Conversion Notes and
by José Herculano
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Those acquainted with Hasegawa’s 1/48 scale A-7 Corsair II usually develop a
fondness for the model.
The multi-part wing can be assembled folded out of the box, if one so wishes
(although it is a bit tricky to get right), the jet intake is quite a bit of a
pain on account of ejection marks and seams , the Sidewinder launch rails are
not that good, and surface detail is not up to current Hasegawa’s offerings. But
it is still a very nice model, very accurate in dimensions and outline, that can
be built into a lovely replica of a not uncharming bird whose size is about
right in 1/48 scale. It is even relatively cheap.
And I am willing to bet that, for USN afficionados like me, the most often
quoted reason to buy that extra model is “I am gonna build an A out of this
The 1/48 scale Hasegawa kit is an A-7E, that was also released as an Air Force
A-7D with an extra sprue. The E was the most used Navy model, and there are many
beautiful paint schemes for it - CAG birds galore, both over the old gray and
white and the later low-viz gray overall. But the A was the first model produced
and sent to Vietnam, where it gave the Navy a very real boost on range, accuracy
of delivery and sheer tonnage of iron things that go boom. It is a classic.
And as conversions go, you would need to shave off the Vulcan cannon and the
doppler radar, carve two 20mm cannons on the sides, add 4 gun cooling vents.
Been there, looked at that, shied away from it.
Doable? Yes. Simple? Not really.
And then Albatross came into play with its very nice “Marauding Corsairs” decal
sheet, that featured, amongst other less catching schemes, a Portuguese Air
Force farewell A-7P with impressive tailart over the already attractive SEA
wraparound scheme. Well, the fuselage on the P is the same as on the A. In fact,
an A-7P is an A-7A with the engine of an A-7B and most of the avionics of an
A-7E. Confused? You should be.
And so I bought another Hasegawa A-7E. Looked at it, scratched my head and filed
it under the one-day-I’ll-build-it section.
Then I heard that Cutting Edge was releasing an A-7A/B conversion for the
Hasegawa, and I knew I had to have that one.
Well, it has arrived.
This is what you get, all in that nice Cutting Edge gray resin :
Two new front fuselage parts, including the cannon recesses and the gun vents;
these parts look like a perfect fit when you remove the corresponding plastic
from the A-7E fuselage, at existing panel lines. Detail is very nice, and adding
two pieces of metal tube at the end of the recesses, you’ll get very convincing
Two pieces that are direct replacements for the Hasegawa underfuselage parts
that deal with the speedbrake assembly. Basically these are the Hasegawa parts
with the doppler radar removed.
Two very nice Sidewinder launch rails.
Two small antennae on the underside a little aft of the main gears.
Parts to make the saddle-like steps of earlier A-7s.
Dry runs show the fit to be very good, the detail is very nice, and everything
looks spot-on when compared to photographs of the real bird. The only flaws I
see in this conversion is that we are not provided with a new instrument panel
(the A-7A/B panel is quite different from the one provided with the Hasegawa
A-7E) nor with a new, shorter ECM, at the base of the tail (used on A-7A and
I highly recommend this set, and will get a few more.
This set is also a must in order to build a Portuguese Air Force A-7P, although
you’ll have some extra work awaiting you.
A-7Ps are reworked A-7As, with the upgraded TF-30-P408 engines A-7B and most of
the avionics and attack capabilities of the A-7E.
These birds also had some later-life upgrades, so not all birds were alike. I’ll
concentrate my efforts on the steps needed to produce an accurate representation
of the commemorative bird featured on the very nice Albatross decal sheet.
You’ll find some info on this sheet at:
A very nice walkaround featuring this bird can be found at:
The picture bellow shows the USN A-7A BuNo 153134 during its later service days.
This is the very same aircraft that will be converted into an A-7P, receive the
FAP serial number 15521, and is featured on the Albatross decal sheet.
What follows is a list of things to do to model this beauty:
1. Use the CE set front fuselage parts to give you the new gun ports and gun
2. Do not use the CE airbrake assembly, since the A-7P had the doppler radar as
fitted to the A-7E;
3. Modify the A-7E instrument panel as per the walkaround site pictures; note
that the top and right areas are identical, only the bottom left need to be
4. Use an ESCAPAC ejection seat – from the kit or from Cutting Edge or True
5. Don’t use the antennae provided with the CE set;
6. Add from scratch the large dorsal UHF antenna, plus two side localizer ILS
antennae at the top of the tail (just as found on A-7D);
7. Add from scratch (or modify using similar parts from an Hasegawa A-4E/F) two
prominent, with aerodynamic contouring, chaff/flare dispensers at the rear
8. Add small dorsal vent by the side of the big antenna;
9. Remove the launch bar attachment from the front gear leg, and fill in the
fuselage holes where it recesses when retracted;
10. Remove starter attachment point from the right fuselage and scribe it by the
left side, as per CE’s intructions;
11. Do not install wing pylons nor Sidewinder fuselage side pylons, and fill in
the respective holes – the commemorative bird never flew with any, and also, due
to little empty weight, has a more nose-up attitude on the ground;
12. If you want to display the side avionic bays open, use the pictures as
reference to modify the detail present on the Hasegawa’s fuselage.
For painting, just one more tip: if you assemble the flaps and slats down, the
exposed inner parts should be painted white.
Now, who will be the first to show us a completed model?
15521 before conversion to A-7P
Major parts of the CE conversion assembled
Major CE conversion components crudely cut from the carriers
Port side of an A-7P
Starboard side of an A-7P
Front port detail. Note cannon port, saddle step, large dorsal antenna
Port mid fuselage detail. Note starter cart attachment (open)
Starboard side detail. Note large dorsal antenna, small vent by the side of it.
Remainder: tail details showing chaff / flare dispensers
Click the thumbnails below to view
the images full-sized.
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Page Created 16 September, 2002
19 April, 2004
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