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Guppy Spad - 1/48th ESCI AD-4W Skyraider

Updated: Dec 31

This is the original ESCI AD-4W kit released back in 1979. The molds have since been bought and re-released by Italeri in 2016 (#2757). It is a very basic kit with some errors of its own, however if you wanted to build a in 1/48th "Guppy Skyraider" this was it back in the day (or you could get a conversion kit).


Notable Kit Features:

  • The only AD-4W kit in 1/48th scale

  • Rudimentary cockpit with decals providing instrument panel and side consoles

  • Basic overall idea of "The Guppy"


Build Inspiration:


I built my AD-4W as "RM 24" 126840 of VMC-1. This aircraft was credited with shooting down a Po-2 near Seoul, South Korea on June 15, 1953.



Heads-Up Report:


  • Heavy sprues with a bit of flash

  • Rudimentary cockpit without any raised detail

  • Pilot restraints represented with decals

  • Flight control surfaces and flaps are all molded in neutral position

  • Slats are problematic (warped in my case)

  • Engine is basic and molded into backplate

  • Armour plating on the lower surface of the wings should be removed as it was not present on this type

  • Kit decals are not properly scaled (judging by photos I later found)



Kit Additions / Modifications:


  • Added stabilizing lines to belly radar

  • Replaced tail tip antenna with steel needle

  • Replaced antennas with ones built from plastic card


End Result:


The paint scheme for this aircraft was the standard USN Navy blue (FS 15042). The kit markings were used, which were passable but not great. Little weathering was applied aside from the exhaust stains as this was a relatively early build and I hadn't gotten into any paint weathering as yet.



The After-Build Report:


As far as I know, this kit is still 'the only game in town' if you want to build a AD-4W out of the box. There have been at least a couple of conversions released for this type: Cutting Edge & North Wing Model Craft (48005). If you can find one you can convert a Tamiya kit (although you will have quite the project with this task as well). Not exactly a recommendation, but if you want an AD-4W then this kit is a decent starting point for you.



Completed build #94 - December 2006 using the 1/48th scale ESCI 8212 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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