A-7A Corsair II
Thank you to Revell, Inc., for providing this kit for review. I had fun building the kit and trying new techniques while polishing older skills. Thank you to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me the opportunity to review this reissued classic.
The A-7A Corsair II is a distinctive former workhorse of many flying services. Two aircraft are represented by this kit, with markings options for a USN A-7A from VA-22, or a commemorative aircraft from the Portuguese Air Force, celebrating 64,000 operational hours.
The kit was packaged in a shrink-wrapped 13 x 9 x 2 inch box, topped with a colorful artist’s rendition of an A-7 on a mission. The 47 parts are molded in gray, with clear parts on a separate sprue. Clear part clarity is good. All parts were wrapped in a single poly bag, with instructions and decals loose in the box. The plastic seems a little soft with some prominent ejector marks and sinkholes in some places. A quick washing in warm soapy water removed all mold release without problems. The 1979 copyright marking on one of the tail surface indicates that this is a reissue of an older kit with instructions updated in 2014.
Instructions and other Materials
A 12 page, 8.5 x 11 inch, black-and-white instruction booklet provides background and other information in English, French and Spanish (possibly Portuguese.) Suggested paints are listed by name and part names are correlated with equivalent part numbers in a table on page 3. Eleven construction steps are well illustrated with clear and uncrowded illustrations, allowing plenty of room for notes. Steps 12 and 13 are decal placement and painting guides for which ever version of the aircraft you choose to model. A PDF version of the instruction is available online at http://manuals.hobbico.com/rmx/85-5484.pdf .
I choose to model the USN VA-22 aircraft. The decals are adequate for portraying a USN Corsair II, but I was perplexed to see decal 36 with an A-7E designation. That observation gave me reason to research the accuracy of the decal sheet. The instructions state that a USN A-7A of VA-22 aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1987 is depicted. However the color scheme is not correct for 1987 and the decal sheet BuNo 156811 is attached to an A-7E. In all fairness, the 1987 statement may only be a typo, as a quick web search turned up a matching image from 1978 for BuNo 156811. Nonetheless, the decals are for an A-7E, not an A-7A as packaged.
The kit design is fairly simple, with fuselage halves, and right and left wings. The cockpit is a simple tub arrangement that builds up into a reasonable representation. The intake tunnel joint with the exterior intake lip is a large gap to fill, providing a great opportunity to work with some tricky filling. The tail hook is only a suggestion of a tail hook. The wing root joints are a little loose, again providing an opportunity to work with some interesting fit challenges. No nose weight is suggested, but I found that about 13 grams of lead weight glued forward of the cockpit tub kept the nose down. The nose gear and main mount detail is fairly basic, but stout. The main mounts and retractor arms do not have fuselage mounting holes for a positive join, but are face-glued to the well sides and edges. If the nose gear is mounted without modification, the gear is positioned backwards. I trimmed off and re-glued the semicircular locator tab on the nose gear root to correct the position. An advantage of doing this is that the nose gear could be easily be slightly turned to one side or another for a “steering” effect. I chose to only mount the wing tanks, as the bombs, ejector racks, and the missiles were more suggestions than representative of the actual item.
I completed the aircraft in the classic gull gray and white scheme of the 1970 era. I applied the A-7E decals, understanding the problems. The decal colors matched the photo of the full-size subject I found, except that the blue striping and fin flash on the model are more purple than blue. All of the decals fit fairly well, and snugged down well with Microscale solutions.
While this kit has challenges, it is simple, is a fast build, and provided a great opportunity to try some new building techniques. While I cannot recommend the kit as a potential contest winner, it is still a fun and fast kit. I would suggest this kit for a father/mother–kid group build.
Thanks you again to Revell, and to the IPMS Reviewer Corps!