I have built my model of the EKA-3B using the Hasegawa kit 00924. Additionally I have used the photoetched parts kit – Eduard 72258 and also the resin parts kit Obscureco OBS72023.
I started the build with the cockpit – for this I mixed the kit parts, resin Obscureco and photoetched Eduard parts:
I went on to paint the interior - I used Humbrol 140 grey for most of the cockpit, Humbrol 64 grey for the soundprofing and Humbrol 33 for the panels:
The seat cushions were painted with a custom-mixed blue-green colour, and the switches were picked up with a white wash. After some tweaking the cockpit now looks like this:
As can be seen, I decided to show the crew entryway/escape chute in the open position – it’s an interesting feature of the aircraft, built also to enable the crew to access the nuclear weapon in flight – this was a necessity in the bomber days of the aircraft. In order to pull it off I had to scratchbuitd three doors – so I glued the Eduard photoetched parts to some sheet styrene of appropriate size.
After this was done I went on to close up the fuselage:
I installed the cockpit, the "hallway", and the wheel well (an Obscureco part) in the fuselage half. I glued a piece of resin casting block between the cockpit floor and the wheel well roof to prevent the wheel well from falling inside the fuselage. I have determined, that he model doesn't realy need a nose weight, plus there is a lot of space in the forward electronic blisters, so I'm not installing any more in the nose for now. I also put some styrene sheet between the main gear bays to do the tunnel connecting them and blank off the gaping hole that would be there otherwise.
Then I glued the fuselage sides together and I filled and sanded the joint:
At the same time I started working on the engines. That wouldn’t be a difficult thing to do, if not for the seam on the inside of the jet intake. Filling and sanding it is hard to do when the turbine face is already painted – and it should be before glueing the intake together. To solve this, I cut the front portion of the intake off and then glued the halves together. That made sanding and painting easy:
Painting the insides of the engine white was done in two stages – first a layer of silver paint, and then a layer of gloss white Humbrol 22. This way you can get a good white coverage in just two layers. After the painting the engine front was glued back on – the result is on the photo below:
The time has also come to take care of the wings. It’s worth mentioning here, that the A-3 aircraft were built with two variants of wings – basic wings and the so called CLE wings (Cambered Leading Edge). The CLE winged aircraft are easy to spot, because they also have slots on the leading edge between the engines and the fuselage. The shape of the wings is also slightly different. Curiously, the Hasegawa kit has wings with a correct shape for the basic wing, but the slats are posed as for the CLE wing. Because the aircraft I’m building (142403) had the basic wing, the fix isn’t that difficult – it’s enough to fill some panel lines for the inboard slats and to delete a small fairing where the leading edge of the wing and the engine pylon meet:
I also decided to show the wing flaps and slats open – to do this the holes of the slats have to be covered with sheet styrene:
Next thing to do was to glue the wing to the fuselage and fill the joint, then rescribe the lost panel detail:
I sanded the slats cut out of the wing and I also built the representation of the rails on which the the slats come out – they are not very accurate, but they are a compromise between looks and strength:
Later I got to detail the main landing gear bays. They leave the modeller a lot of room to show off some real creativity:
The right gear bay initially looked like this:
And it looked like this after some minor changes:
On the lower surface of the left horizontal stabilizer I have added a small detail – a fuel system vent – made out of styrene sheet. For some aircraft, including “mine” this is the part that should be there, and in turn the other fuel vent, part E39 shouldn’t be on the left rear fuselage.
Using the photoetched parts from the Eduard set I also detailed the tail skid and its roll:
The folded air refuelling receptacle was made using black Milliput.
I was almost closing up the cockpit, when I realised, that I still needed one important part – the panel on the inside of the emergency exit hatch. This hatch was necessary per US Navy regulations on every naval aircraft for use in case of ditching of the aircraft. This hatch was to be left open during every carrier takeoff. I decided to build the missing panel from scratch – I didn’t have too much reference on this part, but using what little I had I have built a part like on the photo below, using styrene sheet, aluminium foil from a joghurt pack, copper sheet and wire, all on a paper backing.
After painting the part looked like follows:
And this i show it looked after glueing it on the inside of the canopy:
Now I could close up the cockpit and commence the painting.