wanted to build an A-7E from the Vietnam era and more specifically an A-7 from
the VA-25 ‘Fist of the Fleet’, one of my all time favorite squadrons.
My expectation of the Hasegawa kit were high as I have read many good things
about it. But rest assured this is not a shake and bake kit. It does
require quite a bit of TLC to get it looking really good.
Hasegawa A-7E Corsair II 'Valions' #7014
Superscale A-7E decals (x2)
Hasegawa Weapons: A – for the twelve Rockeye’s and Triple Ejection
Two Bob’s US Air-to-Air Missile Markings for the AIM-9G/H
must have happened during the manufacture of my kit as it had a bunch of broken
off pieces on the fuselage, yet the pieces were nowhere to be found inside the
sealed bags. So these broken off fuselage pieces had to be
replaced/corrected during the build process with Plasticard. The clear
canopy pieces were also too wide for the fuselage. I rectified this by
dipping the clear pieces in hot, almost boiling water, for a few seconds then
gently pressing on the canopy sides to reduce the width. Take your time
doing this as you will have to dip and gently squeeze a few times to finally get
the right width. You don’t want to crack the canopy or leave pressure
marks on the inside of the clear plastic.
you do wish to build an early 1970’s bird then you have to make a few changes
for it to be accurate:
not glue on the right side wiring conduit (photo etch)
not glue on the left side ECM waveguide (photo etch)
not glue on the right side nose pitot tube and fill and sand the hole
not glue on the large belly blister between the rear landing gear doors
of these additions were part of an upgrade that happened in the mid 1970’s, so
if you are modeling a
bird then just leave them off.
off Pt. E16 – this communications antenna is not seen on early 70’s
are 2 ejection seats that come with the kit, for an early 70’s A-7E use
the A30 seat
started the build with the cockpit. This kit has a very nicely detailed
cockpit but I wanted to add a bit more detail, as I wanted it to be open, and
wanted to include the pilot. A little bit of Plasticard here and there, a
little bit of wiring behind the ejection seat and on the side panels and some
detail to the dashboard top panel made the pit that much busier and more
accurate based on reference photos.
also took the time to paint the pilot, as well as some patches on his shoulders.
I was fortunate to get Mike Grant from Mike Grant Decals to make some custom
decals for me for my Pilot’s helmet. I painted the forehead visor
protector in Dark Green to go with the squad colors, the rest of the helmet
white and put tiny lightning bolt decals on the helmet that Mike was kind enough
to make for me. The helmet then got about 5 coats of Future to really bring out
a nice shine to the helmet and the visor.
images below to see larger images
came work on the air intake… This is the most tedious part of the whole build.
When you glue the two intake halves together you get two very nasty seams on
either side. First, I cut the back of the intake off so I could get access
to both sides. Then liberally spread putty on the joints. Then I
took Q-Tips and glued sandpaper to one rounded end (with the cotton), removed
the cotton from the other end, inserted them into my Dremel tool and on VERY LOW
speed sanded the sides smooth. I then airbrushed the inside white from
both sides and glued on a black plate to the back.
fuselage halves went together without much trouble, with the obvious seam lines
that need sanding and panel lines that need re-scribing. The one area of
difficulty that needed some attention with some minor putty and re-scribing are
the various avionics bays that you can model either open or closed on either
side of the A-7 just below the cockpit. I wanted these closed but the fit
of the doors is very poor and leaves large uneven gaps that need to be dealt
then went to work on the wheel wells, adding more detail using Plasticard and
wire based on reference photos. All the other pieces fit together
beautifully with no warped piece or huge divets to fill. The wheel-wells
were then painted, washed, dry brushed (as per below) and masked off along with
the cockpit and front air intake in preparation for the body painting…
Rockeye’s from the Hasegawa weapons set were a real pain in the butt to say
the least. I really wanted to load up this bird with an accurate weapons
load and I knew that this load, with the large Rockeye’s, would show the A-7E
to be a real workhorse and would certainly be eye catching. But again with
12 of these there was hours of sanding and prep work involved before they could
be painted. The AIM-9’s that came with the kit are the usual Hasegawa
good quality, but be sure to paint them to either AIM-9G or AIM-9H scheme to
ensure accuracy for early 1970’s. The Two Bob’s US Air-to-Air Missile
Markings decal sheet thankfully has appropriate decals for these schemes.
a word of caution. The decal sheet from Superscale is very nice, although
the instructions for placement are a ‘dogs breakfast’ and look like they
have been photocopied at least a thousand times. But they are very thin and do
go on nicely with Micro Set and Micro Sol. However, the yellow decal on
the tail when applied to the dark green background became a light green.
Thankfully I had another one of these Superscale sheets (thanks to Simon Love)
and I applied another one of the same decals over the first. This brought
out the right shade of yellow. The Superscale decals are thin enough that
even after a double decal application, it still looks painted on.
painting, decaling and detailing process I followed was:
I airbrushed on the base color(s) (I used Gunze Sangyo Acrylics - Acqueous Hobby
Color)… pre-shading first…
I airbrush on clear gloss (again Gunze Acrylic) - not too heavy because I don't
want to seal too many of the panel lines with too much paint;
I use Citadel acrylics and mix my own panel wash (approx 80% water 18% black
Citadel paint and 2% dishwashing detergent - I kinda eye this bit and add more
paint if the panel lines are not coming up as vividly as I like)…
Apply another thin coat of clear gloss to seal panel lines in preparation for
Apply decals with Micro Set and Micro Sol;
can also put another quick thin coat of gloss once the decals are on and use
the same method of wash on panel lines that run through decals.
Apply matt coat (Gunze acrylics again)... actually I applied 3-4 coats. But I
let the model dry at least 24-48 hours between any coats… again I was going
for the painted on look of the decals.
used a slightly different technique for the landing gear to get a different
effect. The landing gear was just aibrushed matt white (Gunze) then panel
washed (Citadel - as above) into crevices, then dry brushed with Citadel
white... allowing maximum control of the amount of darkness coming through the
white. The effect is quite good for landing gear on aircraft that are for
the most part relatively clean… the resultant shading looks grey... more
like layers of dust as opposed to dirt and grime.
all the major painting was done and just before the final matt coats, I used
Tamiya’s Weathering Master sets to give the A-7 some wear and tear especially
around the air intake in front (as this is a point of access for maintenance
crews and gets mucked up quite a bit), the boarding foot hold plates just under
the canopy, and on the underside especially around the rear where the panels are
removed to gain access to the jet engine. Again good, clear, reference
photos from the early 70’s are hard to come by but they are out there ;-)
just want to thank Gerry (aka Reddog) for all his help with this build.
His intimate knowledge of the A-7 really helped tremendously to fill the
information vacuum that exists in terms of good references for early A-7E’s.
From ordinance, to stencil placement, to weathering, his help is tremendously
appreciated. And, a big thank you to the ARC community for all their help
and guidance during the build process.
To view the in
progress build thread with tons of photos:
To view all my
photos from the build and completed photos:
images below to see larger images