A-7 Landing Gear bays
Every so often as a reviewer, you end up with a product that wasn’t quite what you thought it was. Thus was the start of this, where I had volunteered to review this new set from Aires covering A-7 landing gear bays in 1/48. However I thought they were for the Hasegawa kit, but alas, they are for the Hobbyboss kit! Knowing this occasionally happens to us as modelers, where we walk out of store with the latest aftermarket treasure only to find it’s for the other manufacturer’s kit, I set about to see how this set would fit in the Hasegawa 1/48 A-7E.
First, you get 19 resin parts, 11 of which are in a medium gray resin and the rest in a light cream color. The gray resin seems to be a bit harder, and is what the larger parts are cast in. As you can see from the pictures, the molding is up to Aires usual excellent standards with some outstanding detail. Comparing it to photos in Squadron Signals Walk Around and Detail and Scale book on the A-7, everything seems to be correct and to the right scale. Clean up is minimal, with only a few small details needing to be opened up within the main landing gear bays, and the pour plugs removed from the nose landing gear bay.
Starting with the forward bay, remove the molded on detail from the lower intake trunk half. Then, just for safe measure, remove a little extra resin from the top of the Aires landing gear bay. That’s all that is needed for the forward bay! It slides right in between the fuselage and the intake trunk with an almost perfect fit. The Hasegawa landing gear will fit with just a little trimming. Also remove the molded on actuating rods from the kit parts, as these are replaced by resin ones in the Aires set.
The rear bays required a bit more work for the Hasegawa kit. First you must remove all the molded in landing gear bays from the kit fuselage halves. This was accomplished with a Dremel, with final shaping from a rough file and sanding sticks. Note that the Hobbyboss kit has the bays as separate parts, so just replace the kit parts with the Aires resin. Then the fuselage sides must be thinned quite a bit around the edges of the landing gear bays for the best appearance. Once this was done, the resin landing gear bays fit quite well. After a little tweaking, they were glued in using superglue. New bay door actuators are supplied in the kit, and are a vast improvement over the kit parts. Also the addition of some resin plumbing and a few other parts give the bays a lot of depth. A few hydraulic lines are added with your favorite medium (mine is fine solder), and the bays are done.
Overall, I give this set high marks as it adds a lot of detail to the kit, regardless if you use Hobbyboss or Hasegawa. The landing gear bays on the A-7 are pretty large and prominent, so this is a useful set to have for your next A-7 project. Thanks to IPMS USA and Aires for the review sample.
PS. Aires does make a set specific to the Hasegawa set, #4202