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In-Box Review
Grumman A-6A Intruder
Trumpeter 1/32 Grumman A-6A Intruder
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by: Matthew Robeson [ SCVROBESON ]

Originally published on:

The Fuselage
The first thing to strike you is that this box and model are massive. The box itself is huge, and amazingly stuffed completely full of plastic parts. Immediately upon opening you notice the size of the fuselage parts. Each fuselage half is full-length, and is about the same size as the HK Model B-25 I just finished up. The fuselage sprue also includes parts for the intakes and exhausts. It is likely that the fuselage sprue as it is will remain unchanged for A-6A and E variants. The problem is that Trumpeter molded the fuselage to be a -6E fuselage, so there are a few panels that need to be filled and removed. The fuel vents on the rear fuselage need to be filled in, along with the panel lines right around it. There are also round panel lines used to fit the large air intake for the -E version. Finally the slime-lights on the fuselage must go, since these were not fitted on the early Intruder.

The Wings
The inner wing portions and open spoilers are moulded together on one sprue. It's really cool that Trumpeter moulded these together, as it should lead to extreme ease of alignment. The outer wing portions are on a separate sprue and present another small issue. The outer wing panels contain the full formation lights on the wingtips, but these were not attached to the A-6A, so once again you must fill these in to accurize the kit. You will also need to add the rear position lights as shown on the box-art. The wing-folds are included, and are even molded with a pylon preattached. There is a full set of slats and flaps provide, and the flap guides will make this assembly much better and stronger than most. And will ensure that alignment will be a simple job at the end of the build.

The Details
Trumpeter has included detail in every part of the model. Two complete engines are included, the nose radar is there, the under-fuselage avionics cage is there, even the RAT for the port wing is in the box. Trumpeter really went all-out with the moulded detail on this kit. One of the sprues is completely devoted to the engine bay doors under the fuselage, and this looks really great. It should be lots of fun to detail and show off how much work went into this kit. The biggest problem will be making sure everything goes together well once it's in the fuselage. Luckily Trumpeter provides a spine to go up inside the fuselage to provide both the bulkhead for the engine bay and a lot of structural integrity to the assembly. The avionics system under the fuselage is complete with black boxes. This will of course need some wiring to make it look accurate, but Trumpeter provides a great start for the builder. One problem that I've seen is that the radome is provided in two halves, which will be a pain to clean up. Not so difficult on the outside, but getting the interior seam away will require some work if you want to expose the radome in order to show off the radar array it conceals.

The Cockpit
A nicely detailed cockpit is included, although the seats could use some work, or better yet replacement. Unfortunately no one makes GRU-5 seats in 1/32 as of yet. I'm sure someone will soon, or you could substitute in GRU-7 seats from a Tomcat without too much trouble. I doubt anyone besides an Intruder pilot from Vietnam would even know the difference. The instrument panel is provided via a grey plastic piece, then a clear panel that attaches behind it. This will have the decals mounted behind it, and should provide a very convincing instrument panel once all is said and done. The rear deck under the canopy is very well appointed, and should just need some cables and wiring to really make it great. The canopy and windscreen are crystal clear. This may be the clearest canopy I've ever seen in a kit, to the point that I wouldn't even hesitate keeping the canopy closed. The frames are also very nicely raised to aid when masking them, top marks to Trumpeter here!

The Undercarriage
The white metal landing gear is a bit hit-and-miss. The strength will be great once all of the parts are added in, but there is a lot of flash and ejector pins on the legs that will need to be cleaned up. It is a nuisance to clean up metal parts, but I think it will be needed over plastic gear because of the weight needed to keep this kit on its nose gear. Besides that, there is a set of rubber tires. I know people hate rubber tires, but I don't mind them that much. I'm sure resin replacements will be available soon enough for those that want them.

The Payload
The entire bottom portion of the box is taken up with sprues upon sprues of weapons. Trumpeter included every weapon that the Intruder could carry, so you're spoiled for choices. Plus; all of those weapons you don't want to use will fill out the spares box nicely. There is also a huge sheet of stencils for the weapons to make sure they look accurate.

The paperwork
There is a large decal sheet of markings. I've heard some chatter online that the panther decal is inaccurate, but I'm sure in a month or so there will be other options coming from the aftermarket producers. I do like that Trumpeter provided options for one very early Intruder with the tan radome, and one slightly later one with just the grey over white. Since there is such a large canvas to work with painting and weathering will be a long, but very rewarding part of the build. The instructions are typical Trumpeter fare, not great, but not awful. The color call-outs aren't fully accurate, but some basic research will show the proper colors.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Tons of detail, impressive size once done. Lots of weapons to populate the plane and spares box.
Lows: Very high price, small inaccuracies for the A-6A that will need to be fixed.
Verdict: Overall, a nice kit with some small things to fix. Nothing that really breaks the kit though, and nothing to cause much teeth gnashing at all
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: TSM02249
  Suggested Retail: $240.00USD
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 24, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Trumpeter!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Matthew Robeson (scvrobeson)

Copyright 2018 text by Matthew Robeson [ SCVROBESON ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.

Reader Reviews
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Joel,Joel,Joel calling Joel. Id love to see whatyou could do with this,although it's not 1/48. Chris
FEB 23, 2015 - 09:06 AM
Chris, Oh please on't temp me. I had the box in my hands last week at my LHS, and it's huge. I mean really huge. I'd love to tackle a kit of this magnitude, but I just don't have anywhere to display it. Not to mention that it's not exactly cheap. Joel
FEB 25, 2015 - 07:52 AM
Matt, Certainly an excellent and well detailed review. I'm looking forward to your build, as it should be a really modeling journey. Joel
FEB 25, 2015 - 08:02 AM
Oh dear, this one keeps calling to me. It was on sale at a show last weekend with one trader selling it a fair bit cheaper than the others, I resisted but I don't know for how long. I must admit compared to it's better looking stablemate (the F-14) the A-6 has never been high up my must build list until last year when I got the then new 1/48 kits now after reading the review I can see a very large intruder (pun intended) in my stash in the near future.
FEB 25, 2015 - 09:25 AM
Excellent kit review. Though I disagree about only pilots knowing the difference between the GRU-5 and GRU-7. The A-6 is a by far a favorite of mine, so I was thrilled that Trumpeter did it justice in 1/32 (and HB in 1/48). One of the things I really wish they had done though was include both types of fuselage panels - one plated and the perforated speed brakes. Instead they only give one type in each of their releases. The panther on the decal is just one of many, many issues with the decal sheets. Trumpeter sheets seem to be in general very inaccurate and approximations (their later E boxing is just as bad). The stencils are very poor, complete with many misspellings and coloring and sizes are way off. I did really enjoy seeing "NO STEP" markings indicated on the instructions to be applied on the bottom of the wing. Disclaimer, I'm involved with AOAdecals and offer A-6 sheets and also specific stencil sheet for the A-6 - primarily due to the kit one being so bad. I'm biased of course but I think if you compare the kit version with the aftermarket you'll see a significant difference and improvement.
MAR 04, 2015 - 12:59 AM
Steve, AOA Decals has a write up in our News section. I was the one who started off with a negative comment, then as I clarified it, was praising AOA for their decals and magnitude of stenciling included, as well as your fantastic instructions. I did say as a 1/48 scale builder, that I had just built the Hobby Boss A-6E using Fightertown decals, which had a few major issues that required the use of the kit decals instead, as well as the kit stencils which were of a much poorer quality. In short, I'm really looking forward to trying AOA decals, but you only offer A-6 subject matter right now, and I'm not planning on building another A-6 for some time. Are there other Vietnam era aircraft you're planning on making decals for? Joel
MAR 04, 2015 - 02:20 AM
Steve any plans on doing Navy decals for the A-6 in 1/32?
MAR 04, 2015 - 02:36 AM
Definitely. In 1/48 I have ongoing plans on doing my next personal favorite, the A-4. I have about 6 or so schemes pretty much done already, with references and plans for many more. I see it easily being two releases covering both USN and USMC A-4s (not necessarily one sheet for each). Surprisingly the A-4 research was/is actually harder and more frustrating than it was with the Marine A-6s which I never expected. Anyway, I got burned out struggling with the A-4s, and took a break and ended up doing the second 1/32 A-6 sheet. Since the A-4s are still preliminary I don't want to yet announce which schemes/squadrons will be covered. I'm currently working on another (mostly) Vietnam 1/32 sheet at the moment (not A-6). My primary interest is aircraft that were in combat and I need to have interest in the schemes in order to do the decals for (otherwise it would similar to having to build a kit of a subject you don't have any interest in). I'm sure others may want to see other schemes available (everyone has personal favorites of course), or maybe those that are more colorful or visually interesting (to me the potentially "bland" combat scheme is more interesting than a colorful peacetime scheme). Most of sheet 32-003 is Navy A-6s and is due out shortly. I don't plan to do any of the high-viz Navy A's if that's what you're looking for though? As much as I'd love to do more A-6s, I don't see it happening considering the relatively small market for 1/32 A-6s.
MAR 04, 2015 - 03:54 AM
Steve, I'm in for the Scooter. Joel
MAR 04, 2015 - 06:05 AM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
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