EA-6B Prowler, VAQ-135 Black Ravens 2010

Published on
August 25, 2012
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Hasegawa - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Hobbico
Box Art

Aircraft History

The EA-6B Prowler is an electronic warfare aircraft operated by the US Navy and Marine Corps since 1971. With a crew of 4, the Prowler can take on several roles, such as jamming and electronic intelligence gathering, or even an offensive role when equipped with the HARM missile. There have been several upgrades throughout the Prowler’s life, culminating in the current ICAP III version. Today, the Navy has begun to replace their Prowlers with the EA-18G Growler. However, the Prowler is expected to continue to fly with the USMC until 2017.

Kit Contents

Inside the box, you’ll find the Hasegawa’s venerable EA-6B kit that dates back several years. Despite the age of the kit, the parts are nearly flash-free, the detail crisp, and featuring finely engraved lines. There are 83 parts on 4 sprues in a light grey plastic, along with 1 sprue of clear parts. The kit armament consists of 5 jamming pods and 3 external fuel tanks. You’re provided with decals for 2 paint schemes, the featured 2010 VAQ-135 Black Ravens CAG from the box top that includes nose art on each side, as well as the reviewed scheme for the 2009 VAQ-138 Yellow Jackets CAG.


As mentioned, the Prowler has gone through several major revisions, and the kit as boxed seems to most closely represent a cross between the ICAP I and ICAP II Block 82 aircraft. To represent the modern Prowlers depicted by the decals more accurately, there are supplemental instructions provided in the kit to help you create the correct antenna configuration. These instructions consist of relocating one small antenna, creating 3 additional antennas from sheet styrene, and removing a large bulged fairing from the bottom of the fuselage. Saving the small antennas for the final assembly, I started my build by removing the bulged fairing, which left a large hole in both halves of the fuselage. I filled the resulting hole with sheet styrene and fabricated a view block to hide the empty space behind the arrestor hook fairing.

Once the fuselage halves were assembled, I sanded the styrene plug flush. The supplemental instructions offer only the direction to remove the bulged faring with no advice on how to fill the resulting hole, making this something less experienced modelers may wish to skip. Beyond the supplemental instructions, prototype photos show that left side air scoop on the tail boom of the aircraft, part number D12, should not be installed, although the installation of the mirrored part on the right side (also numbered D12) is correct.

Once the lumps and bumps are taken care of, the rest of the build can proceed in the usual fashion. The Prowler’s cockpit is a very basic affair. It consists of a tub with a few small generic raised bumps representing switches; decals represent the instrument panels for the front and rear cockpits. Ejection seats are extremely basic with no molded-in detail.

I was initially tempted to replace the seats either with an aftermarket A-6 set or modified seats from a Hasegawa F-14 to spruce up the cockpit, but found that both were oversized compared to the kit cockpit. So for this build, I chose to proceed with the stock seats. A motivated modeler would be able to create a cockpit tub from scratch that would accommodate a different set of seats without losing any detail compared to the kit tub. The landing gear bays are very similar to the cockpit in terms of level of detail. The nose wheel bay has some ribbing, but the main gear bays are completely smooth and empty of any detail.

Another area that required attention during construction was the intake and boarding ladder area. The kit may be posed with the boarding steps and ladders opened or closed. Both positions will require some work. If left open, attention will need to be paid to the back of the intake, where open holes for the ladder locating pins are easily visible. I chose to model the doors closed, and found that careful fitting and sanding was required to make the ladder and intake fit flush, as there are 5 parts coming together in the area – the intake top and bottom, ladder, fuselage side, and fuselage bottom. I also found it helpful to cut some of the ladder steps off before fitting it in the closed position.

Finally, care should be taken when constructing the forward cockpit canopy as it is molded in two separate halves. And while obtaining the correct alignment here can be a challenge, it is paramount for a flush fit with the fuselage.


The two decal options provided in this kit both feature the same basic two-color paint job with a few slight variations related to the individual CAG schemes. Be sure to check your references when painting the kit, as the guide for the Black Ravens aircraft fails to call out the black painting on the leading edges of the wing and horizontal stabilizers; they are clearly visible on the boxtop photo and in all reference photos I could find. I airbrushed my Prowler with Model Master Acryl paints and, overall, the general scheme was very easy to apply. However, I was not confident enough to freehand the transitions, and thus found the complex curves of the Prowler an interesting challenge to mask around.

Painting the canopy provided several opportunities to try some new techniques. The front windscreen has 5 separate panes and required some patience to mask. I experimented with using bare metal foil to mask them, and although it did a remarkable job making crisp lines, it left an adhesive residue on the canopy, so I may stick with Tamiya tape in the future. I also tried my hand at replicating the gold tint found on the Prowler’s canopies using Future tinted with Tamiya clear paints. Although there is a very slight tint, I was unable to get a deeper color using this technique.


The decals covering the two schemes were printed in register with even small text rendered readable. Most decals had very little carrier film, although the national insignia and “Navy” stencils on the tail boom both combine several bits of small stenciling into one large decal with a lot of blank carrier film that you may wish to trim away. The Yellow Jackets’ aircraft I modeled featured a nicely detailed two-part decal for the tail logo. The Black Ravens’ bird features nose art on both sides and is printed very sharply, although it’s not quite as detailed as you might find in aftermarket decals. Both aircraft feature decals for black trim around the intakes, and I found that the decals, although correctly curved, were somewhat difficult to settle into place. If I was building the kit again I would likely just paint the trim on for a better result. Besides the intake trim, the rest of the decals went on easily, reacting well to Micro Set and Sol, and adhering well.


I thoroughly enjoyed building Hasegawa’s Prowler, and it’s the first kit I’ve completed in quite some time, as well as my first review. Overall, the basic construction of the kit presented no major issues, although it’s not quite as precisely engineered as some more modern offerings. Building the kit with perfect fit and finish, as well as following the supplemental instructions and perhaps detailing the cockpit, will take a more experienced and skilled modeler, but the end result should be worth it, creating a nicely modernized Prowler in one of two attractive paint schemes. I highly recommended this kit if you’re looking for a Prowler in 1/72 or a unique modern aircraft with nose art.

My thanks to Hobbico for providing the kit, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review it!


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.