Sunday, March 5, 2017

M117 750 lb GP Bomb

The M117 is a general purpose bomb with a weight class of 750 pounds although, depending on its fuse and fin assembly, it can weigh around 820 pounds. It was born out of the Korean War and saw extensive use in Vietnam, and was dropped by B-52's during Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990's.
It is fairly common, and a modeler will likely see them in kits of tactical fighter aircraft that served in the Vietnam War era. It has several different configurations, all of which are briefly highlighted below along with references for a few of the aircraft they were typically released from.

Fin Assembly

The M117 had several fin assemblies, giving the bomb a low drag or high drag capability.

This is the early version on the low drag fin assembly. The M131 conical assembly weighed 52 pounds.

The fin assembly was changed in the 1970's to feature strakes, weighed 64 pounds and was known as the MAU-103.

The M117 could also be fitted with a high drag kit that weighed 117 pounds. Called the MAU-91A/B, an M117 fitted with this kit was designated as M117R (R for Retarded).

Here is a live version of the M117R loaded on an F-100.


The M117 was found, it seems, most frequently on F-100's and F-105's though it could be carried by other aircraft in the US inventory as well. 

The M117 can be seen at the most inboard station on the left wing of this A-1 Skyraider.

Another Skyraider with M117's inboard.
An M117 on an F-100. This one has an extended "Daisy Cutter" fuse.

The M117 seems rather ungainly under the wings of F-5's.

M117 on an F-5.
Not often one sees bombs on a Starfighter, but here are two F-104's in the SEA scheme with a pair of M117's each.
The F-105 could carry a s**t ton of M117's.

This F-105 is carrying six M117's on a centerline MER. Also note the AIM-9B on the outer wing station.
This USAF F-4 has a mixed load of five M117's on the centerline and three Mk 82's on the TER.

This Phantom has two M117's on a TER. The pod on the bottom station of the TER is an early combat camera.

This is straight out of the USAF tech data for the M117 load configurations on an F-4. The next two photos are a good reference for these configurations. Both F-4's below are from the 366th TFW based in Da Nang. Both fighters are loaded with M117s in different configurations.

Not as easy to find are photos of Navy aircraft carrying the M117. In this case, several early M117's are in front of an A-4.

Head on view of an M117 being loaded onto an A-4.
This A-4 from VMA-31 is only carrying two M117s per Multiple Ejector Rack. The bombs look huge on the little jet.
An F-111 being loaded with M117s

The Canberra's of the Royal Australian Air Force dropped M117's from the bomb bays... well as from the wingtips.
The M117 was probably most extensively used by the B-52 in Vietnam.

High Drag M117R's being loaded on pylons of a B-52.

M117's with the MAU-103 kit on the pylons of a B-52 during Operation Desert Storm.

How M117's fit within the bomb bay of a B-52 during Operation Desert Storm.

The M117 is still in use for training. Here is an inert M117 at Barksdale AFB, 2011.
The last M117 in the Pacific Air Force's inventory was dropped in June, 2015.
Israeli Phantoms also carried M117's.

Not to be confused with...

The M117 had a bigger brother, the M118. Weighing in at roughly 3,000 lbs, the M118 has a much longer fin assembly as you can see below.

In Scale

Knowing about the M117 doesn't matter if you can't get your hands on any to put on your model. Fortunately, the M117 has been covered fairly well in the aftermarket. 

Generally, you can't go wrong with Eduard Model Accessories and they produce three versions of the M117 in 1/48 and 1/72.

Daco Products also makes a M117R in 1/48.

For your larger scale needs, Cutting Edge made a set in 1/32.

Video Aviation produces a beautiful set in 1/32 scale.

I hope that was helpful and informative. If you have any pictures of the M117 you would like to share, please feel free to do so!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Goals for 2017

Like clockwork, another new year is upon us. I was not incredibly productive in the 365 days or so that made up the year 2016, at least not where modeling is concerned. I finished barely a handful of kits and continue to leave way more incomplete models laying about than I care to admit. Despite the deep-seated disappointment in myself that weighs me down like a sack full of old Monogram kits, I get some consolation in knowing that my efforts (or lack there of) are pretty typical for modelers.
Also typical for this time of year are resolutions.
Ah, the new year...a chance to start over. A clean slate. I'm not much for resolutions, and I don't intend to make any promises that will just continue to drown me in a sea of modeling despair at the end of this year. No, instead I'll aim for a few goals, some long term mission objectives for 2017 and beyond. Here they are, in no particular order:

Breaking Up With 1/72

You gotta hand it to me, I tried to like 1/72. I even fooled myself into believing I liked it and that it was best for me, considering the amount of space I have to display models. I really tried. I completed Hasegawa's F-105B in braille scale. I then moved on to Hasegawa's F-106 and Meng's brand new Delta Dart in the same scale. Never mind the fact that I was planning on completing them in New Jersey Air National Guard colors, both builds stalled and I decided to take on Hasegawa's F-16A. Again, that got caught up in the mire of my own motivational tar pit and I finished off 2016 with three incomplete 1/72 scale kits.
I can't kid myself any longer, and admit that the only thing 1/72 scale has going for it, especially Hasegawa subjects, is that they take up very little space. But by now, I have decided I need solid kits to sink my teeth into. Something with meat on the bones, and that can't be fulfilled by puny little kits of Hasegawa's ilk. I aim to finish the ones I've started and the remaining kits in the stash (Hobby Boss A-7 and Academy F-18, which are better in terms of detail than Hasegawa) but I will be avoiding smaller scale subjects starting this year unless otherwise unavoidable (I'd like to have a go at TANmodel's T-33). Maybe we can just be friends...

A Dedicated Modeling Space

This might be a long shot for 2017 but I'll still take a stab at it. I currently model from the dining room table which is a total drag on motivation. Since the table gets used for such menial things as eating, I am forced to clean up everything and tuck it away every time I model. Of course this means pulling it all out and setting it up to begin every session. This is quality time wasted that could otherwise be used for modeling if I had a dedicated work space in a spare bedroom, basement or garage. It is killing my motivation.
Fortunately, the family is quickly outgrowing the home we live in now and its time to start browsing the internet real estate sites for a more suitable domicile. One that hopefully has a room that no one needs to eat in, or sleep in, or poop in, for me to work in. 

Slow Down

If 2016 taught me anything its that I need to devote what little time I do have to model and maximize its potential to create the best model, not just lots of models. So what if I only have several hours a week to put a kit together? Why rush it? Instead of trying to cram as many steps as I can into a session, its time for me to use that time to complete the step to its fullest rather than accepting mediocrity as an excuse to move on. 
As time has passed, I have come to realize that this page has become more than just a blog about my exploits in styrene. Its about references, dialogue, community building. This blog suffered because I was using ALL of my time to model, and model poorly, rather than finding a medium to do both and do it well. For 2017 I intend to find a balance that will lead to fewer, better models, but also more blogging. 

More Blogging

The end of 2016 saw a boost to this space when I began publishing the articles on AIM-9 Sidewinders. Thanks to the positive reviews, I intend to continue publishing similar articles devoted to different weapons that may be common for modelers. 

The list is not definitive and I'm sure I'll be adding to it as I go. Looking back, 2016 was still a successful year for The Combat Workshop. The Facebook page continues to soar to new heights and this blog is back on the right track. By striving for these few goals, I'm confident that 2017 will only be better for me as a modeler, and you as a reader. Thank you for your continued support, and be sure to stay safe and have a blessed New Year.

Have any goals or resolutions you'd like to share? Feel free to comment below!


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