by: Matthew Robeson [ ]
The FuselageThe first thing to strike you is that this box and model are massive. The box itself is huge, and amazingly stuffed completely full of plastic parts. Immediately upon opening you notice the size of the fuselage parts. Each fuselage half is full-length, and is about the same size as the HK Model B-25 I just finished up. The fuselage sprue also includes parts for the intakes and exhausts. It is likely that the fuselage sprue as it is will remain unchanged for A-6A and E variants. The problem is that Trumpeter molded the fuselage to be a -6E fuselage, so there are a few panels that need to be filled and removed. The fuel vents on the rear fuselage need to be filled in, along with the panel lines right around it. There are also round panel lines used to fit the large air intake for the -E version. Finally the slime-lights on the fuselage must go, since these were not fitted on the early Intruder.
The WingsThe inner wing portions and open spoilers are moulded together on one sprue. It's really cool that Trumpeter moulded these together, as it should lead to extreme ease of alignment. The outer wing portions are on a separate sprue and present another small issue. The outer wing panels contain the full formation lights on the wingtips, but these were not attached to the A-6A, so once again you must fill these in to accurize the kit. You will also need to add the rear position lights as shown on the box-art. The wing-folds are included, and are even molded with a pylon preattached. There is a full set of slats and flaps provide, and the flap guides will make this assembly much better and stronger than most. And will ensure that alignment will be a simple job at the end of the build.
The DetailsTrumpeter has included detail in every part of the model. Two complete engines are included, the nose radar is there, the under-fuselage avionics cage is there, even the RAT for the port wing is in the box. Trumpeter really went all-out with the moulded detail on this kit. One of the sprues is completely devoted to the engine bay doors under the fuselage, and this looks really great. It should be lots of fun to detail and show off how much work went into this kit. The biggest problem will be making sure everything goes together well once it's in the fuselage. Luckily Trumpeter provides a spine to go up inside the fuselage to provide both the bulkhead for the engine bay and a lot of structural integrity to the assembly. The avionics system under the fuselage is complete with black boxes. This will of course need some wiring to make it look accurate, but Trumpeter provides a great start for the builder. One problem that I've seen is that the radome is provided in two halves, which will be a pain to clean up. Not so difficult on the outside, but getting the interior seam away will require some work if you want to expose the radome in order to show off the radar array it conceals.
The CockpitA nicely detailed cockpit is included, although the seats could use some work, or better yet replacement. Unfortunately no one makes GRU-5 seats in 1/32 as of yet. I'm sure someone will soon, or you could substitute in GRU-7 seats from a Tomcat without too much trouble. I doubt anyone besides an Intruder pilot from Vietnam would even know the difference. The instrument panel is provided via a grey plastic piece, then a clear panel that attaches behind it. This will have the decals mounted behind it, and should provide a very convincing instrument panel once all is said and done. The rear deck under the canopy is very well appointed, and should just need some cables and wiring to really make it great. The canopy and windscreen are crystal clear. This may be the clearest canopy I've ever seen in a kit, to the point that I wouldn't even hesitate keeping the canopy closed. The frames are also very nicely raised to aid when masking them, top marks to Trumpeter here!
The UndercarriageThe white metal landing gear is a bit hit-and-miss. The strength will be great once all of the parts are added in, but there is a lot of flash and ejector pins on the legs that will need to be cleaned up. It is a nuisance to clean up metal parts, but I think it will be needed over plastic gear because of the weight needed to keep this kit on its nose gear. Besides that, there is a set of rubber tires. I know people hate rubber tires, but I don't mind them that much. I'm sure resin replacements will be available soon enough for those that want them.
The PayloadThe entire bottom portion of the box is taken up with sprues upon sprues of weapons. Trumpeter included every weapon that the Intruder could carry, so you're spoiled for choices. Plus; all of those weapons you don't want to use will fill out the spares box nicely. There is also a huge sheet of stencils for the weapons to make sure they look accurate.
The paperworkThere is a large decal sheet of markings. I've heard some chatter online that the panther decal is inaccurate, but I'm sure in a month or so there will be other options coming from the aftermarket producers. I do like that Trumpeter provided options for one very early Intruder with the tan radome, and one slightly later one with just the grey over white. Since there is such a large canvas to work with painting and weathering will be a long, but very rewarding part of the build. The instructions are typical Trumpeter fare, not great, but not awful. The color call-outs aren't fully accurate, but some basic research will show the proper colors.
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