Revell/Monogram 1:48 EA-6B Prowler BuNo. 163403/AC-623, VAQ-130

The Story

In August 1990, VAQ-130 Zappers of CVW-3, transitioned to the Block 86 version of ICAP II aircraft and accepted an additional aircraft to become a five-plane squadron. The squadron then immediately deployed on board USS John F. Kennedy to the Red Sea in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. During Desert Storm, VAQ-130 became the first prowler squadron to fire a HARM in combat.

The Kit

The Revell EA-6B represents an early Prowler variant and requires modifications to represent an ICAP II variant. In updating the model, the majority of plastic provided in the Revell Prowler kit was discarded and replaced with resin. Of the original parts, only the fuselage halves, stabilizers, clear parts, and landing gear parts remained. Those remaining parts had their raised panel lines removed and rescribed. The kit cockpit is fairly plain and was replaced with the much greater detailed Aires set. The Cutting Edge external update set was used, this provided various antennas, blisters, and the AN/ALQ-99 pods. The Wolfpack Prowler wing fold set was used to replace the kit wing. The Wolfpack set includes the entire wing in resin so it is much less work than the Paragon set. Boarding ladders were added with parts from the Verlinden A-6E update set; they are not exactly proper for a Prowler but they are better than the kit parts. Additional modifications included the boarding step for the pilot and the antenna cover on the starboard intake. A modified tow bar from Verlinden was attached to the nose gear wheels with wire. This allows the tow bar to swing freely so I may pose the model with a tractor or pose model as if it were sitting on the carrier deck. Aside from the normal ALQ loadout, I depicted my model with an AGM-88 HARM and an external fuel tank. Both of these were sourced from Hasegawa kits. There is no decal sheet to represent a VAQ-130 Desert Storm jet so the decals are combination of existing sheets and custom printed decals.