Kinetic 1/48 AMX-T/A-1B
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The AMX International AMX is a ground-attack aircraft for battlefield interdiction, close air support and reconnaissance missions. It was built until 1999 by AMX International, an Italian-Brazilian joint venture. The AMX is designated A-1 by the Brazilian Air Force, and A-11 Ghibli by the Italian Air Force.
The AMX is capable of operating at high subsonic speed and low altitude, by day or night, and if necessary, from bases with poorly equipped or damaged runways. Low IR signature and reduced radar equivalent cross-section help prevent detection, while low vulnerability of structure and systems aid survivability, while integrated ECM, air-to-air missiles and nose-mounted guns provide self-defence capabilities. The aircraft is powered by the RR Spey, and while considered an out of date engine, does not carry all the baggage that comes with utilizing a US engine.
In 1986, development of a two-seat advanced trainer variant was undertaken. This was intended to provide trainee pilots with experience on fast jets, while still retaining the single-seater's attack capabilities. First flying in 1990, the AMX-T equipped both the Italian and Brazilian air forces.
Kinetic provides a lot of sprues with any of their kits and this one is no exception. Not surprisingly, most of the sprues are identical with the single seat version save for one sprue that includes new fuselage halves, cockpit interior and an instrument panel for the rear seat. A new clear sprue is provided. You'll have a lot of spare parts left over when you get finished with this one, mostly ordnance.
The cockpit has two fairly nice bang seats, though no harness. There are differences in the cockpit that you need to ignore as any inference to the A-1M does not apply as the A-1M is the upgraded Brazilian version of the single seater. The tub also includes control sticks, throttles, rudder pedals and some of the photo etch it used in there in terms of some forward instrument anti-glare panel trim and the gun sight.
Instructions will have to build up the nose then build up the rest of the airframe and attach the two near the end of the build. Those who don't want to do that will need to plan their build. Anyway, the nose gear is built up with the landing gear installed and then trapped in the nose halves. No indication of weight is given but I'd put some in anyway. There are two noses depending on which version you build. The Italian plane has a single M61 cannon, while the Brazilian plane, which couldn't get the US designed M61, has a pair of 30mm DEFA nose guns. There are a lot of antennas and scoops to affix. as well as a boarding ladder.
The main gear well is quite complex and the instructions would have you mount the main gear struts prior to installation. The kit also comes with full intakes and these assemble much like their F-5 kits with the inside portion being flat and the outer part of the intake being the other 3/4s of it. The cockpit assembly seems to attach to the main gear well and this is in turn trapped between the fuselage halves. Note that the wheels are all three piece with a separate hub and two outer tire halves. Again, the fuselage has a ton of small bits and pieces with the choices different in many respects between the Brazilian and Italian version. Again, the instructions do not mention the A-1B but offer options between the A-1A and A-1M.
Wings are provided with separate flaps and slats. The flaps can be built extended or retracted and there are different construction sequences to match your choice. I noticed that the slat tracks are separate items, adding to the parts count. Rudder and elevator are separate as well. While the instructions do not show any sort of hinge mechanism, it appears that one could display the canopy open. The T bird rarely carried much more than the fuel tanks. Though the tanks could be carried on either inner or outer pylons, it seems the Brazilians more often had them on the inner and the Italians on the outer. Other items include wing tip mounted Sidewinders and what looks like a centerline recce pod. There are a lot more weapons provided on the sprues, but are apparently not for this version.
Instructions are fairly well drawn with incomplete color information provided during the construction process. For instance, they note that the instrument panel and forward anti-glare shield are "33", but there is no indication as to the color of the interior or the seats. Gear legs and well interior is "34" and that is about it. There is color info for the overall build. You can build one Italian or one Brazilian plane. The huge decal sheet covers both the single and twin seat planes so most of the markings are not used. There is a full data placement guide provided for the Italian plane and one for the Brazilian aircraft. The decals are very nicely printed by Cartograf and researched by FCM. Fortunately, both FCM and Caracal have produced sheets for the AMX so you have other options out there.
I have been awaiting a nice AMX/A-1 kit for a long time. Previously, only Warrior did one in this scale and that was resin. I sold mine as soon as I heard an injected one was on the way and look forward to building this one. If one treats the kit like a short run kit, there shouldn't be any real surprises.
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If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contactthe editor or see other details in the
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