I finally got around to looking at the PAVE Tack pod in the 'new' 1:48 scale Academy F-111C. I had seen an early test shot that included the pod and GBU-28. I quickly discovered that the GBU-28 was too short and the pod was basically a scaled up blob like what is found in the 1:72 scale Hasegawa F-111F kit. I quickly reported the error about the bomb, not expecting much to come of it. Subsequently, a friend (SpongeBob) alerted me to the fact that we had a PAVE Tack pod stored locally and over the next couple of months I was able to photograph and measure the thing, producing a detailed set of scale drawings. I passed the drawings along to several aftermarket firms in hopes that someone would eventually produce one. The drawings made their way to Academy and when I (finally) looked at the F-111C kit the other night, I realized that not only had the GBU-28 been fixed (which I had already heard about), but the PAVE Tack pod had been extensively reworked into by FAR the best representation seen yet!
The pod is not perfect, in that it is still a scab-on assembly affixed to the bottom of the existing fuselage. As such, the parts of the pod above the bottom of the fuselage are 'shaved off', and 'turret box' cut into the bottom of the cradle is missing. This means also that the while the turret does rotate fore and aft, it cannot rotate side-to-side. (The Hobby Boss kit does allow this, but the pod and cradle are totally inaccurate.) The front of the Academy pod is a little too pointed, but that is a very minor issue. It will be a minor challenge to scratch out the fuselage "cradle box" and finish off the laterally rotating part of the pod to achieve a 90% solution. The weapon bay panel lines will also need to be partially filled and rescribed to represent the cradle. Bottom line: The Academy kit is a much better starting point.
"Bottom line: The Academy kit is a much better starting point."
Do you mean for the kit overall, or just the ordnance discussed? I do not have either kit at the moment, but want to do a F-111F with dropped slats/flaps.
I understand the HB kit has shape issues, while the Academy kits seems, shape-wise, more accurate.
Not looking at detail, panel lines, decals, "extras", etc., just shape and dimensions, do you recommend the Academy kit? Considering putting the HB wings with the Academy kit. This seems expensive but so do the aftermarket wings.