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1/32 Trumpeter A6-A Drumstick!


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Good evening guys and gals!


how am i going to put all of this into perspective...

Okay, lets first start off with the timeline of this WIP. I had a week off, went back home to Beirut and just came back to Qatar today at 0600 back to work. Before getting my days off, i had already started thinking about what i was going to start working on, now after narrowing things down to two kits ( Another A4M skyhawk, or the Intruder) i decided the time had come to start work on the intruder.

I had been slowly gathering AM stuff for this kit (and its twin in the stash) for a while now, and really looking forward to starting work on it. During my time 'away' from home i have slowly been digesting 'A-6 Intruder in detail and scale', 'Verlinden LockOn N20', 'WarbirdTech A-6 Intruder' and the 'Aerofax Grumman EA-6A' publications and i started having an overall picture of what i wanted to do with the kit...but then this changed along the way lol

so lets go step by step and shed some light on the hows and whys...

first of all the reason why i am writing this WIP in a 'post reporting' fashion is, as some of you may know, the laptop i have left back home is a very old laptop that doesnt really handle photobucket and posting on lsp in a multitasking fashion at the same time. That said laptop has received of late the honorary title of steam powered brick! so what i decided to do was to take all the photos during the wip, write down some notes, and once i got back to Doha, write up all i have managed to do during the week. i dont know how good my memory wil serve me or if this is going to be any good but i will try my best! now if this doesnt really work well i will during my next visit home do daily updates to this WIP (going back home on the 9th of October for a week). Lets see how this goes!

What ive noticed is there are not many WIPs of the Intruder on the internet, mostly completed ones (and those are scarce relatively) and i think its a shame. its a lovely subject and trumpeter has managed to make a really nice kit out of it. 

Here goes,  the kits in question i have bought back when it came out were two trumpeter 1/32 A6-As. Since then i have managed to gather aftermarket for both of them (although also of note, the AM guys didnt really jump on the bandwagon for this one! go wonder). For this kit in question, i will be using Eduard's Exterior PE, Interior coloured PE, Seatbelts coloured PE, and the Undercarriage PE set, also i will be using the WONDERFUL AOA Decals sheet Intruders from the beach (more on that in a bit) and the Avionix resin cockpit for the A6-A (also more on that in a bit). The kit itself comes in a huge box and the part count as per box if i remember right says something like 560+ parts.

Some photos of the kit unboxing below and the am stuff




For comparison this is a glass that can take 300ml ( a regular glass lol) its almost as high as the kit box, not quite!




Just a quick word here is due concerning the AOA decals. Theyre the BEST i have seen concerning print register and research. you dont get any instruction sheet or anything, what you get is a thoroughly and extensively well researched package that comes on a mini disk that comprises 47 pages. You get one section concerning what to modify in the trumpeter kit to get the correct A6-A variant, you get a couple of pages of the possible loadouts for each of vikings, batmen and hawks based on internal reports from the marines and based on actual pictures of the period, you get a section for stenciling and thoroughly well explained slides for each of the aircraft tails you can build from the different VMAs all with individual explanations on what to add or remove, the timeframe and any special information of interest to the modeler... tbh i am really very very pleased with what i got in the package, and i cant recommend it enough...






The avionix resin cockpit. i havent managed to buy two of those when i bought it as the store i bought it from only carried one. The cockpit itself looks very nice and has been reviewed on the internet in a couple of places. its basically the kit cockpit but spiced up with some extra wiring and missing electronic boxes. I ended up not using the resin cockpit set on the kit for a couple of reasons. First of all, due to the way this kit comes together, there is a middle 'spine' that runs down between the two fuselage halves and the kit cockpit has a slot in which this spine sits to line things up. The avionix cockpit doesnt come with this slot where the spine sits. Second reason is i had all the eduard interior colour pe and didnt want to do a mutant version of the eduard and avionix cockpit as in my opinion the flat pe would negate the reason why we would upgrade to a nice 3d resin cockpit. Cockpit went in the box of the second intruder in the stash for use someday down the line. One thing of note though is the ejection seats in the avionix set are TOP NOTCH with the harnesses cast differently on each seat. a very nice touch indeed...




An overview of the part trees minus the weaponry




Very nice detailing. The mad riveter gang was on holidays!




The clear parts are a big chunk of real estate, and they are super super clear and to be honest i cant find any faults in them or any distortion. This pegged the overall mood concerning the kit up in the 'happy' region. 


Ive managed to narrow down two schemes that she will be finished in, one from Batmen and one from Hawks






As you can notice in the two photos, you get in the written text an insight on all the research that has been done for each of the possible schemes (You have a choice of 23 marking options) plus what you should have on the specific aircraft you want to do ie an/apr25, ale-18, flak curtain etc...very happy with that...


Now the mental image i had built over the couple of weeks before starting this wip was mostly based on those  three photos i took from the 'in detail and scale' publication. i wanted to build an intruder with all the hatches open, a completely scratchbuilt engine bay, and guess what (because it is true as youll see in the photos) a complete engine hanging on the outboard pylon for maintenance. Yes, i also was surprised and i had to squint and look twice to make sure of it, apparently when maintenance ran out of space or didnt have a proper trolley to put the engine on when removed for maintenance, they used to hang it off on the outboard pylon and work on it there... proof below




This was the plan (which changed the last day of the wip before i packed and went back to Doha!). Anyways, along the build, after having worked and completed the scratchbuilt interior bay and prepared the engine with all the wiring hanging loose and prepped all, i decided to change directions in the build, have the radome in the closed position (i just love the lines of the aircraft with the nose closed) have the engine in its place, but with the covering panels open, and have a 22 mk80 bomb load attached. The reason is with my previous build of the CF104, i built the airplane with most of the panels open for maintenance, and i thought this time it would be nice to have clean lines with the beautiful decals showing and some weaponry attached instead of a bare 'in maintenance' state aircraft...


Here goes then, lets start with how this build proceeded up to yesterday but i will be doing that in a second post below as i cannot fit any more pictures in this one!

See you guys below lol !


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Onwards we go... (i will write about the whole week in one go, no splitting in day1 day2 etc)

First thing i did with the kit, was to clip off the fuselage halves off the sprues and first impressions is the fuselage put together really looks like a drumstick lol thin tail and fat nose. before that, i had taken a whole evening to mark out on the kit instructions where to add the eduard stuff, remove stuff, amend stuff to correct the trumpeter kit etc...

Also of note, the kit nose comes in two halves which is an issue i wanted to deal with from the get go. First thing i did was to modify the fuselage halves as per the AOA sheet for the correct version of the A6A. The sheet calls for the filling of some panel lines, the filling of the two vent holes on the left and right half of the fuselage tail, filling some marks for an inexistent air scoop on the A6A, and so forth. I also took the time to lather on a good dollop of tamiya gray putty on the nose seam and left everything to dry off overnight






That done i put the modified fuselages aside and started work on the engines (actually one engine, the one that was supposed to be hanging on the pylon).

The build of the engine is not complicated. The kit PE fan blades are a nice touch and to get the blades twisted correctly i first of all glued the etch part to the assembly then i delicately twisted each of the fan blades to the correct shape. i found it worked out that way better than trying to bend them while holding the pe bit with tweezers.

The engine body comes in three pieces, so the answer to that is either sand all the details away (or as much as you can which is the route i took) and then putty and sand or find another way to putty and sand while being careful not to obliterate the details. I ended up sanding the piping down just leaving a shower of it , then puttying letting it dry overnight and then sanding. once the engine body was smooth i went and added again all the piping with different wire thicknesses. The areas i could not reach to sand smooth or putty i covered up with some artistic license wiring. 




The exhaust piping is beautifully curved but i found a couple of huge issues there. nothing insurmountable. they are composed of two curved halves with moulded in ribbing, and a third single part that sits at the end of the pipe and is a single piece (so no seam filling there). Now when you join the two curved parts together you get a massive seam on the outside and inside, and worse part is the moulded on ribbing doesnt even join/line up. Solution i found to this issue was to sand eveything down to just the pipe with no ribbing. Glue them well using the welding technique with extra thin tamiya cement, let it all dry, then add a good dollop of putty and let it dry overnight. next day sand it all smooth and i added the ribbing back with .5 strips of evergreen styrene. job done.

The engine comes with a 'plastic' or fiberglass mini intake that mounts directly to the front of the engine (also on the real aircraft). That intake comes in two parts, so same thing to do there, on the inside i had to put alot of putty and let it dry overnight then sand smooth the next day. There is nothing i could do to the ribbing on the outside of the intake as it would have destroyed all the texturing if i had sanded those down. 










The Nose has been primed with Mr surfacer 1500 black to see if there were any remnants of a seam.

The engine intake was painted with tamiya flat white acrylic. The exhaust pipe was painted with different shades of the buffable Mr Metal colour lacquer paints from gunze, mostly iron and dark iron, buffed to different shades, on top of that i added clear yellow and clear orange acrylics really thinned down from tamiya to give it some shading. The main engine was painted with buffable chrome silver (which when left alone is actually quite matt in finish so i buffed some areas and left some alone). The details were picked up with acrylics and different lacquer metallizers for some of the details. The engines were then weathered with florymodel washes some enamel washes and a filter on some of the areas. The photos dont really make it justice, but i feel there is still something missing so i will go back and add to that next time i work on the kit






Those two photos were prior to final weathering, i had just put on the initial enamel washes in some areas...


More in the following post

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Engine put aside, i decided to work on adding all the stuff to the interior areas of the engine bay since i wanted to have the engine hanging on the pylon.

to be honest with all the references i have i couldnt find more than a handful of those and they are so busy with wiring and all its pretty hard to make out all the little details. What i managed to make out is a couple of bottles up in the forward section, piping and all, but no ref photos of the top part of the engine bay bare. i had to be creative. 

First thing i had to do was to fill and after an overnight sand some ejector pinmarks on the interior spine. To add some details, i used an extinguisher from a 1/35 armour ww2 kit and a valve cover. the ribbing for the piping is made of sandwiched styrene sheets cut to size, and the piping is either albion brass tubing, or different gage wiring




In the above photo i hadent completely finished adding stuff to the spine. Since i had no reference picture of the upper part of the engine bay, i used an old styrene diorama part that i cut to size to do the roofing of the bay. The styrene i used was cut from a cobbled 1/35th street dio made of sheet styrene by an eastern european manufacturer (i forgot the name the logo is red and yellow they do dios made of styrene for armour) and the cobbled sheet on reverse looked like insulation padding to a certain extent so i used this. for the paint of the interior bay i used green yellow from tamiya to represent the YZC i used different colours for the detailing metalizers and acrylics. i preshaded, post shaded and faded, for the weathering i used oild fading, enamel washes, two filters brown and orange, and flory washes. below the photos of the paitned unweathered bay complete, then out of sequence (the weathered ones are after i had closed up the fuselage on the last day, engine is just dry fit in)




and this is what it looked like at the end after all the weathering done










Those pictures are from the last day lol more on those to come.

After having gotten the engine bay somewhat finished (i still had alot of plans for wiring harnesses after i closed up the fuselage halves to see how and where everthing goes) i started working on the two actual engine intakes.

They are made up of three parts, two internal part and one shell that is glued on the outside. you get two horrible seams that run on the inside, another seam that runs on the front all around on the inside between the shell and the intake assembly inside it, and two seam lines on the outside where the shell joins the inside assembly (does it make sense?) 

Again (a recurring theme) on the parts that need to be smooth and seamless, i added alot of putty let it dry overnight then next day sanded smooth and rescribed and re riveted (using the trumpeter riveting wheel and hasegawa's riveting tool)


SEAMLESS lol but what a pita!








I am really happy with how the intakes came out lol. one thing that i am not really used to doing when i build kits is to really take my time (as my time home is pretty limited) but on this kit i decided to go a different direction and really take my time and let things settle putty fully cure etc the results are really making me happy lol

below post the cockpit

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i think last part of the post lol

Cockpit time !

Since we had decided to go with the trumpy kit parts i started all the mods to do for the eduard pe frets.Ed asks you to sand down all the surface detail on the instrument panel, the side panels and most everywhere in the cockpit lol. i was worried the trumpeter seats wouldnt have the staggered look with the pilot seat ahead and higher than the BN seat, but i was proven wrong. The seats are correct although they really in some (most) areas lack the details required for such a big canopy and at such a scale. I first added wiring to the back of the cockpit after having modified it and added the ed pe canopy rails. very fiddly to install as they are made of three pe pieces that you have to glue in the shape of the letter H. For the wiring i used different thickness of soldering wires and some braided electrical wire core. I then preshaded the cockpit and the area behind it. That done, i painted those with a tamiya acrylic gray that was close enough to the eduard pe gray used, and then post shaded and faded some areas. i picked up the details with acrylic colours and drybrushed some selected areas with metalizer iron from mr super metallics. For the weathering i used enamel washes and a filter and some oil for fading in some specific areas too. For the big ip coaming, i used nato black and then faded that by spraying vertically overhead so the areas on the side of the coaming would be left in an unfaded nato black. i picked the details and added a gray wash to all the wiring (there is also a pe part that goes on the top of the ip coaming).

For the seats, i painted those in nato black, again faded them with a lightened nato black sprayed vertically on top of them, the seat padding was painted with a lightened nato green from tamiya, and the parachute pack was painted with a light gray from tamiya (sorry guys i forgot to write down the tamiya paint numbers). After that was all dried up, i added a wash to the seats and an oil filter to the seat padding to grime it up. Put together the coloured pe belts and added those. i am slowly getting to the conclusion that at this scale, i just dont really like the pe belts even the coloured ones, as they look flat and have no thickness, even though you bend them and twist them to give them some sort of shape, they still remain dead flat with no 3d thickness. ive been tinkering with adding some sort of epoxy or putty to the back of those in order to give them thickness, which i will probably try on another kit down the road. With the belts and harnesses put on, and the cockpit weathered and all i flat coated everything as the eduard coloured pe have a sheen whichever way you put them under good lighting... results below. any comments would be appreciated. Ialso forgot to mention that i broke off the eduard pe throttle quadrant so i had to replace it with a spare from a 1/48 skyraider trimmed and sanded to shape. my apologies to everyone and to the accuracy intended building this kit ;)

I will probably go back and readjust the weathering to tie everything up once i have got some paint put on the kit. probably i am going to grime up the cockpit a bit more it looks a bit too clean to me














That done, i started adding the eduard exterior pe set, closed up the airbrake lightening holes, added the pe to the nosehweel bay and the main gear bays , painted the nosewheel bay white, and added the intakes which again i had to putty in and blend with the fuselage halves. Closing the fuselage halves was a hairy moment although the fit was pretty good, you end up with a seam running almost all the way down the spine and a bit at the bottom next to where the birdcage is supposed to go in. I took all my time to get the two fuselage halves lined up correctly as it would compound problems at a later stage when i had to put the wing halves mated. so i took my time to ge tthe fuselage halves together, puttied the seams and let everything overnight to sand the next day. sanded it smooth no dips, no residual seam shadows nothing, after that i just rescribed the panel lines, and left the riveting on top for later. the bottom side, i obliterated some of the detail so i had to add two strips of of styrene to represent the v shaped embossing that was there initially and then sanded them to tone them down to look like the prior surface detail. i also rescribed the panels that i had sanded off by ham fistedness on the bottom part. it was at that point that i had a change of heart and decided against having the engine hanging out on the pylon. so i dryfitted the engine into the bay and it did fit. i was happy too to have put a 'roof' in the engine bay as if i hadnt you would end up seeing the top of the fuselage and a huge empty space right behind the engine !!


The wings will be folded up on this one, to help it fit in the display cabinet, and to be honest it looks pretty much cooler with the wings folded up. i like aircraft with folded up wings lol imagine how cool an airbus 320 would look with wings folded up  :doh:  :rofl:  dream on Karim lol!

The wing assembly in itself is pretty straightforward nothing really to mention there and i didnt find any need for filler just careful sanding and a good weld action glue. what i was really worried about was the mating of the wings to the fuselage as there are many curves and shapes moulded in the wing assembly that need to fit and line up with the fuselage to get a good fit. patience is required there, alot of clamps and quite an amount of welding to be done. If you take your time (assembling the wings to the fuselage took me the better portion of an hour) to tweak, glue clamp retweak reglue clamp you end up with good news, you wont need one drop of putty to remove seems. on my kit, with the effort, some manhandling and some patience, i ended up with a seamles joint between the wings and the fuselage. i was ecstatic!! Bottom line, this kit is pretty good if you take your time and work on it patiently.

That done, i added the pylons, added the pe to those, i also glued the nose radome to the fuselage and the fit there was very good which means the lining up of the fuselage halves at the earlier stage was done correctly! woohoo...i primed the top part of the fuselage to see if there were any seems and prematurely airbrushed the step ladder cavities (i went and added the pe parts after as i had completely forgotten about those so i will have to reprime and repaint afterwards lol)...






In the above photo you can notice the wings to fuselage joint are a perfect match that needed nothing more than proper sanding before assembly... i also noticed on the top part of the nose cone a very faint seam line, so before traveling i reputtied and left it for when i come back on the 9th of october....lol that way it will be completely cured lol


Last small things i did was snip off the engine doors and clean those up and some of the gear doors, and add some of the pe to those. some of the pe is very fiddly like the ribbing, and require you to completely sand down some of the areas before adding the pe...photo below




and last but not least the loadout i will be using for the kit 




Well, i hope i havent forgotten anything, probably a couple of small detail things... i hope this is a good summary of what i managed to do in a whole week... guys let me know what you think of this post report type or if youd rather me give you daily updates once i go back home and start working again on the kit....

We've got from now until the 8th of october to be able to discuss things regarding this kit, get some ideas going, you guys let me know what you think i might change or amend or modify, your opinions on the weathering, on the paint, stuff i can work on or change...id love to get your feedback and get a discussion going! 

I wont be here on the 4th and 5th of october lol as i have my 6 month operator proficiency check/license proficiency check to get cleared for another 6 months flying the line...


thanks everyone for dropping by and reading this

i hope everyone is well

stay safe gang, and happy modeling


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NICE!  You truly are a wiz bang fast modeler Karim. It would take me the better part of a month to do what you just did.


Brian lol

thanks for the comment my friend...thats very kind of you. nothing beats the scratchbuilding you do though....alot to learn from you

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Lookin' good as always Karim! I'm a big fan of any Cold War carrier based aircraft, it'll be great seeing you put this one together. That engine looks great.





Jim thanks for leaving a word!

We shall enjoy this build then lol, i love all the cold war jets but this is one of my favorite one. There is actually a connection between the intruder and Lebanon as during the Lebanese civil war one got shot down over the mountains by the invading syrian army (yes we were invaded by neighbouring syria and they ended up staying there for a bit more than two decades)... not much has been written about it though i think except i found some excerpts of the incident on the net and a chapter in one of my reference books but i think it was an A6E... pilot was released a month or so after...

im glad to have you along for the build!

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Wow, you certainly don't do things by halves, Karim! Practically finished the model before I even get a chance to post on your thread! Terrific stuff as always, mate.




Hey Kev lol, i work quick, but not that quick lol

Its just a summary of a whole week of work since i had no chance to post anything about it but i am glad you are along my friend! 

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Karimb my friend, I was going to post 'I'll be watchin"and next you know your half done with this ! So you started this yesterday ? Anyway it looks great as usual. Can't wait to see the finish by tonight  :rofl:  :rofl: . .......Harv :popcorn:

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