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Trumpeter A-6A "VA-65"


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First of all I'd like to point out that I've been a long-time lurker that has gotten a lot of information on large scale aircraft here and figured it might be time to send something back. I'm actually a mostly 1/72 modeller, but after finishing a beautiful WnW Fokker D.VII as my first 1/32 kit in ages, I kind of picked up the bug again. My last 1/32 somewhat modern aircraft was a Revell F-14A in VF-1 markings that I put on the television back then -until my mom dusted it off and it fell off, despite the rubber grippy tires!

As it would fit nowhere near on a modern TV I guess that tells something about how long ago that was... (I'm 42 now and live in the Netherlands).

Some may know me from the Dutch Modelbrouwers or WW1 Aircraft forum there I go by the same name.


The Intruder has always been a favourite with 1/72 builds of Italeri, Hasegawa and Fujimi kits, but I'd never gotten one as it was too big and expensive... however, when I discovered AoA decals I got a set for VA-65, and somehow managed a nice deal on an A-6A, mostly still factory sealed.  It's this set:


My kids want me to do the camouflaged version, but bought it for NL-413 or AA-511, though as you can see later I finished the MERs already and it'll have to be NL-401 or NL-413 now.

I can decide later on, but it does feel like a bit of a waste of decals to only use so few on top...


I started our with ordnance, as one of the things I dislike about modern aircraft is just that. The kit only comes with 12 simplefied Mk82 Snakeeyes and 2 MERs, but a fellow modeller who would replace them with aftermarket gave me another MER and 6 Mk82s. I'll be loading the A-6 up with 2 MERs outboard, and 1 on the centerline, leaving the inner pylons empty as I saw on a photo of this cruise.

As I can't justify the additional costs of 18 Mk82s and 3 MERs in aftermarket I set about to improve what came with the kit.


These Snakeeyes fit poorly and required a lot of work to get them to look acceptable. I poked the hinges (which should extend much more to the rear and be much taller as well) with a drill bit and needle, and used a JLC saw and a scriber to open up the fins. The rear part was modified with some punched card disks. Accurate? Not quite, but IMHO a lot better as what came with the kit. I'll be using pins to attach all of it to the model once done so if my lottery ticket proves a winning one I can always replace them.


I used black basing and mottled purple red, yellow and some green, deliberately painting some parts more than others. This was then overcoated with olive drab and the noses painted yellow. All of this was Revell Aqua Acrylics, except the glosscoat, which is my trusty Tamiya X-22. The decals are from the kit and worked well, but don't have any letterin on them, they're just yellow squares and rectangles... better than nothing I guess.

The fuses are Revell Aqua "Eisen" (#91) with an oil wash and satin varnish.




The MERs needed a lot of filling and sanding, and had the extra wires for the top positions added, for some reason Trumpeter supplies only the lower ones. These were also painted black, mottled with medium grey and pure white, then painted with my Insignia White mix (95% Revell Aqua 04 gloss pure white with 5% Revell Aqua 43 medium grey mixed in)

I wish I replaced the lower wires as well, they do look a bit different now. The VA-65 decals are from the AoA sheet and worked well, final finish was another glosscoat, some washes with oil paints and a satin coat finished them.

In case you're wondering why one of the decals is angled, I saw that on a photo and figured it would be a nice little detail. :)



I'm now working on a few more mods to the wings and fuselage, so more to follow! :)




Edited by jeroen_R90S
forgot the MER picture
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The next part were the modifications to the fuselage as indicated in the AoA instructions -these are really superb, by the way:



ALR-18 chaff dispenser, it is really helpful if I had done this before I glued the bulkhead inside de fuselage, as it makes creating the slot much more difficult! This still needs some cleanup :)



I'm not sure if this is prototypical for the kit, but mine had loads of sinkmarks on the flaps, slats, slat tracks (including pinmarks) and speedbrakes. This was filled with Mr White Putty as somehow I can't get CA to work on these shallow areas.



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The last installment are the wingtips, these had the original navigations lights added as well as the ALR-15 RWR recievers. I could not find a lot of good pictures, but I found some images in a book and made a best-guess. I marked out the navigation lights and cut them off with a JLC saw. However, I mis-measured somehow and had to add some back with Evergreen. I also kind of mis-jugded how big these lights actually are, and after cutting them off I found out I did not have single bit of clear sprue that was big enough!

Eventually I found some acrylic rod I used for in-flight 1/72 models, and a bit of testing showed this is much tougher than normal clear styrene, but can be used. It can even be glued with Tamiya Extra Thin.





After the lights were done I had a bit of a reference for the ALR-15 antenna's, these were made from card, sprue and Milliput, aftwards needed more blending with CA and Mr Surfacer. Eventually I think they look OK, if not a bit too large. I also filled the panel lines indicated for the newer formation lights.



Finally done, after a lot of work. Obviously nobody but A-6 experts will notice, but I found it a lot of fun to do and learned a lot! :)



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One last installement (oops) for te lower avionics bay cover. This had the ALR-29 dispensers filled with Evergreen, as the dispensers from the kit sit deeper and are flat, making filling the holes more difficult.

I then marked out the shape of the bulge and set up some Evergreen scraps to make it a bit firmer. The shape was then slathered with Milliput and roughly sculpted, and, like the wingtips, several rounds of filling, sanding and priming followed.

The flange was recreated by marking the shape with doubled-up tape and brushing Mr Surfacer on it. With hindsight I should have airbrushed it, as it's a bit uneven. Not perfect but I'm not ready to start over again, and again, I leared quite a lot from this little adventure! :)





The final result, the bulge itself looks pretty good IMHO, the flange, especially at the rear, could have been better ;) But I find it acceptable for now :)



Now to read up on all those great inspirational builds here...!


Best regards, Jeroen

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Thank you all for the warm welcome! I'm currently working on the sink marks of the slats and some last wing bits, and my Verlinden PE seatbelts/buckles finally arrived today so hopefully I can finally get along on the interiour. Feels like I've been filling and sanding for ages now... time to glue some stuff together :)


I also really to find some time to read and comment on all the other great builds going on here :)



Edited by jeroen_R90S
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