An airplane has found it’s way onto my desk!
Specifically Hasegawa’s 1:48 scale A-4E Skyhawk. Hasegawa produces some of the finest detailed and best fitting kits available, and the Skyhawk is definitely one of the cleanest-building, most well-detailed kits, out-of-the box, that I’ve ever had the pleasure of building. One thing it is lacking, as are almost all Hasegawa kits, is ordnance options. The kit includes auxiliary fuel tanks (drop tanks) and Skyhawk specific pylons, but no weapons or weapon racks, so aftermarket is a necessity if you want to hang anything that goes “BOOM”!
Fortunately Aires of the Czech Republic offers a solution. This prolific aftermarket company exploded onto the scene in 1995 with their first resin aircraft detail set for the Hasegawa Ju-87 Stuka. Since then they have continued to introduce new products at an astounding rate. Beginning with cockpit and engine sets, and later expanding into other areas, it seems that now there is no area of aircraft detail that remains unattended to by Aires. Recently they have begun to offer a line of more tightly focused detail items to help modelers fill in the “gaps” in their models and dioramas with items like seated and standing pilots, ordnance, airfield equipment, and pylons and racks. These items appear under the AEROBONUS name and are well worth a look.
Let’s take a look at 2 of these items:
AEROBONUS 1:48 scale US NAVY Triple Ejector Rack TER-7 (A/A37B-5)
AEROBONUS 1:48 scale US NAVY Multiple Ejector Rack MER-7 (A/A37B-6)
Cast in Aires typical grey polyurethane resin with excellent, well-cast detail…well really what else can I say? I don’t have measurements of the full scale articles, so I can’t comment on dimensional accuracy…wait wait! I hear you saying “Well then what is the point of a REVIEW if you don’t know if they’re accurate or not!?” Well dear reader, my intention is not to review the items in question. My desire is to share detailed pictures of what you get for your money. I’ll gladly let the discussion of accuracy take place in the nether-holes of the interwebs. Those places where experts roam unconstrained by human relations to freely engage in heated exchanges of opinion about such pressing matters as fractions of millimeters and thousandths of an inch.
Was that snarky? I’m sorry. Truly, I am. OK here are the numbers:
Actual product measurements:
LOA (length overall): 81.17MM / 3.196″
Width of the main housing: 4.25MM / .167″
OK – Pictures are way more fun!
Side-by-side with the Revell rendering of the same item.
OK there ya go!
The modeler will need to add the short cable that runs from the AFT face of the ejector assembly to the main housing. Aires / AEROBONUS have provided a small indentation at the places where the modeler would drill a hole to add this – a nice touch!
These things look great and are very well detailed. I can’t wait to add them to my A-4.
NOT SO FAST!
Dave Roof – Retired Marine Ordnanceman, owner of Flying Leathernecks Decals http://flyingleathernecksmodels.com/ and “Awesomerest guy ever!™” sent along these photos of a MER-7 with an A-6 Intruder attached to it. Thanks Dave! You can see in the pictures that the nose contours on this MER-7 are soft and rounded.
So out came the sanding sticks and within a few minutes I had something that more closely resembled what I saw in Dave’s photos, as well as being closer to the Revell example.
Top – original AEROBONUS part
Center – Modified AEROBONUS part
Bottom – Revell part
It didn’t take long to do, and renders it a vast improvement over the Revell part in terms of detail. That being said, I think I would be happier if the nose on the AEROBONUS item were a bit “fatter”
OK well it turned into a bit of a proper interwebs review in the end, but I’m OK with that. If what I’ve posted helps the reader decide if the item is something that they want to add to the stash, I’ve done my job.
Dave was kind enough to permit me to post his additional photos, so here they are.