by: Andy Brazier [ ]
The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II is a carrier-based subsonic light attack aircraft design that was introduced to replace the A-4 Skyhawk in US Naval service and based on the successful supersonic F-8 Crusader aircraft produced by Chance Vought. The A-7 was one of the first combat aircraft to feature a head-up display (HUD), Doppler-bounded inertial navigation system (INS), and a turbofan engine. It initially entered service with the United States Navy during the Vietnam conflict and was then adopted by the United States Air Force to replace their A-1 Skyraiders that were borrowed from the Navy as well as with the Air National Guard. It was exported to Greece (in the 1970s), Portugal, and Thailand (in the late 1980s).
Once the standard lidded box is opened you will find five light grey moulded sprues and one clear sprue inside. The box art states there are eight sprues, so either its a miss print or someone can't count lol. There are a 186 parts though.
External detail looks to be very good with recessed panel lines and quite a few recessed rivets. The first thing you notice is the open avionics bays on both sides of the fuselage. These look quite well detailed and with maybe a bit of wiring added should look great once painted.
There are quite a few pin marks to be found which shouldn't be seen on the completed model. The exception is inside the rear of the fuselage halves where there is eight small ejector pin marks which may need some attention.
Eleven parts make up the cockpit, which is built up in two stages. The first stage being the everything in the cockpit tub, with the second stage adding the instrument panel, rear bulkhead, HUD and the forward instrument cover later in the build. Internal detail for the cockpit is fairly good with launch rails for the ejection seat, foot pedals and control stick. There is some raised details for the sidewalls and rear bulkhead. The instrument panel and side consoles are moulded flat with decals for the dials and buttons. Two ejection seats are included in the kit, one now doubt for the two seater TA-7C and A-7K versions. The ejection seats don't have any harness's and are pretty basic in detail.
The wheel wells and undercarriage are well detailed with some nice raised detail, unfortunately in all the photos I have seen there is a light housing on the inside of the main starboard gear bay door that hasn't been duplicated in the kit. The tyres have a nice tread pattern moulded on to them but are not weighted, which shouldn't be too hard to replicate with some sanding. The wheel hubs look a bit different to photos I have but are nicely detailed none the less.
The exhaust is a disappointment to say the least with the fan as a moulded on affair that looks more like a spiders web then a fan. The intake trunking is well engineered with the two halves having a lap effect over the joint. A quick dry-fit of this part shows a little work with some sanding may still need to be carried out. There are two intake lips in the kit, one for later versions, but the one to use in this kit has two cannon troughs on it as earlier versions of this aircraft had two 20mm Colt Mk12 cannons on either side of the lower forward fuselage where as later versions had a single 20mm Vulcan cannon on the port side.
Weapons included in this kit on two identical sprues are eighteen Mk 82 iron bombs, two Sidewinder missiles, two fuel tanks and two FLIR (forward looking infrared) camera pods. The bombs are made up of three pieces and you have a choice of fuses. Twelve of these bombs can be fitted to a couple of MERs. The Sidewinders need four fins to be stuck on and then glued to a two piece launch rail. The fuel tanks seem a bit skinny and have two bands around them which stick out like the proverbial sore thumb and will need sanding down. The weapon pylons are typical Hobby Boss which means they have heavy recessed details, which I found to be on their A-10 and Rafale kits.
The clear parts are thin and clear with little distortion. The canopy has a frosted frame to make painting the frame easier but it does have a nasty seam line running down the center of it.
A quick dry fit of the major parts show the fuselage goes together very well but the wings will require a little careful filling at the wing roots.
Now I don't normally bother with seeing if a kit is dimensionally correct as I go with the old saying of "if it looks like it, it must be it " lol, but after I dry-fitted the fuselage the nose section doesn't quite look right. Personally I think the intake is a little too small, as the real aircraft always reminds me of a feeding Basking Shark, the nose is too pointy and the cockpit narrows down way to much. But it still looks like a Corsair II.
The instructions are printed with the normal black and white line drawings on a folded sheet of paper. The build sequence is pretty straight forward with internal paint numbers given along the way. At no point though are you told to add any weight to the nose to stop it tail sitting, mind you there isn't a lot of space to put anything in once the intakes, cockpit and nose gear is in lol. A parts diagram is given on the back page and here are at least 4 parts that are used in latter versions, but no parts are blacked out that aren't needed, so don't worry when you have parts left over.
Painting and Decaling
Two schemes are given for this aircraft, both being Navy versions. The first scheme is for a A-7A 153228 NG/312 of VA-147. The second scheme is for 153214 NJ/201 of VA(F)-122 "Corsair College". Both schemes are painted in Light Gull Grey uppers and Insignia White lowers and control surfaces. All the paints are for the Gunze Sangyo Aqueous Hobby colour and MR Color range.
The decals look to be in register with little carrier film. The red on the national insignia looks a little on the bright side. There is very little in the way of stencilling, but considering how small some of them would be its probably a blessing lol.