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A-10C Thunderbolt II

Hasegawa 1/72 A-10C Thunderbolt II Build Review

By Chuck Holte

Date of Review July 2016 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject A-10C Thunderbolt II Scale 1/72
Kit Number 01573 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy assembly, good detail with updated 'C' parts. Lots of aftermarket doodads available Cons Lacks updated underwing PGM sensor/weapon options
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $29.99

Build Review

The A-10A, single-seat, fixed wing, twin-engine, sub-sonic jet aircraft was developed in the late 1960s and early ‘70s for the USAF close air support (CAS) and ground attack (GA) missions.  Designed as a 'Tank Killer,' it was later assigned a secondary mission, Forward Air Control – Airborne (FAC-A), and re-designated as the OA-10A.  First flown in 1972 and accepted in service in 1977, the A-10A 'Warthog,' or more commonly 'Hawg,' was built around the 30mm GAU-8 'Avenger' rotary canon, its primary weapon, and 11 underwing hard points for munitions, countermeasures and sensors. 

Fairchild Republic produced 715 A-10As between 1972 and 1984.  In 2005, remaining 'A' airframes began upgrade to A-10C status featuring a 'glass cockpit' with modern avionics for delivery of precision guided munitions (PGM).  Wings were strengthened and engines upgraded, extending the A-10C service life until 2028.  More information and photos may be found at the National Museum of the US Air Force site.

The basic Hasegawa A-10 kit must be almost as old as the original airframe; I remember first building it in the early ’80s.  Although dated when compared to the latest state of the art kits, the Hasegawa kit is adequately detailed, well-engineered for a good fit and easy to assemble.  A new sprue in the box includes the updated instrument panel and hood for the 'glass cockpit', various sensors and antennas for the 'C' configuration, and two AIM-9 Sidewinders and launch rails.  The kit decals include appropriate stickers for the cockpit along with very comprehensive and well-printed markings for two aircraft; an 'FT' marked 74FS/23WG sharkmouth from 2011, and a vanilla 'SP' marked USAFE bird from the 81FS/52FW in 2013. (For a look at this kit out of the box, look here.)

As mentioned earlier, the airplane was pretty much built around the huge GAU-8 Avenger 30mm rotary canon. Similarly, my focus in building this model was to illustrate the size of the gun and it’s importance to the weapons system.  The kit provided gun muzzle needed help, either in drilling out the individual canon barrels, as I’ve done previously or as in this case, replacing it with a fine PE gun and pitot tube set by Master (AM72-063).  I’ve included photos of the construction of the Master canon and a comparison shot of the 30mm Avenger round with a standard .50 round.

A-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt II

While the kit decals are nice, I wanted to use the Caracal Air National Guard set (CD72020) for  'FS' marked A-10C, 80-0188 from the 188 FW, Arkansas Air National Guard in 2011.  I think the 'Flying Razorbacks' Hawg head highlights the business end of the Avenger gun.  I also used Airwaves PE to detail the Head Up Display mount and the underwing chaff and flare dispensers.

A-10C Thunderbolt II

Other than substituting the gun and the decals, construction was pretty much standard, out-of-the-box model building.  Paint used was Model Master Light and Dark Ghost Gray enamels with Future Floor Wax to seal the paint before decaling.  After decaling, Floquil Flat was airbrushed on the model to kill the Future shine.  I didn’t hang underwing stores (yet) as those provided in the kit don’t represent the newer PGMs.  I’ll eventually raid one or more of the Hasegawa Weapons Sets for the appropriate PGMs and sensors.

A-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt IIA-10C Thunderbolt II

I found the Hasegawa kit easy to build and with many years of aftermarket bits and decals available, easy to update to A-10C standards.  I think the kit is arguably still the best A-10 in this scale and an enjoyable build for the average modeler.  Recommended!

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USAfor this review sample!