30 May 2017: Skale Wings is releasing a conversion kit for building this kit with folded wings. It also includes different canopy options for the AD-5 series. The conversion can be used with the excellent Hasegawa 1/72 kit as well. For more, see http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2017/05/skale-wings-172-ad-skyraider-folded.html
11 September 2016 Update: I've been adding to this post over the past few days but I am pretty close to declaring victory. Note that this is not a build review; all I've done so far is dry fit the radome and the fuselage halves. There is a build review started HERE. It is in Russian but there are lots of pictures and Google Translate deciphers most of it.
The excellent news is that the kit is injection molded, not resin, and also not simply a mashup of the undersized Monogram AD-5 fuselage and the Hasegawa wing/cowling, although it is clearly based on (but not simply copies of, e.g. the main landing gear is a bit more detailed than Hasegawa's) those kits. The fuselage size is in the ball park and the kit includes a better-than-average instruction sheet, what looks like a good decal sheet with four option, vinyl masks for the canopy, and engraved panel lines on well-molded parts (there is some flash and cleanup of mating surfaces is required but the sprues and runners are petite) : a very good first effort from Skale Wings.
There are some hiccups, like the shape of the upper part of the front of the radome (the radome is a very, very difficult shape to define: I've tried to do it a few times without becoming satisfied although I think I'm close now), the erroneous presence of the narrow-body's catapult hooks located in the wings (and the wrong forward-facing landing gear doors), a not quite right aft canopy, two seats in the aft cabin rather than one, the external tanks mounted too far aft—but all-in-all, a far better starting point than trying to enlarge the Monogram fuselage and come up with a radome, not to mention that everything I've noted above, and detailed below, is either fixable without undue effort or can be ignored.
Beginning with the instrument panel, the right side was basically a duplicate of the APS-20B Indicator in the cabin as shown in this sketch, only with a hood added for viewing the radar screen.
None of the cabin detail provided will be seen since the opening between the cockpit and the cabin was closed off with a light-proof curtain. However, for completeness, there was only one crew seat back there, rather than the two provided in the kit, with the rest of the cabin filled with electronic gear.
The kit's radar operator's instrument panel resembles an AD-5N's rather than the AD-5W's shown here:
However, unless you go to the trouble of opening at least one of the aft hatches, any detail in the cabin will go unseen:
Deleting AD-6 Features
Skale Wings unfortunately did not delete some of the AD-6 specific features on the underside of the wing (the lower wing half also includes the hole for the cannon barrels).
The catapult hooks moved to the main landing gear struts of the AD-5. Note that the forward-facing gear door was notably different than the AD-6's included in the kit since the AD-5 did not have the doors covering the wheel wells.
Dive Brake Well
The AD-5 had only a single dive brake, the one under the fuselage. I knew that it had been deleted from the AD-5W but I only very recently learned that its well was not closed off as it had been on the AD-4W (to the extent possible, the basic AD-5 airframes were identical when they left Douglas).
The Skale Wing's representation of the intersection of the dorsal fin with the fuselage is a bit crude. Monogram's is much better and looks much more like this:
The shape of the APS-20 radome is very difficult to pin down, at least to my satisfaction. I've spent a several hours off and on over the past few years trying to do so. The Skale Wings version looks pretty good to me except for the excessive recurve at its upper front. This is how it should look (and where it is located relative to the lower intake; also note the radome intersection with the wing root just aft of the leading edge):
The kit comes with two 300-gallon drop tanks that appear to be accurate in size and shape. However, they are located too far aft on the pylon. It appears that the location of the tip of the 150-gallon tank was used to incorrectly position the tip of the 300-gallon tank:
In any event, most AD-5Ws are pictured with only one drop tank, invariably in that case on the right-hand side, almost always the smaller 150-gallon one, and sometimes the 150-gallon tank that predated the Douglas high-speed shape. The reason is that the AD-5W could loiter for over four hours on internal fuel alone, about three carrier cycles. Two 300-gallon external tanks gave it an endurance of 11 hours, which probably exceeded the radar's mean time between failures. As it happens, the Monogram AD-5 comes with 150-gallon drop tanks that are just slightly undersized but acceptable representations.
Color profiles and decals are provided for four different AD-5W/EA-1Es. Note that the LSO sight lines for angle of attack indication should only be on the left side of the vertical fin. The name of the Kearsarge is misspelled, but it doesn't appear on the AD-5W in the profile and the name is misspelled that way on the accompanying text of a photograph of it that is available on line.
On many (most?) AD-5Ws the national insignia on the underside of the wing is located well outboard like those on the attack-mission ADs, which was done to avoid the stores pylons on the outboard wings.
Radio Antennas, etc.
My go-to references for configuration detail are Steve Ginter's Douglas AD/A-1 Skyraider Part One (Navy Fighters Number Ninety-Eight) and squadron/signal publications A-1 Skyraider Walk Around Number 27 by Ed Barthelmes and Richard S. Dann.