Symmetry in Modeling


Giving your model an unbalanced look...

When it comes time to arm our aircraft, I would say that most modelers prefer to go all out, hanging the available munitions and stores from every hard point they can find, within reason any way. This is perfectly acceptable, especially if the load you are using fits within the confines of reality. I think we can all agree that an aircraft armed to the teeth is far more interesting than one carrying merely a bomb or two. It appears more menacing and it gives the model a sense of symmetry.
Ever heard the saying, less is more? Yes, well it can also apply to this aspect of aircraft modeling. Just because you have Hasegawa's Modern Aircraft Weapon Set doesn't mean you have to use every munition in the box. Give your model a completely different look by limiting the types or positions of the stores that you attach to it. I will show you how with a few references from real life aircraft. Follow along...
One of the Air Force's primary ground attack aircraft is the A-10. The Warthog has eleven hardpoints (8 under wing, and 3 fuselage) capable of carrying 16,000 pounds of earth shattering provisions. That gives you a lot of options to mix and move a variety of weapons, avionics pods, and fuel tanks to give your creation a unique look. Take this one for instance...


This isn't the best example, and its probably a fairly typical load for the Warthog. Seeing as how the A-10 lacks a chin station to mount the ECM pods, they have to be mounted on a wing station, thus automatically throwing off the overall symmetry. Never the less, having the two AIM-9's on station 11 gives the aircraft a different silhouette.
For a some what better example, here is another A-10...


There is almost no balance here expect for the AGM-65's on stations 3 and 9, and the Mk 82's mounted on the fuselage hardpoints. An ACME pod sits on station 1 while a LITENING pod sits on station 10 adjacent to the GBU-12. Also note the GBU-38 on station 4 while station 8 holds a LAU-131 rocket pod. The only caveat here is that this is likely just a training loadout, offering a mix of munitions for the pilot to run through. The Mavericks are not even live. Never the less, its a plausible load for your A-10.

Moving on. These are some better examples of a lack of symmetry.


These F/A-18 Super Hornets are all carrying the same loadout but notice how they are only sporting two fuel tanks - one at center line and the other on station 6. It is an odd but interesting look. Take note that station 1 on the left wing tip is vacant while station holds an AIM-9/X. It also carries two different bombs, one being a laser guided GBU-12 and the other a GPS/INS guided GBU-38. Finally, look at the second most Hornet and you will see that the AIM-9/X is present on station 1 rather than station 9 so there is even variation between the two aircraft in the same flight.
This is a similar photo simply showing the lack of an AIM-9L/M on station 1 of this F-18...


Here, an F-16 has a GBU-31 on station 3 and a TER holding a slant load of two GBU-12's on station 7. Even more interesting is that station one holds an AIM-120/B while station 9 carries an AIM-120/C...


This characteristic is not limited to modern day fighters either. For example, this F-105 carries an AGM-78 on the right wing as opposed to the fuel tank on the opposite station on the left wing...


Of course, it isn't limited to fixed wing aircraft either. The next two photographs show AH-1 Cobras flying with asymmetrical loadouts... 



You can even load two different bombs on one bomb rack. Assuming your kit contains a BRU-57 Smart Rack, you can load a GBU-54 next to a GBU-38 as seen in the photo below...


As per anything you are looking to model, find the references that suit your purpose. Know what your aircraft is suppose to be doing, and where you want it to be operating. This will help you narrow down the type of loadout your aircraft should be fitted with. There is nothing in the book that says you must dangle every munition from your aircraft, but there is also no rule that says you can't. In the end, what you do with your model is your decision. I am just giving you some references to inspire you to create a different look for your latest project. Don't be afraid to try something new.
Thanks for reading!

Comments

  1. This is awesome content. I think I actually understand the concepts you are trying to convey. I agree on several of the points you’ve listed. You make sense to me.

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