Republic F105D "Thunderchief" Mig Killer
by Fabian Vera
Nowadays, it is possible to find approximately ten out of the almost 900 "Thunderchief" ever constructed.
Designed by Alexander Kartveli (who also created the World Wat II's P-47 "Thunderbolt" ) as a successor of the F-84 "Thunderstreak" and part of the "Century" series, this Thunderchief was the result of the concept of the 50's. Low flight at the speed of sound and directly to the target in order to drop nuclear weapons, in this case carried in the inner belly.
This aircraft was certainly not designed for air combat between fighters or to evade missiles. This feature could probably explain the results obtained in the Vietnam war.
The first mission of an F-105 in Vietnam took place in August 1964 and by the end of 1966 one every five F-105 had been brought down. That is the reason why the F-4 pilots nicknamed this plane "The Thud", because of the noise it produced upon crashing on Vietnamese soil.
Most of the war prisoners were pilots and almost all of them had flown F-105's. Approximately half of the F-105 units fell in combat in Vietnam while 108 pilots died inside their cockpits.
For construction of this model I only had an old Hasegawa kit and the Monogram kit (105-G or "Wild Weasel"). After reviewing and comparing both of them, I decided to convert the Monogram model from a two-seater to a one-seater and achieve in this way a good "F-105D" model.
Undoubtedly, this is the best alternative. The kit has good raised panels, and crisp details in all its ventilations, purges and exhausts.
The fit of its component parts is certainly not the best in the market, but if we take into account the age of the mould and the variety of options, there is no other alternative than to build them with a great deal of patience and a similar quantity of filler.
Assembly and detailing
For detailing of this model I just had to trust those references provided by the kit, since there are no photoetched or resin sets available for this plane.
In addition to a good deal of scratch work, I initially considered the similarity of its panels and, according to the drawings found in bibliography, I cut the fuselage and eliminated the "EWO" (Electronic War Officer) cockpit.
This F-105 unit had two refueling systems. Both could be activated with one same clutch set in different positions. I decided to produce my own clutch and inset it in its displayed position.
Other details added to the model and produced at home were: the pitot tube, the refueling probe, air intake covers and ladder. I produced the pitot tube with hypodermic needles and the refueling probe with plastic sheet, brass tube and stretched plastic, based on available pictures and drawings.
I tried to improve the landing gear by adding some copper wire to detail its hydraulic systems and inserted the trap of the emergency hook, previously made with aluminum foil.
Another important detail to be taken into account is the wing tips. I had to remove the electronic panels and navigation lights ( a characteristic feature of the "G" version) in order to add the navigation lights in the appropriate position for this version.
It is important to note that this kit has really good details.
I decided to use one of the versions offered by the Microscale Nš 72-0095 decal sheet after carefully verifying its accuracy with documentary videos and bibliography.
This version corresponds to the plane piloted by First Lieutenant David P. Waldrop, who shot down two Mig 17 on August 23rd, 1967 and belonged to the 388th TFW based in Korat, Thailand, during the Vietnam War.
Its paint scheme is the classical camouflage exhibited by most of the USAF planes at that time: The upper part is Dark Green (FS 34079), Tan (FS 30219), Medium Green (FS 34102) for which I applied Humbrol Nš 116, 117 y 118 and Model Master's camouflage gray (FS 36622).
Then I applied Molak paints for the white landing gear bays, black nose, matte aluminum landing gears, exhaust nozzle, hydraulic wires and navigation lights. All weathering work and glossy aluminum parts were painted with Eureka paints. The glossy varnish applied before adding decals is "Creart". I obtained a satin finish by mixing two equal parts of Model Master's matte and glossy varnish.
Bibliography and info
"F-105 Thunderchief in Action - Squadron/signal publications" Nš 17.