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A-37B Dragonfly

Revell 1/48 A-37B Dragonfly Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2009 Manufacturer Revell
Subject A-37B Dragonfly Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4503 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Great fit Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

A-37B
A-37B
A-37B
A-37B
A-37B
A-37B

In the mid-1960s, the USAF started paying attention to the Counter Insurgency (COIN) mission and looked at candidate aircraft that could perform that role. One such aircraft was the T-37C which was modified into the AT-37D for evaluations. Interest waned in the concept for a few years and the aircraft were put into storage.

When the COIN mission requirements continued to grow and the available aircraft (such as the A-1 Skyraider) were disappearing, the Air Force updated the AT-37D and redesignated the type as the A-37A Dragonfly. These A-37A airframes were T-37B trainers modified with six underwing pylons and powered by a pair of J85 engines.

As the Dragonfly succeeded in combat operations, the USAF ordered 577 A-37Bs from Cessna. These were all-new airframes that included a minigun in the nose, an air refueling probe, a stronger airframe, and a more powerful version of the J85 for power.

The A-37B served with the USAF and VNAF during Vietnam. The aircraft continued with the USAF as a COIN and Forward Air Control (FAC) platform that remained in service through the 1980s. Many of these aircraft were provided to allied air forces as COIN aircraft, some of which remain operational today.

A number of years ago, Monogram released this 1/48 scale kit of the Cessna A-37 and it was every bit as nice as the other kits in Monogram's line-up. In 2002, Revell/Germany reissued the kit after it had been unavailable for a while and this too sold out fairly quickly. I don't believe we've seen a reissue of this kit since.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. As with most of the kits in Monogram's line-up, this kit features finely molded raised details.

The kit features a very nicely detailed cockpit. I believe there were some aftermarket details sets for this kit at some point in the past as this nice large cockpit under the big dome canopy would benefit from some of Eduard's color photo-etch magic for the instrument panels, side consoles, etc. Even without photo-etch, I've seen some great work based upon the kit parts.

As you'd imagine from the geometry of the kit that without some ballast in the nose, this kit would sit on its tail cone. The kit does provide a clear rod to stick under the tail should your weight and balance be off, but the instructions show that 25 grams of weight up-front will keep the aircraft on its nose gear.

Among the features of this kit:

  • Positionable canopy
  • Two optionnal seated pilot figures
  • Positionable FOD screens for the intakes
  • Positionable ventral speed brake
  • Optional air refueling probe (not needed for A-37A)

For external stores:

  • 3 x napalm canisters
  • 2 x minigun pods
  • 2 x Mk.82 slicks
  • 4 x external tanks

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • A-37A, 604 SOS/3 TFW, Bien Hoa AB, RVN, 1968
  • A-37B, 19 TASS, Osan AB, South Korea, 1983

The decals provide a nice set of maintenance stencils for the airframe as well as optional decals for the instrument panel and consoles.

I've built a few of these kits over the years and have enjoyed each one. When Revell/Germany reissued this kit, I had to stash it way for a rainy day and sure enough, it is raining...

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