Trumpeter 1/32 A-7E Corsair II

KIT #: 02231
PRICE: Around $110.00 in Germany
DECALS: CE 32076 used
REVIEWER: Andreas 'Goggo' Gordes
NOTES: Lots of changes needed so beware.

HISTORY


The A-7 Corsair II developed from the A version to one of the first electronic fighters. The A-7E has been one of the first aircrafts with multi function radar, Doppler navigations system, moving map, Head-Up-Display and anti skid system. The load and range have been superior. In comparison to its successor A/F-18 it has barely seen loaded with fuel tanks.

The A-7E was equipped with 2 different ejection seats. The Escapac IC-2 and IG-2 have been the standard seats. Later it was exchanged by the „Replacement Seat“ Stencel S-III-S called SJU-8.

THE KIT

Both seats are included in the kit, but the instructions follow only the SJU-8. That one is … fantastic – don’t use it. You also get 2 sets of landing gear struts. The metal parts are of minor quality, but for stability reasons you will use them with the main gear. The tyres are made of rubber. Typical for Trumpeter photo etched parts are included, but they are not very useful or in other words unnecessary, i.e. as a back ground for the fuselage antennas like Hasegawa did in 1:48. The rest of the kit is plastics.

Half of the box is spent for ordnance. But I missed a typical load of an A-7 like the MK-20 Rockeye, ZUNI-Pods or the M-607 refueling station. Most of the ordnance should not be used due to minor quality. The two fuel tanks are wrong in size and shape. For the same reason you should not use the cockpit and the canopy, too. The cockpit lacks also any detail. Further it is known that the cross section of the whole fuselage is wrong. Especially the intake section is not acceptable. Decal options are for 2 USN aircraft and the quality seems to be okay.

CONSTRUCTION

Accurate Aero 300 US Gal. standard tanks you will find in the Hasegawa A-4. From there I also used the single wheel brakes because – believe it or not – the wheels of the kit do not have any brakes! The refueling pod M-607 is included in the Revell Tornados (German AF and Navy, I’m not sure about the British – but a superb kit anyway), did you know that? You have to buy a cockpit set for this kit, either BlackBox or Aires and in addition the Eduard cockpit interior No. 32562. I always wanted to try to use a printed placard set only and add the knobs, switches, keys, and safety covers of the cockpit on my own. So I drilled about 80 holes into the Eduard side consoles, pulled fishing line and optical fibre in different sizes through it. Then I had the idea of illuminating the kit. For the pilot figure I used Verlinden No. 390 since I like the gesture. I wanted the pilot to “be in an alert five” situation reading something with his (working) torch {flashlight in US vernacular. Ed} (surely he has a centerfold ready in his saddle bags).

But now onto the construction. Do not expect one part to fit. Do not glue any part without testing proper fit. I cannot describe every problem with this kit, because those problems took more than a year in my life. But let me give you some examples: The cockpit side walls do not fit with the cockpit tub. The single rudders and flaps do not fit into the finished wings or vertical tail, you need to glue them at a earlier stage. The leading edge flaps do not fit at all, you have to cut away any plastics of the inner part of the leading edge. Also you cannot drop the slats in a right matter. The elevators cannot be turned in an up or down position because the cross section of the tail is wrong. All gear doors have no proper fit and open in a wrong position.

Here is what you should change at least with your kit: Manufacture a vacuformed canopy. Give the intake a circle shaped structure. The heat exhaust right of the front gear <part F48> has to be made of 4mm (~ 3/16“) tube. From plastic sheet make the temperature probe more forward <part missing> and the AOA probe left below the cockpit <part F46>. You want to add blade antennas referring to photographs.

COLORS & MARKINGS

Because I needed to light up the instruments in the canopy frame I used the kit parts and covered them with the Eduard masking set JX051. For the colour I used enamel paints Testors [White No. 1745] und Humbrol [Gull gray No. 40]. Both of them dry fast and harden. Especially the Humbrol grey should not be underestimated because it becomes scratch hard within days and also resistant to cyanoacralate instant glue. That is of importance if you want to build a kit like this!

What I like with US Navy aircraft are the coloring rules. Antennas radome tan [Testors No. 1709] or at least white. Sealing edges like gear doors and the speed brake interior red. Exhausts like fuel dumps and heat exchange also red. The gun blast I painted yellow and added black stripes cut from decals. The kit decals are okay and show a nice setting using SuperScale solutions. Since the VA-86 wears my favorite livery I used the Cutting Edge [CED32076] decals. You need to weather the aircraft very strong because the engravings and surface details are too weak on this kit. I used black aqua color and the new Tamiya weathering sets [Nos. 87079, 87080 und 87085].

CONCLUSIONS


The title of my model is: „Be in an alert five“. The tanker takes off to help all those who made a bolter and have to spend a ‘Night in the barrel’. You feel like a rookie here and building this kit becomes a ‘year in the barrel’! In more than 30 years of scale modeling I did not encounter so many problems. When you build an old Monogram kit you can feel that those guys did know what the aircraft was for. With Trumpeter you feel they don’t have a clue what an aircraft is. That’s why the product name is “USS A-7E Corsair II”. Sorry, not recommended. Be aware!

February 2007

REFERENCES


Adcock, Al: A-7 Corsair II in action. Squadron/Signal Publications 1991, Aircraft Number 120. ISBN 0-89747-272-1
Cupido, Joe and Holmes, Tony: Light Strike. Osprey 1993. ISBN 1 855323095.
Drendel, Lou: A-7 Corsair II in action. Squadron/Signal Publications 1975, Aircraft NO.22. ISBN 0-89747-021-4.
 A-7 Corsair II Walk Around. Squadron/Signal Publications 2006, Best.-Nr. 5544.
Peeters, Willy: LockOn N°9 A7D/K Corsair. Verlinden 1990, Best.-Nr. 541. ISBN 90-70932-22-9

Andreas 'Goggo' Gordes

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