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HobbyBoss 1/48 scale A-10C Thunderbolt II plastic model kit review

Challenges mar an A-10 kit upgraded with new parts
Kit:81796 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$60.99
HobbyBoss (Sample courtesy of Model Rectifier)
Four marking options; vinyl tires; detailed cockpit
A lot of flash to clean up; extensive test-fitting required
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); vinyl tires; string; decals
The HobbyBoss 1/48 scale A-10C Thunderbolt II is not a completely new plastic model kit. Based on the older HobbyBoss A-10A, it’s basically the same, with an upgraded instrument panel and modern weapons that include AAQ-33 Sniper and AAQ-14 LANTIRN pods.

The new decal sheet provides markings for four aircraft: three airshow demonstration birds and one combat aircraft. I modeled the Indiana Air National Guard 122nd Fighter Wing “Blacksnakes” A-10C, celebrating 100 years of aviation in the Indiana National Guard.

The assembly is fairly basic, which isn’t a complaint. The cockpit comes together nicely, and the three-part ejection seat looks fantastic, including molded seat belts. The side consoles and the instrument panel receive decals that conform well to the molded details.

The kit offers a full GAU-8 gun — ammo drum, ammo belts, motor, barrel, and mounting brackets. But you won’t be able to see most of it when it’s hidden away in the fuselage. I wish HobbyBoss provided a display stand for it or the option for open hatches to show off the beautiful machinery.

Surface detail over the whole model is quite fine. However, other model manufacturers who have released A-10s have raised rivets on the aft fuselage, a characteristic of the full-sized aircraft. HobbyBoss has only recessed details.

The fuselage halves fit well together. Unfortunately, a small molding misalignment means some panel lines do not match up on the upper and lower fuselage.

The upper and lower wing halves fit well and have separate flaps and aileron/speed brakes. The speed brakes don’t have the option to be displayed open. I had a hard time fitting the wings tightly to the fuselage. After shaving and sanding, I used superglue as a gap filler.

The landing gear looks great with molded brake lines. The separate vinyl tires do not require any cleanup.

Without extensive detail beneath, I built the engine nacelles with the doors closed. There was a gap on the lower door of one engine, but not the other. HobbyBoss molded the fan blades so they can be seen through, but flash interferes with the execution.

Other items you get are chocks with string to tie them together. The clear parts appear crystal clear. The instructions only show installing the canopy closed, but you can pose it open, too.

I left the engine nacelles off for painting and installed them later. HobbyBoss provides two full-color paint guides with callouts for several paint manufacturers, including Testors Model Master and Acrylicos Vallejos. The instructions don’t give a paint code number for Model Master Neutral Grey. It seems a little bit light compared to the real aircraft; Vallejo Neutral Grey is darker and seems a better fit. Instead of flat black, I used Vallejo Black Grey (No. 70.862) with a touch of Black (No. 70.950). It appeared to be just the right shade.

The kit includes two fantastic, beautifully printed decal sheets. They include markings for all four aircraft and all the placards for the weapons. They are a bit fragile but not difficult to apply. A little Microscale Micro Sol and they conformed to the model beneath.

A HobbyBoss 1/48 scale A-10C Thunderbolt II will make a wonderful addition to your modern military aircraft collection. It is not a kit for beginners. Time and patience are strongly encouraged, and with that, you can turn out an excellent model. How does it stack up to the other A-10Cs coming from other manufacturers? Only time will tell.
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