1/48 Tamiya A-10A Thunderbolt II – with Lighting!

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  • Last reply 3 weeks, 6 days ago
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  • David Kopielski said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    For this next build I will be using the Tamiya 1/48 A-10A Thunderbolt II and doing a custom scheme as well as illuminating the aircraft. This is a commissioned work for a friend that flies this A-10 in the online flight simulator at the Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) website. The build will be detailed with Eduard photo etch, Eduard Brassin weapons (CBU-97’s, CBU-105’s, and Mk.84’s) and a Master Model gun for the nose. I will also be adding a M32A-60A Generator Unit which is part of the Hasegawa 1/48 US Ground Crew A set (currently on order) this will be used to hold a battery to power the LED’s used in the aircraft. Since I will be illuminating this it will not follow the instructions order of build so that the wiring and fiber optic lines can be installed as needed.
    I started with the instrument panel. The photo etch set provides an instrument panel as well as a clear plastic with the gauges printed on them. I cut out the center of the kit panel then using Tamiya clear green and blue I colored the certain gauges and sprayed the back side with flat white to reduce the brightness of the LED. I built a light box on the backside and installed a white PICO sized LED. Looking at reference photos there is a large landing light on the inside of the nose gear door. This is not included in the kit. I took a piece of 0.1” styrene rod and drilled into the end to make the back reflector and then cut the bottom lip to run the wires. I used a clear lens from my spare parts bin to cover the front and finally sanded the light case with a tapered back. I am starting to work on the taxi and formation lighting next.

    You can see more photos and details in my build log at https://davidsscalemodels.com/build-log/1-48-a-10-thunderbolt-ii-dcs/

    7 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Tom Rodgers said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Really neat!!! One small detail though. The ADI display in the top center of the instrument panel should actually be black on the bottom and gray on the top…not white and blue. I flew the A-10A for 12 years and that was they were on the “A”model. That may have changed with the upgrade to the “C” model, but I don’t know.

  • David Kopielski said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    I am building this to match the simulator aircraft. Not sure how accurate the simulator aircraft is vs. a real aircraft.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Wow, David, you are into Lighting projects!
    You do a wonderful job, please sign me in!

  • Chuck A. Villanueva said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Very ambitious project David, love it, The Tam A-10 is not a bad kit to work with, though it is a very early “A”, it builds to a decent kit. A bit easier to work on than the Monogram kit. With your upgrades it will bring it up to standard. Will it be a LASTE version, which would be an A-10C, or just a fun build with nothing in particular? I used the Tam kit for a Desert Storm version, and right now have the Monogram A-10 on hold, but this may motivate me to finish it. Upgrading this to a LASTE capable version as it appeared in Operation Enduring Freedom. So looking forward to this build.

  • John vd Biggelaar said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Good looking, David.
    Those tiny LED’s these days are fantastic.

  • George R Blair Jr said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    This will be an ambitious build, and will be very cool when done. Looking forward to the rest of the build, David (@davids_models).

  • David Kopielski said 2 months ago:

    This week on the A-10 Thunderbolt II I detailed and assembled the cockpit. I completed the details on the instrument panel and the side panels. I decided used a QuickBoost resin ejection seat as the kit seat was very incorrect. I then dug thru my 1/48 figures and found a very good detailed pilot. The pilot was painted to match the pilot used in the simulator. I made the squadron arm patch and helmet logo decals using the artwork from the simulator and painted the helmet red with tiger stripes to match as well. While the pilot was drying, I added some photo etch details to the nose wheel strut.
    The pilot was then placed in the seat and I used the photo etch seat belts to strap the pilot in. The cockpit was assembled and I ran the wiring down the one side of the cockpit. I am now starting work on the navigation lights. There are five white lights and the red/green of the wingtips. The white lights will all be fiber optic lines from a single LED source. Check in next week to see the results!
    You can see more photos and details in my build log at https://davidsscalemodels.com/build-log/1-48-a-10-thunderbolt-ii-dcs/

    8 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Erik Gjørup said 2 months ago:


  • John vd Biggelaar said 2 months ago:

    Impressive, David.
    A much better seat indeed.

  • George R Blair Jr said 2 months ago:

    Ditto on the impressive, David (@davids_models). Looking forward to the rest of the plane.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 months ago:

    Echoing the above gents comments, David!
    Impressive so far!

  • David Kopielski said 1 month, 4 weeks ago:

    Let there be light! This week’s work on the Thunderbolt II is installing the aircraft lights. Starting with the navigation lights there are five locations. The locations are the aft of the fuselage, each side of the tails, the dorsal light and the belly light. The kit provides a clear lens for the tail which is 1mm in diameter. So to start I drilled a 1mm hole all the way into the fuselage cavity. The clear lens was placed and then a 1mm fiber optic line was placed against it. For the belly light a 1mm hole was drilled and a piece of styrene stock was added to provide strain relief. I then used a lighter and slightly melted the end of the 1 mm fiber optic line to create a “lens” and installed it. The tails and the dorsal spots were drilled with a .5mm drill and like the belly I used a lighter to slightly melt the end of each .5mm fiber optic line. I then made a light box out of styrene and installed a 3mm LED on one end and then drilled two 1mm holes and three .5mm holes for the fiber optic lines. All the fiber optic lines were then routed and attached using acrylic gel to hold them in place.
    To power the lighting I took the 1/48 Hasegawa cart and built it up. The problem I had was the interior of the cart held the battery but there was not enough room for the connector to the battery. To correct the fit I added some .2” thick styrene to the one end and some thin stock styrene to extend the edge of the top cover. A 3.5mm hole for the power cable was drilled out on the aircraft power spot. I used a coax wire sleeved with black shrink tubing as the power cable. One end was routed to the battery connector and the other side I installed a female coaxial pin. On the aircraft next to the nose gear bay is the aircraft ground power port. I cut out the panel (will make one later in the open position) and installed a male coaxial connector on a thick styrene sheet with epoxy and glued it into place. The cover of the cart will not be glued down which will allow access to change the battery if needed.
    I used the photo etch detail parts to build up the nose gear bay and then started work on the nose gear strut. The A-10 has two lights on the strut. There is a lower light for taxi and the upper light for landing. Using styrene rod I made both light housings. I installed a white PICO sized LED in each one and made the lens using acrylic gel. So not only does it create the lens it holds the LED’s in place. I am now starting on the red and green wing tip lights which will use individual LED’s and fiber optic lines.
    You can see more photos and details from the start in my build log at https://davidsscalemodels.com/build-log/1-48-a-10-thunderbolt-ii-dcs/

    11 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • George R Blair Jr said 1 month, 4 weeks ago:

    This is going to look really slick when done, David (@davids_models). Looking forward to the rest of the build.

  • John vd Biggelaar said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    Nice engineering, David.

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