The Skyraider made its name during the Vietnam War. Its close support missions of troops on the ground, halting the advance of enemy forces on fire bases and forward positions are well known and part of history. The A-1 Skyraider can be thought of as the A-10 of its day due to its large and varied payload that could give the enemy a very bad day. This title from SAM Publications on the Skyraider looks to offer the modeller a one stop reference, Let’s see how they did.
There are eleven chapters in this title which are as follows:
Evolution of Design
Jack of all Trades
The Nuclear Age and Vietnam
South Vietnamese Service
French Air Force
Royal Navy Skyraider
Modelling the Skyraider
This book is a soft backed offering with 168 pages, and that is not counting the special offer I found at the end of this title. This title from SAM Publications is written by Andy Renshaw and Andy Evens. This offering is very much aimed at the modeller in every respect, text is sufficient to provide needed data and presented in a very readable format, while at the same point not being the overriding feature of the title. The text is very well written and it is these aspects that make it easy to read; nothing kills a book for me like dry text.
The book starts with the ‘Evolution of Design’. As I said during the introduction the A-1 Skyraider is known for its ground attack role in Vietnam where it suppressed the enemy with a huge selection of firepower that could be dropped accurately; what may surprize you is that it was designed and envisaged as a replacement for the SBD Dauntless and the design with gull wings was not a pretty picture to my eye, but from this ugly duckling a swan appeared. The text in this section covers the subject to an acceptable level for me.
The second section of the book ‘Jack of all Trades’ looks at the Skyraider in service and the changes that took place during this stage of its career. This section also covers how the Skyraider survived the reductions that take place at the end of any conflict, the end of World War Two, so huge reductions in armed forces in the west. The saving graces of the Skyraider were mainly that it had plenty of power to get airborne with a decent weapons load, unlike many of the jet aircraft entering service, and also old carriers and jet aircraft did not always mix and so gaining the Skyraider fans.
‘Proving Grounds’ is the section of this title that looks at the Skyraider’s introduction to combat, cutting it teeth in the Korean War. The Skyraider did an excellent job of carrying out the missions it was given during the Korean War, and proved itself capable of just about anything it was expected to do. This section provides you with what I consider a look at the pedigree that the Skyraider had.
The section titled ‘The Nuclear Age and Vietnam’ is perhaps the most interesting to me as a service aircraft. At the end of the Korean War as regards actual fighting the Skyraider was considered obsolete, and it was intended to replace the aircraft with the Skyhawk and Intruder. The Skyraider was by no means finished though as it took on the role of a refuelling aircraft, but then the Vietnam War really gave the Skyraider its crowning glory. The Skyraider’s low speed when compared to jets, the heavy and mixed weapons load it could carry and it loiter time frequently made the Skyraider the aircraft for the job at hand. One event that I am sure will appeal to modellers is the dropping of a toilet over Vietnam as a novel tribute to the 6 millionth pound of ordnance dropped by Skyraiders, there are pictures and so some scratch work is in order.
The next four sections of the book look at the Skyraider in service with other nations; these are ‘South Vietnamese Service, French Air Force, Royal Navy Skyraider and Other Operators. The first three sections do go into a reasonable level of detail, and offers up some interesting snippets of information not forgetting of course the excellent photographs. The last section called ‘Other Operators’ is very light, but provides the needed information.
We are then provided with 9 pages of side view artworks of the Skyraider, there are four aircraft featured on each page and this does provide a good mix of aircraft for the modeller. I like this section as it provides FS paint codes for the aircraft and also gives us good information on the specific aircraft covered.
‘Modelling the Skyraider’ speaks for itself. We get information provided on a:
Hasegawa 1/72nd scale build by Will Alcott
Trumpeter 1/32nd scale build by Gary Prettyman
Monogram 1/48th scale build by Andy Renshaw
Tamiya 1/48th scale build by Andy Renshaw, this particular build is by far the most informative and to my mind the best kit available.
I would have liked to see the Revell 1/48th Skyraider AD-5 (A-1E) covered in this section as a different looking Skyraider.
The ‘Technical Diagrams’ section provides us with 12 pages of great detail and provides the kinds of data that Modellers that build to a very high level would kill for. The section finishes with some 1/48th scale 3 way drawings of the Skyraider, it should be noted that the scale has not been mentioned here. Something I see as a mistake is that the is a part here titled ‘Skyraider Weapons Load-Outs’, I strongly feel that this should be a section of the book in its own right as it is an important section for the modeller. This provides colour reference for the ordnance and typical loads.
The Walkaround section of the book provides close up detail images of three aircraft and includes a section specifically on the cockpit. The aircraft featured are:
A1-H Skyraider ‘Lieutenant America’ at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation
A1-H Skyraider Cockpit, it is not clear if it is the aircraft mentioned above.
EA-1E Skyraider at Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addision, Texas
Skyraider AEW Mk 1 at the Fleet Arm Museum Yeovilton
Now getting close to the end of the book we are presented with a number of data pages, the most important and informative for me covers the models and sets that have been released covering the Skyraider. For those modellers looking to pimp their ride this is a one stop shopping list.
At the very end of the book and not included in the page count are scale drawings in 1/48th and 1/72nd. This is a four section fold out and double sided, this presents a Skyraider A-1H in 5 way view. Also included are cross section drawings of the fuselage and wings, not forgetting some detail areas as well.
There are many publishers out there after you modelling dollar with books covering everything from the weird and wonderful to the mundane. This title obviously looks at the A-1 Skyraider in great detail and it offers a good mix for the modeller regardless of how seriously you take your model making. For my part the only thing missing from this title are some model kits and after-market items that you will have to add yourself I am afraid. I really am stumped as to what else I could expect from a single book on the Skyraider and at £19.99 it offers fantastic value for money, a price I feel is impossible to beat for the included content.
Highs: The sections covering Vietnam and the model product data are of the most interest to me, the scale drawings are an excellent inclusion.Lows: Some minor text issues: I am thinking of the scale drawing in the centre of the book with no scale mentioned. This is not the case with the scale drawings at the end of the title.Verdict: A great book on the Skyraider for the modeller, regardless of how seriously you take your model building. You get reference, scale drawings, kit product availability at an incredibly low price.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...