KIT:

Monogram 1/48 A-10A Warthog

KIT #

5505

PRICE:

$19.98 MSRP

DECALS:

two options

REVIEWER:

Len Roberto

NOTES:

2Bobs decals used

HISTORY

The Connecticut Air National Guard unit traces its history back to just after WWI- it is the 3rd oldest Air Guard Unit in the US.  The 103rd Fighter Wing, 118th Tactical Recon Squadron has a storied history.  To celebrate the 80th Anniversary (1923-2003) Lt. Brian Boeding suggested they take one of the unitís current A-10ís and devise a new paint scheme using the famed black lightning bolt scheme the unit wore on their P-51ís in WWII.

Hence we have this striking scheme of which 2 decal companies (Cutting Edge and Two Bobís) produced beautiful sets.  One look at the layout of the decals and I knew they would be a royal pain to conform to the curve of the A-10ís nose but more on that laterÖ

THE KIT

            Revell/ Monogramís 1/48 kit of the A-10 has been around a while, much like the A-10 itself.  Horror stories are well known about the fit challenges but still, it is regarded as the best 1/48 Hog out there.  This boxing was in dark green plastic and provided decals for an early 1990ís European based Warthog.  If you go over to ARC, there are many great build articles that take you through what needs to be added to the kit if you want to build the A-10 as it currently is outfitted today.  Most of the work involves replicating and relocating the various antennas, LASTE pods, and other things that stick out of the fuselage!

CONSTRUCTION

            You can go crazy buying resin to update this kitís cockpit and other bits but I usually choose the cheap way out.  I wanted to build it canopy closed so I could mount the model on a base with a nameplate, the unitís coin that I received for building a few models for their display, and to display an actual empty 30mm shell, which was fired by one of the unitís A-10ís in Iraq.

            Most of what is said about the kit is true.  Fit is not that bad but know that putty will be needed on just about every seam and major sanding will be in your future.  I used heavy tape to protect as much of the surrounding detail as I could. Areas of special attention where elbow grease is needed:

 -Fuselage- all the way around.

-Tail planes

-Wings- leading edge and underside where the chaff dispensers are located-  big seam!

-Engine pod-  needs a lot of patience and sanding here to remove joints.

 Pay careful attention to joining the wings to fuselage.  The wings have long tabs that are supposed to interlock inside the fuselage and provide the proper dihedral.  Look at photos and take your time on this step.  The inboard portion of the wings are just about perpendicular to the ground and the outer wing sections flare up towards the wingtips.  Iím not sure the tabs worked as they intended but care was needed to make sure the wings stayed in alignment while drying.  I held each wing longer than normal while the initial glue set up and then stood the model up vertically while leaned against a stack of books overnight to fully dry.

The engine pod is another battle-  be as careful as you can at the initial joining to get the seams lined up and then go back when the assembly is fully dry and then putty and sand away.

All antennas were cut off and put aside.  This did 2 things-  made the sanding easier and they had to come off anyway to be relocated.  I raided the spares box for some better-looking and additional antennas as well.  I did not add any nose weight, which would be required because I planned on attaching the model to the base using paper clip stubs drilled into the wheels  

WHAT I ADDED:

-LASTE pods on both tails-  I used the little extra round plastic tags you sometimes get on thin parts to replicate these- 2 on each tail.

-Under the tail I also had to add 3 pods-  I used wheels from an old ammo carrier and sanded them down to look like the pics I was using for reference.

-On the port side nose, I added a smaller vent just in front of the kit supplied larger vent door.

-Antennas on fuselage were placed as per current photos.

COLORS AND MARKINGS

            The current gray scheme is not too difficult to do.  It uses Light Ghost Grey and Dark Ghost Grey with a ďfalseĒ canopy in Gunship Grey painted under the nose section.  I primered first with my trusty Krylon Sandable primer.  Some areas needed additional sanding.  The starboard side gear pod nose was painted black and masked off.  I used Testorís Acryl line for both grays.  I then cut paper masks and held them on the areas to be covered instead of masking off.  Photos I have of the actual plane 78-621 show a clean plane but the demarcation is visible but very faint.  At model viewing distance, a sharp demarcation line would just not look like the real plane so this is why I decided to use a piece of paper for the masks and get a feathered edge between the grays.

            When the paint was dry, I added the landing gear and painted them white.  Pictures showed the inner faces of the gear doors were not white but matched the exterior color.  The false canopy was brushed on using Testors Gunship Grey. 

DECALS:

After a heavy gloss coat, it was time for the real challenge.  The main bolt decals were 2 pieces on each side.  The nose portions wrap around the nose and Two Bobís were sliced in 3  places to help them settle down around the curves of the nose.  Here is my method for these stubborn decals: 

  1. Use very warm water
  2. Have a sharp new blade ready.
  3. Solvaset was used -  I need the strong stuff!
  4. I did the nose decals first.  I brushed on a good bit of water to help me move around the decal for placement.
  5. Once slid onto the model, it did not look good.  There are just too many bumps and doors and protrusions for the decal to adhere to.  I got it in position, blotted off most of the moisture with a tissue and then brushed on a coat of Solvaset.  I added the other sideís node decal in the same way.
  6. Despite how bad the decals looked-  I WALKED AWAY for while.
  7. An hour or two later, I went back to see what I had.  You will see that the Solvaset does a valiant job trying to suck the decal down over the bumps but it canít quite do the job in one application.  Air bubbles and other small flaps of decal were sticking up around the nose where Two Bobís added the slits.
  8. Taking the new pointed #11 blade, I popped these bubbles.  Also, additional cuts are needed in certain areas around the nose.  I just looked for spots where a flap needed to lay down to get onto the surface of the model.  Donít worry if you expose grey paint underneath-  when completely dry, I go back over these spots and touch up with a black Sharpie marker.  Perhaps there is a better way but to me there is no way around these cuts if you want the decal to snuggle down and look like it should.
  9. The key is to not overdo the Solvaset because it is strong stuff.  After an application in one area walk away and donít touch the decal!  Come back when dry and repeat the puncture/ slash method to remove any remaining bubbles. 

 This method worked for me and they came out looking sharp!  The rest of the decals went on flawlessly.  Two Bobís decals have always been top notch and are of excellent quality. When all the decals were on and dry, dull cote was sprayed over the whole model.  I was happy to see that the marker touch up spots blended in nicely and are really hard to find.

 DISPLAY PREP:

            I use a basswood plaque which you can get at arts and craft stores.  I drilled into each tire and inserted a 1 inch length cut from a big paper clip.  I marked where they go on the base and drilled into the wood.  This allows the model to be secured to the base but still removable if needed.  On my PC, I prepare a nameplate printed on heavy gloss photo paper with the unitís crest and the modelís info.  3M spray on adhesive is used to apply the nameplate to the base.

CONCLUSIONS

            The A-10 is a lot of work but anyone can do it if you take your time and use your fundamental modeling skills.  The decals are intimidating but the method I used worked out just great and they look very striking on the model.  Break out your putty and sandpaper!

REFERENCES

http://www.warthogpen.com/Bradley.html

February 2004

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