Profile Photo
Mike Still
14 articles

Tamiya A-1H Skyraider 1/48 scale

May 26, 2016 · in Aviation · · 22 · 4.3K

Everyone knows about VA-176's 'Bumblebee' MiG killer, with its giant killer bee artwork, but the first USN to shoot down a MiG-17 seems to be lost in the shuffle.

's A-1H USN kit, fortunately, includes markings for VA-25's 'Canasta 77,' flown by Lt. Clint Johnson when he and his wingman brought down a Fresco on June 20, 1965.

Tamiya's Spad has held up well over two decades, with generally crisp molding and minimal flash. I referred to Osprey's "USN Skyraider Units of the ", Wayne Mutza's "The Skyraider in Vietnam" and Squadron's "A-1 Skyraider Walkaround" to determine Johnson's stores loadout before his kill - two 300-gallon drop tanks and four LAU-3 19-shot rocket pods from the kit's stores sprues.

Added details include:

  • shackle detail on all racks
  • scratchbuilt sway braces on the centerline racks
  • modified True Details swaybraces with added pad bolts on the outboard wing racks
  • detailed swaybraces on the inboard wing racks
  • clear gun camera cover added to port wing
  • new helmet and added boom mike and coiled commo lead on the pilot
  • lead wire internal grab handles on the main canopy
  • internal windscreen armor glass and rear view mirror
  • air vents and instrument fairing on the upper dash panel
  • scratchbuilt propeller governor linkage on crankcase shield
  • 'helmet hook' below port canopy sill
  • fin tip beacon cover made from turned clear sprue
  • new fin tip pitot boom made from quilting pin
  • lead wire brake lines
  • main gear strut stabilizing oleos from styrene rod
  • antenna lead wire from EZ Line.
Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

22 responses

  1. Mike, great work, another distributor of MIG parts. Make a nice collection, within the Vietnam aircraft overall group. That's my plan, anyhow.
    Thanks for answering my unspoken question as to what loadout he was carrying when he shot down the MIG. RESCAP?

  2. Exactly! Figuring out the drop tank loadout was a pain, but Mutza's book and the pilots' accounts made it obvious that the two 300-gal tanks and four LAU-3 launchers were correct.

  3. One of my favorite episodes of "Dogfights" was the one entitled 'Gun Kills of Vietnam'. Nice job on the Spad, Mike...I did one of these as well, but yours turned out better.

  4. Great looking A-1, glad the covered it on Dogfights,.To bad they didn't cover the F9F Mig kills of the Korean war.

  5. Mike, I like it !, Nice Work. (I'll be sure to tell my friend "Dave" there's one without the bee here).

  6. Terry, Daves not here, man!

  7. Nice work. One minor point: the Skyraider came out in April 1998 (picked one up at the TamiyaCon that year). Not quite "3 decades" other than it came out in a decade two ahead of this one. 🙂

  8. Nice work Mike,on a really special A/C. Saw lots of these on Hurlbert Field in 1971 where Vietnamese pilots were learning to fly them. Mr. Douglas and the boys really out did themselves on this bird.

  9. Looks GREAT !

  10. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    I am very much aware of this SPAD and Lt. Clint Johnson .
    I am very much in par with Craig and the "DOGFIGHT" series.
    Your rendition is very well done, the weathering is not overdone and the smoke stains are all well depicted. Thank you for sharing the pictures.

  11. Great looking Spad, Mike! Weathering and staining look right to me - not overly done.

  12. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Well done!

  13. It's such an impressive looking aircraft, and, I guess the Tamiya kit is a classic in its own right, but it takes real skill to bring out the best of it like this.

  14. Thanks everyone! At the end of the day, it's still a good kit after 18 years but it still takes a little TLC to get a clean fit. It was a bit aggravating to have to add the stabilizer struts to the main gear legs, but not exactly major surgery. My advice - get Squadron's A-1 Walkaround for your most cost-effective reference. If you're going all-out on detailing it, get Mutza's "A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam" . Osprey has two or three good titles on Skyraiders in Korea and Vietnam, and Detail and Scale's A-1 book fills in several gaps on details.

    And don't buy the True Details rack set if you're wanting to detail the outboard racks - the Quickboost rack set is superior if you want to model empty racks.

    Tommy Thomason's Tailhook Topics blog also contains some good info on the racks.

  15. Great build! Grat! It's a very mean looking plane. I have an A-4 in my stash and now I think with a Skyraider next to it it would look much better on the shelf 😀

  16. NICE looking Spad dude! the weathering came out beautifully - a true work of art!

  17. Outstanding work on your MiG-killing Spad, Mike! I have this kit in the stash, and plan to build Canasta 577 like you.

Leave a Reply