Hobby Boss 1/48 A-7A Corsair II Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2009||Manufacturer||Hobby Boss|
|Subject||A-7A Corsair II||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||80342||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit||Cons|
|Skill Level||Novice||MSRP (Yen)||7,000 (about $75.50)|
In the early 1960s, the US Navy held a competition to develop a light attack aircraft with better avionics and payload capabilities than the A-4E Skyhawk. The Navy threw in a catch - the design must be based on an existing aircraft in order to expedite production. Ling Temco Vought (LTV) was the winner with their A-7 based on their successful F-8 Crusader. To facilitate the A-7, LTV designers stripped off several key features of the F-8.
The afterburning J52 was replaced with the more fuel-efficient TF30 turbofan, eliminating the extra fuselage length for the afterburner section. Since the aircraft was therefore shorter, the variable incidence wing was eliminated as tail ramp strike wasn't as much of an issue. As the aircraft was subsonic, the hump behind the cockpit which was an area rule 'bandaid' applied to the F-8 was no longer necessary. Six weapons stations were added to the wings while the A-7 retained the F-8's fuselage-mounted Sidewinder rails. Of course, on paper these changes were a simplification of the existing F-8 design, but in production, the A-7 Corsair II was a new aircraft. Aircrews dubbed the aircraft the SLUF - Short Little Ugly 'Fella'.
Hobby Boss has released several A-7s in 1/72 scale and are circling around to offer these kits in 1/48 scale as well. This first installment covers the first SLUF - the A-7A Corsair II - and the parts trees tell us that we'll be seeing other variants in 1/48 scale as well.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees, plus three trees of clear parts. The tooling is based upon the design of Hasegawa's 1/48 A-7s with some notable differences. As with the Hasegawa kit, the surface detailing is sharp and there is no sign of the mad riveter at work on this set of tooling.
The kit has a reasonable cockpit that will satisfy many modelers, but AMS modelers will want to consider a resin aftermarket cockpit.
Before you wonder about the canopy, I dropped the A-7A kit canopy onto my built A-7E and the cross-section shape and length are identical and only a millimeter or two wider in width canopy rail to canopy rail.
The chin intake is very similar to the Hasegawa kit (rounded) and not like the Trumpeter kit (flat on the bottom). The intake sides have the proper accommodations for the Colt 20mm cannons.
Like the Hasegawa kits, the HobbyBoss A-7A has the port and starboard avionics bays molded into the fuselage halves with positionable access doors. It also has the positionable RAT (Ram Air Turbine) as well. Unlike the Hasegawa tooling though, the HobbyBoss kit has a separately molded main gear bay assembly.
This kit has positionable flaps and stabilators (like the Hasegawa kit) but the outer wing panels are molded in place so you won't (easily) fold these.
So what do we have for external stores:
- 2 x AIM-9B
- 12 x Mk.82 slicks
- 12 x Rockeye CBUs
- 2 x AGM-8
- 2 x external fuel tanks
- 1 x LANA pod
- 2 x GBU-8 HOBOS
- 2 x Paveway
No, not all of these apply to the A-7A, but they hint at versions to come. The instructions do show the LANA on the A-7A, and while there might have been a test jet so-configured, the LANA wouldn't appear on line aircraft before the A-7D and A-7E.
Markings are provided for two examples:
- A-7A, 153161, VA-37, AC/300, USS Saratoga, 1971, CAG aircraft
- A-7A, 153177, VA-105, AC/415, USS Saratoga, 1973
Interesting that the only MODEX numbers on 415 is on the vertical stab and not on the nose or flaps.
We finally have an A-7A that will build into a comparable SLUF as Hasegawa's beauties and we may be seeing the TA-7C in the future. Anybody for a TA-7K? Thank you HobbyBoss for filling in these variants of the A-7 Corsair II family!
My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!