Monogram 1/48 A-1 Skyraider






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken


1980 boxing


During World War II the Navy began looking for a new dive-bomber torpedo aircraft to meet its changing tactical and operational requirements. Several planes, among them the AD's direct predecessor, the SB2D/BTD, were developed by the Bureau of Aeronautics. Design difficulties and over-weight problems, however, ultimately led to a decision not to produce the SB2D/BTD. This in turn led to a new design which incorporated the good features of the SB2D/BTD while overcoming its inherent difficulties.

The AD series (later redesignated A-1) that emerged from the combined efforts of the Bureau of Aeronautics and Douglas, who was the contractor, had two particularly significant design aspects. First, great emphasis was placed on the importance of the stringent weight control policy. Secondly, the standard bulky, heavy bomb displacing gear was replaced by a light, explosive device which literally blew the bomb clear. In comparison with the most advanced operational dive-bombers in 1945, the AD's initial design compared most favorably with a 27 percent greater top speed and a capability of carrying up to 4,000 pounds of either bombs or torpedoes.

This prodigous carrying capability tied in with the long loiter time over target made it the perfect aircraft to operate in the Vietnam war. As a result, while other types came and went, the A-1 was in combat until nearly the end of the conflict. First with the US Navy and later with the US Air Force and the Vietnamese Air Force. Only the age of the airframes and the increasing problems with obtaining parts caused it to be withdrawn and replaced. While faster, its replacements were never able to fully entail the wide range of capabilities of the Skyraider



Molded in grey plastic with the usual raised panel lines so typical of the period, this kit is also quite typical of Monogram. It has excellent detail for the time and offers a full kit, complete with all the ordnance needed. The kit is free of flash but has some sink marks on thick pieces and does have ejector pin marks on a lot of pieces, including gear doors, pylons, gear struts and some other smaller bits. Most are easily removed with a piece of sandpaper. There are no options other than an open or closed canopy and the decision of whether to include the pilot. Things under wings include a centerline drop tank, two napalm tanks and enough bombs and rocket pods for all those pylons.

I'll not go into how good the instructions are as most of you already know. The markings available are for two planes. One is the box top plane from VA-176 in light gull grey over white and the other is for one from the South Vietnamese Air Force in the SEA scheme of FS30219, 34102 and 34079 uppers. The instructions state the underside is white and while that is quite possible (these being overpainted Navy planes), it is also possible for it to be FS 36622. The front of the cowling and the  cowl flaps are light gull grey, leading credence to the white underside deal. The decals themselves look quite good and are semi-matte so they could very well work as advertised. Included are some 'remove before flight' tags for you to use on some of the bombs.


Though surpassed in quality and price by the newer Tamiya kit, the Monogram version still has a great deal to offer the budget builder. It is nearly as good and just takes a bit more care when building to turn into a super model.

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