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Italeri's 1/72 A-10C Desert Storm Edition


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Hey guys,

There's talk here and there about Italeri's re-release of the A-10 in A-10C guise, but not much detail. Anyway, I ended up buying the kit at the LHS (couldn't resist the box art) and I decided to do a quick review so you'll know what you're getting into.

The boxing in question:


The kit comes in three sprues, two main and one clear, a really nice decal sheet with a decent amount of stencils and markings for four aircraft. Note that this kit includes decals for a decent approximation of the -A and -C instrument panel. However, the kit instrument panels have raised detail that only models the -A, so you'll have to sand off the detail or modify accordingly my adding an extra display panel if you want raised detail.

Markings are for two Desert Storm -A builds, and two -C builds:

  1. A-10A, 23rd TFW (Provisional), 74th TFS based out of King Fahd AB, Saudi Arabia, during Desert Storm (box art)
  2. A-10A, 206th TFW, Desert Storm. This is the bird flown by Cpt Robert Swain, the guy who scored the first air-to-air kill on an A-10. After an unsuccessful attempt to lock on to an enemy helicopter using an AIM-9, he resorted to putting 300 rounds of depleted uranium into the unfortunate target.
  3. A-10C, 163rd FS "Blacksnakes," Indiana ANG, based out of Fort Wayne International Airport, Indiana (this will be the bird I am building).
  4. A-10C, 107th FS "Red Devils," Michigan ANG, based out of Selfridge AFB, Michigan.

Decals are clear, and in perfect register. A great job by Cartograf, as usual.


Here are the sprues, with the exception of the clears as I wanted to fit it in as tightly as possible. The sprues are almost identical to the original A-10A, with a few additions. A few things are still missing though (explained later).


The additions that Italeri did to make this an A-10C are here - parts 90 and 93. 90 is the AN/ARC-210 BLOS antenna, which is used to help pilots communicate directly with ground forces via satellite. Part 93 is the EGI GPS dome (this photo shows the underside). These two pieces are the most obvious bits that identify the aircraft as an A-10C. Unfortunately, Italeri dropped the ball and missed out a few other things, or made mistakes with the additions.


Now, if you want to build an accurate A-10C, you'll need to do a bit of scratchbuilding as Italeri left out the LASTE upgrades, such as the two blisters on the outward facing tail fins. These were molded on the 1/48 kit, so why this was omitted was an unfortunate choice as scratchbuilding them, although simple, is still a challenge due to the small size. A new sprue with the modified fins could have been included, but it would have driven the cost of the kit up. however, the blisters could have been added to the sprue much like the two new antennas had been grafted on. FUN FACT! The tail fins on the A-10 are interchangeable, to ease replacement. However, the LASTE modifications quickly put an end to that.


The AN-AAR-47 missile launch detection sensors were also omitted. They are essentially blisters on the wingtips, nose and tail with a lens that visually detects missiles the moment they are launched towards the aircraft. I will attempt to replicate these with tiny embellishments from the scrapbook shop (or I'll just raid the missus' scrapbook supplies). Mounted on the nose of the A-10, the nose sensors give the aircraft the appearance of nostrils. I also noticed that A-10s have dented noses from being bumped too many times during mid-air refuelling. Nothing a Dremel can't replicate.



The dorsal fin antennas are about right, though"


Regarding the AN/ARC-210 antenna - while Italeri asks you to mount the antenna blade on top of the larger blade antenna on the spine, that is somewhat incorrect. The position is correct (the GPS dome is just forward of it), but the blade that the BLOS antenna mounts to should be forward swept (see inset below). I suppose you could modify the antenna by adding a bit of material to the back, then sanding it to shape, or you could cut it off entirely and make a new one.


The Pave Penny pod has been done away with, so you'll need to fill those holes on the side of the fuselage. On the real article, the pylon was mounted on four bolts, so on aircraft without Pave Penny, you'll see four bolts in the form of a rectangle where the pylon should be.

Another "obvious" giveway to the A-10C is the lack of an instrument panel shroud, or "eyebrows" as some have called it. The new instrument panel is shaped differently, so there is no coaming shroud on the sides of the IP. As a result, it looks as if the Air Force tacked on a shelf on top of the instrument panel (see inset below). This will be addressed on a later update. You can replicate that by cutting away on the sides of the coaming, so that the IP sits flush against the sides, while leaving the top piece intact.

Note that the A-10Cs have HOTAS controls, using the F-16's flight stick and the F-15's throttle quadrant. Unless you have nice, tiny aftermarket controls, you probably don't need to worry about this too much (thanks to AICZ for pointing that out).


One last omission, and will require some sourcing, is the lack of a sensor pod and current armament. A-10Cs use either a Litening AT or Sniper XR pod, mounted on stations 3 or 9 (I think). Hasegawa's Aircraft Weapons Set IX have both the Sniper and Litening pods, along with GBU-38s, and they're quite nice. Current A-10Cs are loaded a little lighter, typically a GBU-12, Mk.82 LDGB, GBU-38 JDAM, or even rocket pods. You'll be totally fine if you're building Desert Storm (refer to Desert Storm supernerd Jakub Cikhart's excellent loadout resource here)

So that's it. It's great that Italeri re-released this fantastic kit, with cool new decals and beautiful boxart. It's a shame that some work will be needed if you wanted to represent a current aircraft, but they are simple fixes that should not take more than a day or two to replicate with some scrap plastic and putty. I think Italeri had to compromise between updating the kit vs raising the cost, and at US$20 I think these compromises are perfectly acceptable. Modern Hobbies, LLC has an A-10C update set that is about US$16, and well worth the price if you already have an A-10 kit, but if you're willing to scratch build a little and are not worried about a super detailed cockpit, this will do just fine. I'll be building this in between my other MiG-29 builds. I recommend this kit, and I hope this will help you decide if you want to purchase this. Enjoy if you do!

Edited by Supertom
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And A-10C have updated cockpit to - with new LCD and with new flight stick from F-16...

Noted and added!

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