Kit No. 5611. 1:48th scale
As expected, Monogram’s Grumman EA-6B Prowler has now arrived and completes a trio of ‘A-6 family’ jets. It follows on from Revell’s A-6E and EA-6A Wild Weasel versions and, like its predecessors, it is a really nice kit. It looks to be quite accurate with the usual fine raised panel lines, the leading edge slats, flaps and air brakes are all depicted with engraved lines in the closed position of course.
Moulded in light grey plastic the kit utilises the A-6E wings and there are a few parts on the frame not needed for this model. A large decal sheet depicts one aircraft only VAQ 131 from CVW 11 aboard USS America. But it is, however, an extremely colourful one. The instruction sheet is adequate with lots of painting information provided and a full decal placement plan to round it off.
Construction is fairly simple but you will need a little filler here and there, I cured a couple of gaps under the fuselage with 20 thou card strips just tucked in and sanded flat.
The cockpit is busy and quite accurate but I did add some rudder pedals for the pilot Some major surgery would be needed, however, to change the seats for better items. Some weight will be needed in the nose and I used epoxy resin mixed with shotgun pellets. Pour it in before adding the instrument hood, part 53. The fuselage immediately behind the cockpit has a deep ‘V’grove moulded in it which is a bit too deep. Therefore, add some filler and sand to a shallower grove that matches the rear of the canopy; it extends almost to the red beacon. It does exist but it is hard to find a reference photo of the depression. A tail hook is supplied, though it is moulded in with the fuselage making it difficult to paint
The undercarriage legs are sturdy just like the real machine but the moulded brake lines will benefit from a little paring with a sharp scalpel. Two sets of canopies, one clear and one gold tinted, are provided. Use the clear windshield and the gold canopies in either the closed or open position (hinge slots are marked ready to be cut out if required).
The fold out boarding ladder can be used closed or deployed but you can improve the open position with some fine rod and plastic card to form the
linkage mechanism. Also, there should be another step at the very top of the opening; check your reference photos.
Under wing stores consist of two fuel tanks and three AN/ALQ-99 jamming pods which is a typical load for the Prowler although later updated aircraft with the ICAP-Il fit can carry four AGM 88A HARM missiles. The review model has the ICAP-I fit, which can be recognised by the saw tooth refuelling probe and the ‘beer can’ extension to the fin tip pod. This brings us to the outer pylons, which still have the long probes extending forward. These AN/ALQ-100 DECM antenna would normally be removed with the ICAP-I refit. I also note that the small triangular fairing (part of pylon), normally fitted to the pod, is missing. This alters the AOA (Angle of Attack) considerably.
A couple of improvements can easily be made. Firstly, the refuelling probe needs to be cut off and repositioned with a 12-degree tilt to the starboard (right) side. All the small intakes can be drilled out and wall thicknesses reduced as can the rear openings on the pods. The engine exhausts are a little thick so the use of a round file will help here.
Painting and finishing
For all the white areas use Humbrol 130 Satin White as a base and add a coat of 22 Gloss White to give a shiny top surface. The grey is FS 16440 Lt Gull Grey and Humbrol’s 40 is a perfect match; alternatively, Xtracolor X137 will do. Note that the tailplanes are white on both top and bottom surfaces and not as shown in step 14. All the ECM type areas i.e. radome etc, are in FS 33613. Humbrol 71 Oak is a good match or the exact colour is available from Xtracolor as X107. The side profile in the instruction sheet incorrectly shows the fin tip and strake as being white; use the plan view as correct, i.e. the strake and fin pod front cone are painted tan.
Dk Gull Grey is used for the walkways on wings and tailplanes and can be Humbrol 140 or Xtracolor X131. The leading edges of the wings and tailplanes is a colour I mixed to match brown sticky parcel tape from a tan and yellow. I’m afraid I can’t remember the exact proportions; you’ll just have to experiment!
My first couple of decal sheets just broke up when each item was placed in the water but I cured this by spraying the whole sheet with a thin coat of gloss varnish to hold it together, this meant each item had to be cut out quite close. When each was applied it was coated with Johnsons Klear to seal it in. You may need to touch up around the decals at the end. Ideal matching colours are; Revell 51 Blue and Humbrol 188 Chrome Yellow FS 13538 or Xtracolor X106. The whole model was then lightly coated with a mix of 3 partsKlear and 1 part Tamiya flat base, this gave a nice sheen.
The navigation lights on the wing tips were first painted Silver Fox with Tamiya Clear Red or Blue brushed on top to give a realistic finish. I also used this method to liven up radarscopes using green or orange colours.
A pretty good kit resulting in a nice model straight from the box, but there is scope for those who like to super-detail so it should please most people. I have heard it criticized for being a millimeter or two out dimension-wise but I find no grounds for that myself. I am pleased to get a kit that is a lot better than the elderly Airfix model that needed quite a bit of work to achieve a reasonable model.
Monogram/Revell are to be congratulated on following through the series, and as always, it’s good value for money. While it isn’t of the highest quality in the world it isn’t of the highest price either. Most navy fans will be able to afford this no nonsense no excess model
There is a detailed build article with
corrections by Jim Rotramel here
Aerofax Minigraph No. 7.
World Super Carriers published by
Super Base No.8 Fallon published