Kinetic 1/48 EA-6B Prowler
|PRICE:||$63.70 from www.greatmodels.com (75.00 SRP)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
The Northrop Grumman (formerly Grumman) EA-6B Prowler is a twin-engine, mid-wing electronic warfare aircraft modified from the basic A-6 Intruder airframe. The EA-6B has been in service with the U.S. Armed Forces from 1971 through the present, during which it has carried out numerous missions for jamming enemy radar systems, and in gathering radio intelligence on those and other enemy air defense systems. In addition, the EA-6B is capable of carrying and firing anti-radiation missiles (ARM), such as the Shrike missile and the HARM missile. The aircrew of the EA-6B consists of one pilot and three Electronic Countermeasures Officers.
From the 1998 retirement of the United States Air Force EF-111 Raven electronic warfare aircraft, the EA-6B was the only dedicated electronic warfare plane available for missions by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force until the fielding of the Navy's EA-18G Growler in 2009.
Currently (October 2011) there are four fleet squadrons flying the EA-18G. It is unknown if any VAQ or VMAQ units will be disestablished when the EA-6B reaches the end of its airframe fatigue life.
First thing I noticed when pulling the kit out of the shipping box was a lot of rattling. Opening the kit box, I found that all the sprues were in one bag. Not only that, but about 15-20 pieces had come off the sprues and were loose in the bag. Hence the rattling. Wing sections, intake pieces, gear doors, landing gear, turbine pieces, antennas and other bits were loose and there were several parts of pieces that had broken off the loose bits. In fact, one of the wing sprues (the B sprue) was totally devoid of pieces and in the bottom of the bag. To make matters worse, where the parts had been ripped from the sprues, there were often gouges in the part. Some of the larger pieces or perhaps the now bare sprue, had torn holes in the bag and many of the smaller parts were loose in the box. To say I was dismayed at how poorly things were packaged would be about right.
I noticed that some of the large pieces had ejector towers that would need to be removed. The engraved detailing is fairly good, though not as crisp as on a Hasegawa or Tamiya or Hobby Boss kit. More like what is on the Airfix 1/48 Buccaneer or Jaguar.
You get four rather nice bang seats though they are rather generic. No belt detail and several of the pull handles for the face curtains were broken with areas missing. Best replaced with resin versions. I'm not sure why some kit makers produce seats with what looks like tuck and roll seat backs and bottoms. I've been in quite a few US military jets and have never seen seats like this. The cockpit itself is rather well appointed with some sidewall detail. I'd have to say that the Monogram cockpit has better detailing. The clear bits are, fortunately, in their own polybag so seem to have been saved any damage, though the bag is pretty beat up. Front and rear canopies come in left and right sides so there will be a central seam that needs to be filled.
Intakes are quite short and would have benefitted from some sort of intake trunking. Exhaust have fairly long jet pipes so that is rather accurate. All the little scoops are separate pieces (sort of like those on the KP 1/72 MiG-19), but the instructions show just where they need to go. There are also a plethora of antennas so this kit must be of the latest and greatest variant (something like ICAP XXXIV). All of the wheels are three pieces with a one piece wheel that fits into right and left side tires. This allows for a nice demarcation line between wheel and tire.
For things under the aircraft you have three jamming pods, two fuel tanks and two HARM missiles. Probably the biggest nice thing about this is that you can build it with the wings folded. There are detail parts for the inside of the folded sections if this is chosen. If going straight wing, it is basically a butt fit. A small spar section to help in alignment would have been nice, but perhaps it won't be needed. Other options are canopies open or closed and the boarding ladder up or down.
There are markings for one plane, a rather garish CAG bird with VAQ-140. There is a full color painting and markings guide as you will have to paint the fin/rudder and the area surrounding the cockpit. There are red, white and blue stripe decals for the upper and lower wing tips, though the box photo does not show these on the underside. There is no underside view on the painting guide either. One would probably be better off painting these wing tip stripes as there are lumps and bumps on the wing tips. The sheet provides patch strips for these, but generally doubling up on most kit decals like this will provide an area that is darker than the surrounding decal. Fortunately, the aftermarket folks have a goodly number of options available in case you do not want to use the kit option. Decals are Cartograf so you know they are very good. The instructions are well drawn though a bit thickly done. I found a few parts in the instructions that were not numbered. Color information is by Gunze and FS 595 colors.
First I have to say that my overall impressions are colored somewhat by the poor packaging. Generally, it is a nice kit and certainly one that does not need the rather extensive upgrading that the older Monogram and Airfix kits will need to portray a current aircraft. I would have liked the detailing to be a bit crisper, but as one often hears, "a coat of paint will cover that", and I'm sure it will. Those wanting a 1/48 Prowler up to modern specs will have it in this one.
October 2011 You can get this kit and many
other neat kits and accessories at GreatModels If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to
Contributors. Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page
You can get this kit and many other neat kits and accessories at GreatModels
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page