Trumpeter A-7E Corsair II

By Ted Taylor

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Yet another big bird from Trumpeter arrived on my review desk and was opened with great expectation after making the Me 262 kit, my first impressions were that this was another well detailed model kit and while it isn't up to the standard set by the 262 it isn't far short of it but when made up it looks like an A-7 or SLUF.

The plastic comes in the usual grey colour very close to the Navy light gull grey, there are 10 frames to make the plane with and 13 frames full of weapons. A large fret of etched brass, alternative metal undercarriage legs, Rubber tyres and a film sheet for the instrument panel make up the rest of the contents. The clear parts are separate with a nicely detailed wind shield and the glazed part of the canopy, which seems awfully thick to me, has to be glued into a narrow frame work which in my opinion is not a good move as it is most difficult to use liquid cement without marring the clear part. On the whole the fit of the parts is good but there are some areas where you need to use filler, just small amounts.

The Instruction sheet is pretty comprehensive but could be more explicit about the decals on some of the parts during construction. The decal sheet is huge with two sets of markings one for VA-82 the Marauders on the Nimitz in 1978 and the other for VA-192 the Golden Dragons on Kitty Hawk in 1972. A large colour sheet gives painting and decal placement instructions with four view drawings for VA-82 but only one side view for VA-192, the weapons markings are provided on the other side of this sheet but some decals are not shown while others are shown that don’t exist, all in all very slip shod art work.

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My Construction Notes

The first thing I did was to scan through the instructions to see what needed to be or could be built up before painting any parts, this meant a number of items could be made and cleaned up such as wheel bays, missiles and bombs, the cockpit and the six-barrelled mini gun ready for a big spraying session.

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Step 1. The seat has a join to clean up on the top of head box so I trimmed a small sheet of 10thou plasticard to size and cemented it there to give a nice flat surface. When the seat was fully painted I added the etched brass seat belts.

Step 2. The seat rails parts D26/27 were placed in position and cemented but before they hardened off, I placed but didn’t cement, the seat in between them to ensure I could mount it later after painting. The gas bottle part D21 if fitted as shown will interfere with the canopy fit later so I cemented mine on the edge of the side rail not behind. I painted the throttle levers part D23 white and part D11 as a background for the film instrument panel, all the raised details on the consoles an panel were lightly dry brushed white to pull out the details and coloured accordingly with red and yellow etc. etc. where needed and put aside to dry.

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Step 3-4. After the wheel bays were constructed I added some more piping from fine flower arranging wire, there are some excellent Photos in Detail and Scale book showing extra details you can add. They were then painted white and given a light brown wash just to highlight some areas, not too much as they like to keep these areas clean to show up any oil leaks.

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Step 5/6. I used Humbrol 81 for the zinc chromate interiors of the avionics bays before detailing the boxes, this colour is also used at the rear end of the fuselage, the ribbed area.

The VHF/Loran aerial on the tail fin is depicted as a raised feature but it should be flat and invisible unless you see it on an A-7D where it shows up Black so I sanded this area flat before assembling the fuselage halves.

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Step 7. The intake gives a small problem, you need to sand the interior seams but you can only reach the front half, you could cut the rear wall away and sand the seam with ease this also allows you to spray the white without troubles, a new piece of plasticard can be cemented over the end after. At this stage I found the tabs on the left side of the intake a tight fit into the fuselage slots so I trimmed them down to a loose fit, this helps to line up the front of the intake with the Lip, part A4, when it is added. The fit of the lip is almost perfect, I have only lightly sanded the join.

Step 8-9. All the pre-assembled sections should be placed into the fuselage but needless to say don’t cement the intake just locate it then when all is aligned the nose wheel bay can be cemented to hold it all fast.

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Step 12-13. This involves using the etched brass strips along the side of the fuselage this needs attaching with superglue, I think this is unnecessary it could have been moulded on; I used the brass to cut out the shape in 10 thou plasticard and used ordinary cement.

The refuelling probe hinge plate is a loose fit and will sink below the outer surface, I solved the problem by cutting a length of sprue frame just over the width of the fuselage and cemented it to the inside surface of the hinge plate then left it overnight to harden. I placed the probe in position and adjusted the fit by sanding away the end of the sprue until the plate was level with the surface, you will still need a slice of 15 thou card to fill the gap on the top edge.The instrument coaming is nicely done, I bent the etched brass HUD frames using the “hold & fold” tool and I replaced the rather thick glass part L8 with a piece of 10thou clear plasticard. As soon as this was added I masked and glued the wind shield in position with Testors “clear parts cement” to protect it.

Step 14. I deviated from the instructions here a bit, I didn’t put the Pylons on until the wing parts are joined and added to the fuselage you will also find that the flaps and ailerons will pop in after all is assembled making it easier to paint these parts without masking, the same applies to the rudder.

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Step 15. The wing fuselage join will need a little filler to clean up the area. If you want folded wings higes are provided but I used flower wire in place of the curved "pipes" provided but if you want the wings out in the flying position then you will find a good fit on the joins but assemble the outer wing panels at the same time as you make up the main section, this will give you a chance to adjust the “thickness” of each part to match it’s mating section, I arrived at this stage and found the outer wings were too thick for the inner sections and as the cement was hard it was too late to adjust, be warned!

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Step 16-17. I used the metal legs for my model but the tiny pin, part F30, which holds two of the three legs together is so fragile that I replaced it with some fine Slater’s plastic rod which I heat treated to form a rivet head on both sides to stop it falling out. I left all the wheels off until all the spraying was finished in fact the U/C legs were not added until after the airbrake was fitted.

Step 20. The airbrake can be assembled open or closed but unless you want the model in a flying configuration the brake will only be open a small fraction of it’s travel consequently I chose to close it all up. It is unfortunate that the fit of the parts here is not so good; I had to use small amounts of filler here and some 15thou card to fill the gap between Part A17 & A16. When the area was tidied up I added the undercarriage legs but not the doors.

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Step 23. The canopy frame parts D4/D10 can be cemented and left to harden before cutting the etched brass interior from the sheet, I rolled this over a large piece of tube to get the beginnings of a shape I then placed it in the frame and adjusted accordingly. Once the shape was established to my satisfaction I used superglue to attach it, there is a central locator on the brass to guide you while fitting.

The frame was sprayed inside and out before adding the clear part which was fixed using Tamiya Extra Thin cement CAREFULLY; if you don’t trust yourself with this method then you can use Testors clear Parts cement which will not harm the clear plastic. That was about all before I began the preparation for spraying.

Painting and decaling

I painted the Matte black framework on the wind shield and the antiglare panel before masking this and the cockpit (minus the seat). To mask the avionics bays, the doors were held in the closed position with blobs of Blue Tac, then the flaps, ailerons, tailplanes and rudder were mounted on cocktail sticks as were all the tanks, missiles and launch rails to be painted white. One whole tin of Humbrol satin white Hu 130 was used to cover all these items and the under side of the model, I used very thin paint and put on two coats.

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Next day I used Humbrol Hu 129 FS36440 light gull grey to spray just one coat on the upper surfaces with a freehand lower line. While the main colours were drying all the other tiny bits were painted such as the sway braces, crew ladder and the many assorted bombs etc, etc.

By now the model could be sprayed With Johnson’s Klear (Future) ready for decaling, a couple of light coats were dusted on then a heavier coat and left over night.

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Of the two choices on the decal sheet I preferred VA-82 markings and these were applied with care and a good soft brush, there are a couple of points to watch out for. The Marauders name band on the fin should be higher than shown and the front edge of it should meet on the leading edge of the fin but a gap will be there, I found a matching paint Revell # 51 gloss blue and covered the space, a perfect match. The pilots name below the wind shield is all wrong; instead of “Col Springer” it should be CDR JUDD SPRINGER CAG in US Navy font, they don’t have colonels in the Navy. I made up some artwork on the computer and printed a new name strip on Experts Choice white decal paper. All the decals lay down nicely and I close trimmed the large letters of NAVY to avoid any problems with silvering later. A final coat of Klear was sprayed to seal them all in and then some dirtying up around a few panels with very thin Tamiya Smoke just to give a lived in effect. The final finish coat is a mix of four parts Klear and one part Tamiya Flat Base to bring back the matte finish, then the masking was removed.

Final Assembly

Avionics bay and gear doors were all added, the wheels cemented on and tailplanes glued in a slightly deflected position. The flaps ailerons and rudder were pushed into place and can be set at the desired angle, you don’t have to cement them but I did.

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Things like the anti collision beacons were painted first with a coat of Humbrol # 11 silver then a coat of Tamiya clear red was added over that, this gives a little sparkle to the light.

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All the steadies, launchers and pylons were made up and a choice of weapons had to be made. I chose A FLIR pod plus one fuel tank and the bombs, the load out is too much for a take off but I wanted to show what is in the box, there is a loadout plan on the back page of the instruction for your guidance. I wanted an open canopy so it left loose but it does foul the seat rails when lifted or lowered.

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Summary, definitely not in the class of the Me 262 kit but not bad on the whole, I found the intake lip a little flat at the bottom and the canopy similar at the top but for all that it still looks like a very big A-7E.

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© Ted Taylor

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This article was published on Wednesday, July 20 2011; Last modified on Saturday, May 14 2016