As you surely all know by now, we've been more-or-less building a Vietnam-era A-4C for the past few installments of this deal. It's been slow going, mostly because I went off and got myself interested in something else, but it's still a project in work and I swear we'll finish it in the next week or two! Well, we'll probably finish it in a week or two. Maybe.
My habitual procrastination notwithstanding, there's more to be said about Scooter ordnance today, but we're going to widen the scope a bit and include those later 5-station variants (the Echo and Foxtrot), mostly because a couple of folks have asked about them. (That e-mail address is email@example.com if you want to ask questions or throw your 2-cents worth into the pot.)
One of my long-time friends is a former naval aviator and noted author. Many years ago, a while after the original RIS had shut its doors and while I was working with Aerophile, he and I met began corresponding and trading slides. A lot of that correspondence was publication quality, and I've still got most of it in the files. That's where today's first piece comes from. It's not dated but a quick glance at the references listed at the top of the page (and I'm sure he had others he couldn't share at the time, but the ones he gave were all unclas and therefore ok to provide to a civilian journalist) shows it to come from the early 80s, and the pages he cites in those works gives a pretty fair pictorial overview of what the A-4 was carrying during the Vietnam War. I had originally given some thought to doing a quick re-write of the piece but there's really no point to doing it; it carries itself very nicely without any help from me, thank you!
You'll probably notice that the references to modeling refer to 1/72nd scale and nothing else. That's because 72nd was the scale of choice for most of us back then; there just wasn't that much available in the bigger scales at the time, and 99% of what was published was about models in that size. It doesn't really matter at this remove, because we're only interested in weapons fit today---this ain't no kit review, ya'll!
That said, and without further ado, here's our expanded A-4 weapons primer. Please note (as if you wouldn't figure it out for yourself anyway!) that I did it as a photo scan, a quick and dirty technique that I actually know how to do. Just click on the text and it'll magically become big enough to read!
Time for Some Happy Snaps!
'Scuse Me For a Minute While I Wipe That Egg Off My Face
I could've known better. I should've known better! If you were to go into my library right now this very minute you'd find, almong other things, a stack of F-104 references some 18 inches high. That stack is comprised of manuals, photos, and various technical reports. It's pretty extensive and moderately comprehensive, and could help somebody write a pretty decent book on the Zipper if they bothered to read the stuff to be found within. As for me, I did read all that stuff once, but it was a very long time ago while I was working on a project for the late Nick Waters. I haven't touched it since, at least not until yesterday when I got the bright idea to run some CAF Zips as a photo essay. In theory it was a Good Idea. In practice it fell a little bit short...
If, and I emphasize if, I'd bothered to refresh my memory regarding the CF-104 before I published the piece, I probably wouldn't have made the mistakes I made. But I didn't, so I did. Yikes! Here's a correction I received from Jim Bates up in Canada, who's rapidly becoming my authority on things that fly (or flew) in The Great White North. So then, and without further ado:
Saw the CF-104 pics on your blog. A few short corrections/comments:
1. The CF-104 was the CF-104 in Canadian service. There was no CF-104G. There was however a CF-104D which was the Lockheed build duals that Canada flew. Oddly the CF-104 was originally going to be the CF-111 which was a carry over from the fact the RCAF assumed they were getting F11F Super Tigers and the politicians had better ideas.
2. The guns were not originally fitted to the CF-104s as they were just nuke bomb trucks. When they switched over to the conventional bomb truck role in the late 60s the M-61s were fitted and carried until retired.
3. The red strip on the inlet of 704 was more for test purposes as it was operated by AETE...see the big red X on the tail. I assume it was to make it easier to see for the photo ship during weapons trials.
4. Actually the overall green scheme predated what you call the RAF/NATO scheme. The overall green scheme started to appear in either the very late 60s or early 70s. (I can't remember off the top of my head.) The RAF/NATO scheme appeared in the late 70s and was the final scheme the CF-104 carried in CAF service. The checkerboard four ship was taken around the time of the changeover.
And technically the green/gray over gray scheme is called the variegated camouflage scheme.
Pat Martin has done a series of books on CAF and RCAF (and Royal Canadian Navy) finishes that have all kinds of great information if you have an interest in (R)CAF stuff.
Cool to see the second A-26 photo. Thanks.
And thanks to you, Jim, for keeping me honest! I haven't seen any of Pat Martin's books but it sounds as though they're well worth obtaining; thanks to Jim once again for pointing out a resource many of us may not have been aware of.
Remember, folks, that you can write to me at the firstname.lastname@example.org address with comments, corrections, or maybe if you'd just like to pass along a photo or two. I enjoy hearing from you!
Be good to your neighbor, and check your references before you publish!