Esci 1:48 S-3B Viking BuNo. 160149/AC-704, VS-22

The Story

In August 1990, the VS-22 Checkmaktes sailed aboard the USS John F. Kennedy for deployment to the Red Sea. The Checkmates commenced the first-ever S-3B combat operations. Checkmate crews conducted warfare missions like strike ESM and ISAR Scudhunt. Target information from VS-22 aircraft played a major role in suppression of enemy air defenses during the first days of Desert Storm. From January 22nd until the ceasefire on February 28th, VS-22 flew with every CVW-3 strike against Iraq. By the end of the war VS-22 crews had flown 324 combat sorties in support of Coalition forces.

The Kit

The ESCI kit actually represents a S-3A so some changes were made to make it look like a Desert Storm S-3B. ECM dispensers were added behind the main landing gear doors on the fuselage side. This kit was my first attempt at using resin parts having used the Paragon wingfold set. The ailerons on the wings were also cut and repositioned. The kit landing gear seemed weak so they were replaced with the Aeroclub white metal set. For the loadout, the refueling pod was sourced from the Cobra Company KA-6D conversion set, and the fuel tank from Hasegawa. Painting was done with Gunze Sangyo for the white and Model Master acrylic for the topside Gull Gray. Decals are from the SuperScale 48421 sheet which includes the VS-22 Desert Storm markings. A problem with the SuperScale sheet is that the sheet only provides insignia decals for the fuselage and none for the wings. For the wing insignia I used a CAM S-3 sheet which had a full colour insignia. I first cut the decal while still on the paper with my hobby knife, airbrushed it the proper colour, then applied a protective coat for the paint before applying on the kit. The kit stencil decals are poor quality so they were replaced with decals from the CAM S-3 decal sheet.