Reel Planes: An Occasional Series - Episode 6: Skyjacked (Monogram's 1/48 F-100C)
By Terry Moore
Skyjacked is a 1972 MGM release starring Charleton Heston, Yvette Mimieux, James Brolin and was directed by John Guillermin. The story concerns a Global Airways 707 flight from Oakland to Minneapolis that is hijacked by a crazed Vietnam veteran who claims to have a bomb on board. The flight has the usual cross section of passengers, the hippie girl, the very pregnant lady, the Senator, the musician, and the CIA agent, among others. As usual, everyone gets a few minutes of time for their characters but not much else. The hijacker (Brolin) diverts the plane to Anchorage, where all the passengers, except for the first class passengers are released. They then take off for Moscow where he (Brolin) expects to be received as a hero. It doesn't quite work out that way and the hijacker meets his end on the tarmac in "Moscow".
The movie itself is one of the first "disaster" type movies that were popular in the 1970's. Lots of characters getting a little face time on screen as the usual cliche types. The love angle to the story between the Heston and Mimieux characters, the near disaster of a midair collision as the plane is landing in Anchorage, the threat of being shot down by Russian Migs and so on. There are some continuity issues (like the landing gear and flaps deployed - or not- in the Mig sequences), the use of an airport that looks nothing like Moscow airport, complete with Ford vans, Russian soldiers with M-16's and not nearly enough fake snow to make it look like winter in Moscow.
All that being said, it's relatively entertaining and of, course, some great subject matter for a reel plane. I first saw an article in a 1973 IPMS chapter publication "In Miniature" that had an article on the "Migs" used in the production. It detailed the use of five F-100C's provided by the New Mexico Air National Guard. Only four aircraft were used in the movie and one was kept as a spare. US markings were painted out and replaced with oversize Russian stars. The last three numbers of the serial numbers of the aircraft were painted in large white numbers under the cockpits of each aircraft. The "dickey bird" logo of the NM ANG was retained on the tail of each aircraft.
Twenty five years ago I converted the 72nd scale Hasegawa F-100D kit to a C and painted it in Skyjacked movie markings. At that time I chose to do the spare aircraft for the reason that I saw the actual aircraft after it had been sent to the Air Force Museum. Fast forward to recent history. Some years ago, Cutting Edge released a conversion kit for the 1/48 Monogram F-100D, to convert it to a C. Fortunately, I was able to get the CE kit before they went out of business, with plans to do another Skyjacked "Mig". This time around I chose to model the flight leader, aircraft "803".
The conversion kit is a straight forward set of replacement parts for the Monogram kit and very little hacking/cutting was required. The wings themselves were a perfect fit to the Monogram fuselage, as was the tail. The only issue I had with the conversion kit were the leading edge slats, which required some minor trimming to fit well. The rest of the kit was built out of the box. Modelmaster enamels were used for the colors and the burned/metal finish on the tailcone was Alclad Dark Aluminum, Copper, & Jet Exhaust.
None, although the movie taglines are interesting - "The Sky's The Limit For Suspense". "On Board Flight 502 Is A Bomb. It Could Be Anywhere. And A Skyjacker. It Could Be Anyone". "This is your captain... we have a skyjacker on board".
I'll give the movie 2-1/2 stars(**.5) and the airplanes 4 stars (****). I purchased the DVD as part of a set with "Zero Hour", from which the movie "Airplane" was inspired by. That will be an interesting movie to watch...
The popcorn is on, the Pepsi is in the fridge (I have diet, too), and the movies starts in just a few minutes. Your seat is ready.