NA Resin 1/144 Military Airport Set








Les Dorr Jr





Ground support equipment, or “GSE” as it's often called in aviation shorthand, has been around since World War I. As military airplanes became more complex, so did the gear that prepared them for flight, especially as aviation entered the Jet Age. Today's fighters, bombers and transports depend on a host of busy machines to test and service their electro-mechanical innards, fill them with fuel and -- when the need arises -- load them with weapons to carry against an enemy. A section of the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, is devoted to the vehicles, facilities and equipment that have helped to "keep 'em flying" for more than 90 years.


Some modelers fancy 1/72 kits of huge aircraft such as the C-5, B-36 and Tu-95. But the finished models (if they ever arrive at that sacred state!) take up a lot of room, even if the builder has a display area with sufficiently large shelves. Many of the biggest aircraft naturally lend themselves to 1/144 scale. If you're so inclined, the smaller size also makes it possible to construct attractive dioramas that actually fit on a shelf -- if you can find appropriate figures and ground equipment.

Fortunately, a German company named NAResin has stepped in with a small-scale ground support set featuring several pieces of equipment, a fuel tank and several bombs typically found on Western air bases.

Virtually all the items in the set appear to be modeled after their counterparts in different 1/72 kits. The tractor, for example, seems to be a dead ringer for the vehicle that comes with the Hasegawa T-34 Mentor. The portable lighting unit, munitions trailer and tank dolly all look like simplified, scaled-down versions of the pieces in that company's Ground Equipment and Weapons Loading sets. The generator unit (if that's what it is), however, is one I haven't seen before. A friend of the designer says that he modeled the piece after equipment serving with the Belgian Air Force, so it may be a standard NATO machine.

The quality of the resin parts is a mixed bag. All the major items feature fine details and flawless casting. The separate bulb assemblies for the lighting unit are real gems. Some of the equipment is extremely delicate; as I discovered, it's very easy to break off the tiny tow bars when removing the pieces from the box. The four iron bombs and the fuel tank have prominent seams and are only general representations of the prototypes. In my set, a couple of the bomb fins are incompletely molded.

One of the best things about 1/144 scale is how easily modifications can be accomplished. For instance, the tow tractor in the NAResin set -- most likely a Toyota vehicle, based on its 1/72 counterpart -- requires only a small piece of shaped sheet styrene attached to its front end to closely resemble a standard USAF tractor. Perfectly accurate? No. Okay for the scale? Yes.


NAResin is the only company I know of to feature 1/144 military GSE. The quality of most parts, plus the set's uniqueness, makes it a "must have" for modelers contemplating dioramas or vignettes in this scale. I'm told the designer is now gathering research material and
suggestions for a second military ground equipment set, so stay tuned!

The set can be ordered at:

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