Hasegawa 1/72 EF-111A Raven


51579 (SP 79)




Three Aircraft


Scott Van Aken


'Mountain Home' boxing


As electronics became more and more important in modern defense systems, it was obvious that there needed to be ways to combat that electronics, especially those systems used to detect incoming forces and those used to control them.  During WWII, the methods used to combat radar were simple strips of aluminum foil cut at a portion of the wavelength of the enemy's radar. For voice jamming, microphones were put in the engines and this noise broadcast on the same frequency as enemy fighter control radios.

However, it wasn't until the Arab/Israeli and Vietnam wars of the 60s and 70s that full spectrum jamming became prominent. So far, no manned aircraft has been designed from the ground up for this purpose, however it was the EA-6B that became and still is the premier airborne jamming platform. Like aircraft modified before it; the EB-66, EKA-3, and to a more specific extent, the EF-100, F-105G and F-4G, the EA6B has proven to be a very reliable and potent platform.

Well, the USAF saw that there was a need for another full spectrum jamming aircraft after it had retired its EB-66s so was looking through the inventory to see what was available. The most likely candidate was the F-111A, which was being superceded by more potent variants. As for the electronics, the USAF wisely chose the same suite that was in the EA-6B, though with the EF-111A, there are no interchangeable pods like what are carried by the Prowler. After many years of faithful service, there came a point where the USAF was putting the F-111 into the boneyard  as they were becoming more and more expensive to maintain. It was also a time of large unit draw-downs and to save money it was decided to get rid of some of the less prolific types. The EF-111A was able to hang on a few years longer than the regular bomber versions, but eventually succumbed to budgetary pressure. Now all jamming assets are held by the Navy and USAF pilots and operators are assigned to joint EA-6B squadrons.



  Set your semi-way-back machines to the late 1980s. Hasegawa is trying to think of something to do for their next 1/72 kit. It has to be a model that the Japanese want to buy and it has to be something that can be done in a multiple of versions and boxings.  Not wanting to do the right thing and produce a new mold F-8 that can be done in a multitude of variants and decal schemes, they pick on a plane that has not really had a great kit done of it before, the F-111. Sure, there was the Revell 1/72 TFX kit that wasn't bad, but it was not state of the art. Later Monogram released an EF-111A, but did no other variants!

Their minds made up, the engineers went to work and provided a really super kit. It had everything one wanted. A zillion parts that were interchangeable to do many variants. Engraved panel lines. Accurate outline. The wings had drooped slats and flaps. It was bound to be a winner. And it must have been as the kits are not that easy to find. Like 99.9% of all their 1/72 kits, the cockpit has decals for instruments and console detailing. The kit was released in all possible variants including the A, C, D, E, F, as well as the FB-111 the EF-111. The biggest differences between the types is that the C  and the FB had longer wings, the D,E,F had different intakes, and the EF had a different tail and a 'canoe' under the fuselage.

The EF-111 kit has many extra parts left over from the F-111A boxing, but has a unique sprue (marked above in yellow). If you really wanted, you could build an F-111A from this kit as all the right parts are provided, just no decals. There are even those neat long range fuel tanks that you can rob and use on your next 1/72 A-10 (as I think they are the same). Probably the only down side to this kit is that it is not designed to be displayed with the wings swept back. This would require some surgery to have the flaps and slats in the up position. I've never seen one of these built in that way so it must be a bit of a chore to do properly.

I'll skim by the instructions as Hasegawa's are fully up to world class standards, though they do delve into this weird paint mixing thing rather than just telling you the proper FS color so you can use someone other than Gunze's paint. Tamiya does it too and it is a bit irritating. Markings are for Mountain Home AFB based 390ECS aircraft. All are painted exactly the same (no surprise) and the only difference between them is really the serial number. Hasegawa didn't even do the Boss Bird which would have been nice. This kit was released in 1993. I made a visit to Mountain Home a year or so previous, and the ONLY unit on the whole base was this single squadron of EF-111As. They then moved to Cannon and were shortly thereafter retired. If you want aftermarket decals, they are available, but the only ones I know of are a very nice set from Modeldecal for the Upper Heyford guys.



You want a 1/72 EF-111A, then it is either this or the Monogram kit. Most will choose this one as the Monogram kit doesn't have the detail level and is a typical Monogram kit in terms of fit. While the Monogram kit has operating swing wings, for many that isn't the draw it was when we were 12. Interestingly, off all the F-111 kits done by Hasegawa, this is the only one that is current in the catalogues.


Review kit courtesy of my kit collection

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