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Revell 1/48 A-10A Thunderbolt II Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2004 Manufacturer Revell
Subject A-10A Thunderbolt II Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5521 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Still the best A-10 for the price Cons Molds represent early configuration of aircraft, raised panel lines, speedbrakes can only be posed in the open position
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $19.50

First Look


During WW2, one of the premier close air support aircraft in Europe was the P-47 Thunderbolt. Its ability to carry a significant weapons load to a distant target, strafe with its eight 50 caliber machine guns, and absorb significant damage from air defenses while still returning its pilot safely home is legendary. The P-51 Mustang tried to fill this role in WW2 and Korea, but it was unable to take the battle damage that the P-47 could due to its liquid-cooled engine.

By Vietnam, the Air Force had forgotten the lessons learned in Korea and continued to pursue the high-tech, all-jet fighter and bomber inventory. Once again, the need for a rugged close air support aircraft was realized and this time the Air Force had to turn to the Navy for their A-1 Skyraider and A-7 Corsair II.

This time the Air Force went to industry for the AX program, the new close air support aircraft. The two contenders were the Northrop A-9 (which bore a strong resemblance to the Sukhoi Su-25 developed later) and the Fairchild Republic A-10. The A-10's winning design embodied survivability, boasting that it could fly with one engine shot out, one of the two tails blown off, and 1/3 of one wing missing, and still bring its pilot home. Throughout its early career, skeptics scoffed at these claims, but in combat over Iraq, this capability was not exaggerated!

Even after proving itself in Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Air Force still wants its high tech fighters and believes that the F-16 can carry on the mission that the A-10 was designed to fulfill. Nevertheless, the Hog continues to soldier on within the USAF and Air National Guard.

This re-release of the Monogram A-10 is a welcome sight as it remains the best Hog in 1/48 scale. While the molds are starting to show their age with hints of flash appearing on some parts, the detailing of the kit is still nice. The kit features raised panel lines.

Molded in light gray styrene (as opposed to the dark green styrene in earlier releases), the kit represents the early configuration of the A-10. You'll have to fabricate the updates, such as GPS, LASTE, twin-rail AIM-9 launcher, LITENING, etc., or seek some aftermarket details/conversions.

While the cockpit detailing (which is highly visible under the huge canopy) is nice straight out of the box, several aftermarket companies have offered resin replacements for this kit. One pain with this kit are the split ailerons that double as speed brakes. In the kit, these are posed open, with no easy provision to pose them closed. There was a resin replacement set to close these speedbrakes, but I believe that company has since gone out of business.

An impressive array of external ordnance is provided, including six AGM-65 Mavericks, eight cluster bombs, two napalm canisters, an external fuel tank, and an ALQ-119 ECM pod.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • A-10A, 80-236, 354 FS/355 FW, DM, Davis-Monthan AFB w/'Lets Roll' logo on nose, as flown by Major Jill Long
  • A-10A, 73-683, 104 TFS/Maryland ANG, MD, 1989, w/"Norris The Playhog" noseart

It is nice to see this kit back on the shelves, and the Playhog nose art is a nice touch. This kit is recommended to builders of skill levels with the exception of small children.

My sincere thanks to Revell for this review sample!