury through the incredibly fast White Ensign Models delivery system. Don't disappoint your Nimitz deck crew!