LTV (Vought) 
A-7E Corsair II  US Navy
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Trumpeter A-7E Corsair II in 1/32 scale ;
US Navy, modelling report by Meindert de Vreeze
Modelling report
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The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair was designed for the US Navy as an attack aircraft to be operated from aircraft carriers. Look here for some history and more on 1/72 Corsair kits....

In 1/32 scale the first injection moulded kit of the A-7 Corsair was issued by Trumpeter in 2008, and what a welcome kit it was for US Navy fans.  

Kit #2231 is designed for the US Navy variant of the A-7E, as indicated by the odd text "USS A-7E". Additionally, a slightly different kit was issued for the USAF A-7D.

The A-7E kit is comprehensive, containing numerous parts and ordnance/stores. This includes 30 photo-etched parts, rubber tyres, white metal gear struts, and over 600 plastic injection-molded parts in light grey. The kit instructions are clear and concise, adhering to the usual Trumpeter style and spanning 27 logical steps.

Lots of stores are included with 6 pylons and  for example 2 external fueltanks and a LANA pod.
Stores are besides various bombs and missiles like later generation AIM-9D/G/H Sidewinders also including AGM-88 HARM and AGM-84 SLAM. 

- The wing fuel tanks are a bit inaccurate and are better replaced by a couple from a Hasegawa A-4 Skyhawk;
- FLIR can be used on later planes;
- Bombs are a bit inaccurate and many bombs (common with the A-7D USAF kit) were I think not used by the US NAVY;
- AGM-45 missiles needs some launch rails that are missing and the fins on the missile is too far aft mounted;
- AIM-9B Sidewinders are best replaced;

Decals are OK with large sheet with stencilling and US NAVY schemes in the Gull grey FS16440--White FS17875 schemes  for:
1-  A-7E, BuNo 159289, VA-82 Marauders , AJ/300, USS Nimitz, 1978 
2-  A-7E, BuNo 157530, VA-192 Golden Dragons, NH/300, USS Kitty Hawk, 1972

Some small errors are in the decals, e.g it should read CDR Joe Springer. For the stores, also decals are included.

Wing sprue: 

You also get a nice wing with separate flaps and slats. The wing tips are separate to be folded. When you want to have a nortmal straight wing, some filler and work is needed.

The kit features cable ducts applied below the wing root, a characteristic found on later versions of the A-7E, in etched metal. This detail is not present on older versions. Additionally, the lower fuselage ventral speedbrake is separate, but should be closed when modeling the plane on the ground.

Moving to the cockpit, the tub and SJU-8 seat look good, while an older style ESCAPAC seat is also included in the sprues. The kit provides a "film" for the instrument panel and clear parts with instrument faces, which, when painted up, give a fine finish. Adding further details to this area is possible.

The main wheel wells are decent, but adding some extra plumbing using rod and sprue will elevate their appearance. It is recommended to firmly fix the wheel bays in the fuselage halves with some strips. The landing gear legs can be made of metal or plastic, and feature rubber tires.

The kit also includes a couple of opened up avionics bays, which, with some added detail, can provide some nice extras to look at. It's worth noting that the boxes in these bays can vary across different A-7 versions.

There is also some M61 Vulcan gun detail in the kit, but not a lot is seen. I decided to open up additional hatches and panels and add additional detail in the left forward fuselage area.


Look here for info on 1/72 scale kits.....

The 1/32 A-7 kit is quite nice, and when built straight from the box is OK. However, improvements can be made both in overall shape and in the details:

Correction 1:  the overal shape of the cockpit canopy is not OK, it is way too flat. ZACTOMAN has issued a correction set in resin for this with nicely shaped canopy and windshield. 

You also get a nice metal frame with mirrors

The shape difference in cross section of the canopy is obvious here, with the correct resin part on the right. 

Correction 2:  the nose intake lip is too thin and likewise the shape of the bullit nose. Again, ZACTOMAN has a conversion set for this; this set is available in 2 forms: with or without complete intake tunnel.
Look here for info:

Correction 3:  the engine rear exhaust is not wide enough. This can be corrected by the modeller as will be shown later on. Also, the jet exhaust pipe will benefit from making it a bit deeper/longer. 

Overall, these 3 main shape issues make a lot of difference when corrected on how the final model will look like the real thing.

Starting the build

I started with some work on the major parts, like sanding off the USAF type antenna panel on the vertical fin. This is not present on a NAVY Corsair.

Correction 1:
The very nice ZACTOMAN canopy set parts are seen here and assembled, ready to get a first grey base coat.

Correction 2:

The real A-7 intake is seen below, the ZACTOMAN correction improves the looks here a lot....
 the real intake

Following the ZACTOMAN instructions this correction to the kit is not difficult at all.
The difference is seen here: 

Some filling and putty and sanding is needed, but only minor work is required...

The decision was made to open up additional panels and add internal details from scratch. Using a scribing tool and a razor saw, the hatches on the left fuselage side were carefully cut out.

Also at the engine bay, a hatch was cut out to add some more details

Turning to the cockpit tub, the basis is there in the kit and very good starting point for further detailling.

Some plumbing and details from strip and rod were added, check your book references and/or internet with plenty of walkarounds.... The side consoles are with nicely done raised details. A coat of light grey forms the basic colour.

The result on the instrument panel, using the Trumpeter parts and painting with a fine brush and scribing with a marker.

The overall cockpit was now ready for installment in the fuselage later on.

The Vulcan gun parts as in the kit:

The ZACTOMAN intake tunnel, with will make the model look better. NOTE: you could leave out the complete tunnel as a lot will not be seen and order the some waht cheaper set. 

Added some details on the nose gear sidewalls as well: 

The other opened up hatches and bays are seen here as well. Details of plastic strip for the stringers and stiffeners. 

The overall fit needs checking when adding stringer details.

A simple coat of chromate green was added, rest to be painted later on.

The wheel bays are nice but can use some additional detailling obviously....



The wing fold option was not to be used on this model. Strengthening the connection between the outboard wing-main wing sections is needed. I used a metal bar and card just to make sure. Filling and sanding is also needed. Start with the upper wing, make sure this is flat and than set on the lower wing tips. See also kit STEPs 14, 22, 24, 26, 27. 

Correction 3:
I now turned to the rear fuselage area. I believe the exhaust pipe gap is too small, it needs to be a bit wider. This can be seen on the picture and drawings.

Widening can be easily done by inserting a triangular section of plastic card of 4 mm width max and about 
8 cm long. This can be "blended" in between both lower fuselage halves: 

On the inside, the kit moulded stringers were lengthened with plastic strip.

Following the kit instructions up to STEP 10 and boxing in the opened hatches with card, all internal details were assembled and glued in place. With this complete, both fuselage halves were joined, allowing the main assembly to be completed.

While the rear correction may appear minimal, the difference is quite noticeable upon completion. The exhaust pipe opening is now more accurately representative of the real A-7 plane, resulting in a much improved appearance overall.

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Created this page April 4, 2010