First Look Review
A-10 Thunderbolt II
  • HB_A10_Boxtop

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Hobby Boss's new A-10 arrives in a colossal box, stuffed full of sprues. The main parts are separately bagged with a separate box at one end of the package to protect the clear parts and additional details. The kits consists of:

261 x grey styrene parts
17 x clear styrene parts
3 x vinyl tyres
A length of string
Decals for 2 x colour schemes

Now I'll say up front that I've never seen the Trumpeter 1/32 scale A-10 "in the flesh" but, based on what I've read about it, it's clear the Hobby Boss kit is at least partly based on a scaled-down version of that model. The detail is excellent - with a detailed Vulcan cannon and engines with separate access panels for the nacelles. The overall external finish consists engraved panel lines, some raised details and embossed rivets and fasteners. The detail varies a little - it's quite subtle in most places, but a bit heavy on the pylons. Of course, the accuracy of embossed rivets is a source of endless debate, but these will add to the "beefy" look befitting a tankbuster. The fuselage features a separate lower nose section comprising the wheel well and the wings have separate flaps and control surfaces.

The cockpit is quite simple with a neat 3-part ejection seat fitting into a tub that features some nice detail on the side consoles, plus a very well detailed instrument panel. The whole tub is then fitted an armoured shield. The showpiece for the fuselage is the Vulcan cannon - made up of no less than 17 parts. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be an option to display all this detail on the finished model, but it's a safe bet that modellers will already be envisaging schemes to open up the access panels.

The undercarriage is made up of few parts, but they show some excellent detail. Love them or hate them - the tyres are vinyl, so take care to avoid them coming into contact with unpainted styrene.

Along with the option for exposed engines, there are further nice touches like a boarding ladder and, in case you're wondering what the string is for, Hobby Boss have included a set of wheel-chocks which it ties together.

Of course the A-10 would be nothing without its war load and the kit includes a comprehensive set of stores to hang on the pylons:

12 x MK-82 bombs
12 x MK-20 cluster bombs
6 x AGM-65 Mavericks with clear noses
2 x GBU-8 TV guided bombs, again with clear noses
2 x ALQ-119 ECM pods
2 x GBU-10 Paveways
2 x ALQ-131ECM pods
2 x AIM-9L Sidewinders
1 x drop tank

With so much ordnance, it's a relief that Hobby Boss have included a clear loading diagram to show what stores are appropriate for the 11 pylons.

The large fold-out sheet of instructions is well drawn and easy to follow, with numbered stages and Gunze Sangyo paint matches keyed to most sections. There's no mention of whether weight is needed in the nose to avoid the kit being a tail-sitter, so it's probably a good idea to tape together the main parts to get an idea of how the model will balance.

Painting and decals
Hobby Boss include decals for 2 aircraft wearing Euro 1 camouflage, both illustrated with colour 4-view diagrams:

1. A-10 23rd TFW, England, 1990
2. A-10 906th TFG, 23rd TFW, February 1991

Along with the aircraft themselves, all the stores are illustrated in colour and the position of stencils shown.

The decals look excellent, split over 2 sheets - one for the aircraft and a second for the weapon stencilling. The registration is accurate throughout and the designs are thin and glossy with crystal clear carrier film. I've yet to use Hobby Boss decals, so I can't advise on how they react to decal fluids. The main sheet includes a decal for the instrument panel which isn't shown in the instructions. To be honest, the decal is rather simplified compared with the moulded detail on the kit panel.

Hobby Boss's A-10 looks great value - a big kit, packed with detail, but still straightforward enough to impress OOB - meanwhile, in the hands of experienced modellers, the option to go further and make the most of the details like the Vulcan should lead to some eye-popping builds.

Alongside the A-10 reviewed here, Hobby Boss have also released the 2-seat N/AW A-10. Look out for for Full Builds to follow soon on Aeroscale.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Hobby Boss's A-10 has been eagerly awaited for some time and it certainly looks like the wait was worth it. This is a large and well-detailed kit that comes complete with a comprehensive set of stores.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 80323
  Suggested Retail: 25.99
  PUBLISHED: May 12, 2007
  NATIONALITY: United States

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Based on what I can see in the pictures the italiari kit is better.
MAY 12, 2007 - 11:39 PM
I dunno about 'better'. There is no excuse, at 50 -or- 70 dollars for a 'blank' cockpit. The Hobbyboss detail relief is fair but the lack of instrument dial decals for the main panel and a clear backing for the Maverick display marks it as a failure. While the Italeri kit's all-decal approach is flatly disgusting in this scale. Similarly, compared to the Hobbyboss which essentially copied the Tamiya 'everything but the kitchen sink' (none of it service-jet appropriate) weapons load; the Italeri tries to get the basic weapons load right but they make a total hash of it with low detail execution quality. Things like forward sweep the wing trailing edge on the AGM-65 Mavericks and leaving out the Sniper or LITENING targeting pods. Both of which are an expensive trip to Wolfpack and Brassin (6+14 = 20 dollars, pre shipping) to replace. This is a peeve with me, as is the lack of seeker optics and translucent milky-amber domes. The maverick is a major part of the A-10's arsenal people, _get it right_. The Italeri CBU-58 uses the SUU-30A/A which is a direct copy of the Monogram kit ordnance and is no more correct now than it was in 1980. The SUU-30A/A was introduced in 1960-61 and found so wanting in terms of carriage quantity and aerodynamics that it was replaced about 2 years later. The SUU-30B/B (on which the CBU-52/58 cluster weapons was based) looks NOTHING like it. One is a pointed watermelon, the other is a milk bottle shape. BOTH are now long out of service. Similarly, the Italeri CBU-87 which replaced the CBU-52/58 is the width of a Mk.20 Rockeye and the length of a SUU-60 TMD which makes it look like neither ordnance. BAM. One move and all the kit freefall ordnance is useless. Italeri included the LAU-68 seven shot rocket pod but then made it almost as thick as a LAU-3 19 shot pod. Ironic, given the original kit's Euro-1 camouflage because the OA-10A mission didn't happen until after the 1991 war when we started to paint them grey again, with the LASTE mod. The Sidewinders are meh. And the Centerline Tank is both skinny, overly long and has (tiny) ill-proportioned fins. Originally, the Italeri kit came with LASTE/PE bits separately but the ECM pod was just the ALQ-119 which is only appropriate for 1991 and before (and then only for CONUS birds). The A-10C release comes with both ALQ-131 deep and ALQ-119 pods but not the ALQ-184, either long or short, which means, now that almost the entire CONUS based Hog force has transitioned to that pod, the only A-10s you can do are older green birds or the Spangdahlem A-10s. Getting the Hasegawa Weapons Set E for GBU-38, Targeting Pods And ALQ-184 is a 20-25 dollar addition. The Italeri single piece lower wing is the one thing I like the best about that kit. Not only does this help resolve the dodgy wingroot fit issues but anytime you are doing a model with outboard landing gear, you need to have one unifying element which ensures that both gear and all the pylons are level. Tabs and Slots for opposed wings, by themselves, don't do this terribly well which means a jig for the other kits. Unfortunately, the Italeri kit doesn't have anything in those MLG wells and the shapes of the fairings as well as the pylons are also a bit weak. Buying replacement Aires gear fairings runs about 24-27 dollars (you can actually get a set with MLG bays, Intakes and cockpit for about 49 dollars). The fiddly bits (Avionics Bay) that the Italeri kit inherits from it's 72nd pantograph cousin don't fit particularly well and have poor detail fidelity in this scale while things like the squared off nose section, which was grudgingly acceptable in 72nd, most assuredly is not on the 1/48th. Though I cannot exactly say what's wrong, there is something about the fit and sit of the Italeri canopy/windscreen which just doesn't look right to me. For all this, (and the list of mistakes on the Hobbyboss is admittedly just as long) the thing that buries the Italeri is price. They used to offer affordable models for a price range that acknowledged the truth of lower quality tooling in trade for the ability to pick up some Aftermarket or wait for a CMK multimedia kit version to come along. The JAS-39 comes to mind here, especially when it was the ONLY Gripen in town. Now that there are several to choose from, you go from the Revell/Monogram (available at 20-30 dollars on EBay, depending on boxing) to $46.99 for the Italeri (preshipping) to $57.99 for the Hobbyboss (preshipping). For a ten dollar difference in MSRP, the Hobbyboss is the better baseline starting point to invest another 50-60 bucks of AM into a hundred twenty dollar finished model. Just on the trenchlike panel lines and nose issues of the Italeri. The sadness is, the A-10 will never be more popular than it is _right now_. If Revell were to do with the A-10 what they did with the F-15E, issuing a 25-30 dollar, recessed lines, better fitting, retool of their older raised line kit (same outline, new details) with separate LASTE/PE greeblies and basic weapons (Maverick, DRA, AIM-9M, ALQ-184) and a set of good decals, they'd have the market completely wrapped up. PARTICULARLY if they did so with a unibody upper fuselage like the Academy F-4s. In 2022, when they retire the jet, it will be too late.
FEB 06, 2016 - 09:17 PM
If indeed those two kits suffer from such basic flaws as you mentioned, I'm glade that I've refocused my modeling priorities to concentrate on 1/48 scale WW2 props, and 1st generation jets. Joel
FEB 09, 2016 - 06:27 AM

Click image to enlarge
  • HB_A10_Parts_A
  • HB_A10_Parts_C
  • HB_A10_Parts_D
  • HB_A10_Parts_E
  • HB_A10_Parts_F
  • HB_A10_Parts_G
  • HB_A10_Parts_H
  • HB_A10_Parts_J
  • HB_A10_Parts_KLM
  • HB_A10_Tyres
  • HB_A10_Decals_1
  • HB_A10_Decals_2
  • HB_A10_Seat
  • HB_A10_Tub
  • HB_A10_Instruments
  • HB_A10_Nosegear
  • HB_A10_Maingear
  • HB_A10_Wheels