login   |    register
Modern (1975-today)
Discuss the modern aircraft age from 1975 thru today.
Hosted by Kevin Brant
REVIEW
N/AW A-10
Merlin
Staff MemberSenior Editor
AEROSCALE
#017
_VISITCOMMUNITY
United Kingdom
Joined: June 11, 2003
KitMaker: 17,304 posts
AeroScale: 12,639 posts
Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2007 - 04:49 AM UTC


Andy Brazier (Betheyn) brings us a detailed In-Box look at Hobby Boss''s 1/48 scale N/AW-10 2-seater "Hog".

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
betheyn
Staff MemberSenior Editor
AEROSCALE
#019
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: October 14, 2004
KitMaker: 4,528 posts
AeroScale: 2,207 posts
Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2007 - 07:46 AM UTC
Thanks Rowan.
Andy
Merlin
Staff MemberSenior Editor
AEROSCALE
#017
_VISITCOMMUNITY
United Kingdom
Joined: June 11, 2003
KitMaker: 17,304 posts
AeroScale: 12,639 posts
Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2007 - 07:50 AM UTC
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
betheyn
Staff MemberSenior Editor
AEROSCALE
#019
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: October 14, 2004
KitMaker: 4,528 posts
AeroScale: 2,207 posts
Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2007 - 08:00 AM UTC

Quoted Text

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.

All the best

Rowan


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
CheapJeep
Joined: September 21, 2007
KitMaker: 2 posts
AeroScale: 1 posts
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2007 - 04:35 AM UTC
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.

http://photos.kitmaker.net/data/500/thumbs/NAW_Mission_Pods_1.jpg
http://photos.kitmaker.net/data/500/thumbs/NAW_Mission_Pods_2.jpg


CJ
ViperEnforcer
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Alabama, United States
Joined: December 05, 2007
KitMaker: 204 posts
AeroScale: 202 posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 09:46 AM UTC
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


Quoted Text

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.
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.

CJ

Freelancer
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Australia
Joined: April 02, 2010
KitMaker: 2 posts
AeroScale: 1 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 01, 2010 - 01:24 PM UTC
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...