Technically, they're great. However, I must say the weapons loadout of
the Tomcat looks a bit odd to me. Some missiles for self defence make
sense on a bombing run (as this one apparently is), but would a
Phoenix be part of the mix? Dumping the Phoenix, and moving the
Sparrow to the wing station would seem a more logical loadout. Having
said that, I'm no specialist on Tomcats, so this might well be a
historicaly correct load, but it still strikes me as odd.
Concurr - the aircraft is grossly loaded out of CG limits as depicted.
A few of the loadings proposed in the Tamiya instruction sheet are in
error...I do know that if anything is loaded on the forward pallets, the
aft Sparrow bay is unusable and should be empty. And that two GBU-24 in
the tunnel should be staggered fore/aft on left/right pallets to be correct.
This is a combat loading in this photo, but what is noteworthy is that
the bombs mounted in the tunnel are 500 pound weapons (Mk82's from the
look of it) - what you mounted on your kit are 2000 pound weapons
(GBU-24's)...the combination of the two 2000 pound GBU-24, and guessing
1000 pounds each of Phoenix and LANTIRN would put roughly 6000 pounds of
gear at a far forward point on the aircraft.
The 500 pound weapons on the jet in your photo reduces the load at that
position by roughly 3000 pounds, and if the aft stations are loaded
(which we can't see in you photo) then there is another 1000 pounds
located farther aft to further balance the forward CG.
I think I've also heard that the other reason for not mounting GBU-24
side by side in the tunnel is that there isn't enough room for the fins
to open during ejection. GBU-24 is a BIG weapon...the ones we see in
kits are given to us in the loaded (fins stowed) configuration. The aft
airfoil group has rather large fins which rotate open after release.
This article has a good set of pictures of the weapon:
My friend who is the photographer on the USS Carl Vinson answered this
question. He is saying that "Generally what's on that photo is what we flew
during the Afghan war. The only thing that *might* be unusual is that we
often didn't have a Sparrow on with two GBU's, but that wasn't a
Wish we could see more of what's in the tunnel in your picture - I have
a number of friends whom are Tomcat RIOs and have been discussing
loadings for my Tomcat kits (I have one Revell one completed, another on
the bench, and two more Tamiya ones waiting) with them for some time.
Without fail they have all told me that 2 GBU-24 on the forward pallets
is not possible, and that having anything on the forward pallets doesn't
allow loading of a missile in the aft Sparrow bay. In fact, many of the
loadings depicted in the Tamiya instructions are in error - the best bet
is to look at pictures of operating aircraft and load your model as
I'm doing my current Revell project as a VF-41 Bombcat - I'm told VF-41
was the first Tomcat squadron to take the LANTIRN pod into actual combat
over Bosnia, so there's some history there to be built. I'm using the
Tecknics cockpit and LANTIRN pod, Cutting Edge AIM-9's, CAM GBU-10's and
decals, and odds and ends from the Eduard exterior sets meant for the
Tamiya kit...and doing a ton of scratch building on the landing gear and
in the wheel wells.
Most Bombcat pictures I have seen have had 500 pound LGBs loaded -
GBU-12, I think. That's what I want to put on my current project, but
I've only been able to find GBU-10s. My RIO friends tell me that 2 x
GBU-10 is acceptable, but that usually that much "bang" isn't required
to get the job done (and that they wouldn't prefer to fly with that sort
of load - again because of forward CG considerations)- the preferred
weapon is the 500 pound one, as evidenced by the pictures I've seen, and
also the picture you've shown me. I bet my choice of GBU-10 is actually
wrong for Bonsnian operaratons, but I haven't been able to find any
actual combat photos so I'll stick with my current choice unless I can
find two 500 pound GBU in 1/32, as I do know that the 2000 pound class
weapon is all wrong. I suppose I could scratch build them, as the
airfoil group and CCU are the same - I'd just need some 500 pound bomb
bodies and a razor saw... My current plan is: LANTIRN/2 x AIM-9/1 x
AIM-7/2 x GBU-10. Still looking forward to your construction article!
I'm curious as to why they would have mounted any Phoenix...they are
virtually unopposed in the air over Afghanistan, so I'd think that
AIM-9's would have been the self defense weapon of choice...but I'm not
their mission planner.
OOPS!!! - now I have to correct myself...GBU-10's are 2000 pound weapons
(Mk84 body - same weight, but a bit smaller than GBU-24)...now that
we've been talking about this, I've convinced myself NOT to use these.
I need to find some 1000 or 500 pound GBU's for my project!