Hasegawa 1/72 A-3B Skywarrior


4041 (K 41)




Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




This kit gives me a chance to think back over 30 years ago when I entered the USN. I had an aptitude for electronics and since I didn't want to do the submarine thing, I went into avionics. Now these was the days when the big change was from vacuum tubes to transistors and computers were hulking things that used core and bubble memory. Our basic avionics training was on vacuum tube theory with some transistor theory tossed in as we would see a few of these things out in the fleet. After that training, I was given orders to VAQ-130 based at NAS Alameda. At that time, I was assigned to one of the many 4 plane detachments for our EKA-3Bs (a plane that had many vacuum tube powered avionics systems) and that was the beginning of my association with the Skywarrior.

When the jamming mission was taken over by the EA-6B, I was eager to go to this new platform. However, my Skywarrior experience was deemed too valuable and it was to VQ-1 in Atsugi and Guam with their EA-3Bs that was my destination. After a few years of association with the beast, I left the 'whale' for other types (including the similar looking S-3), but I ran into the A-3 many times during my career. Though I was told in 1974 that the days would be numbered for the A-3, it was not until just a year or two prior to my own retirement that the Navy finally gave up on the old bird. Even now, the A-3 is flying as a test bed for Hughes aircraft in Van Nuys. With the number still in flying service and plenty of airframes to pick pieces from, I'd be quite surprised if the 'whale' doesn't have at least another decade in her.


For years there were rumors of an injected A-3 Skywarrior. Until then, there was only the old Allyn 1/48 kit (which was really a stand model), the odd scale Revell kit, and a fairly accurate Rareplane 1/72 vacuform kit. Really wanting an A-3, I eventually built the Rareplane kit as an EKA-3B. I figured that if Hasegawa released a kit, they'd do the EA-3 version as they tend to do US planes that have been based in Japan. Just a few months after I finished the EKA-3B, Hasegawa released this one, which hit the shores of the US in early 1998.

It is everything one expects from Hasegawa. Superb detailing, excellent instructions and colorful decal choices. True, the cockpit is a bit simple and uses decals for instrument panels, but in this scale, there is not much to see in there anyway. The kit has gone on to be released in several variants, including an NA-3B, EKA-3B, KA-3B and an early A3D-2. What has not been done have been an EA-3B nor an RA-3B. This is probably because they'd need to tool a new fuselage for these planes and they don't want to spend the money. Personally, I'm a bit bummed because I really want to do an EA-3B.

This kit is for the A-3Bs that were in the VAH squadrons in the late 1950s and early 1960s. What it doesn't have is an in-flight refueling probe that became so common on the plane in the mid 1960s. This and the lack of later antennas as well as the central canoe and tanker package do limit you to an early plane.

You get markings for two rather colorful planes. The first, as shown on the box art, is for a VAH-11 plane. It is in the standard light gull grey over white, a color that almost all A-3s wore. The other is a VAH-10 plane from the USS Constellation. The decal sheet also includes the upper wing walk areas, so you don't need to resort to painting them on.

Overall, this is really a great kit. What is even more amazing is that I have yet to build one!!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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