1/48 Tamiya A-1H Skyraider Part 1

Gallery Article by Vince Pedulla on Nov 27 2013



A-1H Skyraider VA-52, USS Ticonderoga 1968

The AD Skyraider-A Modeling Journey in 1/48th Scale in Seven Parts

The legendary A-1 Skyraider has always been one of my favorite planes. With its rugged looks, long history and huge variety of versions, it has a certain appeal. The Skyraider, also nicknamed Spad, Sandy, Able Dog and many others, had a long distinguished history spanning from the end of WWII to the Vietnam War. Its purpose…make large holes in the ground, a job it did so well that it inspired the design of the much later A-10 Warthog. It was not a pretty airplane, no sexy fighter here! It belched exhaust, leaked oil in prodigious quantities, and could take some serious punishment. It’s also the perfect model for weathering and painting, with a seemingly endless number of versions.

At the 2012 IPMS National in I picked up two of the 1/32nd scale Zoukei-Mura A-1H Skyraider kits. I decided at that time to build a couple of the smaller 1/48th scale Tamiya A-1 kits, basically to test painting techniques. It was then that I seriously began studying the plane, and my interest rapidly became fascination. Thus began a journey through a collection of Skyraiders in a variety of models and versions. I also discovered numerous detail and conversion sets out there, some of them (notably Cutting Edge) out of production.

All my Skyraider models share a few common traits. All of them (except the AD-6 & AD-5W, which had no guns) have gun barrels & pitot tubes made from hypodermic needles. All were painted with Testor’s Model Master or Tamiya acrylics and weathered with oils. I also used AK Interactive washes to replicate the always present oil and fuel stains on this dirty bird. Aerials were created with EZ Line strands. Beyond that I used a variety of aftermarket parts & decals as described in each model’s individual article.

A word about the Tamiya kit…wonderful! Goes together without any drama and is very nicely detailed straight out of the box. But like any kit…there’s room for improvement! 


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This model was the start of the journey and was built pretty much out of the box, except for the weapons. The cockpit is stock with lead foil/photo etch seatbelts. The model was primed with Tamiya Fine white primer, and pre shaded with black. The model was painted with Testor’s Model Master acrylics and post shaded with a very thin mix of Tamiya Smoke in several layers. The gun barrels & pitot tubes were made from hypodermic needles. I also used AK Interactive washes to replicate the always present oil and fuel stains on this dirty bird. 

Aerials were created with EZ Line strands. The kit’s stock decals were used without any problems. I weathered the bird with a sepia oil paint wash. I found that the Light Gull Grey of these aircraft is a wonderful shading and weathering base! Chipping was accomplished with Berol Prismacolor pencils. Exhaust staining is airbrushed thinned Smoke & MM Aircraft Black. I replaced the kit weapons with Verlinden’s 500 lb bombs, mixing normal and extended fuses. I also hollowed out the pilot’s head to get the tiny helmet to place on the cockpit’s edge. All in all, an excellent portrait of a Vietnam era Navy warbird.

More to come!!

Vince Pedulla

ModelerV Studios

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Photos and text © by Vince Pedulla