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A-10A "Warthog" of the Wisconsin Air National Guard


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Having just finished my O-2A Cessna Skyhawk, I'm now ready to start on the last planned entry for my Wisconsin Air National Guard collection: the A-10A Thunderbolt II (a.k.a. "Warthog"). 

 

In October 1981 the Wisconsin ANG's 128th Tactical Air Support Wing was redesignated the 128th Tactical Fighter Wing and began trading in their Cessna OA-37B Dragonflies for the A-10A. During the A-10 era, the unit received two Outstanding Unit Awards, three Air Force Flight Safety Awards, and in 1991 an "Outstanding" in its Unit Effectiveness Inspection. Deployments with the A-10 included Operation Coronet Cove to Panama, and "Checkered Flag" missions to NATO bases in West Germany and England. With the end of the Cold War, the early 1990s marked several changes. In March 1992, the wing became the 128th Fighter Wing and shortly thereafter began transitioning from the A-10A to the F-16C/D block 30 Fighting Falcon, which they fly to this day.

 

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For this build I will using the well-reviewed 1/72 Revell kit, which I found on eBay for a reasonable price:

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Inside of the end-opening box are two gray sprues and one clear sprue:

 

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The clear parts, unfortunately, were not separately bagged, and there are a couple of obvious scratches on the front windscreen which I will have to polish out:

51351425306_d22a574ac4_z.jpg 

 

There is also water damage on the decal sheet, so I've ordered aftermarket decals for the numerous stencils. As usual, I will print custom decals for the Wisconsin ANG markings.

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Besides the 235 board number and "WI" on the fin, "Bucky Badger" (on the engine pod) is the only other Wisconsin-specific marking:

51351450716_81033d4fd1_c.jpg 

 

51352188239_358236aa5d_z.jpg   51350755012_ffc805917f_w.jpg 

 

I also have amassed a goodly collection of aftermarket items, not all of which I expect to use:

51351651418_23e96b67f8_b.jpg 

 

Let's get started!

 

My first task is to make the Aires resin cockpit fit in the fuselage. Although the Aires cockpit is designed specifically for this kit, every Aires cockpit I've used has required significant thinning and rework of the fuselage to achieve a good fit.

 

I marked off the areas that would need to be thinned, and attacked them with my rotary tool and a set of set of small scrapers:

51356343172_f1c30f61de_z.jpg 

 

The rear deck behind the ejection seat also had to be modified:

51357312033_e824b3e871_z.jpg 

 

After much trial-and-error, the cockpit eventually fit nicely in place:

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Aires provides a nice replacement for the forward "dash", which requires cutting away the kit's representation:

51357312088_3674e84d18_c.jpg 

 

Here's the replacement piece test-fitted in place. I did end up with a gap at the front, but that's no big problem and I'll tackle that at the appropriate time:

51356343162_921e690c92.jpg  51357821154_d9f18176ba.jpg 

 

That's enough progress for now. Next step will be to paint, detail, and assemble the cockpit pieces.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, neil5208 said:

Good start Bill and good luck with the Master barrel set I couldn't get mine together properly.

Thanks for the heads-up, I’ll pay special attention when I get to that point. 

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When starting a new project, I always search the forum to see if anyone has done it before. Lo and behold, I found that @giemme did this kit (in its Italeri boxing) a few years ago.  I’m always impressed with Giorgio’s excellent work, and I’ll be unashamedly cribbing from him on my build 😊

 

 

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I’ll be keeping an eye on this too, Bill. It isn’t something I’d build but I do like your building style :).

 

Martin

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3 hours ago, RidgeRunner said:

I’ll be keeping an eye on this too, Bill. It isn’t something I’d build but I do like your building style :).

 

Martin

Thanks Martin. This isn’t my typical build, either, but I’m compelled to finish up my Wisconsin ANG collection. 
 

I read through all 34 pages of Giorgio’s build last night, and can see there are quite a few challenges ahead of me. (Nothing as bad as the Airfix Skymaster, thankfully!). Giorgio’s WIP is quite thorough and he added a fair amount of extra detail that I’ll probably not do (I don’t want this to be a 10-month project, like his, and I’m not building this for a contest).

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Love the Warthog -- I get to see pairs or finger-fours of the Maryland ANG A-10s flying over the house on a regular basis. Always a thrill.

Looking forward to following your build!

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I had a few good hours at the bench today, and managed to finish off the interior. But, before I could start, I had to find the forward combing piece which had mysteriously disappeared. I cleaned off the workbench and thoroughly searched the floor -- no joy. Finally, I checked my robo-vacuum (which I've programmed to clean my workroom floor every night):

 

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and, there it was! Inside the dustbin:

 

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What a relief that was!

 

First, I painted up the bang seat. There were still a number of tiny PE parts to add when I took these photos:

51361367376_956a5cc6a1_z.jpg  51361367336_81d21b048c_z.jpg

 

Then, I painted & built-up the instrument panel, and finished off the cockpit tub. (The seat has only been test-fitted in these pics):

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You can see in the above photos that I've used some Eduard pre-painted PE for the consoles either side of the seat. Aires only had engraved detail on the consoles and thus precluded dry-brushing (which I would have preferred). Because of that, I decided to try out the pre-painted PE. To be honest, I'm not too keen about how this turned out.

 

After an afternoon break, I added the PE to the ejection seat:

51361016582_2c15191c74_c.jpg 

 

Not bad for a day's work!

 

Now, a slight change of subject. For the past few years, when doing decals, I've been using a coffee mug warmer to heat the water. The mug warmer I've been using has only a manual on-off switch, which means my water was usually either too cold or too hot. I'm happy to say that is no longer the case! Today, the post lady delivered this replacement for my primitive mug warmer:

 

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The new one is thermostatically controlled, and can be set to maintain one of three temperatures:

51362500320_bb396aa89c_c.jpg 

 

There was a  minor snag, however. My new warmer has a microswitch that only runs the heater when it detects the weight of a coffee mug. The shallow petri dish I use for my decal water doesn't weigh enough to activate the switch. A little tape over the switch solved that problem!

 

51362221624_a358decb86_z.jpg 

 

That's all for today. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

 

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Lovely work on the seat and 'pit...and great save on finding the mysteriously-lost part!

 

[Apropos of nothing particularly relevant, your description of the latter gave me a sudden mental flash (or in my case, perhaps merely a dim firefly glimmer) of a humorous 'modern' spin on an age-old situation: I suddenly imagined some straight-faced elementary school student earnestly explaining to his teacher that "The robo-vacuum ate my homework...."]

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Just now, thorfinn said:

Lovely work on the seat...and great save on finding the mysteriously-lost part!

[Apropos of nothing particularly relevant, your description of the latter gave me a sudden mental flash (or in my case, perhaps merely a dim firefly glimmer) of a curious 'modern' spin on an age-old situation: I suddenly imagined some straight-faced elementary school student earnestly telling his teacher that "The robo-vacuum ate my homework...."]


I found the robo-vacuum at a bargain store and picked it up on a whim. It does a great job of cleaning up the miscellaneous debris off my workroom floor. (I intentionally didn’t put carpet in, no sense in encouraging the carpet monsters). I’ve always thought it might help find missing parts (small gray parts disappear quickly on a big gray floor).  This is the first time the vacuum has actually found something! 

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Aren't you posh with your parts-rescuing robo-vac and your infinitely customisable decal warmer (with manual override)!  😎

 

I'm not sure how I'd feel about the colour etch if it were my model; it does look a little flat but a few months after completion I doubt you'll notice.

 

 

 

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Here's my latest update.

 

I realized that the resin combing piece should not sit on top of the fuselage, but instead gets glued to the cockpit tub and comes up from beneath when the tub is installed. So, I had to enlarge the opening I had made for the combing:

51363878921_127fb81f38_c.jpg 

 

Forewarned by Giorgio's WIP, I checked the fit of the canopy windscreen and, like him, found a gap at the rear. I followed the master's technique and filled it with styrene strip:

51363120397_d51c6b8ef2_z.jpg   51364893445_8856150181_z.jpg

 

The belly piece that holds the nose gear bay has a gap at the rear. This would create a step along the fuselage bottom if you glued it in place as-is. To prevent this, I shimmed the rear part of the join with 0.2mm styrene:

51363878876_fc0ab4f034_z.jpg  51363878881_77eb5a6e51_z.jpg 

 

There is also a gap at the nose which will have to be filled after the piece is glued in place:

51363878891_4c718580ff_z.jpg

 

Here's my (stock) nose gear bay, no where near as nice as Giorgio's (seen in the second photo):

51364893470_1a148f854d_z.jpg   39458500795_7ce231dbbf_z.jpg

 

The piece that forms the top of the nose bay extends all the way across to the left side of the fuselage. When I assembled mine, it wanted to sit at an angle (higher on the left than on the right). It took some fettling to make it sit level. Otherwise, there was the possibility that it would interfere with the cockpit tub, which sits over it.

 51363878896_983132ff40_z.jpg   51364098963_ac31c9ab9a_z.jpg 

 

Revell's instructions call for 30-grams (1-oz) of nose weight. There's plenty of room (in the nose forward of the gear bay, the area left of the the bay, and behind the bay/cockpit tub) but the volume's shape is complex and it could be hard to fit "normal" weights. In a situation like this, I like to use tungsten putty:

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Here's what 1-ounce of putty looks like (on the left, on the right is 1/3-oz which I'll add if I can just to be on the safe side).:

51364098958_5638f88f11_c.jpg 

 

Moving on . . . .

 

I have read that the Revell (same as Italeri) nose isn't exactly correct, and that the Hasegawa nose is better. I have the Hasegawa kit in my stash, so I pulled it out for comparison. Here's how the nose cross-sections compare (Hasegawa on the left, Revell/Italeri on the right). Note the relatively sharp corner on the Revell/Italeri kit:

51364615769_f4e9103561_z.jpg 51364615809_cf63b3a0d2_z.jpg

 

They are slightly different in profile, as well, with the Hasegawa nose (top of photo below) having a sharper angle:

51363120377_ba821166c4_z.jpg

 

Something to keep in mind when I attach the nose piece.

 

Also nose-related, I would love to add Master Model's GAU-8 aftermarket piece (assuming I can get it assembled!):

51364645064_26666198a5.jpg  51363149587_0274ef598c.jpg

 

Here's the real thing:

51364615709_2440d2bd0f_c.jpg

 

Giorgio was able to do it, so I thought, so can I. But then, he was able to enlarge the opening in the nose for the MM piece without any difficulties... Here's what happened when I tried to open mine:

51364098943_6d5d398519_z.jpg  

 

Arrrgggghhhhh!!!! :headbang:  That will teach me to not use power tools on thin styrene parts!

 

Fortunately, I discovered that 4mm brass tubing fits nicely around the MM brass piece:

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It should simply be a matter of removing the plastic cylinder-piece and replacing it with the proper length of brass tubing:

51364098948_4cea846f3b_z.jpg

 

Assuming, of course, that I can get the Master Model kit assembled!

 

 

 

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I will probably attempt to re-shape the nose to make it look more like the Hasegawa kit's. This will mean rounding off the rather sharp corners on either side, at the top. I don't want to break through the kit plastic without having something beneath to fill the void, so I filled the interior of the corners with epoxy putty:

51365627371_b36dc5c574_c.jpg 

 

Next began the task of inserting the recommended 30-grams (minimum) of nose weight. I was able to pack about half that amount, using tungsten putty, around the nose gear bay:

51364871407_1affbf061d_z.jpg 

 

but with the cockpit and gear bay only temporarily fitted in place, I found it difficult to tell where, exactly, I could safely add the rest of the weight. Thus, I decided to go ahead and superglue the cockpit tub into the left-side fuselage half:

51366638925_66dd0b379e_z.jpg 

 

You can see in the pic above where I inserted styrene strip in the gaps between the resin tub and the fuselage side, to ensure the cockpit is securely mounted.

 

I also glued the nose gear bay / belly panel assembly to the left fuselage half.

51366365179_4d02978664_c.jpg 

 

I began at the very front, using finger pressure to join the parts, and brushed Bondene down the join. Bondene sets up very quickly, and I was able to close the gap previously noted (before and after pics):

51363878891_4c718580ff_z.jpg  51365627291_c2e927cb78_z.jpg

 

Of course, I may only have succeeded in moving the gap to the other side of the panel, but I'll tackle that possibility if and when I get to it.

 

With the cockpit, belly panel, and gear bay in place I now have a better picture of where I can add the rest of the nose weight:

51366365134_b264bef719_z.jpg 

 

I'll put as much of the tungsten putty as I can in the void forward of the cockpit tub, and add whatever else is needed (using traditional weights) behind the nose gear bay. Once that's complete, I'll button up the fuselage.

 

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Nice work on this!  Tell me more about the use/limitations of JB's SteelStik.  Does it generate a lot of heat as it dries?  Can it serve as additional nose weight?  How well does it adhere to the plastic, and will you be able to sand it if you actually break through?  I'd never heard of this product before, but it seems readily accessible.  Alex

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5 minutes ago, TheyJammedKenny! said:

Nice work on this!  Tell me more about the use/limitations of JB's SteelStik.  Does it generate a lot of heat as it dries?  Can it serve as additional nose weight?  How well does it adhere to the plastic, and will you be able to sand it if you actually break through?  I'd never heard of this product before, but it seems readily accessible.  Alex


All good questions. I saw someone else use this for a similar purpose, so decided to give it a try (I.e. this is my first time using it). I only made a small amount, and didn’t notice any heat, but I expect a larger amount could get warm. It sets up in about 5 minutes, but takes more time to fully cure. I’ve no idea how it sands, and hope I don’t find out this time around 😉

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I happen to be working on the Hasegawa Hog, so interested in seeing your progress. It looks good so far.

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All the nose weight in in place now. I managed to get 37-grams in, which gives me a safety margin of about 20-percent over the recommended 30-gram number.

 

51366467473_f7f1f1f868_z.jpg 

 

Note the thick plastic bulkhead I installed behind the fishing weights. In case the weights come loose, I don't want them falling back to the tail... that would be bad!

 

When I added the fishing weights, I didn't take into account that this kit has an equipment bay on the starboard side. I had to cut away the backside of the bay, which was fine because I wasn't planning to show it open anyway.

51366467318_24486900ff_z.jpg 

 

I next proceeded to glue the fuselage halves together, starting at the nose and using Bondene as my adhesive. Unlike when I added the nose gear bay belly pan to the left fuselage side, getting the seam to close on the right side required more than finger pressure, and I resorted to using clamps. I did get the seam to close but it's going to need some putty and sanding to look good:

51366983369_5a1fbb9942_c.jpg

 

Now for the bad news. When I removed the clamps, I discovered they had not been centered on the fuselage, and pressed harder on the right side than on the left. That created a nasty step along the spine which will take some effort to correct  :oops:

 

51367257525_ccc6bccb17_c.jpg 

 

Also, the blade antennae that were molded as part of the fuselage halves are now history and will have to be replaced.

 

I continued gluing the fuselage halves together, an inch at a time, until I was done:

51366983399_0cf8c8725a_b.jpg 

 

Do you think I put enough weight in the nose?

51366247701_807e2cd24e_b.jpg 

 

But wait! You say... "That's not a fair test. You haven't included the engines and rear control surfaces. They sit far to the rear and are certain to shift the center-of-gravity toward the tail. Are you sure this won't be a tail-sitter?"

 

Okay, let's see:

 

51366467513_da2cecfce4_b.jpg

 

The CG has definitely moved back, but it's still a good 3-cm forward of the main gear location. I'm calling this good-to-go.

 

My plan for tomorrow is to begin cleaning up the fuselage seams, refine the nose shape, and (hopefully) assemble the wings and rear surfaces.

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That Master GAU-8 set will really be the icing on the cake-- that gun is the focal point of the aircraft.

 

You may be interested in a recent A-10 in the news!  (Well, in the Daily Mail at least.  Perhaps not the most reputable news source, unless you follow celebrity gossip.)

 

Quote

Air National Guard A-10 Tankbuster lands and takes-off from a domestic highway - a historic first - in drill to prepare for possible conflict with China

 

The operation was the first time modern warplanes have operated off of a civilian roadway in the United States

 

The planes took off and landed on Michigan's highway M-32, which was closed off to traffic, Thursday morning

 

In addition to the four A-10 attack jets that took part, a pair of C-146A Wolfhound transport craft were also involved

 

The operation brought assets from a variety of locations including from Air Force bases in Arizona and Florida

 

It was part of the larger Northern Strike Exercise, which is intended to test different capabilities from across the Department of Defense branches

 

The highway landings were intended to test the Air Force's new Agile Combat Employment doctrine, intended to maintain strike capabilities even if facilities such as airbases are destroyed   

 

 

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11 hours ago, billn53 said:

All the nose weight in in place now. I managed to get 37-grams in, which gives me a safety margin of about 20-percent over the recommended 30-gram number.

 

Wow. My Hasegawa instructions showed a combined 18 grams of two weights. A tape together of all the big parts and my guesstimates make me think I will get away with slightly less. I'm gong to have a second look before I glue my fuse halves together.

Thank you.

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4 minutes ago, baldwin8 said:

 

Wow. My Hasegawa instructions showed a combined 18 grams of two weights. A tape together of all the big parts and my guesstimates make me think I will get away with slightly less. I'm gong to have a second look before I glue my fuse halves together.

Thank you.

 

I'm very conservative when it comes to nose weight (i.e., I put in more than necessary). On the other hand, I plan to replace the engine fans with resin aftermarket, which will likely be heavier than the stock parts, so it's good to have some margin.

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