Hasegawa 1/72 EP-3E Orion
|NOTES:||Aries II conversion|
The P-3 Orion
was an issue as a Lockheed proposal for a new anti-submarine aircraft to replace
Special purpose conversions of the P-3 Orion included the EP-3A for electronic
research, EP-3B for Elint, EP-3E for Elint with improved systems and the
EP-3E-11 for Elint with still further improved systems. The EP-3E equipped Navy
squadrons VQ-1 and VQ-2. The so-called “ World Watchers” VQ-1 squadron was
established in September 1955 and subsequently began Elint operations. The type
was based at NAS
The impact sent the EP-3 into a 30° dive at a bank angle of 130°, almost inverted. It dropped 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in 30 seconds, and fell another 6,000 feet (1,800 m) before the pilot, Lt Shane Osborne, got the EP-3's wings level and the nose up. In a September 2003 article in Naval Aviation News, Osborn said that once he regained control of the plane he "called for the crew to prepare to bail out." He then managed to control the aircraft's descent by using emergency power on the working engines, such that an emergency landing on Hainan became a possibility.
For the next 26 minutes the crew of the EP-3 carried out an emergency plan which included destroying sensitive items on board the aircraft, such as electronic equipment related to intelligence gathering, documents and data. The EP-3 made an unauthorized emergency landing at Lingshui airfield, after at least 15 distress signals had gone unanswered, with the emergency code selected on the transponder . It landed at 170 knots (200 mph), with no flaps, no trim, and a damaged left elevator, weighing 108,000 pounds (49,000 kg). Following the collision, the failure of the nose cone had disabled the No. 3 (inner right) engine, and the No. 1 propeller could not be feathered, leading to increased drag on that side. There was no working airspeed indicator or altimeter, and Osborn used full right aileron during the landing. Meanwhile, the surviving Chinese interceptor had landed there 10 minutes earlier.
Lt. Cdr. Wang was seen to eject after the collision, but the Pentagon said that the damage to the underside of the EP-3 could mean that the cockpit of the Chinese fighter jet was crushed, making it impossible for the pilot to survive.
This is a conversion build involving the following .
1) a 1/72 scale model of the P-3 Orion released around early 80s, which is molded in light grey plastic with raised panel lines but otherwise appeared accurate all around. This had options for an Australian Navy and a US Navy decal markings.
2) This modification into EP3 incorporated use of Falcon triple conversion set No II, molded in white in vac form plastic comprising a belly and ventral gondola type radome and an under fuselage scanner radome and a rear pack.
3) Additional ECM fairings and changes also made to the kit nose radar area and wing tips.
4) Fitting of a useful set of metal oleo undercarriage parts from set issued by Scale Aircraft Conversion of Texas.
The kit had good fit of parts and mating of wings to fuselage. There are fine nacelles that go together well and only needed refining the air intakes using a round needle file.
The raised panel lines on the wing parts were sanded down and new recessed ones scribed in place using the back edge of a modeling knife. The outer weapon pylons have recesses, three close to each wing tip. These were blanked with filler and sanded down smooth. Recess for sonar package under the port wing also filled up with Revell Plasto filler as were also the numerous under fuselage sonobuoy ports. Care is taken when inserting the four round exhaust items to the engines as these can easily be pushed inside the wings and will be difficult to retrieve and glue them correctly. The P3 is a big model, beautifully molded with accurate outline. Fits of parts is well made and no gaps are evident at the wing to fuselage seams. As I opted to convert it to an EP-3E it carried various antennae sprouted around the rear fuselage underside and others on top of fuselage. These were cut and shaped from card and left to be fitted at a later stage on premarked locations. I used a razor saw to cut a small part from the end of the Magnetic Anomaly Detection boom at rear of fuselage. The rear end was blanked with a small piece of plastic card. Panel lines on the fuselage could have been scribed as well but these were not so pronounced as the wing ones when close examined in photos and I opted to retain the ones on the kit. I only scribed the outline of an additional door to the starboard aft fuselage which was absent on the kit.
The Hasegawa kit has observation nose windows, this area was faired over with putty as the EP3 did not have any fitted to the nose. All clear parts to port holes were left out for a later stage and after detailing the cockpit the clear canopy was fixed in place. When fitting the reshaped nose cone, lead weight was added to balance the model on its nose when assembled. It was essential to check and mark the exact position of the radome parts on the fuselage. The Falcon items which are vacform type had very brittle plastic and after preparing each part, these needed laminated reinforcement from the inside cavity as they were not strong enough to withstand handling. Cross bulkhead pieces were also added to make them stronger. The 4-piece conversion parts were glued in place to the fuselage. Wing tips were also made thicker as these appeared to carry further ECM gear in them. The aircraft fuselage is changed considerably by these additions. The round scanner also had three streaks added to each side. These were shaped from thin plastic card and cut to short lengths and bent to the required contour. Propeller blades had the ejector pin marks removed and sanded smooth before painting. A rectangular raised fairing was also added to the forward fuselage sides. The wheel wells were detailed and a metal undercarriage strong enough to withstand the new EP3E was glued in place instead of the kit plastic one. The landing gear set No72022 is recommended for the Hasegawa/Revell kit and is supplied by ScaleAircraftConversions of Dallas, Texas. Areas and antennae were among the last items added to the fuselage and under wings. Wireless as adopted for the EP-3E was added using invisible thread treated with permanent black ink.
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