Review: Clear Prop 1/48 XA2D-1 Skyshark

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The Douglas A2D Skyshark was an American turboprop-powered attack aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the United States Navy. The program was substantially delayed by engine reliability problems and was cancelled because more promising jet attack aircraft had entered development and the smaller escort carriers the A2D was intended to utilize were being phased out.

While it resembled the AD Skyraider, the A2D was different in a number of unseen ways. The 5,100-equivalent shaft horsepower (3,800 kW) Allison XT-40-A2 had more than double the horsepower of the Skyraider’s R-3350. The XT40 installation on the Skyshark used contra-rotating propellers to harness all the available power.

Engine-development problems delayed the first flight until 26 May 1950 and Allison failed to deliver a “production” engine until 1953. The A4D was ready to fly by the summer of 1954, and the escort carriers were being mothballed, so that time had run out for the troubled A2D program.

Twelve Skysharks were built, two prototypes and ten pre-production aircraft. Most were scrapped or destroyed in accidents, and only one has survived.

There have been 3 previous kits of the Skyshark in this scale but it looks like they are all based on the original 1955 Vacuform kit from K & B Allyn.

ClearProp has 3 levels of kits, each requiring different skill levels of the builder. This kit is an ‘advanced’ kit which means there is some PE and resin in the box.

The kit comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a more lightweight top that goes over the cardboard box top. All the parts are inside a resealable bag with various parts inside their own bags as well. The PE fret has a cardboard backing sheet. The packaging is very good. In the box we have:

  • plastic parts – 203
  • photoetched parts – 83
  • resin parts – 5
  • set of paint masks
  • 2 decal sheets
  • full colour 24-page glossy paper instruction sheet

The level of detail is very nice and the main parts have fine recessed panel lines. The attachment points are small and they attach to the mating surfaces. There are alignment pins on the main parts of the fuselage and wings, unlike their earlier kits. There are colour call-outs throughout the build using the AMMO range of paints.

The kit is built in 47 steps over 11 pages.

  1. The first thing to decide is whether you want to build your kit with wings folded or not.
  2. Page 1 starts us off in the cockpit as usual. The instrument panel can be made in one of two different ways either using a decor or a film overlaid with photo-etch. Then the next three steps build a very detailed seat before we build the two sidewall panels from plastic photo-etch.
  3. Page 2 attaches the various cockpit components we’ve already built and makes a cockpit interior assembly. After that, we build the engine air intakes and exhaust ducting.
  4. Page 3 installs the ducting into the fuselage halves before adding more parts between the fuselage house before we join them together. There’s also one part that you have to remove one of two pieces of plastic from depending on whether you want to build with the canopy open or closed.
  5. Page 4 adds the last small details to the cockpit before moving on to adding detail to the wheel wells and assembling the inner wing assembly. Don’t forget to drill 0.8 mm holes in various places before you seal this up. Then you assemble the elevators and it looks like the ailerons may be movable.
  6. Page 5 adds the rudder and elevators to the main fuselage and then you add the inner wing assembly to the bottom of the fuselage. Then you add some detail to the underneath of the wings and the final step is only for paint scheme one and adds a different engine exhaust.
  7. Page 6 assembles the undercarriage legs and gives an additional diagram to make sure you get things glued together correctly. Then the undercarriage legs and doors annealed into place.
  8. Page seven assembles the tailwheel assembly and airbrake. Then you add underwing pylons, machine guns and a few other small details under the fuselage before adding an external fuel tank.
  9. Page 8 installs the airbrake and tail landing year and gives you an extra image to make sure you get everything attached at the correct angle. Then you assemble the 23 bladed propeller hub is.
  10. Page nine as the propellers to the nose of the aircraft and your choice of the canopy to display the model with the canopy open or closed. Next, you drill 0.8 mm holes in the lower half of the outer wings before assembling the outer wings. Next up you add Peter tubes and small PE parts to the lower wings. Next, you add some small details to the hinge of the wing fold if you are displaying the kit with folded wings.
  11. Page 11 and is the ailerons and the outer wings for the unfolded version. Note that the elevators attach differently depending on whether you have the wings folded or not.
  12. Page 12 is basically the same as page 11 except the elevators fit differently and you install the outer wings in the folded position.

The painting guide uses AMMO references and gives you 4 options, 2 Navy Blue and 2 Aluminium. Your 4 options are:

  • XA2D-1 (122988), early type
  • XA2D (122989), early type
  • XA2D (122989), early type
  • XA2D-1 (122989), early type

This kit is available direct from us here for US$68.00 with free shipping. We’re also offering brass pitot tubes & guns as an add-on here.

Conclusion: This is a very nice kit of a unique aircraft with lots of fine details.

Paul Tosney – Editor
HobbyLink International
Hoblylink International Shop
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