by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Hobby Boss's new A-10 arrives in a colossal box, stuffed full of sprues. The main parts are separately bagged with a separate box at one end of the package to protect the clear parts and additional details. The kits consists of:
261 x grey styrene parts
17 x clear styrene parts
3 x vinyl tyres
A length of string
Decals for 2 x colour schemes
Now I'll say up front that I've never seen the Trumpeter 1/32 scale A-10 "in the flesh" but, based on what I've read about it, it's clear the Hobby Boss kit is at least partly based on a scaled-down version of that model. The detail is excellent - with a detailed Vulcan cannon and engines with separate access panels for the nacelles. The overall external finish consists engraved panel lines, some raised details and embossed rivets and fasteners. The detail varies a little - it's quite subtle in most places, but a bit heavy on the pylons. Of course, the accuracy of embossed rivets is a source of endless debate, but these will add to the "beefy" look befitting a tankbuster. The fuselage features a separate lower nose section comprising the wheel well and the wings have separate flaps and control surfaces.
The cockpit is quite simple with a neat 3-part ejection seat fitting into a tub that features some nice detail on the side consoles, plus a very well detailed instrument panel. The whole tub is then fitted an armoured shield. The showpiece for the fuselage is the Vulcan cannon - made up of no less than 17 parts. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be an option to display all this detail on the finished model, but it's a safe bet that modellers will already be envisaging schemes to open up the access panels.
The undercarriage is made up of few parts, but they show some excellent detail. Love them or hate them - the tyres are vinyl, so take care to avoid them coming into contact with unpainted styrene.
Along with the option for exposed engines, there are further nice touches like a boarding ladder and, in case you're wondering what the string is for, Hobby Boss have included a set of wheel-chocks which it ties together.
Of course the A-10 would be nothing without its war load and the kit includes a comprehensive set of stores to hang on the pylons:
12 x MK-82 bombs
12 x MK-20 cluster bombs
6 x AGM-65 Mavericks with clear noses
2 x GBU-8 TV guided bombs, again with clear noses
2 x ALQ-119 ECM pods
2 x GBU-10 Paveways
2 x ALQ-131ECM pods
2 x AIM-9L Sidewinders
1 x drop tank
With so much ordnance, it's a relief that Hobby Boss have included a clear loading diagram to show what stores are appropriate for the 11 pylons.
The large fold-out sheet of instructions is well drawn and easy to follow, with numbered stages and Gunze Sangyo paint matches keyed to most sections. There's no mention of whether weight is needed in the nose to avoid the kit being a tail-sitter, so it's probably a good idea to tape together the main parts to get an idea of how the model will balance.
Painting and decalsHobby Boss include decals for 2 aircraft wearing Euro 1 camouflage, both illustrated with colour 4-view diagrams:
1. A-10 23rd TFW, England, 1990
2. A-10 906th TFG, 23rd TFW, February 1991
Along with the aircraft themselves, all the stores are illustrated in colour and the position of stencils shown.
The decals look excellent, split over 2 sheets - one for the aircraft and a second for the weapon stencilling. The registration is accurate throughout and the designs are thin and glossy with crystal clear carrier film. I've yet to use Hobby Boss decals, so I can't advise on how they react to decal fluids. The main sheet includes a decal for the instrument panel which isn't shown in the instructions. To be honest, the decal is rather simplified compared with the moulded detail on the kit panel.
ConclusionHobby Boss's A-10 looks great value - a big kit, packed with detail, but still straightforward enough to impress OOB - meanwhile, in the hands of experienced modellers, the option to go further and make the most of the details like the Vulcan should lead to some eye-popping builds.
Alongside the A-10 reviewed here, Hobby Boss have also released the 2-seat N/AW A-10. Look out for for Full Builds to follow soon on Aeroscale.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.