|THE JET AGE RESERVE MODEL COLLECTION
| WIDER, BLUER YONDER
|Inspired by the research required in the realisation of the article Fairey Delta 2 and the Wings of Speed, the acquisition by the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection
of die cast models of a North American F-100 Super Sabre ( pictured
above) and Lockheed F 104C Starfighter ( below) also opens up themes
for further new articles. Although Lockheed aircraft
have been broadly - but not exhaustively - discussed, the North
American company has not so far, although its previous F-82G Twin
Mustang and F-86 Sabre products are heavily featured in Flashpoint Korea!
More immediately however, both aircraft belong to the United States Air Force's "Century Series" of supersonic interceptors, ranged against the possibility of penetrating Soviet nuclear bombers during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s and 60s.
|NORTH AMERICAN F-100D SUPER SABRE 56-3000|
|The North American F-100 Super Sabre served with the
USAF from 1954 to 1971 and remained with the Air National Guard of the
United States until 1979. Commonly referred to as the "Hun" (short for
One Hundred) , the Super Sabre was the first American fighter capable
of attaining supersonic speed in level flight - a capability that the
Royal Air Force would only be able to match with the introduction of
the English Electric Lightning in 1960.
The Hun was used extensively as a close air support fighter in the war in Vietnam despite being prone to landing gear and brake parachute failures, electrical problems, refuelling probes ( rarities among the flying-boom compatible USAF fleet ) that broke off during some manoevres and the occasional wing failure. Indeed, over 500 of the 1 274 F-100Ds built were lost in flying accidents although the surviving pilots included future Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin Buzz Aldrin who served as a flight commander in the 22nd Fighter Squadron based at Bitburg, West Germany.
56-300 "Triple Zilch" meanwhile was chosen as the personal aircraft of Colonel Raymond Toliver, the commander of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing based at RAF Wethersfield, Essex, in late 1957. The 20th TFW began in late 1930 as the 20th Pursuit Group which moved to England in 1943 and returned to Essex in 1952 as part of United States Air Force Europe.
Colonel Toliver had begun flying with the 55th Tactical Fighter squadron and this emblem along with those of the other two 20th TFW squadrons - 77th and 79th - were displayed beneath the bubble canopy.
Although the first F-100Ds only equipped the 20th TFW in 1957, notice how the model - produced by Hobby Master of Hong Kong - manages to capture the copper coloured discolouration of the natural metal rear fuselage caused by the Pratt & Whitney J57-P-21/21A turbojet's 10 200 lb dry and 16 000 lb reheated thrust: capable of reaching 864 mph and climbing to 50 000 feet at a rate of 22 400 feet per minute. Indeed, Hobby Master are to be congratulated not only on the easy and logical assembly of their model HA-2103 but for the range of missiles, bombs and drop tanks supplied as optional parts.
In fact the armament inventory of the F-100 included four 20mm M39 canon, four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles or GAM-83 Bullpup air to surface missiles, 7 040 lb of bombs and any of the contemporary US marks of nuclear bombs from 7 through 28, 38, 43,57 to 61. An N/AJB-1B low altitude bombing system was also fitted as was a Minneapolis-Honeywell MB-3 automatic pilot.
|LOCKHEED F-104C STARFIGHTER 70928|
|In 1951, during the Korean War, the USAF was visited by Kelly Johnson of Lockheed's Skunk Works
who wished to find pilot's views on future aircraft designs.
Their response suggested a small fighter with very high
performance levels which resulted in Lockheed's Project L-246,
presented to the USAF in 1952. This later evolved into the
XF-104, first flown in 1954 and later to be known as the Starfighter.
Just a decade on from the first operational Gloster Meteors, the short-winged, high tailed rocket-like Starfighter could maintain Mach 2 - 1 350 mph - and was armed with a 6 barrel 20mm M-61 Vulcan canon and pairs of heat seeking Sidewinder missiles. Notice that compared to the F-100D these air-to-air missiles are carried under the fuselage of the 1964 vintage California based 479th Tactical Fighter Wing aircraft modelled, that external fuel tanks are carried on the wingtips and that the Starfighter has no refuelling equipment.
Although a potent and precise point-defence interceptor, the Starfighter's lack of range and relatively light armament would see it being withdrawn from the USAF inventory from 1965, not least following its disappointing use as a tactical fighter in Vietnam.
On 14 December 1958 an F-104C flown by Captain Joe B. Jordan set a new World altitude record of 103, 395' 6". This was the first time that an aircraft taking off from a runway under its own power had reached beyond 100 000 feet and during the flight the Starfighter flew at Mach 2.36 and reached 30 000' in 15 minutes 4.92 seconds from brake release.
Although a potent fighter in the hands of an experienced pilot, the Starfighter was a demanding and unforgiving aircraft, and also suffered from the initial design flaw of an ejector seat that fired downwards to avoid the tailplane. After 21 USAF pilots had been killed a more powerful upward firing seat was substituted.
The USAF procured 296 one and two seat Starfighters and more than 1 400 examples were built in the USA and under its military air programme for nations including Canada, Turkey, Taiwan and Japan. The creation of the European multi-role F-104G is discussed in the review of the 2009 show of the Gloucester Branch of the Intenational Plastic Modelling Society.
The Pakistani Air Force was unique in using the F-104 in extended combat during its wars with India in the 1960s and 70s and also suffered the first ever Starfighter combat loss to an Indian Dassault Mystere IV in 1965. By the 1970s, Indian pilots were also flying agile, versatile delta winged Mach 2 MiG-21s.
From a personal point of view, the Corgi model looks superb but assembling the very fiddly undercarriage ( as much Kelly Johnson's fault as anyones ) provoked Nixonian levels of swearing until the last door clicked into place!