In mid march of 1945 the US Navy watched the test flight of the prototype Skyraider. ,The specifications for the aircraft were that it would be a robust, strong ground attack fighter, with numerous wing hard points for attaching ordnance. However the Skyraider, known by the designation AD-1, never saw combat in World War Two. The Skyraiders found their calling in the skies over Korea, where the planes gained a reputation for their long lingering time over target, the amount of ordnance they could carry, and accuracy that jet aircraft could not match. In the 1960’s the designation was changed to A-1, with variants ranging from D to J.
However, the Skyraider was about to be put out to pasture as a dinosaur in the jet age when the Vietnam War escalated, and its services were once again required. Again the long lingering time and ordnance capacity were what was needed. The skill and courage of the pilots flying these birds made them a welcome sight to the GI’s in the skies of Vietnam.
Whether one called this plane; “Spad,” “Sandy,” or “Able Dog,” the Skyraider was one of the very last propeller driven attack aircraft in the US Arsenal, and this plane's duties began to be taken over by jet aircraft. The Skyraider was finally retired after the Vietnam War, and of the nearly 3200 built only nineteen are known to still be flyable.
This A-1H kit is in 1/48th scale (Picture 1) and is made by Italeri. I purchased this kit from the Squadron mail order company out of Carrollton, Texas.
The kit comes molded in light grey plastic which is standard for Italeri kits. There are three sprues. Sprue A (Picture 2) consists of the fuselage halves, engine, propeller, cockpit and main landing gear tires. Sprue B (Picture 3) contains the wing sections, main landing gear, and horizontal tail surfaces. Sprue C (Picture 4) consists of weapons, fuel tank, hard points and the landing gear doors. Also included was a sprue consisting of the clear plastic components, i.e. canopy, gun sight, and landing lights (Picture 5). There is little to no flashing present, save for around the inside edges of the lower wing. No Injector pin marks were found anywhere on the parts in the kit.
Instructions and Decals
The instructions are presented in pictorial form with an outline of the desired part and its sprue number. The instructions also specify if a hole needs to be punched through to be able to attach a part later on in the assembly process. All in all the instructions are very clear and understandable.
Included in the kit were enough waterslide decals for four aircraft, two United States Air Force, and two for the South Vietnamese Air Force. (Picture 6) These decals are printed by the Cartograf Company from Italy. They appear clean, and there is no clear decal film paper protruding past the edge of the markings.
Italeri has always made decent kits for an affordable price. One possible addition to the kit's instructions could be that the parts that are to be glued could have been labeled with what they are called. The level of exterior detail is respectable compared to other model company’s kits. The interior detail is Spartan, with the detail for the controls made up for with decals. With the addition of a photo etched detail set and the addition of some weapons normally found on Vietnam era Skyraiders, such as the Zuni pod of 2.75 in. rockets, 500lb. bombs, and Napalm Canisters, this kit has excellent potential to stand up to its Tamiya competitor. For the price of the kit, Italeri has done a good job creating this magnificent warbird and, with a little extra work, this can be turned into a master piece.
An in-box review of Italeri's Douglas A-1H Skyraider.