WW3 speculative scale model aircraft

Building scale model aircraft should be fun. As a plastic scale aircraft builder, I have long felt the desire to be creative with my hobby, to ask "what if?"

Around 1990, I felt that building models to be historically accurate was no longer satisfying. Thus, I began to speculate, to experiment with alternatives, with things that, given a certain set of circumstances, just might be both probable and possible. And, I wanted the resultant models to be really war like. It's also a good way of using the best of those spare kit parts and spare decals, as well as providing an excuse to buy ordnance kits and decal sheets.

What evolved, and still is constantly evolving, is an alternative world history, starting in 1950, around the time that the Korean War broke out. The Cold War turned hot. I'm asuming that the war remains conventional, with no nuclear, biological or (maybe a bit) chemical warfare. I'm also asuming that the balance of terror caused by these weapons keeps each super power from directly attacking the other's homeland, thereby keeping production up. The details are somewhat nebulous, but the battle front is Europe, Asia, The Middle East and elsewhere, with sundry regional and internal conflicts to fight. It goes right through to 1991, with the Soviet Union defeated and the last campaign being fought against Iraq (which has invaded Kuwait and is harbouring wanted Soviet war criminals and dissident military units).

The ground rules are simple.

1. A model is to be built to a real or realistic alternative standard, therefore allowing new versions of actual types to be constructed alongside historically accurate variants. Has anyone seen the McDonnell F-101K with an internal 20mm Vulcan cannon, two AIM-9B Sidewinders and a pair of AIM-7C Sparrows?

2. The model can be camouflaged in a finish that is historically accurate or speculative, but must be in the markings of an operator that never really flew the type. How about an overall neutral grey Convair F-106J of the Japanese Self Defence Force Air Force (with two each AIM-62B and AIM-4D internally and a pair of AIM-7Es on underwing stores pylons)?

3. The aircraft must fit in to a combat scenario, either from probable reality (make believe) or from historical reality. I do like the SAAB/IAI Viggen with a three tone desert camouflage, ALQ-101 (deep) ECM pod, one AIM-9E, a centre line drop tank, two Walleye E-O guided glide bombs and in Israeli markings, circa 1973 versus Arab forces.

4. Weapons systems that were never developed to hardware or operational stages can be used. This includes cancelled or proposed but not developed weapons systems, such as Active Skyflash missiles or the TSR-2 aircraft. Maybe an RAF CF-105 Arrow F.5 armed with long range, IR-guided AIM-97A Seekbats would have been useful against Soviet MiG-25s circa 1970?

5. Weapon systems can be incorporated in to the scenarioa little ahead of an historically accurate time frame, as befits the urgency of warfare to get the latest equipment in to service as soon as possible. Look at the way new weapons and avionics were quickly cleared for use during the 1982 Falklands conflict or during the 1990-1991 Desert Sheild and Desert Storm operations for real world examples of this. I tend to be conservative with this ground rule, but considering the slow pace of development for types such as the Dassulat Raphale and the Eurofighter Typhoon in the context of Glasnost and the fall of the Soviet Union, I do intend to include both types in my end of war scenerios (1990-1991).

If you're at all fascinated by the possibilities, then you'll see my point about how this kind of thinking can make modelling more fun, combining as it does both research and creativity.


Now you've got the idea, let's take a look at some of the results.

I'll list just some of my favourites for now, as there's currently over 60 models built to this theme. We'll take them chronologically.

1950 - Grumman TBM-3 Avenger (Hasegawa kit) Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Sydney, vs North Korea. Features: 8x5inch rockets, neutral and dark sea grey finish.

1953 - North American F-86F (Fujimi kit) Royal New Zealand Air Force, Korea, vs North Korea & China. Features: 8 red star kill markings, girlie nose art and tiger heads either side of the fuselage (F-16 Tiger Meet decals), underwing drop tanks.

1994 - North American F-51D Mustang (Italeri kit) Royal Air Force of Oman, Oman vs USSR occupation force in Iran. Features: 3x5 inch rockets and 2 x 500lb bombs under each wing, metal finsh with green/red/white spinner and large Omani green/red/white markings (from a Hunter decal sheet).

1964 - McDonnell F-101K Voodoo (from Revell F-101B kit) Royal Air Force, Iran, vs USSR. Features: "Flying mermaid" nose art, internal Vulcan cannon (from F-111D/F kit)in place of the internal AIM-4 bay, two under fuselage AIM-9B and two underwing AIM-7C Sparrow (on F- 104S Sparrow/Aspide pylons)in a tan/sand desert camoflage, two red star kill markings.

1968 - McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II (Fujimi kit) Italian Air Force, Italy, vs Warsaw Pact. Features: ALQ-101 (short) ECM pod, 4 x SUU.30 dispensers, 6 x Mk82 bombs, 2 x AIM-7E Sparrow and outer wind drop tanks, LORAN towel rack, USAF "S-E Asia" style camoflage, mission markings.

1970 - Martin B-57G Canberra (Italeri kit) Royal New Zealand Air Force,Thailand vs North Vietnam. Features: Jet black overall, nose art of naked woman riding a bomb (from RAF Tornado), small RNZAF markings, 4 x KMU-338 500lb Paveway I LGBs, ALQ-87 ECM pod, mission markings.

1976 - Aermacchi MB.326G (Supermodel kit) Sudanese Air Force, Sudan vs seperatist rebels. Features: 2 MATRA type rocket pods, 2 drop tanks, sand/olive drab/muddy tan upper and light grey lower surfaces.

1980 - SEPECAT Jaguar International SD(Hasegawa kit) Royal Free Danish Air Force, UK vs Warsaw Pact. Features: Overwing Magic AAMs, Phimat chaff and ALQ-119 ECM pods, 4 Mk82 Snakeye bombs on MER under each wind, centre line drop tank, overall neutral grey finish, small markings.

1982 - Grumman A-6E Intruder (Fujimi kit) Free Greek Air Force, Greece, vs Warsaw Pact. Features: Low-zis grey finish, centre line drop tank, 2 GBU.16 1,000lb Paveway II LGBs on inner pylons and 3 Mk83s on MERs on each outer pylon, mission markings.

1991 - Grumman EA-6B Prowler (Hasegawa kit) Royal Navy, Gulf, vs Iraq. Features: "Debbie sea witch" nose art, four tone low-ziz grey finish, low-viz roundels, ALQ-199 ECM pods and 2 ALARM.


To see the complete list of WW3 warbird models or view some model photos, select from the links below.

Photos 1950s

Photos 1960s

Photos 1960s & 70s

Photos 1980s

WW3 warbirds complete list

Glenn Harper


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