1/72 Hasegawa A3D Skywarrior

October 3, 2013 · in Aviation · · 12 · 2.6K

The was the Navy's answer to the challenge to deliver nuclear weapons by jet bombers from our new Forrestal class Attack Carriers. For many years, it was the largest aircraft to serve aboard our CVAs, and certainly proved itself an aircraft with legs (serving for over three decades) and flexible (as a bomber, aerial tanker, and electronic counter-measures warfare.)

The was always respected, but not always loved. The A3D was often used to mean "all-three-dead" because of the awkward system for abandoning ship -- that is, there were no ejection seats. Instead, a hatch was opened in the floor revealing a chute by which the crew slid under the bottom of the aircraft. Needless to say, this did little to engender confidence during an emergency! Nonetheless, the Whale (her somewhat affectionate nickname) did remarkable work throughout the Cold War and retired with an admirable record.

This kit was eagerly anticipated when it was first released about a decade ago. It has fine recessed panel lines, acceptable cockpit detail, and typical excellent fit. It did seem a bit basic with no bomb bay or under wing stores. Granted, she rarely had them, but the few that were carried are absent. She was eventually released in multiple boxings with colorful decals and even a tanker package.

My model is of an early version used for carrier landing trials after being up engined with more reliable power plants. I recommend this kit for anyone who is looking for an easy build which has a real presence on a display table.

Reader reactions:
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6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

12 responses

  1. You sure know your "whales", Mike ! Beautiful work, as usual !

  2. I should, being a whale myself!

  3. Great work on your Skywarrior! After seeing your build, I'm tempted to move my 1/48 Trumpeter A3D to the top of the 'to do' pile.

  4. I found a couple more photos and added them in.

  5. Michael,
    Very nice. I like the all blue scheme. There were A3D's aboard BHR when I was aboard. I always thought they were good looking aircraft. I built this kit and I agree it was a joy to build. Like you, I have the Trumpeter kit close by.
    Great job.

  6. Well done, Michael...I like it. No ejection seats, huh..? Didn't know that. "Catchy" little analogy for the crew, though...only military guys would come up with something like that - lol.

  7. Yeah. The Air Force corrected that in their knock-off, the B-66 Destroyer. Same basic configuration, but three nice ejection seats. Too bad they never really caught on -- it was a beautiful plane.

  8. Hey, isn't this the aircraft that killed the SeaMaster program?
    A nice model, I like the Navy blue paint scheme, the navy gray paint scheme isn't as appealing.
    I've got a Revell "box scale" version, you've inspired me to finish it in navy blue!

  9. a beautiful job on one of my favorite aircraft

  10. An impressive looking plane, and model!

  11. Hey:
    Nice work... I have the 48th kit and want to do the Topgun camo bird from the Furball sheet. Have been getting refs and paints for it.

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