AOA Decals 72-001: Intruders from the Beach
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Whether it was originally planned or the result of tearful pleas from 1/72 modelers, AOA has produced their first sheet on Vietnam Marine A-6A in 1/72 scale. There is one huge sheet that covers a total of 45 different serial numbers and three squadrons based in Vietnam from 1967 until 1971.
This set contains markings for three USMC Intruder squadrons that were based in Vietnam. There are 7 options for aircraft from VMA(AW)-225 Vikings based at DaNang from 1969-71
Next we have 19 options from VMA(AW)-242 Batmen. These folks were also based at DaNang from 1966-1970 and went through a markings change during that time period.
The third squadron and one with the most options is VMA(AW)-533 Hawks. These folks were based a Chu Lai from 1967-69 and at Nam Phong from 1972-73. Again, the unit went through a change in markings over time. There are 19 options for the Chu Lai time and 19 options for the Nam Phong timeframe.
There are common markings and stencils for two aircraft, but you can use kit markings for these if you wish to do more than the pair.
With all of the differnt markings options, covering the three units, it would be prohibitively expensive to offer a paper set of placements, so as is being done more and more often, the guides are electronic. In this case, a CD that contains all 64 aircraft on their own page. In addition, there is information on modifying the Fujimi 1/72 A-6A, which is the best one out there in the minds of most Intruder fans. These markings can be used on other kits as well if one so desires as few markings are kit specific.
Since the Fujimi kit is not 100% A-6A, Fujimi having done the whole family, there are a few changes that may need to be made to bring it totally within specs. AOA has provided full instructions and drawings on what needs to be changed. As these items often came into being during the type's service in Vietnam and were frequently retrofit, it is important that the builder keep in mind just what bits may be appropriate for the option being modeled. None of the work is difficult and is mostly filling panel lines.
Also included is a full load-out diagram, which is different for each of the units and time periods. Miscellaneous markings for the MERS and TERS and fuel tanks are also included. A full stencil placement guide is on the cd. This is in .pdf format so you need to download the free Adobe reader if you do not have it already. Most of us will simply print out the pages we need for the plane we will be modeling.
In order to see exactly what markings are offered, I recommend visiting the link below. It will also allow you to order your copy. The decals themselves are printed by Cartograf and so are among the best in the industry. I am quite impressed with the level of research and the subject matter AOA has been producing. Work like this needs to be encouraged so that we can see more great products from them in coming years.
Thanks to AOA Decals for the review sheet. You can find this sheet and images of all the options at this link.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.