The kit comes on 32 sprues, yes that’s right 32 sprues, or put another way £4.70 a sprue this excludes the white metal, rubber tyres and etched brass and outstanding detail. This is already proving great value for money.
I have offered photographs of most of the sprues (some are duplicated i.e. ejection seats and weapons) but the thing that drew my eye first were the two engines. These are packed with detail and even without wiring will look fantastic. Trouble is though as we all know they will be hidden inside the fuselage? Well not this time. Both engine bays can be left open complete with engine bay doors. This is a big step forward Trumpeter and well done as for once the effort involved in tooling won’t go to waste; I’m delighted.
Other notables are the highly detailed drop down avionics pack that sits below the rear fuselage; an open RAM Air turbine very detailed nose radar, fantastic cockpit, folded wings and options to drop flaps and slats. In every case the detail can be seen clearly and it will take your very best work to do this kit justice. To this extent it’s a little scary!
The instrument panel is a sandwich-type with clear back onto which decals are placed and then it all slots into a moulded instrument panel. It looks good except that a few decals are missing for at least 6 instruments. Moreover the radar and map can be only seen when the engine or electrical systems are on. When parked the radar is clear orange the map just black.
The cockpit tub and the area behind it are superbly detailed and will respond well to careful painting. It’s all very exposed with either and open or closed canopy so it’s once again going to have to be your best work. The ejection seats are fabulous but the etched straps a little basic for me. It’s an area I would replace but I won’t as it’s all out of the box this time.
The canopy is in two parts and is crystal clear it’s a little thin for me as the A6 has a very chunky affair buts is ok. Wing fold detail is excellent as are the options for dropped flaps and slats but to have the wings extended will mean you will need substantial storage this is a seriously large aircraft.
Undercarriage is white metal and tyres rubber I like both but I know some don’t but this is going to be industrial scale heavy when it’s done so I think Trumpeter has got it spot on.
The fuselage halves are complex in shape and one of the reasons that in this scale it’s taken so long to produce. Even with so many opening options the fuselage halves are robust and surface detail sublime.
Yes it is my firm view this is not only Trumpeter at their best but some of the best plastic kit manufacture you will ever see.
A Complete weapon set is included with drop tanks, long and short fused bombs, AGM HARM missiles (usually only on the A6B I think, and a GBU 8 which I don’t think was ever on an A?) All come with stencils and their own colour paint chart. Remember though don’t hang them on the aircraft with panels open as this is contrary to USN shipboard policy so far as I seem to recall.
The etch brass set is small but helpful including as it does the seat belts and some small etch components for engines and other ancillary items. Not in the Eduard league but adequate.
Schemes and Decals
There are 2 very interesting Vietnam schemes to choose from. One from VA-35 The Panthers (the Hasegawa kit in 1:72nd scale option I think) The other VA 145 an option I have not seen before and really attractive. Decals look to be superb and include a lot of stencils but not as much as the real aircraft and not any for the seats or cockpit placards. Pity this.
On the face of it this is a world class kit from Trumpeter and I still believe it’s their best to date. Building it will be the deciding factor and I have a mixed history with this manufacturer. The color options are excellent detail sublime, size and scope of the model first rate and the subject outstanding. I couldn’t wait to start and I have as a teaser offered some shots of the work so far just to show how much I love this kit.
Quick summary Star rating out of 5
|FEATURE||STAR RATING (out of five)|
|Quality of moulding||*****|