|PRICE:||2000 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2014 release. Upgrade of older kit.|
The A-10 was intended to improve on the performance of the A-1 Skyraider and its lesser firepower. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon. Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. The A-10 served in the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), the American led intervention against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, where the A-10 distinguished itself. The A-10 also participated in other conflicts such as in Grenada, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and against Islamic State in the Middle East.
Despite efforts of the USAF to get rid of the aircraft, it has proved to be too valuable an asset. It has been upgraded over the years with various systems designed to enhance survivability and operate newer weapons. In 2005, the entire fleet of 356 A-10 and OA-10 aircraft began receiving the Precision Engagement upgrades including an improved fire control system (FCS), electronic countermeasures (ECM), and smart bomb targeting. The aircraft receiving this upgrade were redesignated A-10C. The Government Accounting Office in 2007 estimated the cost of upgrading, refurbishing, and service life extension plans for the A-10 force to total $2.25 billion through 2013. In July 2010, the USAF issued Raytheon a contract to integrate a Helmet Mounted Integrated Targeting (HMIT) system into the A-10C. The Air Force Material Command's Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah completed work on its 100th A-10 precision engagement upgrade in January 2008. The final aircraft was upgraded to A-10C configuration in June 2011.
Expecting a totally retooled kit? Don't as it isn't. Yep, you get the same tooling you've had since this kit came out in the 1970s. Raised panel lines, poorly shaped weapons, and more flash than you are used to seeing on a Hasegawa kit. However, Hasegawa has added another sprue (K) that includes some of the updated items, most of which are antennas and the inclusion of Sidewinder rails/pylon/missiles.
What has been blanked out or not used are the bombs, travel pod, and some bomb racks. Personally, I'd exclude the Mavericks as they are not well done. This is a kit where you really need to get one of Hasegawa's weapons sets if you want to have some decent ordnance.
The kit itself is fairly basic using decals for instruments and consoles. Since the instrument panel is a decal, it sports the proper C model version. You also need to find room for the 18 grams needed to keep it from tail sitting. Hasegawa seems to think you can fit it under and behind the cockpit. I would also make an effort to hunt up another drop tank if you want to have it installed. Though most photos show the plane without any, it was not at all uncommon to carry two.
Markings are provided for two fairly current aircraft. The box art plane is the wing commander's plane from the 23rd FW in 2011. The other is the 52nd OG plane assigned to the 81st FW at Spangdalhem in 2013. Decals are nicely done and include stencils for the weapons as well as the plane.
Those who know more about this aircraft than I, tell me that this is still the most accurate A-10 on the market. With the upgraded bits, it really helps to make a proper or at least a near-proper modern variation of the aircraft. Another benefit of this kit is that it is relatively inexpensive, though you will have to fork out for some decent weapons or use what's left from other modern US aircraft kits you have built.
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