Not that I cared how realistic my hardpoint loadout was going to have (coincidentally the Hog could carry all six Mavericks that I had prepared) of any sort of importance in this project. The primary goal was to make this plane as impudent as I ever could.
Before we continue I have to mention that the wall of text below was written over nine different evenings and the stuff kept changing constantly. So if some timeline or a thought pattern doesn't seem to make any sense in the context, the reason is that: I just didn't notice it afterwards while doing some final quick spell-checking.
More, more, more and some more weapons!I had already prepared four rocket packs (according to the instruction sheet they were of the LAU-3 variety), maybe they'd be enough. Or I'd have to assemble a couple more later on. My idea at this point was that maybe I'd have two on the outer sides of a TER and in the middle one I'd put a bomb. That'd maybe look a bit less overpacked than three rocket launchers in a bundle.
Or I'd set up a MER (Multiple Ejector Rack, because apparently the American Air Force counts "one, two, three, many" with rocket launchers in front and bombs in the rear. No matter what, I just thought that shooting sick amounts of FFARs against bombs or other rocket launchers just didn't sound safe...
After a very short pondering break and dry-fitting I decided that the rocket pods would go on to the TERs and I'd indeed install a normal bomb to accompany them. Then I glued the last bomb-halves together and cleaned the bits up all around. Two of the MERs I glued into the hardpoints so that the middlemost one was left empty (maybe it would stay empty in the end).
There weren't that many bombs after all.
Don't worry about the roughness, I was going to patch the paintjobs later, but before installing them onto anything.
TestloadingAs soon as all the bits were at least ok to be touched I started laying them out over the belly of the plane. My goal was to set them up symmetrically, that's why I had made an easily shareable amount of just about everything, except for the special bombs, which were to break the pattern a tiny bit.
Right at this point I woke up to the reality that the AGM-65s would've fit like a glove on the two TERs I had and that I had no more than that. And of course I had already loaded them both and I wouldn't have changed their loadouts in any case, even though I could've done so with a bit of violence.
To figure out my mind I fiddled with the sprues with all the still unused bits and then decided that I'd prepare a third MER for the middlemost hardpoint. Now I could share, with ease, 6 missiles, 6 napalm bombs (M117) and 6 poison bombs (Mk.82 Snakeye) between the 18 slots available. I immediately built three new fat ones to be my extra napalm-filled bombs and painted both those and the tiny Snakeyes just like the preexisting ones. Then I improved on the markings of all the bombs and I even painted the metallic triggers of the bombs.
ReorganizingBah. Three fully loaded six-bomb ejectors would have never fit in line, so I left the middle hardpoint empty, as I had foreseen. Into the rearmost side slots I glued some poison bombs. I had thought of filling the inner slots with those, but then I realized that if I do a fourth MER the same way I did these first two, I could load that one with Mavericks and fill the other ones' outer slots with napalm bombs! While I was working on that idea I glued napalm bombs on the pylons 2 and 3 internal front slots, as the space wasn't any sort of an issue unlike fifteen minutes before.
The new MERs (I still had to paint the fourth one, I just didn't have the time for it during that session) I'd put just on the base of the wing (hardpoints 4 and 5, I would guess), just on the inside of the main landing gear bays. Into the next hardpoints I installed the GBU-12s (Paveway II) and against all reason and common sense, the next ones would get the GBU-8s (Rockwell HOBOS) on some sort of pylons. And to the outmost slots I glued the TERs that I had finished off ages ago. This way those wouldn't be on the way of everyone else.
While taking the photos above the situation was that I had some empty slots for six things at best/worst. Of course I could leave them empty, but where's the fun in that? And there was so much unused stuff in the air-to-ground box...
And moreCurses. I did not have a fourth MER anymore, as I had used it last year on my N/AW-10! There went my idea of symmetry. So, either I'd fill this one with Snakeyes and Mavericks and put a single, lonely bomb on its opposing side or leave that last hardpoint empty altogether.
This photo ended up missing the GBU-8s (which also got lenses for their B/W camera seeker head lenses at some point) from the second-to-last hardpoints. I also gave up and succumbed to Hasegawa and just glued the Avenger's disgustingly awful end piece into the nose of the Warthog. There just wasn't anything I could've scratchbuilt a new one out of with an acceptable projected result - and within a tolerable timeframe. Then I painted it chromey and washed it with Citadel's Agrax Earthshade so that it'd look a bit more worn out by action.
In case all this has started sounded a bit strange and jumpy to my potential reader(s), do guess how confused I have been myself? AT this point I was getting to the Samuel L Jackson-like point of "I've had enough of this".
The last bomb problemFinally I found a pylon and I just glued it on to the last unused hardpoint. Then I painted it green just like everything else (VMA 096 Panzer Olive Green), just like the bomb I had chosen (Mk.82 w/ Fuse Extender) with a yellow band. As soon as the glue had dried I painted the rod (the FE) metallic (VMC 70863 Gunmetal). Some source photos showed the Fuse Extender green and some as unpainted metal. I decided to go this way after consulting Stetson-Harrison.
At long, long last I could misquote my idol, the great and powerful emperor Palpatine. "Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational assault plane!"