by Jim Rotramel
I started this Monogram EA-6B back in 1994 as a review for Bert Kinzey's Detail in Scale.
At that time, the only update kit available of any description was the True Detail's cockpit PE set. I had unfettered access to all the variants of the Prowler that existed at that time and was able to photograph and measure them extensively. My tape measure and I soon discovered that most of the details (scoops, antennas, etc.) were pretty awful and that the wing had some severe problems as well.
I made the basic masters that Meteor Productions announced in around 1995. I built the kit up as far as I could without the parts I'd made masters for and put it back in the box for a long wait. Finally, it got to the top of the pile. Scotty Battistoni added detail to my basic shapes and we finally had a Prowler update kit!
This kit does not have the Black Box cockpit. It came out shortly after I finished this kit, and I wasn't about to split open the fuselage at that point! It also doesn't have the Meteor wing fold, which just came out (I'm waiting to see if anyone does decals for CVW-17s Christmas 2000 paint scheme to see if I can talk myself into doing another one). Six years was long enough to wait!
First, note the canopy actuators and how the canopy hinge locations have been changed. The glare shield is a green fabric. To get the effect I wanted I crumpled up a grocery-receipt, glued it to the Meteor part, and painted it green. Fit of the windscreen to the fuselage is terrible.
Note the rain removal strip in front of the pilot's windscreen (not part of the Meteor update kit). The small (red) light fairing in front of it should be smaller (about half the size of the one in the kit). Finally, the little gaps in the lower aft corner of the cockpit openings should be plugged from behind.
The anti-skid used on Prowlers varies a bit from jet to jet but is skin-your-knees rough. To represent that, I mixed model railroad "turf" with paint. (This technique also works great for the Navy's thermal-protected bombs) The way the Navy does corrosion control is to paint over the panel lines every time a panel has been removed.
After I lightened all the grays to get that sun-bleached effect, I used the un-lightened colors to paint over the panel lines.
I added framing to the canopies. The ones on the Prowler are really thick - about six scale inches in places. Use the clear canopies to size the frames, then CAREFULLY glue them to the "gold" ones. (Dip them in future a couple of times before using super glue.) I did a Gulf War Prowler and most of those didn't have very exciting antenna layouts. (There is a real dearth of good Prowler markings, even though there are some pretty cool-looking Prowlers out there.) Hint: Be careful of picking a set of markings with light gray markings, as they tend to blend in perfectly to sun-bleached grays.
The AGM-88 HARM missile is Meteor's as well, but sold separately. Note the antenna location by the nose wheel well and the location of the various vents for the engine. The V-shaped strip (not part of the update kit) behind the center ECM pod is a channel to direct oil streaming out of the engine away from the "bird cage" opening just behind it.
Tail hook markings vary all over the place. The "V" is one part, the "I" with the hook another. The "I" gets replaced every 100 landings, so it is frequently painted differently than the "V". On this model, the "V" is gray, the "I" is black and white. This can be reversed, or they can be the same colors. You name it.
Meteor Instructions Errata
There are a couple of errors in the Meteor instruction sheet: The flat aft face of the tiny ECM fairings that fit on the wingtip fuel dump vents should face outwards. (The update kit parts are cross-labeled.) Also, the "Angel Wing" fairings that fit next to the main landing gear wells are cross-labeled as well, they are right and left as you look at the bottom of the aircraft, not the top.
Model, Text and Images Copyright © 2001 by Jim