2 April 2015

NC-2A & NC-8A U.S. Navy Mobile Power Unit Models

1. Introduction
NC-2A is a mobile electrical power unit designed for use aboard ships. Its purpose is to provide external electric power to aircraft for pre-flight or maintenance purposes. The vehicle has seen active service on the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers from the early 1970s until the late 1990s.

NC-8A is a purpose-built land-based vehicle designed to provide external electric power to aircraft for pre-flight or maintenance purposes. It was in service with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the early 1970s until the late 1990s.

2. Kit
The only models of NC-2A and NC-8A vehicles in the 1:72 scale are manufactured by Verlinden Productions (cat. # 2584). My detailed review of their kit can be found here.

3. Construction
Using the photoetched set made by F4Models (cat. # 7032), I corrected most of the inaccuracies of the original Verlinden model and added some fine detail like radiator grille and tie down rings. Besides that, I corrected the shape of the front left fender as it should be much thinner. Head and tail lights come from a very useful set manufactured by Elf.

Here most of the shortcomings of the original resin model also got corrected with the help of the F4Models photoetched set. The rear compartment is opened to show power cable reels that are stored there. The reels themselves are made from appropriate plastic rod while the power cables are thin copper wire. Headlights are again from the Elf's set.

4. Painting & Markings
From the 1970s and up to the early 1990s all NC-2A and NC-8A vehicles were painted Orange Yellow (FS33538), a standard color for the Navy's support equipment at that time. But this seems to be the only thing that was standard in regards to their painting and markings. Some vehicles did have large black identification numbers and some did not; serial / inventory numbers were seen on some vehicles while others went without; sometimes front and rear bumpers carried diagonal black stripes and sometimes they did not. Application of white reflective stripes also seems to be unique on each vehicle, or at least for a particular unit or Air Station. Headlights on NC-8As were clear white, while on NC-2As they usually were clear red and sometimes clear blue. On both types tail lights were clear red, front retroreflectors were orange and rear ones were red.

In the mid 1990s a new paint scheme of overall Insignia White was introduced for the Navy's support equipment, so some of the NC-2As and NC-8As have spent their last years of active service painted white. On white vehicles reflective stripes were yellow.

5. Reference Data
Listed here.