1/48 Tamiya A-1E Douglas Skyraider

by Jim Birchfield



The kit is a C & H Aero Miniatures conversion of the Tamiya A-1J, with resin fuselage, lower center wing section, three piece clear acrylic  and blue tinted canopy, and the cockpit by Cobra Company. Also included were resin antenna and tail light, wing fold interior canvas panels and 20mm cannon. The cockpit set included two instrument panels, instrument dash cover, seats for pilots and two seats for the rear compartment as well as floor board, center console, control sticks, front and rear canvas side panels and the bulkhead between front and rear areas. There was also a rear wall and aft cockpit area decking. I obtained this kit from another modeler who had lost interest in finishing the kit after he had already assembled fuselage and lower wing. He was attempting to build the kit with folding wings, and had made some progress but lost interest as he became enamored with large scale jets. The fuselage had been assembled without the cockpit area, but with extensive use of a Dremel the floor was fitted without damage to the excellent detail painting of the instrument panels and center console.  The seats and sidewall panels were painted with Model Masters, given a healthy wash of burnt umber and black oil tinted thinner then dry brushed with various shades of the base paints tinted with light grey. The floor was further dry brushed with a metalic silver oil paint to imitate wear and tear. The resin seats were finished in the same manner, glued in place on either side of the bulkhead. Pilots seats were fitted with RBF flags where safety pins are located in the ejection mechanisms. 

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The Tamiya kit provided prop, engine, firewall/ exhaust and cowling, main landing gear and tail wheel, tailhook, wings, horizontal stabilizers, and all ordnance. Arming wires and antenna are stretched sprue painted with copper paint for the arming wire and black for antenna. The safety rod for the mini-Gatlin gun is stretched sprue with a "T" handle fashioned from the front arming fuse of another bomb. RBF flags were attached where applicable. Model Master paints were used and a mix of German armor dark grey and flat black was sprayed on the undersides. The model was washed with the burnt umber/black oil tinted thinner and dry brushed with lightened shades of the base paint. The dark under sides were dry brushed with an oil paint named Payne's Grey. This paint appears black in the tube and when applied, but as it dries it becomes a very fine light grey, which perfectly highlites and delineates details as well as weathering surface textures.  Decals were also from the Tamiya kit, with the tail nomex selectively cut and repositioned to vary the numerical codes. As with any resin kit experience and proper tools are required. References used were the Detail and Scale book, and the Warbird Tech Series on the Skyraider.


Photos and text by Jim Birchfield