by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Skyraider in its various forms was used for a huge number of tasks and saw combat in both Korea and Vietnam. There are a few offerings out there in 1/48th scale such as Tamiya and the old MatchBox offering, now Italeri have released an offering in the form of the AD-4W Skyraider, an offering not available from the previous companies mentioned.
The model is supplied in a card tray with separate card lid, on the lid there is a quite nice image of the aircraft in flight. The model itself is packaged in a single plastic bag which could cause problems in some cases. The contents consist of:
3 grey sprues
1 clear sprue
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
Firstly letís get the bad news out of the way as regards this release; the model is a re-release of the ESCI/EMT offering from the late 1970ís, but that is not to say that the model is to be avoided at all costs. Considering the age of this model I am pleased in some respects and not in others. The mouldings have very little in the way of flash, this indicates that the moulds have been well looked after or been well serviced. I did find a lot of flow marks in the mouldings, but I believe these will not cause issues. I have note at least one sink mark so far that will need fixing, that is a pain but easily fixed.
The cockpit is fairly simple in design and parts. It is provided with decals to represent the instrument panel and seat harness; while the decals for the instrument panels are acceptable the seat harness decals are not going to cut it by todayís standards. I would say that if you are looking to bring this model up to current standards and take on the work that requires, look for an aftermarket cockpit, or at the very least a better way of mimicking the seat harnesses.
The fuselage appears to have reasonable accuracy when compared to scale drawings. The big let down here is that all of the external panel lines are raised and that means a lot of work to remove and re-scribe them. I have checked the fuselage against the SAM Publications title covering the Skyraider, the raised panel lines present all appear to be accurate in placement. For a model that is as old as this offering it is an accurate model from what I can see.
Moving onto the flight surfaces the news is very much the same as with the fuselage. The wings are spot on as regards scale, but again the panel lines are raised. the panel lines are well replicated as regards placement for the most part, but the wing fold location does not match my scale reference. I suppose it is possible that the wing fold is differently placed on this version, but I doubt it. On the plus side assuming a modeller is going to re-scribe the model, this issue will not matter as they will be removing the lines.
The horizontal tail fins are again very accurate as regards scale size, but the raised panel lines all appear to be a work of fiction as regards placement. On the plus side the flight controls are correctly represented. The radial engine offers room for improvement via the application of an ignition harness, but for those modellers not willing to do this, the detail is quite good. The four bladed propeller appears correct and matches my scale drawings perfectly.
The undercarriage is a plus point in most respects. The main struts are accurate if a little thick, some brake line and hydraulic pipe detail is also included both on the struts and the wheel bays and so I am happy with these parts. The wheels and tyres are the let-down for me as I just donít like them, resin wheels are calling out to me.
Moving onto the part that gives this model its unique look, the radar housing. The shape of this looks to be excellent and is what calls out to me. The fuel drop tanks supplied are acceptable and even have added decal detail supplied. The racks that the drop tanks mount onto have sink marks present, due I believe to the thickness of the parts. The added tail stabilizer fins also suffer with very shallow sink marks. The canopy supplied is good for the models age as it is not anything like as thick as I was expecting.
The decals supplied with this model are very good detail wise, but very thick and that is an issue that I feel will need more a decal setting solution to overcome. With that said four finishing options have been supplied which are:
AEW 1 Skyraider, Royal Navy, 849 NAS, HMS Albion, Suez crises, 1956
AEW 1 Skyraider, Royal Navy, 849 NAS, HMS Ark Royal, 1958
AD-4W Skyraider, US Navy, VC-12, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), 1950
AD-4W Skyraider, USMC, VMC-1, Phoang AB, Korea, 1952/53
This is going to sound a little odd in that I really like the look of this model, but would pull up short of recommending it, I feel the price is too high for what it offers and the work load it represents to produce a good quality model. If you are willing to put in the work to bring this up to standard it will offer a great looking model. There are two issues that jump out at you with this model, the raised panel lines and the very thick decals. The panel lines are a matter of choice, the decals though will be a pig.