AniGrand Craftswork 1/72nd General Dynamics A-12 Avenger II
I was a bit disappointed when it was announced in 1991, that the Navy version of a stealth attack aircraft was to be terminated prior to a first flight. It seems that cost over runs had spelt the doom of the program. There was also the continuing question of maintaining the stealthy-ness of a ship-based aircraft. When it was cancelled, there was very little open source information on the nature and shape of the "Avenger II", at the time a Grumman aircraft. It was only after the program was cancelled, and the gradual thaw that came after the end of the Cold War, that the general shape and specifics of the proposed aircraft became public knowledge.
I believe this is the second kitting of the "Flying Dorito" as it was known unofficially. The first is also a limited run resin kit, by Collect Aire Models, a 1/48th scale offering. This kit, by new comer AniGrand Craftworks of Hong Kong is a nice looking model. In fact, it was so nice looking in the box/bag, that I bought this from Roll Models at our last club meeting.
This is a very simple kit, with four major parts, two wing tips and a two piece center wing/fuselage section. All the rest of the kit are the little bits, weapons' bays and landing gear doors, two LGBs and two AMRAAMs, six cockpit parts, one vac-form canopy, wheels and landing gear struts. The layout of the kit suggests a folded wing display, but there doesn't appear to be the necessary "gear" to represent a hinge assembly for the wings, however, both the wingtips and body bulkheads have detail added to them. If one wishes to build it with the wingtips down, there is no guarantee that it will fit that way either. I was originally going to make it with the wings up at a 90 degree angle (much like a Cutlass), but the instructions suggest an over the body wing-fold ala the A-6 and S-3.
The quality of the molds are somewhat uneven. The parts of course show the flash that comes with limited run resin kits, but the sink marks and "short shots" dull the joy of the petite recessed panel lines and other nice aspects of the kit. There is nothing here, even the short shot parts, that can't be corrected with a bit of modeling, but of course one would have wished the quality control people would have caught the offending parts before packing. As you can see, all the parts except the single vac-formed canopy and the small low-vis grey decal sheet are included in one compartmented sealed bag. A nice move.
I'm looking forward to working on this kit. It will take a little bit more work to finish that I would have liked, but I also an looking forward to perhaps building an in-flight model, perhaps dropping a bomb. Building it that way would reduce the parts I'd have to deal with, and would prevent having to deal with the Achilles' heel of most resin kits, resin landing gear struts. I believe the landing gear was going to be a derivative of that used on the A-6 intruder. If I were to build this as a static display, I'd look to get at least some injected model jet's main gear to substitute for the supplied items. And who is to say just what the paint scheme would be adopted. I heard today that the current inventory of F-117s are being repainted into a tactical grey scheme, so perhaps the A-12 would have had something different too. I believe the canopy would also have a gold tint.
Over all I'm impressed with the kit, and am looking forward to making this a nice flying display. I'll post my build after I'm done.
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