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In-Box Review
148
N/AW A-10
HOBBY BOSS 1/48th N/AW A-10
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by: Andy Brazier [ BETHEYN ]

HISTORY
The N/AW (Night/ Adverse Weather) development effort was jointly funded by the Defense Department and Fairchild Republic to the amount of $5 million and $2 million respectively. As part of this effort, Fairchild leased the first DT&E aircraft (serial number 73-1664) from the Air Force for the purpose of modifying it into an expanded N/AW two-seat version. Because the company had allowed for expansion in the original design, the amount of rework to be performed on the leased plane would not have to be drastic.

Fairchild Republic built two YA-10 prototypes and six YA-10 pre-production aircraft and then built 707 A-10As. They were all single-seat aircraft; the only two-seater ever built was the YA-10B, converted from the first pre-production YA-10A, 73-1664.
In order to improve the A-10A, Fairchild Republic proposed a prototype of a two-seat Night/Adverse Weather version and the proposal was approved by the Air Force. 73-1664 was returned to the old Republic plant at Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, USA, in April 1978, and modified to include a second seat and night-vision avionics. The N/AW version was 200 lbs. heavier than a conventional A-10.

First flight was made from Edwards AFB, Muroc, California, USA on May 4, 1979, but funding for the N/AW A-10 was not provided by the Congress and after modifying this one aircraft, the project (also known as YA-10B ) was dropped. The N/AW A-10 is on display at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) Museum at Edwards AFB.

THE KIT
Upon opening the large sturdy lidded box you are faced with 11 sprues of light grey injection plastic parts. The sprues are bagged in twos in their own cellophane wrappers, thus helping the kit survive transportation. Also Hobby boss have built in a separate box compartment for the the 3 clear sprues, three vinyl tyres, two cockpit sprues and a length of string. With a total of 301 pieces, this is one packed box.

The detail in both cockpits is pretty good with some nice raised detail for the side consoles, the instrument panels aren't particularly accurate but the dials and buttons are nearly in the right place, and adding the decals should improve the look. As I found on their Mirage IIICJ kit, Hobby Boss have neglected yet again to tell you to add these decals during the build sequence. Now the true work of art in the cockpits are the ejection seats, the detail is incredible given they are made up of just three pieces and are injected plastic. This kit is based on the Trumpeter 1/32nd scale kit which has resin seats and it looks as if Hobby Boss has just scaled these down. The front cockpit fits into a titanium bathtub, yet the rear one doesn't have one. Now I don't think the real plane had one installed as I think the weight would have gone up by more than 200lbs. I don't know if one would have been installed if the aircraft had gone into production, but I'm sure wouldn't have liked to be in the back when it went down-low and dirty in a combat zone.

The crowning achievement of this kit is the superbly rendered General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger 30mm cannon. Made up of 16 parts, this is a kit on its own. The only real concern here is that the ammo belts are given as lengths of shells where in reality a metal wrap around feed belt is around the shells. Unfortunately once inside the fuselage you can't see it, as Hobby Boss haven't given you the option of opening any access panels. Now you can either, never see it again, start cutting open access panels or just leave it outside the aircraft, it is up to the modeller to decide which option to take.

The undercarriage is well detailed and pretty easy to assemble as each leg consists of about 11 parts including the doors and tyres. As already mentioned the tyres are vinyl and have a nice tread pattern cut into them. Personally I prefer vinyl tyres as once they are scuffed up a bit look fairly good. The string is for a nice set of wheel-chocks that Hobby Boss have included.

The engines are basic copies of the external casing from the Trumpeter kit. The engine fans are moulded as part of the engine inlet. Although their isn't a great lot of detail to be seen you can leave the access panels open as the are separate pieces.

The main fuselage and wings are nicely done with recessed panel lines, some raised details, embossed rivets and fasteners. There doesn't seem to be any flash anywhere and all the ejector pin marks seem to be in places that won't be seen. The wings have separate flaps and control surfaces which look as though they could be positionable.

The clear parts are well moulded with some lovely rivet detail for the armoured windscreen. All the frames are frosted and raised so painting these shouldn't be too hard.

Four sprues of weapons are included in this kit of which they build into:
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
(Thanks Rowan)

The detail on these are pretty good and with the addition of a nice set of decals for them should look good hanging from the "Hog".

Hobby Boss have included a nice load out diagram to tell you which weapons get carried on which pylons, but they fail to tell you in what weapon configuration the A-10 can carry. I can see a lot of these models being built carrying just about everything (mine included), which realistically on the actual aircraft it would either not get off the ground or the wings would fall off lol.

INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions are pretty well drawn, if a little jumbled, with interior colours given along the way for Gunze Sangyo Aqueous Hobby colour and MR Color range of paints. The one thing I don't like about the instruction sheet is that it is a folded sheet of paper the size of my desk, which I can see me ending up tangled up in, mimicking the comedy sketches of DIY man getting smothered with wallpaper lol. The numbered stages of the sequence aren't boxed off like we are used too so care will have to be taken to make sure you're not building the undercarriage parts for the cannon, as an example.

THE DECALS AND PAINTING
The decals are on two sheets, one for the aircraft and the other for the weapons. They look to be in perfect register and well printed. Having used Hobby Boss decals before they conform well to the contours of the subject and react well to decal softeners.

Markings for one aircraft are given which is the only aircraft produced and is NAW A-1073-1664 at Edwards Air Force Base. Hobby Boss have got a bit messed up with the colour of the aircraft; the instructions state that the aircraft is painted Medium Gunship Gray which is a dark/blue gray, yet the box artwork and every picture I have seen of this aircraft show it to be more of a Ghost Grey. The darker gray would fit in better for camouflage for an aircraft that was supposed to fly at night. I shall leave it up to the individual modellers discretion to find out the correct colour.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Great detail, lots of weaponry, superbly packaged kit.
Lows: Cannon can't be seen once installed. Main camo colour discrepancies.
Verdict: A well thought out kit, with some beautiful detail. Should make a stunning OOB build. Opening some access hatches will make this a showstopper.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 80324
  Suggested Retail: £25.99
  PUBLISHED: May 31, 2007
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.81%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.94%

Our Thanks to Creative Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Andy Brazier (betheyn)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST, UNITED KINGDOM

I started modelling in the 70's with my Dad building Airfix aircraft kits. The memory of my Dad and I building and painting a Avro Lancaster on the kitchen table will always be with me. I then found a friend who enjoyed building models, and between us I think we built the entire range of 1/72 Airfi...

Copyright ©2019 text by Andy Brazier [ BETHEYN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thanks Rowan. Andy
JUN 02, 2007 - 07:46 AM
Hi Andy I was very impressed when editing the text of the weapons load-out until I thought "Hang on a minute! This looks familiar!" Thanks for the credit. (It's really due the many other websites I trawled for ordnance details.) All the best Rowan
JUN 02, 2007 - 07:50 AM
A great idea struck me "copy and paste" Rowans text for some of the weapons I didn't know the names of. Thought I had better credit you with it as you were bound to notice the similarity . Andy
JUN 02, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Unfortunately, while I have no problem with the reviewer, I must say that I rate the kit lower than he does as I wished very much for it to be a triumph in offering what previous kits (Trumpeter 32nd, Maintrack 48th and Falcon 72nd), did not. While the basic kit is alright (if rather fiddly with unnecessarily 'Hasegawa like' greebly elements such as the drop in refueling port, gun and exposed TF-34 casing peanuts), it still has a Trumpeter like windscreen width issue while the 'missing link' elements necessary to model a true N/AW prototype and easily fixed with 6 parts, are in fact STILL not included. At All. These being the Texas Instruments AAR-42 FLIR and the Westinghouse WX-50 Radar. Podded in the prototype, they would have been mounted in the forward halves of the landing gear sponsons in production versions. These systems are what made the N/AW special and they are simply nowhere to be found in this kit or any other of the Night All Weather A-10. To not include them is akin to not putting LANTIRN pods in an F-15E boxing and still calling it a 'Strike Eagle' (in fact Revell, Hase and AMT have all done exactly this but that's not an excuse). That this is especially eggregious in this case is because, excepting a few old hands working the FOLs out in Saudi, the A-10 was strictly a daytime aircraft in the low level role until LASTE brought an autopilot and radar altimeters after 1991 and Deny Flight brought nightvision compatible cockpit lighting in about 1992-93. All of which the N/AW would've had from the start. I would add that a GE LLTV was also tested, mounted in the Pave Penny pod so that the N/AW pilot would not lose HUD vision when the WSO 'stole' the FLIR for targeting work and that production aircraft would have had this item fixed in the wing leading edge and altogether, these THREE sensorization systems are what gave the aircraft it's highly distinctive look, as much if not more than the humped cockpit or tall tails. Speaking of which: while also an 'intended for production' change, the dual canopies would have been replaced with a conventional opening, single piece, version along with a no-frame windscreen as the heavy armor-glass center panel in the current model had a significant lead content at the time which was found to interfere with night vision goggle performance too much. The weight penalty of extending the bathtub aft to protect the systems operator was indeed considered too great but applique aluminum/composite panels for at least the quarter panel areas between the main instrument panel and side consoles would have been scabbed on in the production version as well. Finally, though the aircraft is prototype-accurate for having a 20" extension to the vertical tails, these were found to be overkill as they dampened roll and added rather severe structural loads to the horizontal tail attachments. Production versions would have been only 6-8" taller than standard A-10 verticals. Weapons are indeed good but unfortunately, almost none are appropriate to the aircraft as it flew or ever would have. Specifically, it should be noted that while the initial FSD aircraft carriage cleared the Paveway I (2,000lb LGB, KMU-351, **NOT** the included GBU-10, as the A-10 needs the longspan tailfins for added stability at lower release speeds) at Edwards in 1976 or so, any 2,000lb munition is essentially unuseable from the A-10 in a modern threat environment. Which applies equally to the GBU-8 HOBOS EOGB which was in any case retired in 1978 as the GBU-15 came online. The Mavericks are nice but the AGM-65B was nearly useless in Europe, even in daylight, and the AGM-65C was cancelled after service testing while the AGM-65D went back to the laboratory and spent an extended period there before reaching squadron service about 4 years (1986 with the 'Blue Dragons') after the official N/AW program ended. Don't use the LAU-88 in anything but outboard slant-two loads as loading the inner shoe resulted in burnoff problems with the gear sponson and tire. The LAU-88 also has some electrical reliability issues and is a draggy, heavy, system and so was rarely loaded once the LAU-117 was regularly available after about 1984. MERs, while also carried during Seek Eagle workups at Edwards, were never cleared for use on the A-10 during service because of drag and release issues and today are completely out of USAF service thanks to hazmat requirements with the pyro carts. The ECM pods, though accurate for an early 80's aircraft, would have rapidly transitioned to the deep model ALQ-131 in USAFE (Bentwaters) service. Some guard/rez units persisted with the ALQ-119 up until ODS but the ALQ-131 Blk.2 was pretty much standardized throughout the TAC forces with CentCom or NATO commitments. After Desert Storm, all CONUS based units quickly transitioned to the Raytheon ALQ-184 long and short. Hasegawa has a passable equivalent to the deep Westinghouse pod in one of their weapons sets. Shawn Hull and Tamiya have the only ALQ-184s in 48th scale. Malaysia wanted the N/AW for anti-shipping use during their 1980s troubles with pirates and for this role, Fairchild promoted the aircraft as a maritime patrol platform with up to four Harpoon or Penguin missiles as an alternative to Mavericks (against PCI/FIAC type craft, the AGM-65 is more than sufficient). Unfortunately, the A-10 has never had the best legs and as the engines get older this has become a real problem. The 600 gallon tank, while useable, looks a bit 'stretched', the Monogram equivalent is rather better IMO but in any case my memories are always of double bubbles on the inboards during extended deployment transits to Bright Star or Team Spirit. In any case, the tank isn't pressure inerted and has a low G-rating of about +2.5 or so and thus would never be slung on a combat mission. Though never used, the AGM-114 was also checked out early on the A-10 (1979) just as the N/AW program was getting going because the M272 launcher was found to be readily compatible with the Hog's lower top end speeds and altitudes. Photos show it on Stations 3/9, replacing Maverick. Many early pilots felt that the weapons extended lo-loft 'below clouds' capability, as well as lower overall carriage penalties, actually made it an ideal SEAD weapon and finally gave the Army JAAT doctrine if not beanie prop brigade a reason for existing. Especially once the AHIP allowed them to rapidly designate over-hill. The Sidewinder DRA was unknown in the period 1979-82 when N/AW was most active and frankly, without boresight cueing or a VERY hot lookup target, the AIM-9L was more or less 'for show', especially at night and in European weather. ODS proved this when Sidewinder effectively refused to lockon to helicopters, forcing A-10s down for the gun kill which exposed them to missile traps and flak. Parent loaded SUU-25 or TER mounted LUU-2 flares for the Night FFAC/Illumination role and probably AGM-45 Shrike would be acceptable alternatives to AAM as the WX-50 had both a precision MTI and a dedicated X-Band ELS mode that used the main radar array to track slow moving ground targets and pinpoint ZSU/SA-13 type threat emitters in the convoy. Given the existing mission aircraft at that time were the OA-37 in Korea and the OV-10/Alphajet in Europe, there effectively was no survivable Fast FAC (A backseater would have also been _very nice_ to run the radios which the A-10 FM-has but seldom employs well.). Due to the added drag of the raised forward fuselage, iron bombs would be parent loaded inboard if carried at all and after about 1985 largely consisted of Mk.82 with BSU-49 AIR tails and Radar noses. The Mk.82 conical fin with mechanical fuze prop would almost never be used below 1,500ft which is at least twice as high as the hogs ever wanted to go in Europe. Early on, CBU-52/58/72, along with Mk.20, were available as PPME and depot warstocks in various theaters but being Vietnam era ordnance these were considered largely unreliable and dangerous to employ compared to the gun and maverick which were the primary trained weapons systems. The N/AW might have changed this with the advent of the backseater and effective mission systems but it is equally likely that a rocket assisted version of Paveway (ala Skipper) would have been employed as a (friendly) bridge busting aid to contain breakouts while the A-7D went in for the kill (it was faster with superior coupled T/A + mapping and a smarter HUD) in the laydown mission. Though it did use quite a few in ODS, the A-10 was one of the last tacjets to qualify with the SUU-60 series TMD (which is not included) so if you want one of those, you have to go to Shawn Hull or the Italeri F-16C and assume N/AW operations after 1990. Finally, F.S.36118 is indeed accurate, indeed, in some shots the N/AW looks almost black. The boxart 'photo' has clearly been digitally manipulated while the airframe was allowed to weather considerably on the main Edwards ramp for a decade or more before being withdrawn to one of the side hangars for a quasi-restoration. It was kept pristine during the program and for a few years after while serving as a range hack. The true 'mange grey' A-10s were either JAWS birds or those painted in the early MASK-10A colors which were hand mixed from various alkyd based paints and _did not_ weather well. CONCLUSION: All is forgiveable except for the system pods. The WX-50 is more or less a tube with a rounded off radome like a chunky rocket pod. Unfortunately, the AAR-42 is a lot more complicated as a shape with a frontend like one of those old fashioned ice scream scoops (with the articulated separator) acting as a 'lenscover' to the main FLIR aperture and mounted to the pod via a 'dog collar' clamp. There is also a strange looking ECS ram inlet and exhaust vent underneath and what looks like an electrical connection wire. Though not impossible to scratchbuild, they should REALLY have been a part of the kit from the outset. As it is in fact presently closer to being the proposed A-10B trainer than the N/AW. LINK LINK CJ
SEP 21, 2007 - 04:35 AM
Agree with on just about all points, especially the ordinance. Some key errors were not noted like the over scaled or large nose (both kits) and shallow CHAFF/Flare module banks on the under wing tips. These will have to be removed, along with the sponson CHAFF/Flare banks to do a proper N/AW A-10. The HB N/AW A-10 kit shares the same LATSE features as their A-10A kit except for the main fuselage. It should be noted that the LASTE antennas be removed from the rest of the airframe parts. The 1st stage fan assembly is real nice; with perforated fan blades (though are a bit shallow) which really is the highlight of the kit, not the gun as itís on the crude side. To do the gun up right is going to take quite a bit of scratch building. The front canopy is not as bad as the Trumpeter 32nd A-10 windscreen, which is fouled up something fierce, but is still not all that correct. HB Also got wrong the N/AW A-10 aft canopy. On the real aircraft, the aft canopy was made from the same mold as the front. It was cut and trimmed to fit the aft canopy frame/rails. There fore the upper width and cross section should be the same, but the aft canopy is quite a bit narrower or tapered. Trumpeter made the same error, thus passed it on to the HB kit. The cockpit is ok, as the instrument panel is the best aspect of the pit, even better than the Monogram kit, but the rear instro panel of the N/AW A-10 is weak. They include the same HUD frame, which is completely worng for the NAW A-10. The cockpit tub is less than impressive with no console box segments, which Monogram correctly depicted in the A-10A kit. The seat is quite nice, until you see the "bullet Hole" rivet detail, which mars the overall seat. Most of the bullet holes can be filled, but itís going to be a tedious task. The MLG/NLG strut detail is quite nice, even better than Monogramís A-10. Wheel wells are nicely detailed too, with the option to open the left wheel well nose fairing. On a sad note though, they did the main wheels wrong. Hobby Boss ruined what would have otherwise been some nice pylons, with again, "bullet Hole" rivet detail. They are some heavy, I can see daylight though the LE's of the pylons, what a crime! You noted the 20" vertical tail extensions were found to be overkill, quite was correct, but did you know that the aircraft was fitted with the short vertical extensions during the last of its flight testing? In fact, the short extensions are still on the jet here at Edwards today. That would have been a nice option to include in the kit. The rating should be more around the 80% mark, mainly because of some shape accuracy problems and ordinance application, or lack there of. The pylons are another major misfortune, but the rest of the kit gets good marks for at least attempting the subject at hand. Mike V
DEC 05, 2007 - 09:46 AM
Good review, but just some info on painting the camo scheme. The scheme IS relatively accurate. Of course the nature of the subject and putting it in context (a one off aircraft, built a fair while ago, when digital cameras and internet weren't as prevalent as now) make getting info difficult, but here is a publication, if you can find in a library or from a friend, that shows the same paint scheme and decal application artwork including the little owl on the nose!!! (pages 28-29): "The great book of Modern Warplanes", Copy right Salamander books, published by Portland House, 1987, ISBN 0-517-63367-1, pages 28-29 and pages 56 - 59. It doesn't say what the actual paint colour scheme is, but it DOES show that a dark gray type paint WAS actually applied at some point in its operational testing phase. Up to you to choose!!! Shows photos at various stages of life of the 2 seater, some WITH and some WITHOUT external removable sensor pods. So kit is also still accurate in that sense, you can decide if you want to add pods as scratch built items. Page 19 shows a A-10 with weapons inboard of the undercarriage fairings/pods - one is a 2000lb paveway laser guided bomb, the other a HOBOS. Fair enough in normal circumstances or operations certain munitions are not used, but in war, lack of certain ordnance and depending on how desperate a situation, you will use what you have - in vietnam they used WWII bombs because supply could not keep up the demand for the new low drag "slicks". The fact that they tested the loadout and aerodynamics still make the HOBOS a legitimate as far as a kit representation goes for that era. Its better to keep an open mind than to push at so called inaccuracies if you haven't been able to source any info - sometimes you have to look long and hard to find it, and not just on the internet. The A-10 is also available as a seperate publication from Salamander along with a huge range of other aircraft, the author for the A-10 is by Bill Sweetman. The first book mentioned is just a collection of all the rest put together, a massive A3 size book between 3-4 cm thick. If you can find it you'll love it...Keep a look out for book sales, second hand book shops (especially older magazines from the times that those aircraft were made or flown - I have a fantastic reference on the F-20 Tigershark, with way more decent pics and info than you can find now on the net) and model kit shops, its amazing what referencing treasures you can find. Keep having fun people...
APR 01, 2010 - 01:24 PM
   

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