Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey, USMC 2012.

ESCI's kit of the Osprey is available in several versions and has been re-issued by Italeri.

It is based around the prototype aircraft, so requires quite a lot of modifications to make it look like the current operational variant.

Link to build page

After a long and very painful development, the radical MV-22 Osprey is now in widespread service with the USMC and USAF Special Ops Command. Still marred by controversy and scandal over its unclear safety record (there have been several crashes this year alone), alleged battle vulnerability, premature engine wear and fraudulent maintenance and incident recording at USMC bases, the Osprey is a fascinating design, half helicopter, half conventional plane, that is intended to allow the USMC to transit form amphibious ships to operating areas ashore at very high speed.

Plans to arm the aircraft and use it in other roles seem to have been put on hold for now, mainly due to budget constraints, but Bell Boeing continue to market it aggressively to potential overseas buyers.

Two Ospreys attended the 2012 RIAT and Farnborough airshows, putting on an impressive display of the aircraft's unique capabilities.

AV-8B+ - VMA231 "Ace of Spades" US Marine Corps 2001

Hasegawa OOB. Italeri Mavericks

The AV-8B is the US designation of the Harrier II. The most advanced version is this AV-8B "plus", which has a substantial night and bad weather capability thanks to its Infra Red night vision system and its radar. The main user is the US Marine Corps, although the Italian and Spanish Navies also operate the AV-8B+ and are able to use the AMRAAM Air to Air missile from their aircraft, giving it a potent fighter capability.

Friends & Allies - Part 2b - The USMC and USCG

Friends & Allies Index RAF 1918-45 RAF 1945-80 RAF 1980 on US Aircraft NATO Other Nations French Aircraft Civil Aviation

AV-8A - VMA542 "Tigers" US Marine Corps 1976

ESCI OOB. Italeri LAU81c Rocket Launchers

The USMC was an early adopter of the first generation Harrier.  Designated as the AV-8A, the aircraft were built by British Aerospace in the UK and operated in the close support role from the US Navy’s Assault ships. Link to build Page

Dassault Hu-25D Guardian - US Coast Guard, Miami CGAS, 2014 (Falcon 20G Fanjet)

Mach 2 with minor scratch changes

The US Coast Guard Hu-25 Guardian is based on the immensely successful Dassault Falcon 20G business jet that first flew in 1963 and continued to be produced until 1988.


41 aircraft entered service in 1982.  During its service life, the Guardian underwent a range of sensor and mission system upgrades to produce 5 distinct variants:

Based at 5 air stations around the US coast, the aircraft were capable of cruising at 350 knots down to sea level, with a maximum ceiling of 41,000 ft, an effective operational range of 800nm and capable of nearly 6 hours endurance on patrol.

Hu-25s served the USCG faithfully for 32 years and proved to be very popular and effective aircraft, finally being withdrawn in 2014 and replaced by ex-USAF surplus C-27 Spartans.

 Link to build page

#osprey #AV8b #Av8a #guardian #Outlaws

A-4M Skyhawk - VMAT-102 “Skyhawks”, US Marine Corps 1983

Italeri, with Hasegaw decals

The USMC continued to use the Douglas Skyhawk for some time after it was withdrawn from naval service.  After years of successful service in Vietnam, the Marines decided to retain the Skyhawk instead of adopting the USN’s replacement A-7 Corsair.  In part this was because the basic design remained sound for USMC purposes, with the wide availability of surplus USN stocks making it a very low cost option, but also allowing a period of grace during which the USMC was able to procure the preferred AV-8A Harrier as a longer term replacement.  

The Marines also initiated a new variant, the A-4M (marketed by Douglas as the Skyhawk II), with modern avionics and bombing systems optimised for close air support as well as a far more powerful engine, making it the fastest A-4 variant.  At long last, the A-4M overcame the tiny cockpit limitations of the original design, marrying the wider trainer wind screen with a larger bubble canopy for better ergonomics and much improved visibility. The final A-4M of 158 built was delivered in 1979 and they remained in active service with the USMC until the mid 1980s.

VMAT-102 “Skyhawks” was the USMC Skyhawk training squadron, base at MCAS Yuma in Arizona.

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OA-4M Skyhawk - H&MS-12 “Outlaws”, US Marine Corps 2001

Italeri  OOB

The USMC continued to use the Douglas Skyhawk for some time after it was withdrawn from naval service.  Twenty-three former two seat  trainers were updated to the same standards as the main A-4M variant and used as Forward Air Controllers until replaced by AV-8B Harriers in the mid 1980s

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Main Index

F-5E Tiger II - VMFT-401 “Snipers”, MCAS Yuma, 1996

Airfix  OOB

In many ways, Northrop's F-5 was the US' answer to the MiG-21.  Relatively low cost to acquire and run, easy to maintain, aggressive looking and remarkably effective in the air, in its original 1960s F-5A & twin seat F-5B Freedom Fighter guise it was the ideal aircraft for US Client nations that might find themselves facing the MiG.

Over 800 were built with most being exported. The upgraded F-5E and twin seat F-5F Tiger were introduced in 1972 and brought more powerful engines, more fuel, radar and aerodynamic improvements to keep it a credible combat aircraft, with 1,400 being built mainly for US allies, in a production run that ended in 1987. It also formed the basis of the USAF T-38 Talon trainer aircraft of which a further 1,200 were built and a dedicated reconnaissance version, the RF-5 Tigereye, also saw service. An advanced version, the F-20 Tigershark, was a competitor of the F-16 in the 1980s USAF Light fighter competition, but was cancelled in 1986 when no orders materialised, although some elements of the design were carried forward into the YF-17 and F/A-18 Hornet aircraft for the US Navy.  

The Iranian Armed Forces have also produced locally designed aircraft derived from the basic F-5 design, although not in large numbers.

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Because of its small size, maneouverability and similar flying characteristics to the MiG-21, the USAF, US Navy and US Marines have all used F-5Es and ex Swiss F-5Ns as aggressor aircraft for disimilar air to air combat training, with the aircraft painted in a range of schemes and markings intended to simulate aircraft from likely adversary nations.