Another Academy Dragonfly from long ago
While posting the latest tweety bird, I remembered I had built the Academy kit a few years ago. SOOoooooooo...... here it is!
The A-37 line of aircraft was developed from the USAF's primary jet trainer the T-37 known as the "Tweet" to the student pilots and instructors who flew them. During the early 60's, counter insurgency dominated US military planning and procurement. Cessna saw a need for aircraft that was easy to operate and maintain for use by developing nations. By strengthening the airframe and increasing the thrust, a trainer became an attack plane. In actuality, a trainer carried some bombs. The A-37 was underpowered, had poor range, and marginal on station time. USAF aircrews dubbed it the converter; it converted jet-fuel into noise!
Back to the drawing board! The A-37B version sought to address some theses deficiencies. The General Electric J85-GE-17A engines increased the thrust and fuel efficiency, and the addition of a fixed refueling probe mitigated the on-station concerns. Internal airframe modifications increased the weapons load. Timing, however, is everything. The A-37B was a low cost airframe when the old prop jobs and weary jets were just plain-ol' worn out. The A-26K, A-1, F-100s and assorted museum pieces had to be replaced in the South Viet Nam AF and USAF operational squadrons. The A-37B, or "Super Tweet" as it came to be known, stepped into the breach.
The USAF was caught in a war that was dragging on and on. With all aircraft production going to combat units, attrition was slowing and in some cases even stopping the Reserve and Air National Guard modernization. In the '70s, many USAF reserve and guard pilots would log their flight hours in the A-37B until their units transitioned to A-7s and F-4s.
This Academy kit is a gem. With a modest price, logical engineering and loads of details, this kit is every bit the equal of Hasegawa, RoG, Italeri, etc. A big plus is the accurate stores options: drop tanks, LAU-3 rocket launchers, Mk-82 bombs, and SUU-14 dispensers, enough, so good stuff is left over!!! (Is a major Japanese kit manufacturer listening???......no........didn't think so!) My kit was packaged as a Viet Nam era airplane, so it had two decal options: one USAF airplane and a Republic of Korea AF aircraft.
This kit is straight out of the box using the kit decals for the 8th Special Operations Squadron of the 14th Special Operations Wing at Bien Hoa air base, South Viet Nam circa 1970. I added paper seat belts and hardware made from photo-etch frets and added the LAU-10 rocket launchers from the Italeri weapons set. The model is finished with Testors enamels using the soft mask painting method.
Refs: "Cessna's Tough Two-Seater" by Robrt Trimble, AIR COMBAT Vol 10, No.4, September 1982, Challenge Publications, San Diago, CA, USA.