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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Badass Spad: 1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider

Here is my first 1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider model aircraft kit build. Released in 1980 in USN Vietnam era markings, that was followed by the 1983 USN Korean War markings and the 1988 version in USAF Vietnam era markings. This plastic has been re-released a number of times by Monogram or Revell as late as 2010. Although dated, you can still produce a good looking build from this bargain kit.


1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider

Notable Kit Features:


  • Nice raised detail in the pit

  • Relatively simple build

  • Nicely detailed pilot figure included

  • Decent parts fit

  • Good landing gear detail

  • Raised panel lines with nice recessed and raised surface details

  • Two-piece canopy can be positioned open or closed


Build Inspiration:


After doing some research, I decided to make my build of the venerable Skyraider's first “kill” of the Vietnam War. (It was one of two that occurred between Spads and their adversaries).


Clint Johnson's MiG killer A-1 Skyraider of VA-25

LT Clint Johnson relates the engagement, Caught by a couple MiG-17s during a rescue flight at 12,000 feet and 170 knots, our only hope was to get down low and try to out turn the MiGs. A silver MiG-17 with red marking on wings and tail streaked by (LTJG) Charlie (Hartman) and me. Tracers from behind us and a jet intake growing larger in my mirror signaled us to start pulling and turning. The second MiG was unable to stay inside our turn and overshot, but the first MiG had gone after the lead pair of Skyraiders flown by (LCDR) Ed (Greathouse) and (LTJG) Jim (Lynne). I caught a glimpse of Ed and Jim and headed for them. We were now flying at treetop level, in and out of small valleys, so we had to fly around a small hill to get to them. Coming around the hill we saw the MiG lined up behind them and I fired a burst at long range. When he saw us coming for him, he then turned hard into us to make a head-on pass. That gave us a head-on shot too. Charlie and I both fired our cannons, all told with eight 20 mm guns about 140 explosive shells were fired at the North Vietnamese plane. Charlie’s rounds appeared to go down the intake and into the wing root, and mine along the top of the fuselage and through the canopy, shattering it. The MiG had passed so close, Charlie thought that I had hit the MiGs vertical stabilizer with the tip of my tail hook. The MiG never returned our fire, it just rolled inverted and hit a small hill exploding and burning in a farm field.


1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider

Heads-Up Report:


  • Weapons are molded onto pylons

  • Guns have flash suppressors

  • External cockpit armour plate molded into kit

  • Overall fit is decent although as I recall the fuselage to wing join requires some attention

  • Some wing fold parts provided but not all (seems like folded wing option was abandoned somewhere along the line)


1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider

Kit Additions / Modifications:


  • Built this kit gear-up in flying mode

  • Drilled out the gun barrels

  • Detached the weapons and tanks from the pylons

  • Replaced the pitot tube with a syringe needle

  • Used aftermarket decals depicting Clint Johnson's MiG killer of VA-25 “The Fist of the Fleet”


1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider

Finishing:


The paint scheme for this 1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider is the standard USN finish of the era, consisting of Gull Grey (FS 26440) over White (FS 17875) with white control surfaces. The black vertical tail cap (which is more likely to have been in the squadron colour - Green), anti-glare panel and tail-hook stripes were also painted on. A gloss coat was then applied and allowed to dry. The decals were added including the wing-walks and then the aircraft was over-sprayed with a matte coat to seal everything in. No weathering was done as I was building "museum" examples at this time.


1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider

The After-Build Report:

Despite the age of this 1/48th Monogram A-1H Skyraider kit, I will still recommend it for an inexpensive build. Sure the kit is dated and has raised panel lines, however you could sand them off as I did in this example (or keep them to highlight the panels or even re-scribe if you are so inclined). Out of the box you can still get a nice kit for display. If you want a better quality kit, the 1/48th Tamiya A-1 is certainly a gem of an option and probably the best Skyraider out there in any scale.


Completed build #13 - December 1983 with fictitious markings and then stripped and repainted in March 2005 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #5419 kit.


Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers


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2 Comments


Marc Tyler
Marc Tyler
Apr 29

Awesome build. I am currently building this in air Force markings and I am jealous at how well you were able to get the wheel bay doors to fit so flush. Great builds.

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bdmielke
May 13
Replying to

Thanks Marc, I ended up building one in USAF markings as well. Did that one gear down however. Good luck with your build - Cheers

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