Academy 1/72 A-10 Thunderbolt II




$10.00 MSRP


One aircraft


Scott Van Aken





The A-10 is the first USAF aircraft designed specifically for close air support of ground forces. It is named for the famous P-47 Thunderbolt, a fighter often used in a close air support role during the latter part of WW II. The A-10 is designed for maneuverability at low speeds and low altitudes for accurate weapons delivery, and carries systems and armor to permit it to survive in this environment. It is intended for use against all ground targets, but specifically tanks and other armored vehicles. The Thunderbolt II's great endurance gives it a large combat radius and/or long loiter time in a battle area. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines. Service at forward area bases with limited facilities is possible because of the A-10's simplicity of design.

The first prototype Thunderbolt II made its initial flight on May 10, 1972. A-10A production commenced in 1975. Delivery of aircraft to USAF units began in 1976 and ended in 1984.

Thanks to the USAF Museum for the above information.



This is a kit I've not seen before. However, I do know of Academy's penchant for reverse engineering older kits and I supposed that this one is probably based on the Hasegawa kit. Judging by its 1988 box date, this has to be one of the earlier kits produced by Academy. Molded in a medium grey plastic that seems pretty hard, it has nicely engraved panel lines and fairly good detail. Some of the panel lines seemed a bit aggressive while others seemed to be on the verge of fading away. Fortunately, these traits are only on a few sections and not all over the kit.

Parts are flash free though the mold seams are a bit prominent. There are also oodles of ejector pin marks; some really big ones on the weapons that are included in the kit. Smaller ones are on the inside of gear doors and on the landing gear struts themselves. It could be worse. The detail level of parts ranges from really good (most of the airframe) to rather yucky (Maverick missiles, small slick bombs) I suggest even the less than great items from the old Hasegawa Weapons Sets would be an improvement. The kit includes a pair of MERs that are not too bad and the same can be said of the LGBs and the large slick bombs. I'm sure the kit does not have all the required mods for current A-10s as it certainly doesn't include Sidewinders or large drop tanks that most A-10s are seen with.

The interior really isn't bad and a LOT better than what comes with the older Monoram, Matchbox or Hasegawa kit. Instruments are provided as decals, which is the norm for most 1/72 kits. In fact, were it not for the Italeri kit (which is twice the price and also boxed by Revell AG), then this would probably be the best A-10 out there. There are no flare/chaff dispensers, though the flat areas under the wing tips are there, and no antenna bumps on the nose, tail cone or fins. No slime lights, either. Not sure just when this stuff became the norm on A-10s or if there is an update for these things in 1/72 or not. This basically means that the kit can only be built as an early A-10 before this equipment was added.

Instructions are fairly good and provide painting info (in generic colors) where needed. It also shows that 18g of ballast are needed to keep this hog off its tail. They show the landing gear as being silver, but in my experience these items are actually ADC grey or sometimes white. Markings are for a single A-10 in the Lizard scheme as shown on the box art. The decals are nicely done though my experience with Academy kit decals has had a checkered career. Later sheets are great, but I've been less than thrilled with the early ones. Fortunately, there are a LOT of A-10 decal sheets out there that can be substituted.



Though the box is absolutely bulging with bits, the kit does not seem all that complicated. Most of the time will be spent putting ordnance under the wings so if you leave most of that off, it won't be so bad. This is a kit that looks as if it would be a pretty satisfying build.

Review kit courtesy of me.

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