Tamiya 1/100 A-6A Intruder

KIT #: 61606
PRICE: 500 yen
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Recent reissue


A-6 Intruders first saw action during the Vietnam War, where the craft were used extensively against targets in Vietnam. The aircraft's long range and heavy payload (18,000 pounds or 8,200 kilograms) coupled with its ability to fly in all weather made it invaluable during the war. However, its typical mission profile of flying low to deliver its payload made it especially vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire, and in the eight years the Intruder was used during the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps lost a total of 84 A-6 aircraft of various series. The first loss occurred on 14 July 1965 when an Intruder from VA-75 operating from USS Independence, flown by LT Donald Boecker and LT Donald Eaton, commenced a dive on a target near Laos. An explosion under the starboard wing damaged the starboard engine, causing the aircraft to catch fire and the hydraulics to fail. Seconds later the port engine failed, the controls froze, and the two crewmen ejected. Both crewmen survived.

Of the 84 Intruders lost to all causes during the war, ten were shot down by surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), two were shot down by MiGs, 16 were lost to operational causes, and 56 were lost to conventional ground fire and AAA. The last Intruder to be lost during the war was from VA-35, flown by LT C. M. Graf and LT S. H. Hatfield, operating from USS America; they were shot down by ground fire on 24 January 1973 while providing close air support. The airmen ejected and were rescued by a Navy helicopter. Twenty U.S. Navy aircraft carriers rotated through the waters of Southeast Asia, providing air strikes, from the early 1960s through the early 1970s. Nine of those carriers lost A-6 Intruders: USS Constellation lost 11, USS Ranger lost eight, USS Coral Sea lost six, USS Midway lost two, USS Independence lost four, USS Kitty Hawk lost 14, USS Saratoga lost three, USS Enterprise lost eight, and USS America lost two. Although capable of embarking aboard aircraft carriers, most U.S. Marine Corps A-6 Intruders were shore based in South Vietnamat Chu Lai and Da Nang and in Nam Phong, Thailand.


Back in the early 1970s, Tamiya decided to produce a series of 1/100 military aircraft kits. During this same time, the company was also releasing 1/50 WWII types and hoped to have these two scale catch on. History has shown that this wasn't the case, but these kits have continued to be re-issued over the years as they are not bad kits, and some like having the slightly smaller options to 1/72. These kits are all of the raised panel line era and have fairly large attachment points for things like pylons, weapons and other bits. If I recall correctly, they originally came with a display stand, but this recent release (and you can tell it is recent as there is a note about licensing from Northrop/Grumman on the box), does not provide that.

The kit has much in common with 1/144 in that the cockpit has molded in seats with no instrument panel or control sticks. Wings are mostly a single piece with the area where the pylons attach being separate with the holes drilled out. It seems that aircraft with two closely spaced, fuselage mounted engines require a separate center piece for the fuselage and this one is no exception. Intakes and exhausts are typically shallow and the landing gear/wells is fairly basic stuff with little detail. You can build the model gear up if you wish, but as mentioned, there is no display stand. There are separate speed brakes which helps in the painting, and they can be displayed open if you wish. The canopy and windscreen are separate with the canopy glass being separate from the surrounding frame. For things under wing you have five fuel tanks or five bombs to place on the pylons. There are no mers, ters or other racks provided and the bombs look sort of like M117s, which I'm not sure the Navy every used in the war. I have no idea where to get Mk.80 series bombs in this scale.

Instructions are the long fold out type that provides Tamiya paint references. The three markings options are all in the matte light gull grey over gloss white scheme. The instructions show the leading edges of the flight surfaces as being in ocean grey. That doesn't sound right. Check period photos. I know that later planes used a tan tape for this. The three options are for the box art plane from VA-75 aboard the USS Independence with another from VA-196 aboard the USS Constellation. These have black radomes. With a white radome is a VA-75 plane when aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. All three schemes are pretty colorless so I'd look to see if someone does aftermarket for this scale. The kit decals look to be quite well done and should work well.

The very fact that these kits have been reissued so many times should tell you that they are fairly popular subjects. I've built a few of these in the past and find them to make into nice models.



February 2019

Copyright ModelingMadness.com. All rights reserved.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page     Back to the Review Index Page     Back to the Previews Index Page