MD-3 Navy Tractor
Skunkmodels Workshop, 1/48 scale
S u m m a r y
||Skunkmodels Workshop item no. SW48003 - MD-3 Navy Tractor
|Contents and Media:
||51 grey plastic parts, decals.
plus shipping available online from Lucky Model
||Good detail; two complete tractors in the box; two adjustable length towbars supplied; includes three figures; versatile usage as a standalone scene or in a diorama / vignette; good value.
||ALBARs are very oversimplified; refuelling hose is best left in the box
||A nice little kit that will look very nice as a part of a diorama or just sitting amongst your completed US Navy aircraft kits.
by Rodger Kelly
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A new addition to the Skunkmodels Workshop ground equipment range is the U.S. Navy’s ubiquitous MD-3 deck tractor in 1/48 scale
From what I could find on the net in the way of research the full name, nomenclature if you like, for the MD-3 is A/S32A-31A Aircraft Towing Tractor. MD-3s are embarked aboard the US Navy’s carriers for the purpose of moving aircraft around and first entered service in the 1950's. The MD-3 underwent a refurbishment program in the early 1980's and as part of this program the rear portion of the tractor was widened by about 6 inches. Given that the kit's rear end slopes outwards it is my guess that it represents a post-refurbishment program
The kit comprises 51 parts in all in a medium grey shade of plastic and the good news is that you get two complete MD-3s in the box as well as two adjustable length towbars (ALBAR Universal Aircraft Towbar) and a pair of NWC-4 Shipboard Aircraft Wheel Chocks.
Each tractor comprises 15 pieces and is of the “short” variety in that it does not have the air start “bustle” that most of them seem to have attached to their rear ends. Cast detail is good and pretty well everything is provided but reference to photographs of the “one to one scale” version reveals that they have missed some of the detail. The most obvious ones are the two U shaped lifting attachment points on either side of the nose forward of the front wheels. Interestingly enough though there are what appears to be locating holes for these cast into parts and these will assist you in placing your scratch-built ones. The cast in detail provided is certainly enough to enable you to produce a convincing replica. Combine some careful painting, washes and dry brushing and you will be well rewarded.
A couple of downers though, the ALBARs are very, very oversimplified and part 14 which I guess is meant to represent a refuelling hose is best left in the box.
The kit provides you with three figures, a seated one to “drive” your MD-3, one carrying an NWC-4 and one purposefully striding along. Each figure is made up from four pieces, with separate arms and a head. All three are clad in current flight deck gear comprising cranial, goggles, long sleeved polo neck shirt, gloves and a “float coat”.
A very comprehensive decal sheet is also provided. The sheet provides you with large white identifying numerals to affix to the hood as well as stencil data. Amongst the items of stencil data are two that advise “DANGER HOT EXHAUST” in both white and black. These two items are found on air start equipped MD-3s so hopefully telegraph a further Skunkmodels Workshop release.
Assembly instructions are of the simple exploded view type.
Painting instructions are simple and are provided on the rear of the box that the kit comes in. Don’t stress too much at the lack of painting instructions as there are plenty of good quality images available on the internet to help you here with painting as well as weathering. A hint with regard to the headlights. The painting guide advises you to paint them silver. All of the MD-3s that I have seen have a clear blue “cap” over the lights so it would be more appropriate to paint them in a “clear blue” shade that is available from either Tamiya or Gunze.
There you have it, a nice little kit that will look very nice as a part of a diorama or just sitting amongst your completed US Navy aircraft kits.
I have included a selection of reference images of both “short tail and long tail” MD-3s that I have taken to assist you with the build of your kit. These are included in the Thumbnail Gallery up the page.
The images will also provide reference for painting the figures as well as the NWC-4s
Thanks to Lucky Model for the samples
Review Text and Reference Photos Copyright © 2010 by Rodger Kelly
Model Images Copyright © 2009 by
Page Created 10 January, 2010
10 January, 2010
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