Italeri 1/72 A-10 A/C Thunderbolt II

Another of Italeri's series of kits for the 25th Anniversary (is it really that long ago!) of the first Gulf War, the American A-10.  Also known as the Warthog, the A-10 is not what one might describe as a 'pretty' plane, but it is a very businesslike aircraft, designed to do a specific job, and one it does very well.  Armed with the large 30mm GAU-8A Avenger, a Gatling style rotary cannon mounted in the nose and is capable of firing depleted uranium anti-tank rounds. It is so large the complete unit with a 1200 round drum magazine is about the size of a VW Beetle.  The nose wheel had to be offset to one side to accommodate the nose mounted fitting of the weapon.  A straight wing aircraft with a very heavy stores capacity, it was designed to fly and fight low on the battlefield, with a long loiter time.  High mounted engines to keep them away from ground fire and with a heavily armoured cockpit tub to protect the pilot.  It was designed to be a very functional ground support aircraft, a job it did very well during the Gulf War.  At one point it was due to be retired but the USAF have not come up with a suitable replacement so far.  It entered service in 1977 and looks like it will soldier on to about 2040.

The kit is straightforward to build, with a cockpit tub that has transfers for the instrument panels, and remember to add some weight inside the nose when you join the fuselage halves together if you want it to stand correctly on the tricycle undercarriage.  That in itself is an interesting design feature, as the tyres remain exposed when retracted, so they can help out in the event of a crash landing.  When building the wings it is nice to see the ailerons are separate, and can be assembled closed or open, as they split to work as air brakes.  Then with the airframe done, you select the various stores to fit on the 11 pylons underneath.  A mix of weapons, including bombs, missiles, drop tanks, targeting and ECM pods.

There are four options in the way of colours and markings.  The first two of the four are finished in the 3-colour overall camouflage of the 'Lizard' scheme during Operation Desert Storm.  The other two options are later, and feature two-tone grey machines with Air National Guard units in the USA during 2012.  Version A is for an A-10A of the 23 TFW, 74th TFS at King Fahd airbase in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm in 1991.  Version B is another A-10A, this time with the 23rd TFW, 706th TFS, flown by Capt. Robert Swain from Saudi Arabia in February 1991.  Version C is a two-tone grey A-10C of the 163rd FS 'Blacksnakes', of the Indiana ANG at Fort Wayne air base Indiana, in the USA during 2012. Version D is another grey A-10C, this time with the 107th FS 'Red Devils' of the Michigan ANG base at Sulfridge, Michigan in 2012.

Thanks to The Hobby Company, who are the UK importers for the Italeri range for our example and this kit is available now.

For details of Italeri kits, check their website.