by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HISTORYThe 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 KITUpon 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
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.
INSTRUCTIONSThe 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 PAINTINGThe 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.
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