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AD-4 Skyraider

Trumpeter 1/32 A-1D (AD-4) Skyraider Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2013 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject A-1D (AD-4) Skyraider Scale 1/32
Kit Number 2252 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Excellent detailing throughout Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $129.95

First Look

AD-4 Skyraider
AD-4 Skyraider
AD-4 Skyraider
AD-4 Skyraider
AD-4 Skyraider
AD-4 Skyraider
AD-4 Skyraider
AD-4 Skyraider

In mid-1944, Douglas started work on an attack aircraft that was initially dubbed "Dauntless II". The AD was designed as a next-generation dive-bomber and torpedo aircraft with greater range and payload capabilities over currently fielded aircraft. The AD entered production side-by-side with the AM Mauler. The war ended before either could enter operational status, and production of the Mauler ceased after 171 examples were built. The Skyraider remained in production until 1957 with over 3200 aircraft produced. Each version of the aircraft incorporated improved engine, avionics, and payload capabilities. The AD-5 was the most unique of the versions in that it had a different fuselage that turned the single-seat attack aircraft into a multi-place, multi-mission platform. In 1963, the US standardized the aircraft nomenclature across the services and the AD Skyraider became the A-1 Skyraider.

The Skyraider had its baptism of fire over Korea with the AD-3 and AD-4 equipping US Navy and USMC attack squadrons. The aircraft could remain aloft for 10 hours and carry a significant payload, unlike the early jets of the day. Radar-equipped AD-3N and AD-4N variants were able to operate at night and deliver their weapons on target, providing UN forces with the capability for round-the-clock air operations.

I remember when Trumpeter first announced the 1/32 scale A-1 Skyraider series in 1/32 scale many years ago, long enough for another company to design and produce two variants also in 1/32. Well the wait is over and how does this kit look? Let's see.

The kit is molded in the usual light gray styrene and presented on 18 parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched details. According to the specs, there are over 400 parts in this build. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Very detailed Wright R-3350 engine
  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • Fuselage interior structural frames
  • Cowling intake flaps can be posed open or closed
  • Cowl flaps can be posed open or closed
  • Cowling can be posed open to reveal that detailed engine
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable elevators
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Wings can be posed folded or extended
  • Detailed wheel wells
  • Inboard 20mm cannons visible at wing folds
  • Outboard 20mm cannons visible through positionable access panels

External stores options in this box:

  • 2 x AN-M66 2000 pound bombs
  • 2 x Mk.117 750 pound bombs
  • 4 x AN-M64 500 pound bombs
  • 8 x Mk.82 500 pound bombs
  • 8 x Mk.81 250 pound bombs
  • 8 x UI small bombs
  • 4 x LAU-3 rocket pods
  • 16 x 5-inch rockets
  • 4 x SUU-14A/A Cluster Bomb Dispensers
  • 2 x Toilets (only one was ever delivered)
  • 1 x Centerline Fuel Tank
  • 2 x Underwing Fuel Tanks

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • AD-4, BuNo 127003, VA-95, N/515, US Navy
  • AD-4, BuNo 132364, VMA-324, LX/2, USMC

While Trumpeter has announced a number of A-1 variants coming in the future, at this moment in time, we Spad lovers have three distinctive ADs to choose from, this AD-4 in Korean War service and the Zoukei Mura AD-6 and AD-7 in Vietnam War service. Both kits provide since nice details straight out of the box, but this kit provides far more external stores options for a lower retail price (with street prices even lower).

It is nice to see this ultimate tail-dragger attack machine properly represented in 1/32 scale and from what I can see, Trumpeter's done a really nice job on this kit. Since this tooling is now being released in 1/32 scale, it really won't be that much longer before we have some new-tool Spads also available in 1/48 and 1/72 scales in our future given the prolific nature of Trumpeter and its sister company HobbyBoss.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!