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Trumpy A-6E TRAM Intruder - "Raygun 501"


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So, I swore off 1/32 jets over a year ago. But, well, I had some wins at work to celebrate and...it's an Intruder...and I really wanted it.




What can I say? I love the Intruder. Strangely, it's probably my favorite aircraft that's been in active service during my lifetime, edging out the A-10, Strike Eagle and F/A-18D in the Fast-FAC role. It also belongs to that special class of old aircraft (and ships and tanks...) who had their last hurrah over Iraq, and who crushed it. The Intruder is an obvious standout here, but so's the A-7, the F-4G and RF-4C, OV-10D...


Anyway, the chance to build a giant Desert Storm Intruder is too much for me to pass up. Thanks to the wonderful AOA Decals sheet, I'll be doing "Raygun 501" of VA-35. Apart from having cool tail art, the Black Panthers were actually the first Navy squadron to drop on Iraqi targets, and the first to use night vision devices in combat.




Aftermarket is a bit anemic...but I'll be throwing some goodies the Intruder's way:


- AMS Resin FOD covers. Nice splash of color and a lot of time and seam cleanup saved.

- AMS Wheels. Again, 1/32 kit with stupid vinyl wheels. WHY?

- True Details GRU-7 bang seats

- Eduard Exterior Detail (for the A-6A...I figure plenty of details carry over)


Loadout is still a bit up in the air. Right now I'm leaning toward 4 x Mk.20 Rockeyes on MERs on the outer stations, an AGM-88 HARM on the inboard port station, and drop tanks on the ventral and starboard inboard stations. The HARM is a bit of a mystery. Lots of indications that HARM capability was part of a SWIP upgrade that many Intruders didn't receive until after Desert Storm. But VA-35 did - as it was able to use NVDs over Iraq. And there are pictures of another squadron, VA-75, loading HARMs onto A-6Es during the conflict. So...I'm going with possible.


The kit Rockeyes are sadness, so I'm going with the AMS aftermarket ones - could only get my hands on eight total, hence 4 per side. Stranger loadouts have happened.


I'd expect a slightly slow start, with all the other builds I've got going on, but this one has me all excited, so...stick around!

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Very cool. I have been waiting for a build of this version to come up. I have the kit as well but had been waiting for some new decals for it. Until I read your post I didn't realize that anyone had released any. Thanks for the heads up! I'm really looking forward to watching your build

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  • 2 weeks later...
Working from home today. Took a break to do some thinking and somehow wound up soaking and setting out the Intruder sprues...




Detail on the Intruder itself is great. The weapons sprues are a mixed bag, however. Seems to me like they were lifted from prior kits perhaps. But I'm definitely loving the instrument panel. It's easy to see where the 1/48 Hobby Boss kits got their looks.



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And the Intruder is officially underway!


Got the cockpit tub and aft deck glued together last night. Just like I remember with the 1/48 Hobby Boss, the angled fit looks intimidating but the parts line up nicely.


Also got the intakes together and test-fitted the AMS FOD covers. Some trimming down of the resin pour block is recommended, but once it's whittled away just enough, the covers fit nicely. Wish I could say the same about the intakes...rough joins top and bottom that will certainly require clean-up work. I seem to remember this from the 1/48 kit as well.




As for size...the Intruder is not small.




For kicks, I set it beside the Zulu Viper.




More to come...

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