|KIT:||Trumpeter 1/32 A-7E Corsair II|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||It is one big kit!|
The A-7 was developed as a replacement for the A-4 Skyhawk when the US Navy was looking for a new light attack aircraft. Of course, the idea of 'light' was growing ever heavier as time went on. The A-7 was able to carry a prodigious load on its six wing pylons, though in reality, only the outer four were actually used to carry ordnance as the aircraft used the inner ones for drop tanks or later, for a FLIR pod.
As the airframe was updated from the A-7A version to the ultimate A-7E variant, the aircraft's ability to carry more and more different types of weapons increased as well. The A-7E is actually a navalized version of the USAF's A-7D which means that it had improved brakes, a more powerful engine and better avionics than the prior USN versions. The A-7E first appeared aboard ships in the early 1970s and soldiered on until the type's last cruise during Desert Storm. A-7s have also been sold and used by the Air Forces of Portugal, Greece and Thailand.
This is another of Trumpeter's long awaited 1/32 kits and for those who can't wait, you may as well go out and grab yours now as they are in the stores.
One can dump a lot of superlatives on this kit and I'll start by saying that there are a lot more parts in this kit than probably any I've ever reviewed or built. 678 bits makes for a heck of a lot and so many that showing any sort of sprues shots would be a real difficulty so I'm going to forego that bit on this one. I'll just say that if you have seen any Trumpeter aircraft kit in the last year, then the level of detailing is just as good. Panel lines and rivet detail is engraved and while I know a lot of folks don't like indented rivets, it does look fine once you have paint on it.
The box is just crammed with sprues. Most of these sprues and part are for weapons. The A-7 carried a wide variety of ordnance and it is all here. In fact, there are even things not carried by the Naval Corsair IIs, such as Maverick missiles. To give you a brief rundown on what weapons are provided, you have AIM-9B Sidewinders, AGM-88 HARM, AGM-84E , AGM-62B Walleyes, AGM-12 Bullpup, AGM-45 (Shrike?), AGM-65 Maverick, GBU-8 and GBU-10s. There are also M-117 and Mk 82 iron bombs. To haul all this stuff are LAV-88, as well as standard MERs and TERs. You can add to these a pair of drop tanks and a FLIR pod. One thing for sure, not all these things are applicable to the A-7E. For instance, the Bullpups and Mk117 items would be more appropriate to A-7As as used in the Vietnam war. Since you only have three racks per wing and the inner ones are only for the drop tanks and FLIR pod, so you'll have a lot of left over weapons.
On to other things on the kit. The sprues are bagged with no more than two sprues a bag. Some parts have additional protection in terms of bubble wrap or styrofoam to prevent shipping damage. There is a photo etched fret for a few bits like the external fuselage piping, seat harness, chaff/flare ejectors and a few other bits. Two different bang seats are included, though you'll only use one of them.
You can have the wings folded, the speed brake down (rarely if ever seen like that), the canopy open, boarding stair extended, gun and avionics bays open. The flaps and slats are separate, but it appears that these cannot be posed in anything but the neutral position. I've not said anything about ejector pin marks or sink areas because there isn't much to say. I found a few sink areas (as on the seat pad) and the usual ejector marks, but these were not as prevalent as on other kits and it was great to see that the inner gear doors were pretty clear of these.
Instructions are quite extensive and very well done, providing color information where it is needed during construction. Whoever put the booklet together was in Tahiti at the time as there is a mixture of pages put in upside down and several have not been cut from the master sheet. It is a simple matter to disassemble the booklet and right/cut the pages, but it shouldn't have happened. The decal sheet is monstrous and won't fit on my scanner so I included the two schemes instead. The decals are well printed and a completely separate sheet is provided just for weapons markings. You can do either one of two CAG birds from VA-82 or VA-192 in the Light Gull Grey/White scheme. Since the schemes are from the 1972-78 time period, they'll use many of the same weapons. I'm sure that by the time many of us get the kit finished and ready for decals, there will be aftermarket options!
Like many of you, I'm a sucker for this era of USN aircraft. The A-7 has always been a real favorite of mine, but like so many aircraft, I just have not been able to build all the ones that I've wanted to. Heck, I've not even gotten around to the 1/48 Hasegawa kit. But I will be doing this one. It will be a slow build, thanks to all the zillions of parts, but the end result should be a model that will look just great. I'm very much looking forward to getting this one started. An A-7D is already a known quantity and I'm sure that there will be an A-7A/B/C coming in the near future
Thanks to Stevens International for the preview kit.
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