by Tommy H. Thomason

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Douglas A2D Skyshark

 Clear Prop is now shipping its 1/72 scale XA2D Skyshark kit.

Although I haven't done more than look at what's in the box, my impression is that this is a first class production, including the box. For illustrations, go to Clear Prop's website:

Also see the Hyperscale review here:

There were two XA2Ds, BuNo 122988 and 989; six A2Ds were completed and flown of the initial production order of 10. Both XA2Ds were originally painted blue but the second one was subsequently stripped of paint before its first flight. All the production A2Ds were painted blue.

While this kit provides parts and decals for the two XA2Ds, my understanding is that all the parts needed for a production A2D are included except for the very different canopy. The XA2D canopy had flat sides and top like the F4D Skyray whereas the production canopy was rounded.

The XA2D sliding canopy was also large and mounted on top of the fuselage; the sliding portion of the A2D canopy was smaller and mounted on a large fixed fairing that was on top of the fuselage.

There were variations in the exhaust fairings on the sides of the fuselage in part to resolve heating problems on the aft fuselage. Flight test began with a simple oval opening in the side of a fuselage but at least two increasing larger fairings were evaluated on the first XA2D.

Interestingly, when flight test finally resumed with XA2D BuNo 122989, the exhaust was once again a simple oval with no fairing.

And at least the first two production A2Ds also had no fairing initially. However,  one was subsequently added to the first production A2D and appears to have been the final configuration.

Steve Ginter's A2D Monograph (Naval Fighters Number Forty-Three) is an excellent reference. Unfortunately, Steve no longer has any in his inventory. It is still available from Amazon but buyer beware that it might be a relatively low-quality print-on-demand version.


  1. I am awaiting Clear Props release of the 1/48 pre production version. I have Ginter's book on the Skyshark. It came in the Dynavector A2D kit's box I bought at a swap meet. Not a very thick book but packed with good photos and info.

  2. Jusr heard from them tonight. Next year for the pre production version.

  3. I have a fascination with the Skyshark, that's why I've bought two of them so as to build both prototypes. The only flaw, imho, is that Clearprop, having provided the early exhaust fairing, should have provided also the early, short fin. As it it, Bu No. 122988 can only be built in its late configuration, making the addition of the exhaust fairing...well, pretty much moot! One thing that Gintner's book doesn't clarify is if Bu. No. 122989 was fitted with the same type of seat as 122988 or if it received, the production seat instead - both are in the kit. Can you cast some light, Tommy?

    1. Good question. I'm pretty sure that 122989 always had the ejection seat. It appears that 122988 had the bucket seat early on—there are pictures of its cockpit with no pre-ejection lever—but it appears to have flown with an ejection seat even when it had the short tail based on inflight pictures that may show ejection handles protruding from the headrest.

      The problem with determining when 122988 got an ejection seat is that there are no early exterior photos of it I've seen in which the headrest configuration is discernible. The A2D was to be equipped with an ejection seat as of the 1947 mock up review but the bucket seat might have been installed until the ejection seat was qualified. A2D flight test was delayed by difficulties with the T40 engine so the bucket seat could have been replaced even before its first flight. Then, after three short flight in late May and early June 1950, the A2D was grounded for lack of a flight-worthy engine until October, plenty of time for a seat to be installed. It was subsequently laid up to receive the taller vertical fin.

      In any event, I think we can be all but certain that both XA2Ds that had the tall vertical fin have an ejection seat.

      One of the reviews I read suggested that the Clear Prop resin ejection seat was easily modified to fit in the cockpit by sawing off part of the bottom of it.