The 1/48th scale Douglas Skyraider by Tamiya is the only Able Dog kit that includes markings for both of the A-1H “MiG killers” from the early days of the Vietnam War.
Construction starts with painting the cockpit dark gull gray, FS-36231, and then applying the decals to the side consoles and instrument panel. Cement the completed cockpit into one side of the fuselage, slip the tail wheel well into position and glue the sides of the airframe together.
Paint the cylinders of the Wright R-3350 radial engine “steel.” Dry brushing with black will bring out the cylinder cooling fin details. Push the engine into the forward portion of the cowling and attach either the open or closed cowl flaps.
Spray the exhaust pipes “rust” and set them aside until the model has been completely painted. The main gear doors should be attached to pieces that make up the boxing of the main wheel wells. Snap these parts into the bottom of the lower wing and maneuver them into place from the inside. Then cement the well parts into position along with the top sections of the wings.
Attach the wings to the underside of the fuselage and horizontal stabilizers into their respective slots at the tail. A-1H and A-1J (AD-6 and AD-7) versions of the Skyraider had three large airbrakes that opened on the sides and bottom of the fuselage. These are molded as separate parts but were seldom used on the real aircraft. I cemented mine in the closed position.
Skyraiders were looked upon as “dump trucks” that could carry an impressive array of bombs, rockets and gun pods. At this point you must decide what ordnance your model will be carrying and then attach the underwing racks.
The basic construction of the model is now complete and ready for a light coating of primer, which will highlight any open seams or flaws in your work. Vietnam-era U.S. Navy Skyraiders had white, FS-17925, undersides, elevators and ailerons. Paint the rest of the aircraft light gull gray, FS-36440. A flat black antiglare panel in front of the cockpit finishes off the color scheme.
Our model is a replica of an A-1H from USS Intrepid while it was on patrol off Vietnam’s coast in the fall of 1966. On October 9, Lt. j.g. W. Thomas Patton, flying A-1H serial number 37543, succeeded in shooting down a MiG-17. Patton dived from altitude, closed to within 100 feet of the MiG and used his cannons and Zuni rockets to down it. A color drawing of the aircraft with the kit markings, including the MiG kill symbol, can be found on P. 25 of the Squadron Signal publication USN Aircraft Carrier Air Units, Vol. 3, by Duane Kasulka.
With the painting complete, spray a coat of Testor’s glosscoat or Johnson’s Future acrylic floor polish over the model to give the decals a smooth surface to adhere to. The kit decals are a bit thick and will take extra time to release in water. Once free from their backing sheet, they must be handled carefully and positioned with a small paintbrush. The distinctive “angry bee” thunderbolt sweeping down off the vertical stabilizer is particularly difficult to place.
After all of the markings are applied, finish the model by cementing the landing gear, wheels and the 300-gallon fuel tank into place on the underside. The propeller blades should be painted flat black, FS-37038, with white, red, white stripes on the front and yellow tips, FS-13538, on the backside.
Paint and attach the canopy, and your MiG-killer Skyraider is ready for display.