E-7A Wedgetail – The start

Mentioned elsewhere in this blog was my the start of my latest Hind Commander strike group. I’ve found my E-8C JSTARS enormously useful in my USMC task force and so I’d like to include another AEW&C asset in this force. They are also not typically available as retail models so provide a nice little conversion opportunity. My next task force is going to be an ultra-modern Australian Defence Force (ADF) strike group based on the Recon doctrine. The current AEW&C used by the ADF (operated by the Royal Australian Airforce – RAAF) is the E-7A Wedgetail which is based on a 737-700.Wedgetail over Sydney (Courtesy Janes online)

I figure that’s an appropriately Aussie image with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. The next image, taken by a plane spotter in Queensland, gives a good profile view.

Wedgetail over Rockhamption (Courtesy Central Queensland Plane Spotting)

As with my previous build the starting point is a die-cast 737-700 by Schaback. The cheapest I found cost about $13 AUD to my door and is a LuxAir plane. I wouldn’t have thought Luxembourg had their own national carrier, but they do and it’s no surprise there’s not a million people out there looking for a model of one.

1:600 Luxair 737-700 (produced by Schabak)

1:600 Luxair 737-700 (produced by Schabak)

There’s a few things I need to alter on the model before I paint and apply decals. First, I will strip all the paint off. Acetone worked well last time so will be what I try here. That’s not very exciting, thought and this post will cover what needs to be removed and cleaned up from the Schabak model. Following posts will cover what needs to be added and then it will be painting and decals. First a shot of the side that shows some of the required body work.

737-700 - Side view of removals

737-700 – Side view of removals

The bits to be removed have green boxes around them. The first things to go are the wheels. While they are obviously present on the E-7A, I want to show my model in flight rather than just taking off. The next thing to note is that this model has wingtips at the end which are missing on the E-7A. Lastly there is a rather ugly gap around the model (in red) that doesn’t belong there and is a bit disappointing to be honest; the 707 I used for my E-8C didn’t have this flaw. So that will need to be filled and then sanded.

Next the bottom that shows a few more alterations that are required.

737-700 - Underside view of removals

737-700 – Underside view of removals

We can see the landing gear quite well from this view and it looks like it might be a little tricky. These models are made of a very strong metal so it takes quite a bit to chop it up and those engines are in the way. The good news is that my wife picked me up a Dremel tool as a present a little while back and that will reduce the sweat involved. I will also remove the raised text and fill that hole. Actually that hole might be widened to hold the magnet (it just depends on where the centre of mass ends up when I remove the landing gear.

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