I spend lots of times perusing the Shapeways dealers. I don’t often buy, but I often wish I did. One of my favorite dealers is Prairiehawkgamer. He sells lots of interesting 1/300 scale planes, including a Tu-95 Bear bomber for a mere $43. Let’s just say it’s on my list. It has interception scenario all over it.
Last winter, I took a flyer on a wild hair. After Malta is complete–not that far away–I want to work on scenarios for Operation Rolling Thunder. One of the useful, but unheralded, planes for that campaign is the EA-3 Skywarrior, and it’s AirForce similarity cousin, the RB-66 Destroyer. Though originally built as nuclear bombers, with age they took on such tasks as electronic warfare, reconnaissance, and in-flight tankers. Over North Vietnam, they mostly played an ECM role.
Of course, nobody makes one in metal. So, back to Shapeways. Last spring I ordered a pair of the Prairiehawkgamer’s Skywarriors, along with a pair of very enticing Eurofighter Typhoon II’s (with ordinance!! It’s so cool!!) I’ve been focused on other stuff pretty hard core for a while, and these have just been sitting on my painting table So I decided to go for it..
These models have the grainy surface that prevents many of us from investing heavily in the plastic models. I hand primed it twice with Vallejo primer. Still rough. Oh well, goes with the territory. I decided to put one in Navy colors as an EA-6, the other in Vietnam-era colors.
For the Air Force plane I used a modellers example of BAT-21, a B-66. To paint I used colors from the Vallejo Vietnam collection-US Brown, Forest Green, U.S. Green, and USAAF Light Gray. I cleverly reversed the Forest Green and U.S. Green in the picture, but I’m counting on my readers not to rat me out.
For the Navy version I used Testor’s light Gull Gray over all the upper surfaces and the fuselage. I tried to use the regulation Testor’s Gloss white on the under surfaces and control surfaces, but while glossy, it just didn’t cover well. I switched over to Vallejo White-gloss be damned. A lot of the photos of Skywarriors show the rear half of engine nacelles in as natural aluminum, so I went with that.
Shapeways is great at providing the basic plane, but if you want detail, you’ll have to paint it in yourself. I started with the canopy. No mine aren’t blue they are in ivory. Get over it. Then I painted in the framing as best I could. Got the lines a little thin for BAT 21. Then it was on to painting in the control surfaces. Again, this is on the best you can do basis. Dark Gull Gray for Navy, Burnt Umber for Air Force.
Last but not least it’s time for markings. Because the planes are secretive in nature, markings are at a minimum. The Air Force plane has no national markings and I chose not to paint in unit insignia. The Navy plane got national markings as well as its NAVY identification, but none of the elaborate ship and squadron markings common from this tiem. And we’re done.
The planes are spendy at $12 a pop, but I only needed a couple. I really enjoyed painting them. Now how many Bear bombers would I need . . .