Hasegawa 1/48 A-7D Corsair II Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2008||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||A-7D Corsair II||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||09830||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, great details, this re-release includes a weapons set||Cons|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$70.00|
The Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) A-7 Corsair II was developed under a US Navy requirement for an improved strike aircraft to replace the A-4 Skyhawk. The engineers at LTV adapted the design of their very successful F-8 Crusader family to meet this requirement by shortening the fuselage (no afterburner required), eliminating the variable incidence wing, adding additional weapons stations, and installing new avionics. The resulting design still bore a striking resemblance to the Crusader, but the shorter fuselage length was the heart of the A-7’s unofficial nickname – SLUF (Short Little Ugly ‘Fella’).
The A-7 was such a successful attack aircraft that the USAF acquired the A-7D to fulfill its own strike and close air support requirements. The A-7E, like the A-7D, was armed with the 20mm M61 Vulcan gatling gun, replacing the two 20mm cannons arming the earlier SLUFs. The visible difference between the A-7D and the A-7E (besides the paint job) was the air refueling system. The A-7D had a hump added to the fuselage aft of the cockpit housing the air refueling receiver, whereas the A-7E (and all other USN SLUFs) had a retractable air refueling probe mounted on the right side of the nose, just under the canopy.
The A-7D saw its first combat action in 1972 as the type was pressed into close air support and interdiction missions while operating from Korat RTAFB, Thailand. The SLUF also replaced the A-1 Skyraiders in the 'Sandy' mission - escorting rescue helicopters into hostile territory and suppressing enemy fire while downed aircrew were located, rescued, and taken out of harm's way. The A-7D dropped more bombs on Hanoi than any other aircraft type, save the B-52, yet out of the nearly 13,000 sorties flown in theater, only six were lost in combat, the lowest loss rate of any fighter during the war.
Here is one of my all-time favorite kits from Hasegawa. I built this kit a number of years ago (look here) and the model literally falls together. The tooling of this kit falls nicely between the old-school raised surface details and the current approach of modular inserts to render different versions.
This kit features finely scribed detailing and is not complex to build. As with many of their great subjects, this tooling is subject to periodic reissues with various features/decals to make the kit unique, and this one is no exception! One note is that you'll notice a touch of flash starting to appear on some of the parts, so a little extra clean-up may be needed during assembly as these molds are indeed starting to show their age.
The basic kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The kit has some very detailed features that minimize the need for aftermarket details. These include:
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Positionable canopy
- Positionable avionics bay doors with nice details inside
- Positionable RAT (ram air turbine) and door
- Positionable speed brake
- Positionable leading and trailing edge flaps
- Positionable (folding) outer wing panels
- Positionable stabilators
- Optional AIM-9 fuselage rails
As is standard with Hasegawa kits, external stores are limited or non-existent (you must buy their separately packaged weapons sets to arm up your model, but wait - not this time). In the basic A-7D release, your external stores include:
- 2 x 300 gallon external tanks
- 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinders
- 2 x MERs (multiple ejector racks)
If the story stopped here, you'd have the same kit I built and you'd enjoy every minute of it. The interesting bit is that the story does not stop - Hasegawa has included sprues from their weapons set X48-1 and you have loads of options to bomb up your SLUF straight out of the box.
This release has six additional sprues molded in medium gray styrene and provide a nice wealth of stores. These include:
- 2 x additional MERs
- 2 x TERs (triple ejector racks)
- 12 x Mk.81 250lb bombs
- 12 x Mk.82 500lb bombs
- 6 x Mk.82 w/fuse extenders
- 6 x Mk.82 Snakeye
- 12 x Mk.117 750lb bombs
- 6 x Mk.83 1000lb bombs
- 2 x Mk.84 2000lb bombs
- 4 x Mk.20 Rockeye cluster bombs
- 2 x Combat Dart tow targets (not used here)
- 2 x training bomb dispensers (not used here)
Out of the box now, you can arm up your SLUF for a variety of combat missions and still have spare weapons for future projects. Nice!
The major feature that changes with each of Hasegawa's special edition releases is the decal sheet, and here we have three nice examples to choose from:
- A-7D, 70-982, 3 TFS/388 TFW, JH, Korat RTAFB, 1973
- A-7D, 69-6212, 333 TFS/355 TFW, DM, Davis-Monthan AFB, 1971
- A-7D, 70-996, 334 TFS/355 TFW, DA, Davis-Monthan AFB, 1972
This is still one of my favorite kits from Hasegawa. Considering that this kit was preceded by the A-7 in (around) 1/48 scale from Aurora, the A-7B by Monogram also in 1/48, and followed by the impressive 1/32 A-7D and A-7E kits from Trumpeter, along with a number of 1/72 offerings, I have to give the crown of best SLUF in any scale to this 1/48 A-7D and its companion 1/48 A-7E from Hasegawa. This special reissue with the armament options is icing on the cake.
One interesting note: when I did my build article a few years back, this kit was retailing for roughly $38, but you'll note that the MSRP on this release is $70. HobbyLink Japan was offering this kit at $45 USD, but they've already sold out of this release! If you shop around, street prices are lower than MSRP, but this kit will likely sell out as soon as they arrive in North America.
My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!