1/72 Hasegawa A3D Skywarrior
The A3D 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 Skywarrior 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.
6 additional images. Click to enlarge.