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Trumpeter 1/48 scale A-37A Dragonfly

Kit:02888 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$48.95
Great fits; flash-free molding with excellent surface detail; brilliant clear parts
Only one option for markings
Injection-molded, 212 parts (41 photoetched metal, decals)
Developed from the T-37 trainer, the A-37 Dragonfly quietly assumed its role in the Vietnam War in close air support, night attack missions, and escorting helicopters, using its huge payloads to devastating effect.

The Monogram A-37B kit had been around for some time — the kit in my stash is dated 1991. Although Encore Models recently released an A-37, it was the Monogram molding with some extra photoetched metal.

Trumpeter’s A-37A is the first new mold of the Dragonfly in a long time, and it does not disappoint.

The gray styrene molding is crisp and clean throughout. Panel lines are recessed (a big change from the Monogram offering) and consistent throughout the molds. A small fret of photoetched metal is included, as is a significant amount of ordnance for you to load.

Instructions are in a 12-page, 19-step, easy-to-follow booklet that includes a parts-tree breakdown and a separate decal placement/paint guide. Also included is a ordnance-placement guide to help you properly arm your Dragonfly.

The build starts in the cockpit. Detail here is excellent: The ejection-seat detail is nice; adding the photoetched-metal harnesses dresses them up even more. Instrument-panel detail is outstanding as well, with separate decals for individual dials and gauges.

Joining the fuselage halves, I noticed the nose of the aircraft is a separate part (C59). Perhaps there may be an A-37B or a T-37 yet to come from Trumpeter?

Make sure to add as much weight as you can in the nose, or the finished model will be a tail-sitter.

Adding the wings to the fuselage is a little bit of a challenge because of the tight fit; a bit of force is needed to get things in place. A little work is needed to get the engine intakes seamless as well. Wait to add the pylons to the wings (Step 18) until the model is painted. You won’t be able to add the stars-and-bars decal to the wings otherwise. (I found this out the hard way.)

I waited until the very end to add the canopy, as I didn’t want to mar the brilliant clarity of the glass.

The rest of the build is pretty straightforward. I used guitar string for the whip antennas on the fuselage and tail surfaces, an improvement on the kit parts.

Following the instructions’ paint guide, I painted the camo scheme freehand. The decals were a huge surprise; though their finish is flat, they are nice and thin and settled down into all the recessed detail. Make sure to go over them with a gloss coat to blend in the carrier film. Then, finish with a clear flat coat.

My model took me a little more than 20 hours to complete, much less time than I expected. With a low parts count and great fit, this kit would be no problem for anyone to turn it into a realistic Dragonfly — making it a great model for beginners and experts alike.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2015 FineScale Modeler.

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