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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fujimi LTV A-7E

I have never had an overall grand plan for the models that I build. I do have a sort of loose backstory: my collection of finished models is the world’s largest aviation museum. At least that is my rationale for not building dioramas and never developing a talent for weathering. But it is not like I know exactly which kit will land on the workbench when a space opens up.

My interest in aviation is fairly wide and deep: everything from a Wright Flyer to the latest in next generation fighter jets. And I am as likely to go mad for an obscure one-off experimental or Luftwaffe 46 type as the most commonly used fighter in WW2. Sometimes a project will get started due to something I saw in a hobby magazine, or perhaps a book I have been reading. And occasionally it is as prosaic as something I found in a box on one of my periodic trawls through the garage stash.

Today’s completed aircraft falls into that category. I was out in the garage, idly passing a few moments after a visit to the gym, when I came across a Fujimi A-7E. It was partially completed in some earlier modelling age: cockpit assembled and painted, fuselage together, everything else in a plastic bag. I decided that since the Fujimi kit had a pretty good reputation, that I knew that A-7s have a lot of attractive paint schemes, and that I did not yet have a completed model of the type in the collection, it would be next on the list.

While the A-7 is not on a par with some of Fujimi’s best (their F-4s, F7U, A-4s) it is still a well produced kit with engraved panel lines. The engineering is such that very little filler was used during construction. Painting was a simple affair with standard postwar USN colors of Light Gull Gray over White, with control surfaces also in White. I checked my decals and was nearly persuaded by a special scheme for an ANG type in large patches of red, white and blue. If I ever do another A-7, that will be the one to go for. But this time I settled on the Stingers scheme, since I had never used that on an aircraft before. It’s a bit like the Sundowners sunburst markings (which I used on an F-14): somewhere in your collection you need to save some space for that big ol’ bumblebee of VF-113. Or is that a hornet?

This particular A-7E was based on the USS Ranger in the 70s. According to the VF-113 website, they were involved in Linebacker 2 in South Vietnam and deployments in the Western Pacific. Although the kit comes with Stingers markings in the box, these Fujimi decals resolutely refused to detach from the backing sheet without literally 15 minutes of soaking. So I used some bits from an old Microscale sheet. As it happens, I liked their interpretation of the light blue anyway.

Finishing the A-7 has got me eyeing the Academy F-8 Crusader, also in the stash. I seem to have been doing a lot of work in the postwar jets arena (though mostly British) in the last 12 months, and that would give me the chance to add another type that I’ve never built before. I guess I’ll have to wait to see if inspiration strikes again.

This is completed model #397 (#22 for the year), completed in May of 2012.

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