SIGA Models 1/72 AM-1 Mauler (early)






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken


New tool


The Martin AM-1 Mauler was developed as a backup for the AD-1 Skyraider being developed by Douglas. Both aircraft were designed to the same specifications, though the AM-1 was able to lift a larger war load. When it came time to choose between the two, the Skyraider had an edge, but the Navy wasn't taking any chances on it turning out to be a bust. As a result, both aircraft were given limited production orders. As history has shown us, the Skyraider was the plane that finally won out. The Mauler was nearly as good an aircraft. Unfortunately for Martin, the expected large order was never to come. There were enough aircraft built to equip several squadrons and the planes did see short usage in both fleet and reserve squadrons before it was determined that it was uneconomical to keep the aircraft and they were quickly removed from service to become instructional airframes.

For more information on the AM-1, this link is a good place to start.



I had never thought to see the Mauler in a regular production kit and so have been hoarding an Esoteric vacuform kit for the day that I would build the aircraft. Fortunately, SIGA, a Ukrainian company, has taken upon itself to produce the AM-1 in an injected plastic kit. The kit comes on four hefty sprues and one clear sprue. The detailing is very well done with engraved panel lines as you can see from the image to the right. The white plastic used makes it difficult to get good detail photos.  Most of the parts have some small flash or irregular edges to them. Not a problem for most of us. I'd hesitate to call this a short run kit as it doesn't have the usual huge sprue gates that one would find with those kits. Nonetheless, it will take a bit more cleanup work than your average Tamiya or Italeri kit.

The plastic itself is a bit thicker than you'd find on some other kits, but one needs to keep in mind that this is one of SIGA's first home-grown kits, the FJ-1 being the first, and there is a learning curve. Despite the thickness of the plastic, there is an admirable absence of sink marks that one can run into on plastic of this thickness. I found no ejector pin marks on any of the parts, and the only glitch I found was a slightly short shot rear spinner section. It is obvious that SIGA plans on several Maulers as there are different prop spinners and blades that are not used on this particular kit.

There is a single clear bit and that is the canopy. The plastic on this is also quite thick but it is relatively clear. It is also a single piece so an opening canopy to see any interior work will have to rely on a vac-form replacement. The interior consists of a seat, side consoles, instrument panel, control stick and another lever of unknown purpose. There is no detail on the instrument panel or side consoles, this being represented by decals. The wheel wells are partially boxed in and the tail wheel well is a separate construct made of two halves. Getting the seam out of this will be a real challenge, but probably won't be seen anyway. The landing gear is quite hefty and like the rest of the parts will require a bit of mold seam cleanup prior to use. It remains to be seen how thin the trailing edges of the wing are. They look fine on the sprues.

There are also holes in the lower wing for the numerous weapons pylons that were typical for this aircraft. However those are not included with the kit. Nor are there any weapons. In case you are wondering what the deal is, SIGA has taken a page from the Hasegawa book of weapons and has included all of that in a separate weapons set. This set will be previewed next update so you can see what is included. I've never been a fan of this sort of thing, but there it is.

Instructions for the kit are well done, especially considering that there really are not that many arts to the kit. There is a a main construction sequence occupying the majority of the instructions with subassemblies (cockpit, wheels....)along one side of the sheet. There is also a parts breakdown on this side. Generic color information is given for the various parts. There are decals for three aircraft. All are in overall glossy sea blue. The first is the roll-out scheme that is basically insignia and data markings. The other two are for NATC test birds. Both are similar in their marking arrangement; one is for 22263 and the other for 22307. Decals are very well printed and look to be quite thin. They also appear to be properly opaque as you can see from the image to the right.



I'm pretty psyched about finally having an injected Mauler. It looks to be a good start for SIGA. I would have much rather seen the kit come with at least pylons if not weapons as well, but the weapons set will take care of that and there were times when these test birds flew without them. The kit is at the top of the pile for a build review so stay tuned.

Review kit courtesy of SIGA Models. Thanks for your support.

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