I’ve had a 1/72 ‘Twosair’ A-7 in the collection for over 20 years or more but recently I took it out of the cupboard to have a look and managed to break a few parts off such as the nose wheel, canopy and outer wing pylon;
Easily repairable I know but on closer inspection I could see poor joints, especially the fuselage plugs that came with the conversion kit originally and the overall build quality is not the best.
At the time I used a Maintrack kit to convert a Fujimi A-7D into a two-seater as back then, apart from the Falcon vac-formed conversion, it was the only game in town if you wanted a two-seat A-7. You had to cut the forward and rear fuselage and glue inserts in to extend it plus I had to scratch build the air-refuelling receptacle on the spine as Maintrack didn’t include it. 20 years or so ago it looked great but now it does’nt come anywhere near today’s standards.
With the urge to do another in different markings at some point I bought the Hobbyboss A-7K a few years ago when it was released and it has sat in the stash ever since.
Looking at pics of A-7’s recently got me thinking about starting the Hobbyboss kit but after reading various reviews it appears that Hobbyboss made a mess of it.
Looking around for alternatives it quickly became apparent that there were’nt any apart from that old Falcom vac-form (which is just the fuselage), the Maintrack conversion is LONG out of production even after being released under the Whirlybird brand and the RVHP resin conversion is also out of production (although I believe the quality varies from good to atrocious anyway). I did see one on Ebay with an Esci A-7D this week but got outbid (probably just as well) so choices are pretty much zero. Hobbyboss it is then!
One of the issues is the fuselage length so comparing it to the A-7K I built from the Maintrack kit it is something like 8mm longer. I’m not one for the odd millimeter or two difference but 8mm is huge and I almost put the kit back in the stash.
Because it was bugging me I found dimensions for the A-7K in a Squadron/Signal ‘In Action’ book along with a line drawing (yes I know there are drawings and there are drawings) so I scanned the drawing into Photoshop and cropped it. Using an online scale calculator I put the fuselage length into it to work out the length in millimeters then drew two lines on some paper (the gap between the lines being the fuselage length).
After some messing about with sizing the drawing I got the fuselage length more or less matching the two lines and I was able to print off the drawing (using the same principle for the wingspan).
I cut the Hobbyboss fuselage from the sprue and placed it on top of the drawing,
All very unscientific of course but although the fuselage length IS about 2mm longer than the drawing, it is certainly not the 8mm when I first measured it (this means the conversion I did originally is probably 8mm too short lol).
The length of the Hobbyboss kit was a concern of mine but now after measuring it I can live with it.
There are other issues such as the intake shape and width of the rear canopy but as this is the ONLY injection-moulded A-7K available then I’ll to work with what I have. I just wish Fujimi did a two-seater way back when as to me these are still the best A-7 family in 1/72 and I’m glad I have 6 in the stash (5 x A-7D’s and 1 x A-7E) plus two Esci A-7D’s as the Fujimi kits are hard to get hold of these days.
Anyway I have other stuff to be getting on with for now but I was curious about the Hobbyboss ‘Twosair’. After concluding that it is doable, this kit is definitely next on the (increasing) list of stuff to build.
I don’t know what to do with the one I originally built as it seems a shame to bin it. I may renovate the model at some point but I need to source a new canopy as the original has not aged very well and is yellowing with age. I also need to redo various joints and replace the air-refuelling receptacle so if a really cheap Hobbyboss kit comes up on Ebay I could use it for spares.