|PRICE:||3680 yen from www.hlj.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Limited edition with resin parts|
For most of the Vietnam War, EA-3Bs of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1 (VQ-1) flew from Da Nang Air Base in South Vietnam, providing continuous electronic reconnaissance capability over the area, including the so-called Ho Chi Minh trail and all the way north to Haiphong harbor. This was known as VQ-1 "Det.B". The aircrew and ground support personnel were TAD from their home base at NAS Atsugi, Japan and after 1970, NAS Agana, Guam. After Det B was disestablished, VQ-1 provided detachments of two EA-3B aircraft that deployed with Western Pacific and Indian Ocean (WESTPAC/IO) bound aircraft carrier battle groups up until 1988/9 when, after a series of ramp strikes by Spain-based VQ-2 planes, it was replaced by the Lockheed ES-3A Shadow.
The type continued to be operated from shore bases, participating in the first Gulf War and retired in 1991. However, this was not the end of Skywarrior operations. The aircraft was operated by Hughes and later Raytheon for various test purposes and continued to do so so until final retirement of the aircraft in 2011.
From a personal point of view, the kit is a mixture of good and bad. I am disappointed that Hasegawa did not mold a proper versions fuselage, but then that would have meant additional clear bits and perhaps the need to provide a cabin. I am pleased that they at least made an attempt at an EA-3B and for that I can thank them. Considering the many other markings carried by these planes, I'm a bit surprised that both options are pretty much the same. I would guess that the aftermarket crowd would step in to fix that for us.
Just for reference purposes, here are a couple of photos I took in 1987/88. One is from the USS Kitty Hawk (NG) and the other from the USS Nimitz (NL). You can see that there is little different in the markings from the ones kitted aside from nose numbers and tail codes.
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