Hobby Boss 1/48 A-6E Intruder Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2014||Manufacturer||Hobby Boss|
|Kit Number||81709||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Best A-6E kit in this scale||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$94.99|
The A-6 Intruder was one of many aircraft off the Grumman production lines that was designed with the pointed end of the aircraft on the rear. The A-6, like the S-2, E-1, E-2, C-1, C-2, and others, were all purpose-built to meet the requirements of the mission. In the case of the A-6, the US Navy wanted an all-weather, carrier-based, precision attack platform. Initially developed in the early 1960s, the A-6A was a platform for the next generation of precision attack avionics - the Digital Integrated Attack/Navigation Equipment (DIANE) with required quite a bit of space for the black boxes and a sizable radome for the radar antennas.
The A-6E was a new-build airframe (though a number of A/B/C models were also upgraded to the E configuration) that incorporated new avionics, and greater mission capabilities. The DIANE system was replaced by CAINS (Carrier Aircraft Inertial Navigation System). In 1979, the A-6E fleet was again updated with the Target Recognition and Attack Multi-Sensor (TRAM) turret under the nose.
When Hobby Boss released the A-6A kit a number of months ago, It was interesting to sit back and observe the response by the online community since we didn't review that kit. Since this kit is a scaled-down version of the Trumpeter 1/32 A-6 kit which was well-received and the Hobby Boss 1/48 A-6A received the same accolades. Hobby Boss has now released this A-6E kit which follows the same good design as its predecessor.
Among the features and options:
- Nicely detailed cockpit - you might get some better details in an aftermarket resin cockpit, but a good modeler can do much the same with what's here and some extra bits
- Two nice GRU-7 ejection seats w/photo-etched harness details - ditto on the resin options (which are available for the Trumpeter 1/32 F-14A/B Tomcats)
- Detailed and positionable canopy
- Positionable port and starboard boarding steps
- Positionable radome
- Nice detailing on the radar sets and forward bulkhead.
- Detailed and positionable landing gear
- Positionable tail hook
- Positionable ram air turbine (RAT)
- Positionable wingtip speed brakes
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable ailerons
- Stabilator is not positionable
- Positionable flaps and slats
- Wings can be positioned folded or extended
- 2 x GBU-8 HOBOS (not used on the A-6A if I recall correctly)
- 12 x Mk.82 slicks
- 6 x Mk.117
- 2 x MER
- 3 x external fuel tanks (1 x centerline, 2 x underwing tanks)
Markings are provided for two examples:
- A-6E, 160428, VA-34, AB/500, USS John F. Kennedy, CAG aircraft (high viz)
- A-6E, 152621, VA-42, AD/556, NAS Oceana (low viz)
In case you're wondering, yes, the TRAM parts are in this release but not acknowledged so we'll be seeing an A-6E TRAM release in our future. If you don't want to wait, you can use the TRAM parts in your build which will also open up additional stores for your Intruder and this kit has a pair of Paveway LGBs and a pair of AGM-84 Harpoons that are also on the trees but not yet acknowledged.
This is another great release from Hobby Boss and provides some nice options right out of the box. It looks like this HobbyBoss kit is the best A-6 in 1/48 scale and second only to its larger cousin, the Trumpeter 1/32 A-6 Intruders. Note that the MSRP of this kit is almost $100, but the street price is around $20 lower and you can find them on special even cheaper. Squadron Mail Order has been running this kit off and on with a web-only special of under $60 USD.
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!