Few pilots have become more synonymous with the Vietnam War than Robin Olds. A veteran of WWII, Olds took command of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing on September 30th, 1966, which was based at Ubon Royal Thais Air Force Base, Thailand, a hub of activity for bombing North Vietnam and interdicting supplies running down the Ho Chi Minh trail. A lack of aggressiveness and sense of purpose in the wing had led to the change in command (Olds’ predecessor had flown only 12 missions during the 10 months the wing had been in combat). The 44-year-old colonel also set the tone for his command stint by immediately placing himself on the flight schedule as a rookie pilot under officers junior to himself, then challenging them to train him properly because he would soon be leading them.
Olds’ vice commander was Col. Vermont Garrison, an ace in both World War II and Korea, and in December Olds brought in Daniel James Jr. to replace an ineffective deputy commander for operations, creating arguably the strongest and most effective tactical command triumvirate of the Vietnam War. The Olds-James combination became popularly nicknamed “Blackman and Robin”. Olds took to the air war over North Vietnam in an F-4C Phantom he nicknamed “Scat XXVII”, in keeping with his previous combat aircraft that all carried the “Scat” name.
Air Commander, no stranger to collectors for modeling a wide array of Phantom fighter-bombers, has now selected “Scat XXVII” as the subject for its next F-4. Expected in June, “Scat XXVII” will undoubtedly become the centerpiece in Air Commander’s range of F-4 Phantoms and will almost certainly take center stage for many Vietnam War aviation enthusiasts not only due to who flew the plane but because of their painstaking attention to detail and craftsmanship.