A-10 Warthog ("Thunderbolt II")

Pictures available soon.

Kit Manufacturer
Out of Box (OOB) or Modified
Rating (1-10 10=best)

A-10 Thunderbolt II



The A-10 came about out of a need for a survivable, tough aircraft to perform close air support. Prior to the A-10's debut, primarily in Vietnam, "Fast movers" (F-4 Phantoms, F-105s and the like) had been used to perform air support, along with UH-1 and early HueyCobras. The fast jets were great for strikes, but lousy for close support of troops. They couldn't loiter, and their speed made strikes close to the troops difficult. The helicopters were very vulnerable and couldn't carry much of a load.

The A-10 was designed around a 30mm "Gatling" style cannon, using dense, depleted uranium shells. These shells can tear a tank apart in a few rounds. During testing, they had problems on the firing range, as the telephone poles that were used to hold targets, and could handle 20mm rounds from the fighters, couldn't stand up to the 30mm rounds.  

But a big gun wasn't enough. The aircraft itself followed the tradition of Republic aircraft (like its namesake, the Thunderbolt of WWII fame) and was built to be tough and survivable. The pilot and important systems are surrounded by titanium armor. The structure of the aircraft is very tough - aircraft have come back after the Gulf war with large chunks out of the wings. It's also an easy to maintain airplane, with many parts swappable between sides.

The widely spaced engines were placed that way so debris from a hit on one wouldn't affect the other. The tail is placed and designed specifically to mask the IR emissions from the engines, making it more difficult for ground based SAMs to track the aircraft by heat.

It may be "ugly" to some, but it's highly maneuverable (as I got the opportunity to watch, once) and very deadly.

The Kit

I first built this kit sometime in the '80s. It built up well and I ended up brush-painting it, initially grey to prime it - but decided I liked it that way and left it like that. Modern A-10s (as well as the original Grey scheme) look much like that. That was a happy mistake!

Some people complain about this kit being "horrible" to put together as far as fit and finish.  I started the kit just building up the external stores (for some other kits that don't have them) and decided, since it had lost its box when an upstairs apartment (at the time) had a leak and it had been getting moved around in a temporary box, I'd just get this built. 

The kit is molded in a dark green plastic - apparently Monogram still holds to the "Reduces the need for painting" theory with this kit. If you want to build the supplied camo scheme, this isn't too big of an issue, though you'll want to prime anyway to check for seams. If you want to build one of the multiple-grey schemes the A-10 has worn (or Twobobs' A-10 Experimental Camo schemes) priming is a necessity.

Some flash is visible on the sprues, but not enough to really cause problems. The most work you'll have to do is in the jet exhaust - even when the kit was newer, flash loved to form in the rear openings. Just take a sharp knife and clean it out.

A dry-run of the kit (then gluing subassemblies, such as the wings, tail surfaces and such) together shows the kit fitting together with no problems. The only warping or gaps I'm going to have to deal with are the front left fuselage - there's less plastic to keep it "straight," and as I've said, the kit has been moved, packed, reboxed, and has generally gone through quite a bit. I was expecting more problems, but am pleasantly suprised not to find them!

Building the kit

Like I've said, I started building the kit sort of piecemeal. I built up all the weaponry, since I plan to use some of it on other, later kits (like the F-15E) that don't come with any. Except for the napalm cannisters, which have an odd fit in the stabilizing fins, everything went together quite well. The Maverick missiles come with a clear nose piece, which I left off. Some of the Mavericks had bent control fins, but it didn't take a hard look to see it was from all the jostling around and such from being in a different box, moved across several states and such.

After that, I decided (after running across a review on Hyperscale) to see how the main pieces fit - if there was any warping, bad fit or the like.  I ended up gluing the wings and tail pieces together - No warping, very tiny gaps on one wing. No filler will be needed on them (Not sure about the landing gear pods yet, as I'm planning on prepainting them.) The fuselage, as mentioned, does have a slight warp on one side - but it's also had some of the other pieces resting on its side, been closed in the box and more, and it's the side that loses some support from having a large cutout for the landing gear - which is exactly where the warp starts. I'll probably need a little filler when I put these together, but in all - no warping, no bad fit.

I'm up to the point now where I have a few kits sitting waiting for me to keep going on the (the A-18, A-10, and F-14) so it's about time to break out the airbrush and paint some interiors and do other pre-painting chores.

More as this gets built.