Photographs Copyright © Collin Riley 2005-2013
A-1H Skyraider, VA-176, USS Intrepid "MiG Killer"
Power Series. Well folks, this model is
nigh on plastic-model-done-by-an-expert quality. In my own diecast
collection, there is nothing better.
Some of the model's design details include a most excellent landing
gear assembly, which is topnotch and similar to the Corgi Corsair
main gear, which is almost fullproof. The gear inserts in the wing
easily, aligns automatically, and stays together no matter how much
the model is moved. Also included is a finely printed prop, as well
as a detailed and colorful paint job throughout the model. The canopy
slides well and true, and the various weapons loads fit tightly in
the wing slots.
Also laudable is a potential feature that was left out: There are
no moving control surfaces, which, if they had been included, would
have ruined this almost perfect diecast model. Thankfully, the model
sits and flies sagless, solid, and intact on its own, without gimmicks.
In my time in the navy this plane was known simply as the AD, which
I believe was the original designation. The Hobby Master blurb on
the box says the plane was originally designated the AD-1, which may
be true, though I'm not familiar with the usage. One of these planes,
in dark sea blue, was based at NAF Naha when our family was in Okinawa
from 1956 through 1958. When we had a typhoon come through in 1957,
the AD broke free from its tie downs and was pushed into a P2V (also
painted dark sea blue), which collapsed on top of the AD. 'Nuff said.
I've included two pictures of A-1s I took in 1965 off Vietnam from
our ammunition ship, the USS Firedrake (AE-14).
The AD design was probably the ultimate all-around prop design, the
culmination of decades of pre-jet airplane development. That's not
to say it was the fastest or most maneuverable, but it was certainly
elegant in its simplicity. In many ways, the design reminds me of
another Douglas product, the A-26, which used the same direct aerodynamic
approach, including gradually tapered wings, finely cowled engines,
and a strong, compact fuselage structure. It would be interesting
to know if the same designers worked on both projects, or if they
simply followed an established Douglas design philosophy.