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KA-6 Intruder (Italeri 1/72)


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Building up my first Italeri kit. Heard good things about this tooling but it is over 25 years old (1994) so we will see how it turns out!

 

The kit in question:

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So far seems to be a solid plastic like found on Hasegawa kits. Not the soft plastic you get on the new tooled Airfix kits. Panel lines seem crisp but rivet detail is shallow. I'll most likely rescribe most lines and for sure deepen the rivets with a needle in a pin vise.

 

It's also a very basic kit. Only two main sprues plus one clear part. Which is about what you expect from 1/72. Just a quick scan it doesn't seem like anything is overly engineered. By that I mean unnecessarily adding parts in an already small scale. You see that with some kits where, for example, a simple Sidewinder missile is 3 parts or you have to attatch the fins separately. That's not something I enjoy in 1/72 and adds more frustration than anything. So far this kit seems to be missing that type of flaw.

 

Sprue "A" - Main body, undercarriage, seats, and cockpit:

 

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Sprue "B" - Wings, pylons, and antenna/pitot tubes. One thing I'm going to enjoy about this kit is building it with wings folded. Another feature you see missing in 1/72. Most 1/72 don't even provide the option for dropped flaps. So this will be a nice change.

 

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Close up of "A" - Good mix of detail but shallow rivets.

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Close up of Sprue "B" - Again, solid amount of detail

 

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Clear parts - Nice raised detail that will make masking easier. There's a lot of glass on the KA-6 so a good mask job will be essential.

 

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Decal Sheet - Solid looking decals with LOTS of options. Being Italeri it's possible these are Cartigraf but I didn't see any trademark on the sheet to answer that. I've been going back and forth on what to build this up as but I'm leaning toward VA-176 "Thunderbolts" but the Black Panther insignia looks cool too.

 

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...In the next post we will start building up the cockpit!

Edited by Fox_Two
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Some minor progress. Have put the seats together as seen below.

 

Good amount of detail for this scale including the overhead ejection pull handle. However, it has a giant ejector pin mark dead center of the sea near the top of the belts. No way to sand that without ruining detail. 

 

Also you can't see it from the images but there is a big ugly empty space on the back of the seat. When installed you can see it through the canopy. 

 

I glued on some plastic card and sanded to shape. Now when the seats are installed and viewed from behind there is no gap!

 

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So, with that I picked up some Milliput and have been itching to try it out. So here we go!

 

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And the profile view:

 

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Not too bad! The texture looks roughly done but as with all things modeling it will look much much better after priming and painting. 

 

I will also be adding some Tamiya tape seat belts as well.

 

Still impressed by the out of box detail of the wiring and pipes. Don't think anything else will need to be added.

Edited by Fox_Two
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I’m just coming to the end of building it’s stablemate, the A6E. It’s the same kit with different decals (which are really nice) & an additional weapons sprue. It’s gone together really well out of the box & the folding wings are great with minimal filler. Those decals look sharp.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ready for a new update. Seats are done, cockpit is done, and fuselage is glued together.

 

First, let's start with the seats. They were painted up, given a silver dry brush, and then a black enamel wash (tamiya). Scroll up to see what the seats originally looked liked. Not a huge improvement but a little more uniqueness to them. 

 

Seat belts were done with tamiya tape.

 

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Next up, we have the instrument panel and cockpit.

 

The IP was painted up in black and I decided to use the two part decal. After a few go overs with Solvaset it layed down nicely. I liked the gauge detail which is why I went with the decal instead of hand painting.

 

The cockpit was painted in Dark Gull Gray (FS36231) and the panels were painted black with white, red, and yellow buttons. As a side not, I never realized just how bad some of these things can look up close 😟. It looks 10x better from a normal viewing distance. Also, black panel wash applied and there is a goober to the left of the control stick. That's some dried milliput that got there somehow. It won't be visible once installed.

 

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Next post we will dive into the hell hole that is fitting the cockpit and IP into the fuselage.

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Moving along, here we have the intake and exhaust fan blades painted up in silver with an enamel wash applied. Instructions called for the (right) piece to be painted black and the (left) piece painted white outside the fan blade. I'll skip this as you won't see it once built up - even with a pen light.

 

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Ok, so fitting the fan blades. Not too difficult - the curved edge of the blade piece needs to fit flush the fuselage part outlined in red. It doesn't fit flush so it takes a bit of play to get in right. Straightness doesn't matter too much as the fan blade is...well..round so it looks fine either way.

 

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Here it is inserted.

 

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OK, buckle up because the cockpit fit is a disaster. 

 

First, the shape of the stern area of the pit does not fit flush with the closed up fuselage halves. You'll see this later once it's inserted.

 

Next, the cockpit locator brackets (highlighted in red) do not fit the cockpit. They're essentially slapped on the fuselage and the Italeri engineers are saying it goes around here...somewhere. So there's a lot of dry fitting involved as it can shift around easily.

 

But wait, there's more! The instrument panel, since it doesn't fit to the cockpit like most normal aircraft, fits to the fuselage with a crappy little locator bump (in red - farthest left). And I;m sure you can guess...it doesn't fit the contour of the IP.

 

So here's what the instructions call for. Glue both the IP and cockpit to the right side fuselage half. So one both are on mate it with the other fuselage half. Good luck...no seriously...good luck.

 

Here's what I did after hours of trial and error:

 

1) Mate the fuselage halves and secure with tape (dry fit essentially). 

2) Insert cockpit and perform laparoscopic surgery to get it to sit right. Remember those locator "bumps"? Well since they are so shallow and not in the precise locations the cockpit will not stay in place. It has a tendancy to either droop up/down or lean left/right. I hope you left your patience on your workbench.

3) Glue cockpit once secure and glue fuselage together.

4) Insert IP through the cockpit opening and adjust, again using laparoscopic surgery 😜, through the open nose area of the fuselage. 

 

The above method is the only way I found to get the cockpit and IP to sit straight and secure. If you follow the kit instruction is GUA-RAN-TEE either your cockpit or IP will be crooked. And yes, it will be noticeable. 

 

Here are locator bumps:

 

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Here's the cockpit insertered. After all is said and done it's straight and it's glued down. But you can see the gaps and ridges left behind. This will need lots of sanding and putty.

 

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Finally here is the fuselage closed up and the bottom panel piece attached. On the top of the fuselage is about what you expect from standard kits in terms of seam lines. That one should clean up fairly easily.

 

On the bottom though - the panel leaves a lot to be desired. It's biggest issue being the panel lines do not line up!! So after sanding and filling they will need to be rescribed to line up appropriately with the rest of the fuselage. I'm going to get my money's worth out of the Infini sanding sponges I have - that's for sure.

 

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I built this version for review when the kit first came out, and still have another from the same period in the stash...

....along with the later Revell boxing in A-6E TRAM form, for which I was involved in selecting the decal options...

Edited by andyf117
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On 11/22/2019 at 7:17 AM, andyf117 said:

I built this version for review when the kit first came out, and still have another from the same period in the stash...

....along with the later Revell boxing in A-6E TRAM form, for which I was involved in selecting the decal options...

That's pretty cool. I originally wanted a TRAM or bomber version but my LHS didn't have any. They had the KA-6 for a deep discount so I couldn't pass it up.

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Well @Fox_Two, you overcame the cockpit /IP/fuselage fit snag in great style!

Looking good from here. 

The seats look the part and your work has brought out the best from them. 

 

This has me wondering how the Navy ran the Tanker system. 

Is the KA6 an A6 with extra tanks and fittings for the job, or is it a dedicated specialised airframe that can only do one job? 

How easy is it to make a standard bomber airframe with this kit? 

A lot of the decal insignia look familiar from my look at Intruder squadrons.... 

I did the old Hasegawa kit (you think you've got problems?!...) and those designs and letter styles on the fin etc look the same. 

Maybe each VF had /has their own Tanker section on board for the tour? 

I'll ride along to see how this turns out 🤩

 

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On 11/24/2019 at 12:25 AM, rob Lyttle said:

Well @Fox_Two, you overcame the cockpit /IP/fuselage fit snag in great style!

Looking good from here. 

The seats look the part and your work has brought out the best from them. 

 

This has me wondering how the Navy ran the Tanker system. 

Is the KA6 an A6 with extra tanks and fittings for the job, or is it a dedicated specialised airframe that can only do one job? 

How easy is it to make a standard bomber airframe with this kit? 

A lot of the decal insignia look familiar from my look at Intruder squadrons.... 

I did the old Hasegawa kit (you think you've got problems?!...) and those designs and letter styles on the fin etc look the same. 

Maybe each VF had /has their own Tanker section on board for the tour? 

I'll ride along to see how this turns out 🤩

 

See here for general KA-6D info:

 

http://www.joebaugher.com/usattack/newa6_4.html

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

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On 11/23/2019 at 6:25 PM, rob Lyttle said:

Well @Fox_Two, you overcame the cockpit /IP/fuselage fit snag in great style!

Looking good from here. 

The seats look the part and your work has brought out the best from them. 

 

This has me wondering how the Navy ran the Tanker system. 

Is the KA6 an A6 with extra tanks and fittings for the job, or is it a dedicated specialised airframe that can only do one job? 

How easy is it to make a standard bomber airframe with this kit? 

A lot of the decal insignia look familiar from my look at Intruder squadrons.... 

I did the old Hasegawa kit (you think you've got problems?!...) and those designs and letter styles on the fin etc look the same. 

Maybe each VF had /has their own Tanker section on board for the tour? 

I'll ride along to see how this turns out 🤩

 

Hmm, not sure. I believe it's just retro fitted to serve as a tanker. I read too it has a specialized IP in the cockpit that differs from the TRAM. 

 

The kit though can easily be built up in A-6E config if you know what to modify. It's literally the same sprue minus a few parts and weapons.

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12 hours ago, Fox_Two said:

The kit though can easily be built up in A-6E config if you know what to modify. It's literally the same sprue minus a few parts and weapons.

KA-6D's could theoretically be employed for visual bombing. 

 

The Italeri KA-6D kit lacks the A-6E style bump under the aft fuselage where the internal hose reel fairing is located. 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

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Got some work done on the 5 external fuel tank stores. Whats weird though is that the kit includes 5 wing tanks and one centerline tank. Along with that it includes 6 fins for those tanks. 

 

It would make sense, extra parts wise, if there were six wing tanks and 6 fins for those tanks. But anyway...

 

Easily enough out together but all need major putty work:

 

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After that they're sanded down smooth. Here's the million dollar skill: sanding down cylindrical shapes while retaining said cylindrical shape.

 

I use the infini softback sanding sponges as they confirm to the shape of the surface better. Still not perfect but better than using bare sand paper or sanding sticks. Once paint is one you usually don't notice some sides being flatter than the other.

 

If anyone has the magic bullet strategy on how to do this better I'm all ears. Here they are sanded down. Will be describing the lines on them soon.

 

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Finally, the fins are added which are no small feat to get centered properly. There's a raised guideline but it's useless. You have to eyeball the placement and go blind in the process.

 

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Ideally italeri should've molder the fin on one end of the tank and then it self centers when you slap the other half on. That's how most kits do it...but oh well.

 

Next I'll be in fuselage sanding/filling/rescribing hell. Already started on some of it using super glue. But there are some major gaps that will need some Milliput.

Edited by Fox_Two
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Minor update. Still plugging away at sanding, filling, and rescribing.

 

Here are some examples of what good receiving can do. 

 

Before:

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After:

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Most rescribing and rivets were done with a simple needle in a pin vise.

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Still sanding and filling. Nothing is a drop fit on here. In the images below you can see the gaps I filled on the underside and the engine exhaust.

 

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And here are the airbrakes attached and the holes drilled out for them.

 

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Not pictured but I attached the forward intakes, and the inner portion of the wings to the fuselage. I also dropped some lead weight in the nose and once the glue dries, will attach it.

 

I also dry fit the forward windscreen...and...well...were going to have a problem. It has some major gaps. But I knew it would be problem from reviews I read. I'll post pictures of the dry fit later.

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The putty party continues...What's funny though is that there are no big gaps or egregious fits that cause you bust out hours of *basic modelling skillz*. While most of the attachments are NOT a good fit, they don't require too much putty or sanding.

 

In this image you can see some marked off areas that were in need of putty and sanding. You can see the gaps aren't horrible. This isn't an old Revell/Monogram kit here, but it is still annoying.

 

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Here you can see the gaps on the wings. Nothing too bad but not a drop fit either. We want to clean this up since we're displaying the wings folded. Another annoyance is the gaps inside the wing you can see on either side. The wing is three pieces with the top, bottom, and folding mechanism (in the center). I could try to fill it but it would be more trouble than it's worth. Another issue are the numerous ejector pin marks. Almost impossible to sand though out. I might drill them out or just add more detail over them. Or I'll just say *F* it and leave them.

 

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So what I like to do here is attack it with acrylic putty. In this case, Deluxe Perfect Plastic Putty. It goes down rough and sticky so I use tape to mask off the area. Then apply it and smooth it out with a q-tip. After it dries for a bit I smooth it out again with a wet q-tip while being liberal with the water on it. That way the putty begins to pool in the gap while removing it from the rest of the area. It works really well in hard to reach places where a tougher putty like Tamiya would be impossible to sand without damaging the model.

 

Let's talk about sanding sponges for a minute. I love my Infini sanding sticks. They're softback and are great at conforming to compound surfaces. Where regular sandpaper might flatten a surface, these keep the shape. Beware though, using them on straight edges can (and has for me) resulted in a curved or drooped edge. Oops!

 

See below how it conforms to the leading edge of the wing. Using regular sandpaper here would outright flatten the edge while these sticks will keep its shape.

 

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Moving on, I've added weight to the nose piece using lead fishing weights. I put about a pound of white glue (elmers) in there to hold it together. I've dropped it more than once on accident and nothing has jarred loose. Next time, I'll throw some milliput in there to hold it down since its sticky and dries rock hard. Much easier than slopping the glue in there.

 

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Since the bottom of the fuselage is all one color (gear, gear doors, pylons, etc) im going to go ahead and attach them all before painting. Always attach as much as you can before painting and you're life will be easier.

 

The pylons come with some weird rod sticking out but the instruction say to nip it off. After some brief sanding they're good to go.

 

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........And here is the final product so far

 

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It's starting to look like a plane! There still a few gaps I need to fill and cleanup. I also have a few more attachments on the outboard wings to attach. I'll also throw the gear on (but skip the doors as they can break off easily) before painting. I want all assembly completed before I move on to painting.

 

I also made an executive decision and decided to completely fill in the fuel tank panel lines. Since the fit was...meh...half the lines got sanded/filled in. I tried rescribing one but after an hour it was too jaggy and annoying. I'll just sand them all smooth and move on. Will it look realistic? No, but I dont think it will be too noticeable.

 

I'm also leaving off the refueling probe (underside) and the arresting hook. Those will be painted separately and attached at the end.

 

Hopefully in my next post we can get to priming! There we will fix any minor imperfections it shows - prime again - and move on to painting. 

 

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That is a good looking build. I like the look of the decal sheet - I can see me having to get one of these. For 1/72 I think from what I can see of your build, the detail looks pretty ok and the fit seems to be going well - what's there not to like? (that last underside photo you have shared, the detail looks really good)

 

without referring to Wiki (or whatever) I think answering the KA-6D versus A-6E ...I think the tanker version had most of the fancy electronics (the FLIR,obviously, but I think some of the radar stuff?) left out. I suspect that much of the armoured plating that was fitted on the -6E was also missing (the Revell 1/48 -6E has this armour moulded well) - if for no reason to keep some of the weight off to allow more gas to be carried (think launch weight limits). From what I've read, being a BN flying in the -6D burning holes in the sky around the boat must have been as dull as hell - not even a radar display to play with. (although -6Es were sometimes used for tanker ops if required). All the KA-6Ds had higher MODEX numbers (reflected in the decal sheet - i.e. the Intruder sqns typically had 5xx with the tankers being at the top end of that range 52x etc. (again) a guess that none of the KA=6Ds got the SWIPE wing modifications in the early 90's???? (but this kit has the older 6A/KA-6D/-6E wing fold anyway)

 The big advantage of a dedicated tanker airframe was to keep the hours off the other airframes, so now it's the poor old Superhornet sqns that have to "use" up their hours flying at least 1 tanker configured bird for every launch/recovery serial.

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Primer is now down. I've identified some areas that need additional sanding. I don't think more filler will be necessary. 

 

Primer down:

 

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Additional areas that need to be cleaned up:

 

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Shouldn't be too much work. Looks like just raised filler/superglue that needs to be sanded even.

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....and here are the results.

 

I'm still not happy with the underside or the upper canopy area. Luckily, these are the two least visible locations - with the canopy area being due to me displaying it open. It should hide those blemishes.

 

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And the final shot with the canopy attached:

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