Vought A-7 Corsair II  in 1/72 scale
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1/72 scale A-7 Corsair II  (Fujimi and Hobbyboss kits) modelling report 
kit review / modelling report

The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair was originally developed as an attack aircraft for the US Navy, designed specifically to operate from aircraft carriers. Vought Aircraft was acquired by Ling-Temco Electronics in 1961, resulting in the formation of LTV. The design of the A-7 Corsair II drew heavily upon the experience gained from Vought's successful F-8 Crusader fighter aircraft, but with a simpler airframe suited for subsonic attack missions. The A-7 Corsair II was equipped with highly accurate integrated navigation and attack systems, as well as advanced weapon release systems.

The A-7 Corsair II was armed with two 20mm guns in early variants such as the A-7A and A-7B, but later models like the final A-7E were fitted with a single M61 Vulcan cannon located on the left side beneath the cockpit. The aircraft was powered by either one or two TF-30, and later TF-41, turbofan engines without afterburners. The design featured a round intake with an air duct located below the single-pilot cockpit, and a shoulder wing capable of accommodating six wing pylons. Two additional pylons were installed on the fuselage sides to mount air-to-air Sidewinder missiles for self-defense. A variety of stores could be attached to the pylons, including fuel tanks.

The first A-7 Corsair II prototype took to the skies in 1965, and the aircraft entered service with the US Navy in 1966. The US Air Force was also interested in the aircraft, and the A-7D was introduced with minor modifications, such as the addition of a flight refueling receptacle on the upper fuselage compared to the Navy variants. The Air National Guard used the two-seater variant, the A-7K. The USAF nicknamed the aircraft "SLUFF." During the Vietnam War, the A-7 was extensively deployed by the US forces. The aircraft remained in service with the US military until around 1994, with approximately 1,600 units produced.

Foreign air forces also purchased the A-7, with Greece acquiring a variant called the A-7H, Portugal obtaining a rebuilt A-7A called the A-7P, and Thailand also acquiring the type. In 1976, converted A-7B and A-7C planes were used to create the TA-7C two-seater trainer variant. A fuselage plug of 40.64cm and 45.72cm in length was inserted forward and aft of the wing, respectively. Sixty planes were converted, and the cockpit canopy was elongated and hinged to the right. Some of these aircraft were later upgraded with new engines and Stencel SJU-8/A ejection seats in the 1980s. The TA-7C was the Navy's two-seater variant, while the A-7K was the USAF's two-seater variant with the refueling installation. The TA-7H was the Greek two-seater variant, with five planes delivered.
In the mid-1990s, Thailand got second hand aircraft. 

Technical data A-7E single seater: length 14,06 m; wingspan 11,80 m; empty weight about 9000 kg; max takeoff weight about 19000 kg. Max speed about 1040 km/hr; Range about 1200 km, ferry range 4600 km. 

Overview 1/72 Models
In 1/72 scale several kits of the A-7 have been around, notably old kits from Revell in various boxes (A-7A kit H117, A-7D kit H133, kitno 4100, 4391) . 
Revell A-7A Corsair II 1/72 Scale Model Kit #H-114:130   . Revell Kit Number 4783 US Navy Fighter Group Set  with a F-4B, A-7A,  A-3D
..  ..
Airfix had the kit 03016 for a A-7D/E in their series 3. This kit was long the best kit in the seventies. Heller also issued the same kit, but with paints as well.

Hasegawa also issued the A-7A and A-7E in this scale which were not too bad. 
AMT as well as Testors also issued Airfix (?) kits under their labels in the USA.
Matchbox also issued a kit (no.PK-101) for the USAF A-7D with the familiar multi coloured plastic and very basic detailing. 

Also ESCI and Italeri issued kits, such as for the USAF kitno. 1237. 

All these kits were made obsolete with the coming of 1/72 Fujimi kits with several versions, boxes and decals. 
Fujimi came with kits A-7A box F12 , A-7B box F10, A-7E Desert Storm, A-7E box F09 (25009), (72013), (720135) and A-7D (250113) and in Flying Tiger scheme box F11 (25011).

A-7A box F56 of the BLUE BLAZERS / VA-93 and in another box
A-7B box SP9  of the BARN OWLS / VA-215   and   A-7D  USAF version
F-9    A-7E STINGERS of VA-113          and        F-12    A-7E of  SUNLINERS / VA-81
F-51    A-7E of VA-56 CHAMPIONS

The Fujimi kits were a vast improvement over the older Revell, Airfix and Matchbox kits. 

All these kits were single seaters, with TA-7 twoseater conversion sets from Falcon, Maintrack, RVHP.

In 2008 also a new brand came on the market with HobbyBoss from China issueing several A-7 1/72 kits, including a TA-7C twoseater and an A-7K twoseater. These kit are a large improvement again for 1/72 scale modellers having recessed panellines, interesting stores and more detail, but still some faults (more on that later). 

This modelling Report will describe how the 1/72 models of Fujimi and Hobbyboss TA-7 can be made.

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Two Fujimi kits will be made, one for a A-7A  and one for a A-7E (kitno. F9 ). As I did not have a A-7A kit, I used the A-7B (kitno. F10 ) for the "Barn Owls" and did a small adjustment myself.
F9  .. F10
The number of parts in each Fujimi kit is about 90 and depending on the box and version you get different decals. 
The A-7E has an extra sprue with fairings, with some smaller parts including the in the seventies applied A-7E Upgrade cable ducts on the fuselage sides. 
Also, stores are in most kits: 2x AIM-9B Sidewinders , 2x 300 gallon drop tanks and ejector racks.  The A-7E kit has also  Mavericks, whereas the A-7B has Mk-82 Snakeye bombs. 

The basic fit for all kits is OK, but the intake and its airduct needs work to fill all gaps which is an awkward job to do. On the other hand, the wing-fuselage joint is very good. The cockpit detail is a bit bare to current standards.

Modelling the Fujimi kits is very easy and straight forward. The cockpit tub can be detailed later on, only the intake ducting needs filling and sanding to hide the gaps. The canopy aft hinge mechanism is not really present in these kits, so adding some detail is worthwhile. 

A couple of Neomega resin seats were used, although the kit seats are also OK when detailed. 

Regarding the fuselage halves, the small launchbar storage bay in front of the nose leg is not present, cutting out this small bay would be nice and boxing it in. 

The main gear bays are molded into the fuselage halves, which is acceptable. However, adding some details for tubing and brake wires would enhance the realism of the bays, as they appear rather bare.

It's important to verify the configuration of the vertical tail fairings at the upper aft training edge and at the lower fin base since the fairings depend on the specific A-7 variant. Fujimi includes several optional parts for this, and you may need to remove some bits.

Similarly, regarding the guns, the Fujimi A-7B kit features two guns in the intake area, while later variants have a single gun fairing on the left lower forward fuselage area. For my build, I opted to create an A-7A out of this kit, with only minor differences between the A-7A and A-7B. The A-7A has a fairing under the rudder-tail junction, so I added a small piece of card behind the base Fujimi part #49. Furthermore, early A-7s had the A30 seat, and the kit seat was sufficient for my purposes.

Overall, the kit assembly was straightforward. However, after completing the fuselage assembly, I needed to use some putty in certain areas. I didn't do too much work on the intake tunnel, as I'll make a protective cover from thin card later. However, I did "box in" the nose gear bay with thin card.

I opted to keep the wing halves during assembly separate as they fit quite well. This was done to make spraying the model easier with lower white surfaces and gull grey upper surfaces and to limit masking. 

Sanding was done and when this was ready, the fuselage with the wing halves were ready for spraying. An overall light grey base coat of Revell acrylic 75 was sprayed on to check for any flaws. The pylons, stabilizers and gear doors were also sprayed separately. 

The A-7 US Navy basic colour scheme is the USN Gull Grey FS16440 and white lower surfaces FS16875 scheme.
First a matt white coat using Revell Acrylic 05 followed by a gloss coat with Acrylic 04 was sprayed. The demarcation line and flying surfaces masked off with
TAMIYA masking tape and the gull grey sprayed on using acrylic Gunze Sangyo no.315  for the FS16440. 

A gloss coat of  Johnson Future/Pledge was sprayed on to get a good gloss decal undercoat and the models were ready for decalling. Decals came from both the kit decals and Microscale sheet #72-162 for several US Navy models. The Fujimi kit decals are OK, but I did not like the colours of the US "stars-and-bars". I used Microscale set #72-84 replacements. 
        kit decals 

The A-7A was finished in a scheme of US Navy squadron VA-93 "Blue Blazers" from USS Midway with the code "NF". The Microscale #72-162 decals were used for this purpose. 
The stabilizers and aft fuselage have grey walkways for which for the fuselage decals were used from both the kit and Microscale and for the stabs a walkway was painted.

The A-7E was finished in a scheme of US Navy squadron VA-113 "Stingers" of USS Ranger using mostly kit decals. Here the stabilizer and aft fuselage have black worn walkways. 

On both models, the final assembly was done in a similar way.
The wing halves were added, and very little white glue only needed to fill the tiny gap at the wing-fuselage junction. This line was painted gull grey with a fine brush. The gear legs were fitted and some tiny detail added with stretched sprue in the bays. The gears were painted with, with metallic oleas and the tyres tireblack and the wheelhubs white. The gear doors were also added. 

The horizontal stabilizers are often seen a bit tilted down on Corsair planes at rest, so I cutt in a bit the stabilizer attachment lips and twisted carefully each stab relatively to the lip. They can now be fitted to the rear fuselage tail section. 

The launchbar part on the nose leg part #45 is solid. Cutting this off and making a new one from strip would add interesting detail to the model. 

Time now to finish the cockpit details, with basic light grey cockpit colours and black instruments for which decals were used as in the kit and with some spare decals. Detailed seats can be bought from Pavla, Neomega or True Details. I simply detailed the kit seats with straps from tape and adding bits.
Inside the tilting canopy also the mirrors were added from cut thin metal (3 for pilot). The cockpit canopy was painted light grey inside and gull grey outside with a fine brush. 

Both models were completed by painting the anti-collision/ navigation lights and smaller antennas and 2 nose pitot tubes and fixing the canopy. Some stores (also from the HobbyBoss kit) were added as well with their pylons. 

Some drybrushing was done in areas as well as adding some darker wash in flap and rudder panellines.

Again a coat of Johnson Future/Pledge was airbrushed on both models to protect the decals and have a nice even sheen.

Some views of the finished A-7 single seaters...
   note the canopy locking system made from card; also a canopy rear bulkhead was added




On to next [ Page 2 TA-7........ ]



        Dutch IPMS Walkaround

In print:
  • A-7 In action, Squadron Signal publications,   (several editions)
  • A-7 Walk around, Squadron Signal publications, 
  • A-7 Detail and Scale, Kinzey, vol.22 (and others)
  • A-7 Bunrin Do, #131, May 1982, Japan
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    Created this page Sept 11, 2009