Author Topic: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet  (Read 3596 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

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1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« on: September 19, 2015, 08:32:31 PM »
Experience early in the Korean conflict convinced the U.S. Air Force of the need for a dedicated ground attack jet with tank-busting capability to destroy the hordes of T-34s which were currently overwhelming U.N. forces on the peninsula. Because the Air Force requirement was for a jet-powered aircraft, then a relatively new technology, North American Aviation decided a tried & true fuselage design would be best.

 

They mated their famous B-25 Mitchell fuselage & twin tail with an entirely new broader wing which not only enhanced low-altitude performance, but could also carry a potent bomb load. The most unique feature of the ground attack prototype were the power plants, twin jet engines mounted on the mid-upper fuselage. Along with this, North American, in partnership with the Sperry Corp., added a remotely-operated radar-controlled 20 mm tail gun for rear defense.



Another innovation was the multi-barreled 37 mm GAU-X2 rotary cannon mounted where the old 75 mm gun had been in the W.W. II vintage B-25. This weapon packed an enormous punch and absolutely obliterated anything it hit, leaving heavy tanks looking like torn up tin cans in its wake.



The prototype first flew in early 1951 and not only exceeded all expectations in flight trials, it also amazed onlookers by sweeping down to tree-top level at high speed, cutting loose with its GAU-X2 gun. The attack jet's wicked fast low-level performance earned it the nickname Hedgehog, but its official designation was A-46.



It was ordered into immediate production and the first models were sent to Korea to stem the tide of the Communist onslaught. Praise for the Hedgehog was universal among pilots and the troops it saved from previously unstoppable Red T-34s, but the twin jet engines meant double duty for maintenance crews.



The Hedgehog gave sterling performance for the remainder of the Korean conflict, but over-worked mechanics were by now, at the end of their rope. The A-46 would eventually be undone not by enemy action, design defects nor politics, but by collective bargaining. After the end of hostilities in Korea, over-worked ground crews sought and received representation by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers. The contract signed between the U.S. Air Force and the I.A.M. required the Hedgehog's retirement due to the brutal workload of the two jet engines.



The U.S. Air Force would not field another twin-engine ground attack jet for 20 years until technology improved so the maintenance workload was manageable. Mostly forgotten today, the A-46 Hedgehog's main claim to fame is being the inspiration behind the famous A-10 Thunderbolt II. No A-46s were preserved and all that exists today are these blurry photos taken during their Korean deployment.



Brian da Basher



« Last Edit: September 19, 2015, 08:36:39 PM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2015, 08:52:31 PM »
For those of you with long memories, you may recall I recently went on a bit of a 1/144 B-25 jag.



While the venerable Minicraft B-25 Mitchell is hardly a wunderkit, its simplicity is perfect for whiffing purposes. I started by filling in the side gun positions and adding the two engines from an S-3 Viking a good friend sent me a while back.







Next I swapped out the wings with those from a 1/72 T-33 and added small wingtip tanks and under-wing bombs which were swiped from a 1/72 B-36. Then I replaced the tail-gun blister with a radar pod made from sprue. The tail gun itself is a landing gear strut cut to size.



The rotary nose cannon is a recycled machine gun from a 1/72 Nieuport. Lastly, I added a nav. radar/communications blister just behind the cockpit canopy. I don't know how realistic this is, but I like how it looks.





Putting it all together didn't take long, but things got in the way and it was weeks until this bird headed for the paint shop.





The model was brush-painted by hand in acrylics, Model Masters Dark Ghost Gray mostly. Decals were a mix from the decal dungeon, the codes coming from an OV-10 Bronco.



I hope you enjoyed my A-46 Hedgehog and reading a little more forgotten aircraft history.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: September 19, 2015, 09:00:55 PM by Brian da Basher »

Online The Big Gimper

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2015, 08:54:54 PM »
Wow Brian!

You took this innocent I-am-so-cute-I-cannot-hurt-anyone creature:



and turned it into a steel eating machine. Nice.

Great idea and build.

« Last Edit: September 19, 2015, 09:12:35 PM by The Big Gimper »
Work in progress ::

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Offline Camthalion

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2015, 10:42:18 PM »
very cool

Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2015, 12:21:31 AM »
Nicely done with a better backstory than the similar idea I never got around to doing.


Alvis 3.1

Offline Acree

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2015, 04:16:47 AM »
I like this even better than the Black Swan!  Super work!

Offline FAAMAN

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2015, 07:09:03 AM »
Just brilliant!!  ;D ;D ;D
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2015, 09:03:56 AM »
Gorgeous beastie and delightful, and quite plausible, back story.

Offline Frank3k

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2015, 10:16:13 AM »
Looks great!

Offline Tophe

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2015, 01:48:07 AM »
 :-* Wonderful!
Is this a North American Co airplane like the B-25?

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2015, 12:31:22 PM »
Absolutely inspired, Brian! Wonderful job. The new wings look right, as does the paint scheme. Well done!
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Offline finsrin

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2015, 11:56:26 PM »
Brilliant & inspired build to point would like to build one in 1/72  :)

Offline Dr. YoKai

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2015, 08:18:26 AM »
Nifty as always!

Offline Volkodav

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2015, 03:31:09 PM »
Love it!

Offline pigflyer

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Re: 1/144 A-46 Hedgehog ground attack jet
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2016, 01:01:58 AM »
Bloomin marvelous mate, so very convincing you should design real stuff. Airframe and colour scheme go together very well too, top marks.
(and no spats????)
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