McDonnell  RF 101C/H  Voodoo
Early Jet Fighters
Kit No. 0000.  1:48th scale

Ted's Corner

stbd view

Monogram RF-101C and RF-101H Conversions

          The RF-1O1C version of the Voodoo is, I think, my favourite. Apart from the fact that it “looks good”, and it can be finished as a silver aircraft with some quite colourful markings, it is a single seater. Alternatively, it can wear the S.E. Asia colours, more popularly known as the Vietnam camouflage scheme, for those who can’t achieve satisfactory silver finish.
       These machines performed several firsts and outstanding feats as well as operating in Vietnam. One such mission was known as the “sun run”, where it was hoped that the aircraft could match or beat the time the sun took to cross the continent of America. There were also trips across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Probably the best-known operation was as part of the Cuban “missile crisis” where the RF-lOlCs were tasked with low-level photography in a hostile environment.
RF-1O1C A/C Conversion set DB57.
The first job was, once again, to remove the exhaust areas from the fuselage halves, remembering to use the bottom edge of the air brake as your guideline. Tape the two halves together to get a good fit for the new keel and to cut out the cockpit/spine area. Take advantage of the sloping edges of the new spine by sanding the fuselage edges to slope until the part just drops in. I would recommend, whilst the parts are still free, that you remove the formation lights and the tape lights from the wing tips, as most RF-lOlCs didn’t originally have these. However, a lot of aircraft operating in Vietnam had them retro-fitted so check the machine you want to model. If it does need the light strips replace them with 5 thou plastic card and use the detail and scale light strip decal sheet after painting the bases.
       Before you cut the cockpit bath, make sure that you check its final location as it is a little slack afterwards. Cement the fuselage halves together and locate the nose wheel bay and mount the camera nose, keeping the kit parts dead flush with the resin part. Then you can cement the wheel bay. Add all the resin fuselage parts, including the camera bay door before adding the wings. You won’t need the air scoop, part 67, so use filler here to achieve a flush surface. The air scoops part 65, however, are replaced with flush air intakes which you can make from 20 thou card with the ‘V’ shape cut into it before cementing into the locations on the lower wings. Remove the data link aerial location and rub down the bulge around the wheel bay; Also, don’t forget the trailing edge triangle needs a little sanding to get a good join with the wing tops.
       Cement the wings to the fuselage and pay particular attention to the rear join, making sure it is square and even (test fit with the new burner cans). Fill any gaps and sand ultra smooth with 1200 grade wet and dry paper as any silver finish will show the tiniest blemish. The remainder of construction is as per the kit with the exception of a few extras, but with the model at this stage I decided to paint it.
       First to be done was the black nose cone (Humbrol 85), which was then masked with low-tack tape. The cockpit and wheel bays were masked with damp paper towel and Blu-tack. The silver finish I chose was Humbrol Metalcote Polished Aluminium. I sprayed a couple of thin coats and after 30 minutes I started to buff with a soft rag some areas getting more treatment than others. Try using Post-it sticky sheets as edges for panels etc. When I was satisfied with my finish a quick coat of Johnson’s Klear was sprayed overall to seal the silver paint. port view
The anti-glare panel was masked with Post-it sheets and I sprayed faded olive drab before hand-painting the cockpit area and coaming with matt black. Next the flaps and air brake interiors are painted Matt Scarlet (Humbrol 60). The camera bays were painted Interior Green (Humbrol 158) and the camera rims were picked out with Silver (Humbrol 11). The camera lenses, however, were painted Gloss Black (Humbrol 21), which gave a pleasing effect. The exhaust areas of the new keel can be very lightly sprayed with matt blacks and browns to the required effect which pleases you best, but the new after burners seem to have three distinct colouration areas (check your photos!).
The decals I chose for this aircraft came from Almark’s sheet A48-21 and represents General Stephen Macks mount when he commanded the unit at Shaw A.F. Base South Carolina. There is a good colour photo of the aircraft in Detail and Scale Vol.21, which shows the intake lips, wing fences and wing tips painted red with darkish grey walkways.
You will need to find your own insignia as none are provided in the kit. They should be 4Oinch on the fuselage and 35inch on the wings. The “U.S. Air Force” should be in l2inch letters while the USAF letters on the wings should be 25inch I trimmed the excess decal film from around the numbers in the fin decals to avoid any problems. The decals were finally sealed in with a light coat of Klear; don’t ever put too thick a coat over decals as it can distort them.
The finishing touches were then added, the camera windows cut precisely to the pattern supplied all fitted perfectly, white PVA glue will hold them without damage. The canopy and windshield was hand-painted and also fitted with PVA glue. Tiny slivers of 10 thou plastic card were used for the A.0.A. transducers (I made four or five before I got them right!). The tiny pitot tube was made from a fine hypodermic needle epoxied into place. Alternatively you could chop the point off a pin it you have no such tubular material.
Two small blade aerials were made from 15 thou card, one placed as shown on the conversion sheet and one on the centre line by the rear-most camera window. One angled window has to be made from clear sprue and I found it easiest to shape the triangular piece to suit before cutting from the sprue fix in place with PVA glue. The two belly tanks are a very loose fit in their mounting holes, so I filled the cavity with epoxy resin and held the tanks at the correct angle until set.
I used a little more epoxy for the window immediately in front of the nose wheel bay.
The long nose, single-seat and thin wheels certainly make this version look a lot different from the original kit and, although the decals I have used are for an RF-1O1A, there is no external difference between the two types.
N.B. Since writing the F-101 A/C conversion article last month, we have
received from D.B. Productions new parts for their 0856 set a new instrument panel and new coaming, which are quite correct for the type and you will also be getting a new flush pallet to cover the missile bay to save all that filling. Also, we unfortunately quoted the wrong price for this set. It should be £12.10 - apologies to D.B. Productions and our readers for the slip.
RF-101 G/H Conversion set

port view
As F-lOlAs and Cs were being with-drawn and replaced with F-4C Phantoms, some 60 odd aircraft were converted to the reconnaissance role. The lOlAs were designated 1O1G and the lO1Cs were designated 1O1H. These aircraft served with a number of A.N.G units until around 1972 when they were all sent to Davis Montham Air Base for scrapping.
The conversion set follows very much the same pattern as the last review, the main difference being the shape of the shorter camera nose while the remainder is common to the other sets. Again, make sure after locating the nose wheel bay that you make the fuselage section fit the new nose all the way round. When it’s nice and flush you will have the correct cross section and can cement the wheel bay without fear of distortion. The air scoops get the same treatment as last time, as do the wings etc. The main wheels and doors need thinning down as described earlier and you need to make the angled camera window from clear sprue as well as the tiny pitot tube on the nose.
Re-scribing the panel lines is best done with an Olfa P-Cutter and a flexible steel six inch rule. Make sure to scribe the long plates that cover the deleted gun positions and note that the nose access door on the port (left) side is as shown in the diagram. The door on the starboard side though, extends right up to the nose cone itself, with the transducer actually fitted to the door on this side. The ‘H’ model has two blade aerials fitted just aft of the four camera windows, a short one to port and a longer one to starboard see photos in Detail and Scale Vol.21. As I mentioned previously, I drilled out the new exhaust cans with a 3/8in. drill to provide little more depth, but do take care as it can easily break the delicate interior petals.
The aircraft I chose to depict was again from the Almark sheets in S.E. Asia colours, and as I am a member of IPMS myself, I chose the machine flown by fellow member Jim Wood which bears the title “IPMS One” below the windscreen. Capt. Jim Wood has explained the origination of “IPMS One” and has given a little insight to flying the “One Oh Wonder in the accompanying text. Serial numbers and the ‘logo’ are provided as is the ANG badge, but you have to find your own stars and bars insignia. These should be of the standard l5in. diameter for a Vietnam finish.
stbd view
Well now you can make every type of Voodoo built and I hope these “easiest of conversion sets” give you as much pleasure as I have had —happy modelling!

In Memory Of Capt J P Wood

Voodoo “IPMS One”
JimThe background as to exactly why a Nevada ANG RF-1O1G was named “IPMS One” takes us back to the year of 1963. I was on active duty in the USAF at that time and while on ‘alert’ duty I. occupied my spare time with the building of wooden scale model aircraft. As my collection grew in size and scope, I had become aware of the then new to the USA Airfix range of kits. It was also about this time that I had discovered a new range of specialist decals known as HisAirDec. Through their innovative little newsletter I became informed of the embryonic US branch of the IPMS. I joined (IPMS/USA No.164) and began correspondence with the first president, Jim Sage.
After a while it seemed logical to pay Jim a social visit. By 1965 I had left active duty and was serving as a ‘weekend warrior’ flying Voodoos with the 192nd TRS at Reno Nevada, so it seemed logical to schedule myself a training mission to Dallas Texas where Jim lived. Training ‘cross country’ flights are a necessary item for pilots and they offer the perk of travel to see old air force chums or other friends who live in the vicinity of military airfields. In this case NAS Dallas proved to be conveniently close to Jim Sage’s abode. Sometime after my visit, Jim had suggested in a letter that because of my use of the US Governments high speed personal transport, it should be christened “IPMS One”. It was!
 real one

Flying the Voodoo

The USAF’s ‘century series’ fighters all had their individual idiosyncrasies, but the F-101 series did possess some particularly nasty ones. These were so well recognized that pilots transitioning to the Voodoo had to have had a minimum of 1000 hours ‘jet’ pilot in command flying time in their logbooks before beginning conversion training.
The ‘state of the art’ of fighter aircraft of the late 1950s and 60s dictated that in order to minimise airframe drag, the total wing area was greatly reduced thereby increasing wing loading to what was then unheard of numbers. The pilots of the time were left to cope with the resulting aerodynamic problems, which included landing speeds that were higher than the cruising speeds of most WW2 types. The F-104 was the ultimate expression of this theme while the F-101 was nearly as much of a handful, however, with the advantage of an extra engine.
The cockpit was relatively high off the tarmac due to the long spindly undercarriage legs which were designed to accommodate no less than three 450 gallon auxiliary fuel tanks beneath the fuselage as the origin concept of the type was that of a long range escort fighter. The cockpit was large and fairly comfortable with the marvelously good 360 degree visibility that a tear-drop bubble provides. After an uncomplicated engine start, the first thing that a new Voodoo driver couldn’t help noticing was the rather rough and shaky taxi ride those long legs and hard high pressure tyres provided. This was only slightly worse than an MG TC with its solid axle suspension!
The very first take-off was a memorable experience as the F-101 had an unrivalled rate of acceleration once the brakes were released and both after burners were lit. The Pratt & Whitney J-57 burners were a ‘hard light’, that is the nozzles were actually blown open by the added fuel being injected into the hot exhaust gasses and the resulting explosion. Not only was it an exhilarating experience from the cockpit but it was almost as thrilling to behold from the end of the runway as an observer. The take-off was very short and once the 165-knot rotate speed was attained a very slight backpressure was applied and the 48,000-pound beast virtually leapt into the air and began to accelerate rapidly. Undercarriage retraction, therefore, had to be quick so as not to ‘trap’ the nose wheel down with the increasing air loads that the hydraulic system simply could not cope with.
It was easy to accelerate to nearly 300 knots by the end of the runway, but it was even more spectacular just to keep raising the nose while continuously gaining speed and altitude to dazzle any bystanders until vanishing into the sky above the aerodrome.
RF-101H, 152 TRG Reno, Nevada ANG
RF-101H, 192TRS Reno,  Nevada ANG.
          The ground crew often requested these ‘max performance’ take-offs from the pilots just to see what their wards could do. Once in the air the Voodoo behaved well with its fully boosted flight controls that provided excellent response in all axis at all altitudes. Our mission was photo recce and therefore most of our flying was low level work to the target and then high altitude to conserve fuel for the return to base. An average mission was about an hour and a half long without air to air refuelling.
In the USA in the 1960s the government imposed a speed restriction of 250 knots on aircraft below 10,000 feet in the vicinity of major airports (Terminal Areas) in order for air traffic controllers to be better able to do their jobs. The written regulations contained two specific exceptions to this rule which were the F-101 and F-104. These aircraft, due to their unique aerodynamics were both permitted to exceed the ‘speed limit’ in Terminal Areas.
       Initial speed for a 360 degree over head approach was 350 knots gradually reduced to a minimum of 175 knots (205mph!) to a touchdown of 165 knots. This meant that the tyres were good for about six landings per set or even less if one experienced a more firm than normal arrival.
To summarise, the Voodoo was an effective Tactical Fighter and Interceptor, much as the RAF’s Tornados of  today, but wasn’t a particularly good air combat machine. It was excellent for avoiding combat because its sound structural design permitted high Mach numbers at low altitude. Our tactic for avoiding mixing it up with a MiG-21 was simply to head for the deck at maximum power and if the MiG pilot were foolish enough to attempt to follow he would soon discover his bird disintegrating around him... or so we were told! The MiG-21 was capable of Mach 2.2, but at high altitude only. Thank goodness I never had the opportunity to test the proposition.
All of my flight time in all versions of the F-101 was enjoyable even during the more thrilling moments of stark terror, some of which bear retelling with a pint in hand at the local!

port view model

Capt Jim Woods used to fly this A/C to IPMS meetings in the U.S.
(I don't know if the govt. knew)
so I built this as a tribute to an excellent modeller

Ted Taylor July 1991 Revised Nov 2005

#Back to the Top

Last Page
What's New
Next Page