US Navy Tow Bar (Modern)

Published on
January 28, 2016
Review Author(s)
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Company: Brengun - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Brengun - Website: Visit Site
Product packaging

Recently Brengun has released a series of interesting accessories in 1/72 scale, most aimed at those looking to add a little something different and to spruce up the display of our recent builds.

This set fits squarely in that category and provides a tow bar currently used by the US Navy on its carriers and other aviation ships. The tow bar is used to move or re-spot an aircraft or helicopter when its engines are not running. The tow bar is attached to the nose gear of the aircraft of the tail wheel of a helicopter and then hitched to a flight deck tractor so that the aircraft/helo can be moved around.

The set consists of four resin pieces, the two tow bar arms and the two small wheels at the back and a small photo-etch fret with 18 photo-etch pieces. The photo etch parts are well done and for the most part include grooves where the parts need to be folded. I say for the most part as the tongue of the tow bar has two bends that need to be made, which are shown on the instructions, but there are no grooves for either bend.

The resin pieces are nicely cast and are not difficult to remove from the casting block with a fine razor saw. The first step of construction is to bend the part of the tow bar that actually connects to the aircraft wheels. There are three bends in each of the two parts, but the grooves make bending easy. Be careful to keep your bends at 90 degrees so that you end by with a square cross section, otherwise it will not match up with the rest of the two bar. You must also bend down the endplate in this step as this is needed to give you something to attach these parts to the resin arms. I left the wheels off for later installation as they will be black and the tow bar is yellow. There is an additional photo-etch piece for the hinge point for the tow bar, which allows it to be opened or closed to fit different aircraft wheels. The instructions tell you to insert a small section of 1mm plastic rod for the hinge, so I used some stretched sprue.

Construction of the tongue of the tow bar is next and is a bit more complicated due to the missing grooves mentioned above. Since I did not know just where the missing bends were, I folded the part at the top of the tow ring and then glued first one side and then the other of the part to the two tow bar arms. Once the glue had set, I used small flat bladed pliers to push the rest of the tongue together starting at the tow ring until I had formed the missing bends. The final touch on this end of the tow bar was attaching the six small photo-etch bolt heads. Photo-etch scissors really are a necessity on this set as several of the parts are very small and you really only get one shot at trimming them up.

Navy tow bars are painted yellow for visibility on the flight deck, but is not a bright yellow, so I used a black primer coat followed by Testor’s Insignia Yellow, and I am very pleased with the results. I painted the tires NATO Black as they are hard rubber. The set includes a small section of photo-etch chain to represent the chain that is used to hold the two arms in position. I have left it off my set primarily as I wanted to leave the bar a little flexible so I could fit it to different aircraft, but also because it looks a very flat unless viewed from just the right angle. I will probably use stretched sprue to represent the chain when I attach the two bar to an aircraft as I can cut it to length and use white glue to attach it. That way I can pop off the sprue and cut a new one if I put the tow bar on a different aircraft.

As the flight deck sailors are not gentle with the tow bars, they can get scraped up, so those modelers who like to weather things can have a field day with this set.

This is a great set for anyone who models modern US Navy aircraft and wants to display them in a flight deck setting. I really enjoyed the set and I can see I will need several more sets for my Naval Air collection.

Thank you to Brengun for the review sample and thanks to IPMS-USA for letting me review it.


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