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F-105D Thunderchief


Republic F-105D Thunderchief


by David W. Aungst




Welcome to my "Pin-Up Girl THUD" posting.

I have waited a long time for someone to finally make decals for some of the more "suggestive" aircraft artworks. I was beginning to think that I would have to do it myself, when along came Albatros Modelworks. Their October (2000) release of some of the raciest nose arts to come from the Vietnam conflict finally gave me what I was looking for. I dug out a Monogram/Revell 1/48th scale kit and started building.

The decal sheet comes complete with an insert page outlining the background behind the "Pussy Galore" aircraft. The insert is wrtten by the THUD pilot that is responsible for painting both "Pussy Galore" artworks, Capt. Victor Vizcarra. The whole insert is great reading, but the basic story goes something like this --

On the first artwork, applied in July 1965, the purpose was mostly a joke on the KC-135 tanker boom operators. The boom operators were known for having trouble hooking up to and maintaining contact with the fighters they were refueling. The artwork was applied to give the boom operators something better to aim at and to hold their attention.

On the first mission with the artwork, the THUD pilot flying "Pussy Galore" (not Capt. Vizcarra) radioed the tanker prior to making contact and told the boom operator to be gentle because he was a virgin. The boom operator apparently misunderstood the comment to mean the pilot was an unseasoned newcomer and read the tanking procedure out to the pilot over the radio (who was really a veteran of quite a few tanking missions). The THUD pilots (Capt. Vizcarra amonstg them) looked at each other from cockpit to cockpit and shrugged like what is this guy's problem. No mention at all was made to the artwork, which disappointed all the THUD pilots.


Later tankings with the aircraft had much better success at impressing the boom operators. On several occasions, the boom operator could be heard over the radio telling the rest of the tanker crew (over the tanker's intercom) that "She's here!", meaning the naked lady jet was getting refueled. The THUD pilots could see people crowding back into the boomers position to get a look at the art and take pictures of this sensation. On departing the tanker after fueling, comments like "Was it good for you?", "Take good care of her." and "How much did that cost me?" were heard. It made up for the lack of a response of the first tanking.

Alas, as happened to too many THUDs in Vietnam, the original "Pussy Galore" was lost to anti-aircraft fire on a mission up North in the spring of 1967. The pilot of the mission went MIA and was never found. By the time she was shot down, the aircraft was camouflaged in the standard S.E.Asian colors and the artwork was long gone.

The second artwork was applied in October 1966, again by Capt. Vizcarra. While the first artwork was applied to the aircraft after only needing one permission (that of the squadron CO), the climate in the military had changed. After going through three levels of asking for permission, they finally found someone who would take a stand and allow the art to be applied. The artwork was applied and flew a for a few weeks before the wing CO caught wind of it and immediately ordered it removed.

As a postscript to these stories, Capt. Vizcarra flew a TDY mission to Clark AFB in the Philippines with several other THUD pilots. In the O-club, the pilots were having a drink and met some KC-135 crewmen. The tanker crewmen recognized the THUD pilots by there patches on their flight suites and spoke of a THUD they had seen that was the biggest morale boost they ever had. The THUD had this naked chick sprawled over the nose, strategically placed over the refueling receptacle. They questioned if any of these THUD pilots knew of this aircraft.

One of his buddies sold out Capt. Vizcarra and told the tanker crew that he was the person responsible for painting the art. For the rest of that evening, Capt. Vizcarra was unable to buy any drink for himself without having the tanker crew pick up the tab. Never underestimate the power of good morale.

Click here to see a different build of the Monogram kit in these markings by Thang Le. This additional posting was copied from the Aircraft Resource Center web site.



The Kit


I'm not going to go into a description of the Monogram/Revell 1/48th scale F-105D kit. Suffice to say that the kit is good, the detailing is well executed, and the completed model is attractive. It is typical Monogram and builds easily with very few fit problems. The author of a recent posting on Modeling Madness points out that there are some noteworthy errors in the shape of the kit (in his opinion). But to me, the finished model looks enough like a THUD to not go to great length to try to fix it.

While the model is not built out-of-the-box, none of my modifications I made were very extensive. The first set of changes I made were to "de-weasel" the airframe, removing the F-105G antennae that Monogram left in place when they changed their original F-105G molds over to be an F-105D. The antennae in question are as follows.

  • The four small triangular antennae spaced around the nose.

  • The large bulged antennae at the center of the wing tips (where the wingtip navigation lights is found on the F-105B/D).

  • The projecting stubs coming out of the front of the wing tips (which are the wingtip navigation lights on an F-105G).

I removed all of these with about ten minutes worth of filing and sanding. The toughest ones were the wing tip antennae bulges as I needed to preserve the shape of the navigation lights while still removing the antennae. What I should have done is completely remove the bulge and add clear lenses for the navigation lights, but I was not in the mood to come up with the clear pieces. So, I "cheated" and left a bump on the wingtip that I cold paint red/green to represent the lights.

With these changes done, the model is a fair representation of a late F-105D, including most all of the later modifications done to the airframe. One optional change that can be made involves the strike camera under the nose. Apparently, this camera was not installed on many aircraft. The pilots did not really like this camera since it required them to overfly the target (wings level) -- not a good place to be. Removal of this involves grinding off and flattening out the rear prism-shaped portion of the under-nose ECM fairing.



Backdating the Airframe


The second set of changes I made to the kit was to backdate the airframe to its appearance in 1965. The kit is molded with all the later updates made to the THUD to fix maintenance issues and improve "survivability". These need to be removed or modified to reflect the appearance of the THUD in 1965 (when she had the "Pussy Galore" artwork applied). The following picture highlights the areas that are most noticeable.



The below provides a complete set of needed changes (to the best of my research):

  • Delete the cooling scoops from the rear fuselage sides (kit parts 21) and fill the locating holes.

  • Grind off the armor plating molded to the rear fuselage in the place where the cooling scoops would have been attached.

  • Omit the attachment of the ventral exhaust shroud under the left rear fuselage (kit part 22) next to the ventral strake. In its place, carve a small square vent hole that angles forward into the fuselage.

  • Grid off all the antennae at the tail tip, leaving only the navigation lights.

  • Grid off the anti-collision light on the spine, behind the cockpit.

  • Grid off the small spine ridge/hump running from behind the cockpit fairing to the base of the vertical tail. This requires the reshaping of the rear cockpit fairing and forward tail base. I chose to remove the rear cockpit fairing and forward tail base, then replace them with strip styrene which I shaped prior attaching them. I felt this was easier than trying to sculpt the upper fuselage.





  • Enlarge the cooling scoop opening in the leading edge at the base of the vertical tail.

  • Remove the strike camera and all the antennae from under the nose, in front of the nose wheel well.

  • Fill all the vent holes in the cannon access door on the left side of the nose.

  • Fill a similar set of five vent holes on the right side of the nose.

  • Grid off all the wing reinforcing panels on the top and bottom of both wings.

  • Remove the arresting hook from in the ventral strake. Fill the area where the arresting hook is located so that the ventral strake is uninterrupted. Check your references on this as it only pertains to the very first F-105Ds. My model reflects a bird that did have the arresting hook.

  • Remove the rear antenna bulge behind the vertical tail on top of the para-brake door. Then, add a fillet to the rear vertical tail to fill the notch in the tail found in this area and smoothly transition the tail into the para-brake door. Check your references on this as it only pertains to the very first F-105Ds. My model reflects a bird that did have the antenna installed.

  • As originally delivered, most THUDs appear to have no blade antennae behind the nose wheel well. This changed quickly in service, though, so check your references to determine how many (if any) blade antennae are behind the nose wheel well. My model reflects a bird that did not have any blade antenna in place.
    As you can read, none of these changes was overly difficult, except for trying to save as much of the surface scribing as I could. I attempted to minimize the loss of surface detailing and scribing wherever I could. I was successful in preserving enough of the panel lines that I did not feel I needed to rebuild any that were lost.

My last change to the kit involved the weapons load. The kit provides a centerline Multiple Ejector Rack (MER) with six 750lb Mk117 general-purpose bombs, two wing fuel tanks, and two 500lb Mk82 general-purpose bombs on the outboard pylons. This is pretty much the "classic" THUD warload.

I wanted something a little more unusual without being incorrect. After searching through several books, I found and settled on a load with a centerline fuel tank and AGM-12C Bullpup missiles on the main wing pylons. In this load, pictures showed that the outboard pylons were either left empty or were actually removed. I always have liked the shape of the Bullpup-C. Finding several pictures of THUDs with this load gave me a chance to use some.

The centerline fuel tank is from a Monogram F-105G kit. To come up with the weapons pylons for the Bullpup-Cs, I further robbed wing pylons from a pair of F-105G kits. On a THUD, the wing fuel tank pylon is very different from a wing weapons pylon, so I could not just cut off the fuel tanks and use the kit provided pylons for weapons. I obtained the F-105G pylons that Monogram molds for carrying the AGM-78 Standard ARM missile. I cut off the missile adapters from these pylons, preserving the sway brace detailing. The Bullpup-C missiles need no adapters, so I just hung them directly on the pylons.





I finished the model in Testors Model Master enamel paints and Metalizers.

This THUD is a product of "Operation Look Alike". For a brief period in the early 1960s, the US Air Force decreed that all aircraft needed to look alike. Since they were not prepared to name a specific camouflage to accomplish the task, they merely ordered all natural metal aircraft to be painted in a Silver lacquer paint. At the same time, all special unit markings were ordered to be removed. Thus, in reality, this THUD is a silver painted aircraft, not natural metal.

To begin the process of painting the model in a silver finish, I primed the whole model with a coat of Aircraft Gray (F.S.16473). This is a gloss paint that covered all my sanding marks without needing to go crazy sanding and polishing the surfaces. I chose this color rather than my usual gloss white undercoat because the THUD has a number of surface antennae that are painted in this color.

I masked off the appropriate antennae that stay gray (the tail top and the forward ventral strake), and I used an overall coat of non-buffing Aluminum metalizer to achieve the painted silver lacquer finish. I have yet to find silver paint (other than the Metalizer type) with fine enough pigment to realistically look like a scale painted silver finish. I sealed the metalizer using Floquil Crystal Coat.


To break up the "all one silver" look of the model, I chose to paint the fuel tank in natural metal using Steel and Anodized Aluminum metalizers. It was not uncommon to have unpainted fuel tanks as these were regularly replaced with new tanks after the old tanks were punched off on a mission "up north". While masking for this, I also masked and painted the engine exhaust petals in the same colors.

The final painting task for the overall finish involved painting the anti-glare panel over the cockpit area. I masked this and painted it Olive Drab (F.S.34087). On lifting the mask, I was horrified to see some silver metalizer lift up with the tape. I thought that using non-bufing metalizer and gloss coating it would protect me from this -- silly me. Fortunately, not enough lifted to ruin the finish and I was able to gloss coat it (again) and continue with the project. Next time I will stick to the buffing variety as I have never had much trouble with lifting it.

With more care, I masked and painted the Interior Green (F.S.34151) wheel wells, just before I made my final gloss coat (preparing for decals). The landing gear legs, wheels, and interiors of the wheel well doors are all painted with Steel metalizer. The tires are Panzer Gray.

I used 3/0 and 5/0 paint brushes to apply all the little detail painting items (navigation lights, antennae, etc.). The light beige window sealant on the side windscreen edges was brushed on before removing the canopy masking.





The Albatros Modelworks decal sheet provides decals for seven different THUDs. All have names and/or artwork applied to them. Some are more mundane, like "Memphis Belle II" and "Daisy Mae". The more important ones (to me) are "Pussy Galore" and "Cherry Girl". "Pussy Galore" is presented in three different versions on the decal sheet -- one silver with only the name, one silver with only the artwork, and one camouflaged with only the artwork (different artwork from the silver aircraft). The image quality of the decals is excellent and the registry was dead-on in the copy I received.

The two silver "Pussy Galore" aircraft are from the 80th TFS / 6441st TFW. The camouflaged version is from the 354th TFS / 355th TFW. I decided that I wanted to build a silver aircraft and it was a given that I would choose the one with the artwork.

I applied the Albatros Modelworks decals using Solv-a-set as a setting solution. The decals responded well to this setting solution. They softened enough to snuggle into every crack, but they still stayed solid enough to allow me to make minor adjustments to them after I had applied the setting solution.

I read another review where the reviewer claimed the Solv-a-set tainted the colors of the woman on the nose. I do not think this is the case, though. My decal also was color shifted when I applied her, but I think the shift is due to the Olive Drab paint showing through just minimally enough to effect the color of the woman. If you look closely at the woman, also visible through the decal is a faint red outline of the block that marks the refueling door. It would not take much Olive Drab showing through to taint the light color of the flesh tone to a more olive-yellow color. I would recommend to anyone else building this aircraft to undercoat the location where the woman goes with white (by decal or paint) before applying her.

As complete and nice as the decal sheet looked when I first bought it, there are numerous issues that I found while trying to use the decals. Many of these items are just annoyances. But as annoyances go, they really started to bother me.

The "Pussy Galore" artworks (as nice as they are) are not correct. I found color pictures of both artworks in different books.

The silver aircraft (the one I built) is in the book Roll Call: THUD from Schiffer publishing on page 150. The proportions of the decal artwork are off with the image being too long. The torso should be shorter with the woman's raised knee being level with her shoulder, but it is not. She should fit on the model without touching the red rectangle of the "probe and drogue" refueling door. She will not fit this way as printed.

The camouflaged version is in Famous Airplanes of the World, volume 4, on the F-105 Thunderchief. The decal image is over-simplified with less detail than the original artwork had. Notably, the original artwork had "hair down there" that the decals omitted. Also the flesh should have more graduation in the tones, not just a simple two-color printing. I can understand why the details are missing and why the flesh tones are simplified, but I would prefer them to be more correct.

The national insignia for a non-camouflaged THUD should be 30 inches tall for both the wings and fuselage. The sheet provides undersized stars that are only 24 inches. This makes a big difference in the look of the completed model. I replaced the Albatros stars with some taken from a SuperScale sheet.

Silly me -- with the national insignia being too small, I should have questioned the USAF size. After I was finished applying the decals, I thought they looked a bit small, so I checked them. They should be 35 inches tall. The Albatros USAF markings are only 24 inches tall. Finding this out after they were applied and dried, I decided to not risk marring the finish by removing them and left the undersized markings on the model. I will be more careful in the future.

I found the sheet had inconsistent numbers of decals provided for various markings.

  • There are enough RESCUE arrows on the sheet to do nine THUDs, providing four varied styles. What gives (as there are only seven aircraft on the sheet)?

  • There are six 15 inch national insignia stars. With four stars per aircraft, this is enough to do one and one half camouflaged THUDs. I would expect four or eight stars, but why only six?

  • There are fourteen ejection seat triangles in four styles. The instructions completely ignore two of the styles.
    There are two "probe and drogue" refueling door blocks. Both are printed too wide, but I did not realize this until I was already placing the decal on the model. One is printed longer than the other. The short one is too short to fit where it goes on the aircraft.

  • There are four "flying boom" refueling door blocks. All four are too small. They should exceed the size of the actual door by about four inches on all sides. The provided decals are only just the size of the refueling door. I cut up two of these blocks and pieced them together so as to correctly mark the refueling door.

  • Most of the rest of the data markings are provided with enough items to mark one aircraft. But, there are still more markings provided in enough quantity to mark two or three aircraft.

The problem with this inconsistency is that I was left scratching my head and wondering if there were more places for some of the data markings to go (since I had irregular numbers of each remaining at the end). I often use the number of decals on the sheet as a guide to tell me when I am done. When all the decals are gone, I am done. With so many variations to the numbers of markings provided, I could not be sure with these decals. This really bugged me.

Add to the inconsistent numbers of markings the fact that the instructions for the data markings are vague and incomplete. There are numerous data markings that the instruction sheet does not mention. And, there are a few the instructions call for that are not on the decal sheet. I needed to supplement the Albatros Modelworks data markings with more decals that I obtained from a SuperScale THUD sheet. The most notable omissions in the decals are the large red rounded rectangles that go on the rear fuselage. All THUDs (silver or camouflaged) get these, but none are found on the decal sheet or in the instructions.

Another shortcoming of the instructions is that no bottom view is provided for any of the versions. This is most needed on the silver versions as the underside USAF and national insignia markings are not placed where you would expect (mirroring the locations of the upper markings). In reality, the markings are positioned close to the fuselage, right over the wheel well doors, but you will not find this out from the decal instruction sheet.

I do not generally like numeric rating scales, but I feel compelled to give one for this sheet. When I first bought the sheet, I was completely elated that someone finally got the nerve to print this type of marking in decal form. I would have given the sheet a perfect "10" at that point. After using the sheet, I have to drop that number to about a "7". And, the only reason I keep it that high is that the subject of the sheet is one that I have waited too long to see. Making me work for the aircraft data is not that surprising. I have done about the same on many SuperScale sheets. But, the errors in national insignia and USAF sizes, specifically, are inexcusable when they are so well documented (I have four different books that provide the sizes of these markings in two languages).

After decaling, I finished the model using Floquil Flat Finish. I have never been able to figure how to make Flat Finish produce a flat finish. I always get a semi-gloss sheen from this paint. In this particular case, that is what I wanted, a semi-gloss sheen to represent the gloss silver lacquer paint of the real aircraft. The Flat Finish also affected the metal-look of the metalizer paint, giving the metalizer finish a texture that (IMHO) captured the look of painted silver.

For weathering, I used my typical style of thinned down enamel paint washes and air brush shading. For a more complete discussion of what I do to weather my models, see my posting on "Weathering Aircraft".





The subject of the Albatros Modelworks decal sheet is great. Albatros Modelworks has finally provided adequate representation of one of the biggest troop morale boosters of any aerial conflict. Almost every aerial conflict has produced some provocative artworks on the aircraft. It is great that some decal company has finally been brave enough to produce the markings in decal form for modelers to build. I hope to see more of these type markings in the future. I only wish Albatros Modelworks had paid closer attention when producing the decals and not had so many size and usability issues.

My model club had a "nose art night" (also referred to as "pornography night") where we all built politically incorrect aircraft to display. I built "Pussy Galore" for this model club meeting. The model made for a great addition to the overall display and a lively conversation topic for the whole night.

As a side note, for obvious reasons, my wife has not committed (yet) to allowing me to openly display this model on my display shelves in the living room. For the time, it remains tucked away on the top of the shelves where you really can not see it. My wife finds it unique, not vulgar. But with two small sons loose in the house, for now she feels "out of sight" is a more appropriate place to keep the model. I can not really argue the point.



The Pictures


This posting marks the first one where I used my new digital camera to take the pictures. Some of you may remember my placing a question on the Discussion Board in early October looking for recommendations and information regarding the cameras being used by other modelers to pictures their models. I got lots of really useful information from that posting that helped narrow down what is an intimidating array of digital cameras on the market.

After reviewing the various web pages outlining the features of the cameras that were mentioned in the responses I got, I narrowed the field to two cameras -- the Cannon PowerShot G1 and the Kodak DC4800. After some long thought, I settled on the Cannon product. Then, I learned the Cannon G1 was being phased out and replaced by the Cannon G2. The G2 was a little more expensive, but jumped up another notch in resolution to a 4 megapixel camera.

Slaving over the price difference in the camera store, my wife looked at me and simply told me to get the G2 because "you know you want it". I love my wife and the easy way she lets me spend money. The camera is everything I hoped for and more. I am thinking, now, that I will never buy film again...


Additional Images and Project Summary


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Project Statistics

Completion Date:

8 November 2001

Total Building Time:








Decals / Markings:


Extra Detailing / Conversion:



Model, Description and Images Copyright 2001 by David Aungst
Page Created 22 November, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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