Hobby Boss 1/48 A-10A Thunderbolt II
|NOTES:||New Tool kit|
In 2003, the 103rd Fighter Wing wanted to celebrate it’s 80 year anniversary in a special way. It was decided to paint one of the unit’s A-10’s in a special commemorative scheme reflecting the unit’s WWII P-51 and P-40 lineage- black and yellow lightning bolts. See the attached photo of Major Edward McComas’ P-51. My friend Ken Middleton has created a fantastic website illustrating the history of the 103rd Fighter Wing/ 118th Tactical Recon Squadron- you can see it here:
And to see my club’s massive modeling project for the unit- go here:
Suffice to say that the A-10 was designed from the start for close air support and has been an excellent platform in this regard. Sadly, our home unit here in Connecticut will be losing it’s A-10’s to the Barnes ANG unit in Massachusetts.
This model looks fantastic in the box: ten parts trees molded in light gray styrene, plus two smaller trees of clear parts. No ejector pin marks are present in visible areas of the model and no molding flash. A very nice ACES II ejection seat is included and the instrument panel is a decal in the kit.
The kit also includes a full GAU-8 Avenger cannon which sadly will not be seen at all once inside the nose. The gun has the fully detailed multi-barrel 30mm gatling gun, ammo feed and shell retrieval chutes, and the ammo drum.
The split aileron/speed brakes are molded separately. The flaps are also molded separately. The rudders and elevators are molded in place, but this is okay as you don't usually see the rudders or elevators articulated on the ground.
Another nice touch is the inclusion of a huge amount of external stores:
6 x AGM-65
12 x Mk.82 slicks
12 x Mk.20 CBUs
2 x MERs
2 x Maverick triple launchers
2 x GBU-10
2 x GBU-8
2 x ALQ-119
2 x ALQ-131
2 x AIM-9L
1 x AIM-9 twin launcher
This kit provides decals for two aircraft:
A-10A, 80-0209, 23 TFW, England AFB, 1990
A-10A, 77-0205, 906 TFG, LA ANG, 1991
Two sheets of decals are included, one for the unit and national markings, the second for all of the weapons and external markings. The decals look quite good and I used some that were not included in the aftermarket set.
I have built a handful of the Monogram A-10’s for the 103rd FW and can say that the Hobbyboss kit is much “easier” to build. The Monogram kit is very good in terms of shape and look but it has a number of areas that do not fit well at all requiring a lot of putty and elbow grease. You also need to add lots of bits like the LASTE antennas on the tail. The Hobbyboss kit has the LASTE molded in.
As usual, you start in the cockpit. A decal is included for the instrument panel but the raised detail on the part is nice enough that you can drybrush and make a decent look of it without the decal.
As I mentioned the construction went very smoothly. Remember to add a ton of weight to the nose to prevent tail sitting. The kit comes with a very nice 30mm gun assembly of which NONE of it is visible. I eliminated it completely which saved time and allowed a lot of room in the nose for bullets to weigh the nose down!
The fuselage lined up very well with only a couple spots of putty needed.
Wings and tail assembly was very easy no putty was needed. A good sanding all around smoothed everything out.
If there is one area of concern it’s the engine pod. Similar to the Monogram layout, you assemble the engines and fit them in the pod. The kit has panels allowing you to pose them open and this leads to multiple seams and attachment points on the pod. This required a lot of putty and sanding all around to smooth all the seams.
Once the airframe was assembled, I added the pylons and headed for paint. The landing gear assemblies are nicely done - and were set aside til later.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Most A-10’s weather quite well. But 621 was very well kept - see attached photo. The compass grey scheme is light ghost grey on the bottom and part of the engine pod and dark ghost grey topsides. There is a “false” canopy painted on the underside of the nose in Gunship Grey.
Landing gear and wheel wells are flat white.
Two Bob’s and Cutting Edge produced decals for the special scheme. I have used both and they are both very good. For this one I used the Cutting Edge set. They went down very well with setting solution.
This is the 4th special scheme I have done and all have the same level of difficulty: the fuselage sides are each one long decal and the curvature around the nose is always a problem.
Basically, there is an area on the nose that is not covered with black decal and must be painted. The key I have found is to cut the long decal in 2 and put the nose piece on first. Line it up and use the strong Solvaset sparingly on the areas that need to go over the bumps and things. On the left side- I cut out the area over the access door while the decal was setting. You also need to slice the nose curve like you would do if you were doing checker decals on the nose of a P-51 or P-47 cowl.
And the decal will look crappy! But you can’t touch it. Let it sit for a while. Then go back and make small slits with your knife in the areas that bubble or bunch up. More Solvaset blotted out with tissue will make the offending areas settle down.
Black paint is used to paint the nose and gun muzzles and to touch up other areas on the black bolt decals.
Dullcote seals the deal.
Everything about this airplane looks amazing. The idea itself to commemorate the unit’s rich history by reincarnating the black lightning bolt scheme was a great move. And on the A-10 it looks very striking.
I am not an uber accurate modeler so others can tell you what is right or wrong with this kit. I will tell you that it builds much easier in terms of “effort” than the older but still good Monogram A-10. The decals are the biggest challenge to completing this scheme. Look for a sale and give it a try if you are a Warthog fan.
For all things Warthog: http://www.warthogpen.com/
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