|KIT:||Fujimi 1/72 EA-6A Intruder 'Black Bunny'|
|PRICE:||1200 yen is marked on the box|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The EA-6A was originally designated the A2F-1Q. The electronic warfare EA-6A version was developed for the Marines, though late in its career, it was also operated by VAQ-209 and VAQ-309 of the Naval Reserves and VAQ-33, a US fleet requirements unit. No aircraft were new built with all 28 converted from A-6As. In combat during the Vietnam War, they operated from both shore bases and carriers. A fuselage extension forward of the cockpit and an upper fin antenna fairing housed the “Electric Intruder’s” countermeasures systems. Fuselage speed brakes were retained to allow wing tip antennas. This aircraft retained a portion of the A-6A’s attack capability but gave up much of its bombing and navigation equipment to make space for antennas to convert the attack plane into an effective electronic warfare aircraft. The type was eventually retired along with the rest of the A-6 fleet in the early/mid 1990s.
This is another of Fujimi's superb jet kits from the mid-1980s and this time it is part of their A-6 Intruder family. Once past the stunning box artwork, one finds several plastic bags with superbly molded engraved parts. The detailing is crisp and clear, just what one expects from Fujimi. As one would expect, the majority of this kit is based on their bomber Intruder with those items peculiar to the electronic Intruder on a separate sprue. The fuselage, however, is in with the standard sprue along with landing gear and other bits.
This kit has a number of nicely done details. The cockpit has nicely done raised detail on the instrument panel and side consoles, or you can apply decals for these two fair bang seats are included as are a couple of crew figures. A bit of trimming and careful construction is needed to get the underside of the fuselage and intakes properly placed, but Fujimi gives hints and tips for these. The kit features the option to have the canopy open or closed and while optional air brakes are provided, all EA-6As were based on early A-6s so will have the perforated version. Though the kit can be built with these open, rarely were they like that on the ground. Separate slats are also part of the package, but from what I understand, these are not gravity operated and are only deflected when the flaps are down. Normal position on the ground is for both to be up.
For things under wings, there are three fuel tanks and two jamming pods, leaving two spare pylons. I'm not sure if the EA-6A could carry anti-radiation missiles or if those pylons were normally removed. No indication of nose weight is mentioned, but I'd jam thenose cone with as much as I could fit in place.
Instructions are excellent with 9 well drawn construction steps. Color information is given throughout the build process with Gunze and generic color references. Markings are provided for four aircraft. In light gull grey over white we have the black tailed box art plane from VMAQ-2 along with a line jet from VAQ-209 and the CAG bird from VAQ-309. An overall grey VMAQ-2 plane rounds out the options. Decals are well printed and offer both wing walk areas and the black areas around the canopy. The insignia look a bit 'thick', but you can replace them if you wish. I've had fairly good results with Fujimi decals and these should be OK.
I have to say that I have seen none of these kits built up and it is a shame as it looks to be a very nice model indeed. You can generally find them at swap meets for $10 or so and I believe that this kit is one of the releases in the revitalized Fujimi line-up.
Kit courtesy of me.
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