This release in 1/48th scale from HobbyBoss of a A-10 is the third kit of the model release thus far by them. The A-10 is one of those aircraft that does have a big brutish look to it, with the huge cannon around which the aircraft was built to enhance that look. The A-10 was designed and built to provide close ground support to infantry and armoured units. The cannon in the nose being designed to destroy enemy armour, and a huge weapons load to perform any function you care to think of. This aircraft is a fairly slow vehicle and so you would think an easy target for the enemy. However, the pilot in protected by a titanium tub - an entire engine could be blown off and the plane would still fly. It can also manage with the large aspects of the airframe missing or destroyed.
This offering from HobbyBoss is provided in a cardboard tray with separate cardboard lid showing the artwork. Inside the cardboard tray is a segregated area protecting the clear parts of the model. The sprues are individually bagged and access for removal of the parts is good in most cases. Unfortunately the gates between the sprue and parts does mean that careful clean up and removal will be needed as some gates protrude onto the external surfaces of the part. This is particularly true in the case of the tail fins. An examination of the parts reveals no other issues that I can determine at this time.
Any modeller who has tackled one of the previous A-10s released in this scale from HobbyBoss will instantly know where they are with this release - as very little in the way of changes have been made between this release and the original single seat version. The cockpit of the model, is provided inside its protected tub. The instrument panel is provided with a decal, as are the side instrument panels - I can’t really comment on the accuracy of the instrument clusters, as picking out the individual items leaves you cross-eyed. However, general appearance is good. HobbyBoss has provided the huge form of the magazine for the GAU cannon, with reasonable detail being provided throughout its length and remember when extracted from the aircraft is a little bit longer that a VW Beetle from memory. The pointy end of the cannon seen protruding from the nose is reasonably detailed, but can in my opinion be nicely improved via the barrel set released by Master Model.
The fuselage of the model is a straightforward assembly, being in two halves with the front undercarriage area being an additional part. The surface detail provided is of a good appearance, with no obvious errors that I could pick up. One thing that does cause concern, is that due to the highly detailed exterior any filler required will be all but impossible to clean up, without damaging that nice surface detail. The undercarriage of the model has been well tackled as regards detail, but those that wish to further enhance this area can easily do so as various resin sets have been released for the first single seat version and can be used on this kit, as they are identical. The wing undercarriage sections are one area that I know can be replaced, and the detail available is an improvement.
The flight surfaces of this release are again identical to the original and so offer all separate flight control areas of the wing. The panel lines are nicely defined and this again leads me to repeat - that any filler required during application will be a pig to clean up. The tail area of the kit does not offer separate flight controls and so consider what you are doing with those on the wings. Some holes need to be made in various areas of the model, for the addition of small antennas and some surgery required in other locations to remove details present on the first release. The twin fuselage mounted engines, that give the A-10 it’s unusual appearance have two limited detailed engines from front to rear, with the housing being provided with separate access hatches should you wish to expose this detail. However, if you decide to take that route, I see a lot of swearing and scratch work in your future!!! The model itself has been provided with the opinion of a crew access ladder, being deployed or folded away and wheel chocks for the undercarriage have been provided - which I feel is a really nice touch.
The ordinance provided for this release consists of:
With new parts for this release being:
AAQ-33 Sniper aiming devices provided.
HobbyBoss has provided hard point mapping to indicate what weapons go where and in which configuration - but I do not know how accurate these details are.
HobbyBoss has provided four finishing options for this release, and surprise NO details on what they represent!!! On the plus side, I am pleased to see reasonably detailed painting instructions for the weaponry.
The brutish good looks of the A-10 make for an appealing model, and I do like what I find in this offering. My concerns are that the changes made in this release do not replicate fully the observed differences between this release and the original. It also needs to be remembered, that this kit is going head to head with other new releases of the A-10. I am happy with what is provided here, as I will also be seeking out the other new releases, but your opinion may be different. The big pluses for this release is that many of the less detailed areas of the model have already been catered to by the after market providers. With all that said, anyone but the purest who purchases this model will I believe be happy with what is provided when the price is considered and a great weapons selection as the icing on the cake.