Paintin’ Planes: The Falklands

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Heroics and Ros Super Etendards for the Argentine Navy ca. 1982. Each is armed with an Excocet missile carved from a US GPU smart bomb. The electronics pod is under the right wing. The Naval insignia replaces the national insignia and is hand painted sky blue.

One of the projects Dave and I talked about for fun, and maybe Enfilade 2018, was something based on the Falklands.  He has the ships and George and I have the planes.  Boy do I have planes.  I decided to choose two batches of planes to paint up, Dassault Super Etendards strike planes and English Electric Canberras.

The Argentine Air Force received 10 of these 1950’s era bombers during the 1970’s and the participated in 36 bombing missions during the war.  Armed with conventional bombs, they were slow and lacked maneuverability compared to the spiffy Sea Harriers flown by the Royal Navy.  One Canberra was lost to a Harrier fired sidewinder missile.  A second was brought down by a Sea Dart sea-to-air missile fired by HMS Cardiff. I’m not sure how much action these planes would see in a game scenario.  Their primary use was bombing British soldiers ashore at night.

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Heroics and Ros Canberras in Argentine colors ca. 1982. I added underwing stores and painted the prominent aircraft numbers. The rest of the markings area ll the excellent I-94 markings for Argentina a Greece.

My Canberra miniatures are Heroics and ROS planes.  The quality of the casting is quite good, better than many planes from H and R. It has the full original canopy, which is not correct for the Falklands, but what the heck, I paint what I have.  Scotia makes a version that is more appropriate. The model came with wingtip tanks, and I added some underwing stores.  Mostly bombs-at least until I ran out. The planes are painted with Vallejo Medium Gray with Vallejo American Dark Green in a camouflage pattern I found online. The underside is Vallejo USAF Light Gray.  I added the yellow tail stripe, and other photos I found suggested broad yellow bands on the wings.  Markings are all from I-94 Enterprises.

The Super Etendards are also by H and R.  Not a great miniature.  The wings seem too broad and clunky.  Again Scotia makes a nice one and at some point I may replace them. The Super Etendards were manufactured by Dassault, and were relatively new versions of the plane.  Five had the electronics to fire the handful of Exocet anti ship missiles that proved quite deadly during the war.  I painted five of the planes.  Again, not likely to get into a game because the Exocets are so nasty, but I’d had a few for a number of years and George had a couple more in his pile o’ planes he passed a long to me.

The Super Etendards were annoyingly difficult to paint, because I had a hard time with a paint match, and still didn’t get it right.  They are a dark blue gray.  I could do dark blue.  I could do dark gray.  I could do kind of a purpley-blue, but nothing straight out of the bottle would work.  So I mixed Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue with Vallejo Oxford Blue, and still managed a color I was pretty unhappy with. Oh well.  The only bad miniature is one that is unpainted.  The underside is, again, Vallejo USAF Light Gray.  I made an Exocet missile out of some U.S. “smart bombs” by C in C.  Again, not exactly right, but don’t think I’ll get much heat for 1/300 “just missed.” I also added the big electronic package from my C-in-C box of goodies under the right wing. And voila.

I did a little extra work with markings for these planes.  I absolutely love the Argentine markings from I-94, but not a lot of help with the Super Etendards.  These are Argentine navy planes.  These carry the anchor insignia instead of the Argentine national insignia.  Unfortunately the decal set only comes with the anchor in black, instead of the sky blue the Etendards carried, so I hand-painted those.  Ever notice how many A’s there are in the standard pack of white letters?  Not nearly enough.  So I did put the Armada (navy) markings on two planes, but not on the other three.

I did use the markings on the Canberra.  National insignia on the left wing and fuselage.  After my aging white letters pretty much disintegrated, I decided to paint on the aircraft numbers.  Not bad, though some are clearly better than others.

C-in-C’s box of ordnance is pretty nice, but sure wish there was a bit more out there.  Would love some rocket pods, and more single bombs.  Doesn’t have to be on C-in-C to make ’em either.

As with almost all air projects not involving assembling Swordfish bombers, painting these was thoroughly enjoyable.  Don’t know if I’ll leap into more Argentine planes right away or do something a little different for the rest of the month.  I’ll add ten A-4’s, the planes that did the bulk of the heavy lifting in the air campaign against the Royal Navy, and the basis of any likely game.  I also have four Pucara light attack planes I’d like to paint, so 9 down, about 14 to go. They’ll all likely be completed by midsummer.

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