Tamiya 1/48 A-1H Skyraider
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly known as AD Skyraider) is an American single-seat attack aircraft in service from 1946 to the early 1980s. The Skyraider had a remarkably long and successful career; it became a piston-engined anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed "Spad", after the French World War I fighter.
It was operated by the United States Navy (USN), the United States Marine Corps (USMC), and the United States Air Force (USAF), and also saw service with the British Royal Navy, the French Air Force, the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF), and others. It remained in U.S. service until the early 1970s.
The jet powered A-10 Thunderbolt II was based on specifications for a modernized Skyraider with a heavy payload and good endurance. The AD-6 (A-1H) was built in larger numbers than any other variant.
At a recent IPMS meeting a couple were selling off a number of nice kits at a very reasonable price, so I picked up this one. Tamiya's kit is so far, the most popular one of this aircraft in this scale since it was introduced back in 2001. For many modelers, this replaced the older Monogram kit, which is still a nice kit, but it is older technology.
The kit provides a nice cockpit that also includes a pilot figure. There is a decal that you can place over the raised detail on the instrument panel. This kit is motorized with a very low torque Mabuchi FK-180, so before closing the fuselage halves, you need to build up the motor and mount. You also need to install the tail wheel well. With that done, you can then start to assemble the engine/cowling pieces. These are then attached to the forward fuselage.
As with many Monogram kits, Tamiya has the main gear doors include part of the main gear well. Once these are attached, the rest of the gear well bits installed, and a hole opened for the engine wires, the wing can be assembled. The kit provides separate flaps, but the tailplanes and rudder is molded in the neutral position.
The three speed brakes are separate as well, but the instructions show them posed in the closed position. Once the prop is installed and clear bits installed, construction turns to the weapons pylons and the rather large selection of things under wings. These include fuel tanks, bombs, and rockets. The final construction is building up the battery case, running the wires into the provided display case and attaching the battery case to the display case.
Tamiya only provides their own paint references, but these planes were light gull grey upper with white undersides and upper control surfaces. Three markings options are provided. One is the box art plane with VA-176 with the others from VA-25 and VA-52. The decals are nicely printed and though a bit thicker than what you may be used to using, should work very well. Aftermarket are around if you want a different scheme.
By all accounts of those who have built this, it is an excellent kit with very nice fit that isn't fiddly at all (unless you count all those pylons and weapons). Well worth picking up, even if it isn't the motorized version.
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