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A-37A Dragonfly Kit

Trumpeter 1/48 A-37A Dragonfly Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2014 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject A-37A Dragonfly Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2888 Primary Media Styrene, PE
Pros New-tool Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $48.95

First Look

A-37A Dragonfly Kit
A-37A Dragonfly Kit
A-37A Dragonfly Kit
A-37A Dragonfly Kit

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 amd many of these aircraft were provided to allied air forces as COIN aircraft.

Here's an interesting new release from Trumpeter. This is the Cessna A-37A Dragonfly which was the Air Force's experiment at converting another trainer into the COIN role. This is the first side-by-side trainer to be used in the COIN role and featured an innovative ground-proximity warning system. When the chap in the right seat started screaming like a schoolgirl or you smelled your right seater soil himself, it was time to apply a firm 6G pullup.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched details. According to the specs, the kit has over 170 parts in the box. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • J85 compressor faces in the intakes
  • Turbine faces in the exhaust ducts
  • Optional intake FOD covers
  • Positionable intake FOD screens
  • Positionable speed brake

The kit provides the following external stores:

  • 4 x external fuel tanks
  • 2 x LAU-3 rocket pods
  • 2 x SUU-14A/A dispensers
  • 2 x Mk.117 750lb bombs
  • 2 x Mk.82 slick 500lb bombs
  • 2 x SUU-11 minigun pods

Markings are provided for one example:

  • A-37A, 67-14510, 8 SOS/14 SOW, Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam

It will be interesting to compare this kit side-by-side with the old Monogram kit, but this certainly looks like the short, squat, noisy buggers that operated on the far side of the ramp from us years ago. The kit isn't over-engineered so building this kit should be no more challenging than the Monogram kit aside from the addition of the photo-etched parts for the ejection seats, antennas, etc. This kit should be arriving on store shelves as you read this.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!