Above: Dauphin 2 No. 246 of the Irish Air Corps, showing the overall light grey fuselage, with medium blue stripes as demarcation lines between the white upper section of the engine compartment, and the bright red undersides of the helicopter. The extreme top of the engine compartment, endplate fins, fin tip and bottom of the fenestron fairing were also painted bright red.
1. Details of the forward bright red areas and the medium blue demarcation lines are seen in this view. The winch housing is attached to the starboard side of the helicopter.
2. The all-red pitot tubes on the port side of the Dauphin 2.
3. A swivelling, high-powered searchlight is used for night SAR operations. It is attached to the underside of the fuselage below the rear entrance door.
4. This view of the nose gear, also shows various stencils.
5. A close-up view of the retractable main undercarriage unit on the port side of the helicopter.
As well as showing the Irish Air Corps insignia – the Celtic Boss – this shot also shows the helicopter’s serial number, which is displayed to port and starboard.
7. A starboard view of the engine compartment shows the engine intake cover and the inscription Paddy Mooney, which commemorates one of the crew killed in the crash of No. 248 in July 1999. Each of the Air Corp’s Dauphin 2s displays the name of one of the crew that was killed in the crash of this helicopter.
8-9. The endplate fins, the fenestron, and the representation of the aircraft’s designation and construction number are shown here. The small ‘F in the designation is unique to No. 246. The finish on the fenestron hub was introduced as a safety measure.
10. Here the housing for the winching gear on the starboard side and the engine intake grills are shown. The undersides of the composite rotor blades are light brown.
Some years ago, IPMS/UK sanctioned the formation of Special Interest Groups to be run by IPMS members so that those with common interests would be able to contact and meet each other. The SIGs would encourage the exchange of information, and the accumulation of expertise. SIGs now exist for most areas of modelling, covering broad subjects, for example SIG Italia focuses on all matters Italian; while other SIGs focus on a service, the Fleet Air Arm for example; or on a global theme, such as Aerobatic Display Teams; or on one particular aircraft – the Harrier, for example.
Many modellers have interests in one or two subjects above most others and it is these interests that the SIGs aim to cover. For many this interest goes beyond modelling to include historical research or photography. SIGs are a phenomenal information source; someone, somewhere in the SIG will have the answer to your question. This knowledge base is the core essence of each SIG, a fact which should not be overlooked by modellers, or the modelling press.
SIGs are open to modellers from all over the world; the only stipulation being that SIG members must be members of a national IPMS, or overseas members of the IPMS/UK in countries with no IPMS network. All levels of modelling skill and knowledge are welcome. SIGs vary in size from a handful of members to large international groups – the Harrier SIG, for example, has 80 members in 19 countries. Some SIGs charge an annual membership fee to cover newsletters or secure access to members-only areas of their website, others make only administrative charges for photocopies. Most have regular newsletters or website briefings to keep members up to date with news, research articles, new kit or accessory releases and hints and tips. Most organise their own themed displays at Scale ModelWorld and major shows. Gary Siddall, leader of the Aerobatic Display Teams SIG, notes that unlike IPMS Branches – which have a localised membership, regular meetings and members who generally know each other personally – SIGs have members around the world and many of them may never get the chance to meet any of their fellow SIG members face-to-face. This can make some activities within a SIG more difficult to organise, because quick discussions are not easy; however, when it all comes together on a ‘global scale’ it is all the more rewarding for everyone concerned.
The internet enables SIG members to keep in touch, exchange information and become firm friends with other members across the globe. Gary finds the international friendship the most enjoyable and satisfying of SIG membership benefits, ‘it draws people together and allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to become involved in their particular interest. Having members spread around numerous different countries opens up options for sourcing rare, obscure or previously unknown modelling-related items – kits, decals, books and information. There’s not much somebody can’t get hold of, somewhere. A fair bit of international trading goes on! ‘We often make trips to display at overseas shows, treating these as mini-holidays and great social occasions. We are always made incredibly welcome by our hosts and the other modellers we meet. When overseas SIG members make the journey to England for Scale ModelWorld, it is great to be able to meet them, especially if it is their first time. We all try to reciprocate the hospitality. I believe SIGs are the single most important concept the IPMS has introduced in recent years, and have done more for the hobby, the modelling scene in general and true international friendships than anything else.’ For an individual modeller, SIGs are a great ^way of becoming involved with the wider
modelling community. Erik Piek, a Harrier SIG member from Holland, gives one overseas member’s viewpoint, ‘the enthusiasm of the other members inspires you to really do something with your interest in a subject, [e-mail] discussions are regularly held, and they sort of force you, in a pleasant way, to participate. I never felt that when I was just an IPMS member. SIG members form a strong bond, and are much more willing to help each other out. My IPMS membership should ‘give me a friend anywhere in the world’, but I find that with SIGs, that’s really true.’ More comments come from Ricardo Caballero, leader of SIG Argentina, whose modelling started with Airfix’s bagged Tiger Moth and Spitfire 40+ years ago. As a civil reserve pilot, Ricardo flew military transport missions during the Falklands conflict and was impressed by the professionalism of the aircrew on both sides. An interest in the Harrier led him to contact the then Harrier SIG leader, Phil Cater. ‘This developed into a strong friendship, which brought into fruition my visiting Scale ModelWorld at Telford in 2002 for the first time in my life. I was introduced to many wonderful people and modellers during my visit.’ At Scale ModelWorld on the 20th Anniversary of the conflict, the side-by-side SIG Argentina and Harrier SIG displays paid their joint ‘In memorium’ tribute to the memory of the fallen of both sides; 11:00 am on Sunday 11 November 2002 was a special time. What Ricardo has found most rewarding is to share ‘the fellowship, lives, cultures, families, the humour and the common daily struggles of all SIG members, who still manage to get some models done at the end of it all!’ I believe the IPMS/UK’s President, Paul Regan, once said: ‘sticking pieces of plastic together can bring people together’. SIG membership is tangible proof that it does.
To summarise, the main benefits of SIG membership are:
Access to other SIG members’ knowledge, including that of renowned or published experts.
Ready information exchange through websites, discussion forums, e-mail, and letters.
Reviews and comments on the accuracy of particular kits and accessories.
Hints and tips on how to improve kits, and general and specific modelling techniques.
The ability to influence the modelling trade, mainstream and aftermarket, eg. for the Harrier SIG this includes Airfix’s 1:24th scale Thai Navy option, for SIG Argentina Heritage Aviation’s 1:48th Pucara and for the SAAF SIG, Heritage’s Turbo-Dak.
Worldwide travel opportunities, eg. the SAAF SIG’s recent trip to South Africa, visiting model shows, museums, airfields, wildlife parks and vineyards and the Aerobatic Display Teams SIG’s recent visit to the Patrouille de France’s anniversary celebrations.
The friendship of interests shared. SIG displays are great social events, eg. ‘Ric’s South Atlantic Bar’ at Scale ModelWorld 2002, and excellent showcases for members’ handiwork.
Thanks to: Gary Siddall, Ricardo Caballero, Erik Piek, Steve Hubbard – Fleet Air Arm SIG, Phil Cater – South African Air Force SIG and Jeremy Hall – SIG Italia, for their contributions to this article.
The initial EF-4C Weasel Phantom was barely adequate, but the war in Vietnam was winding down. Some of the F-105 Thunderchief Weasels had been sent home, and the EF-4C did not initially get a posting to South East Asia at all. The Americans then pulled out of Vietnam completely. As a result, the final product of Project Wild Weasel, the F-4G Phantom II, first conceived in 1968, was left to languish.
The US military appeared to need a fresh reminder of the threat posed by radar-guided surface-to-air missiles, and the Arab/Israeli Yom Kippur War of 1973, during which the Israelis lost significant numbers of aircraft to several new, Soviet-designed SAM missiles, provided that reminder.
Dedicated Air Force Weaseleers would have preferred a new-build aircraft, but resource issues once again dictated conversions of existing aircraft. The F-4E airframe was really the only game in town, since it was available in quantity and many aircraft had plenty of flying hours left. The E was favoured in particular owing to the space afforded by its canoe fairing beneath the nose, provided that the resident Vulcan cannon was removed. The prototype F-4G, previously F-4E 69-7254, flew for the first time on 6 December 1975. A decision was taken to convert a further 115 FY69 (Fiscal Year 1969) F-4Es to F-4G standard, fitted with ‘smokeless’ General Electric J79-GE-17C engines and slatted wings.
At the heart of the F-4G was its AN/APR-38 HAWC (Homing and Warning Computer). This was able to identify multiple enemy threat emitters, simultaneously track and prioritise the 15 most dangerous threats, and then present them to the back seat EWO (Electronic Warfare Officer), or ‘Bear’, for human consideration. Much more than this, however, the system also interfaced with the F-4G’s weapons delivery system, providing attack data and, when necessary, an automatic blind-bombing capability.
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