Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Paving the Way

There's two things that you must know about my day job:
1.  Occasionally I have to go away on business, as was the case last week and the last two days this week.  
2.  I can be really pedantic about air-ground ordnance.

Now this impacts the blog this week in two ways:
1.  I haven't done any painting so I need to put together a blog entry REALLY quickly with little material.
2.  Thankfully, my pedantic nature has seen me chopping up very small bombs to make very small CORRECT bombs.

A while ago I bought some Heroics and Ros aircraft; two Jaguars and two Harrier I.  Compared to H&R generally excellent helicopters, the jets are a little bit underwhelming.  One of the shortfalls is a lack of external stores.  Whilst my H&R Lynx AH.1 have separate TOW launchers the jets come surprisingly slick.
Heroics and Ros Jaguar (Left) and Harrier (Right)
To rectify this, I ordered GHQ's NATO Weapon Pack (reviewed by me over at the Mighty Miniatures blog).  The pack contains a wide variety of US air to ground munitions but non-NATO stores are painfully absent.  Most people won't care but the UK has some pretty unique weapons and it's the sort of detail that would slowly drive me bonkers.
More Weapons than the average South American air force
So, armed with a little inside knowledge, side clips and green stuff, I set about 'correcting' the stores.

First up, the Pack comes with three GBU-10 2000lb Pavway Laser Guided Bombs.  These would normally be seen under an A-6 Intruder or F-111 for the purpose of bringing down bridges.  They're not a likely sight under a CAS platform like the Jaguar and a 1960's vintage Harrier I wouldn't even get a pair off the ground!

However, back in the 80's the UK modified Paveway kits to fit to a UK 1000lb warhead.  Unlike the US, whom developed a series of sleek aerodynamic bomb bodies called the 'Mk-80' series, the UK still used squat WWII throwbacks that are a good deal shorter and a good deal wider.  Thankfully this meant our 1000lb wasn't too far off the diameter of a Mk-84 Bomb body and so the GBU-10 aerodynamics could be made to fit.  

A Jaguar GR Mk.1 with two Paveway II (UK)
The Paveway II (UK) was far more likely to be seen on a Jaguar than the GBU-10 and was used by the Harrier in the Falklands too.

So far so boring?  What this means is that its pretty easy to modify the GBU-10 in the pack to look superficially like a Paveway II (UK).  Firstly, I cut the pylon off the bomb body (wrong shape for a Jag).
Before and After!   As you can see I haven't cleaned the stores up at this point.
Next, I used a pair of side clips to cut away the tail off.  I then cut the bomb body back until it looked right (you could scale it off if you were REALLY an anorak) and stuck the tail back on.  Job done!  
Instant Paveway II (UK), just add side clips!
I'll paint the tail and seeker Brown Violet (providing I can get my pot back from Mike E) and the warhead Bronze Green with a Yellow stripe to denote HE (rather than the blue training warhead shown in the photo above).

Throwing on a few Sidewinder Rails (I pondered the idea of doing overwing rails but apparently that didn't appear until the '91 Gulf War so not correct for 1980's Cold war) left me with this:

Bombs are probably a bit TOO short now.  Ah well.
Rockets and Gun
So, what about the Harriers?  At this point I was all out of PGB so I decided to go for the classic rocket strafe look.
Nothing quite says "DIE!" like a four pod rocket salvo.
The Weapons Pack comes with four Sparrow AAM which, frankly, aren't much use to me.  The shape is a pretty good match for a SNEB Rocket pod so I chopped it off just in front of the wings.  It's a little undersized but its good enough.

Finally, The H&R Harriers lack the Aden 30mm Cannon pods that were a regular feature on the Harrier I.
Trying to find a decent shot online was tricky but this website has some decent shots of a very nice scale model of the pod.

I mixed up some green stuff and put the rough shape onto the under fuselage, trying to use the Pegasus engine's nozzles to gauge the length.  I let this dry for about 30 minutes then used a sculping tool to and a wet finger to nudge the pods into a better shape.

First stab at the gun pods and one SNEB Rocket Pod under wing.

At this stage, the pods still need a bit of filing to remove some odd lumps and I need to add two blisters for the spent ammo chutes.

Future Work
At this point I still haven't started the gun pods of the second Harrier but it does have its SNEB pods.  I only had enough Sparrows to make four SNEB pods so right now both Harriers have empty inboard pylons.  Given a Harrier's short legs, maybe they punched off external tanks (always carried inboard) before they reached the table?
Another minor annoyance is that the nose is wrong on the H&R model.  The conical nose disappeared in the seventies when the GR3 upgrade added the 'Snoopy' nose containing a Marked Target Seeker.  I may cut the noses off and remodel as snoopies using green stuff.  Depends how brave I feel.

 The Second Jag lacks any stores beyond its Sidewinders.  The weapon pack contains US Cluster Bomb Units (CBU) which the Jag was cleared for use during the Gulf War.  It wouldn't be unreasonable to think that the Jag would have been similarly cleared as a prolonged Cold War conflict drew down UK stocks.  The only issue is that the CBU are all modeled mounted to a three round eject launcher (called a TER) so I'll need to try and carefully cut them off.

I'm working on the aircraft as and when as my priority is the ground vehicles and Infantry.  You should, however, see some more progress on these soon.

That's this weeks somewhat impromptu update.  Next week we'll be back to the ground war.


  1. I love me some Jaguars. I would stab a man for somebody to play micro scale armor with!

  2. To be fair, it's probably easier for me to put in my case than Flames of War is come Las Vegas 2012 ;)