Building An A-10 Thunderbolt Model with My Son


A-10 Thunderbolt Model

In an effort to try and get my oldest son more interested in both school and eventually flying I have taken him with me a few times to the airport for meetings and flying. One time we were at one of the local FBOs and he saw a model airplane. He was immediately interested in it. Bingo! A new way in for encouragement and teaching.

After explaining to him that is was a model of an airplane he wanted to know if we could have a model of a plane too. Well, remembering from waaaay back in my younger days when I used to love putting together model cars and even a plane or two I was very excited to go find one for us to put together.

Finding the Perfect Model

My first instinct was to go to Wal-Mart but we didn’t find anything there. So, next stop…Hobby Lobby. If they didn’t have it then I would have been lost. Luckily for me, they had several war birds available for purchase. My oldest, and even my youngest were very excited and both picked out a plane that we could build together.

I’m not an expert at putting these things together so I was looking for something that was snap together and very easy on the scale of difficulty. Those were the ones that my boys ran to immediately.  Whew…

Some of these models even though they snap together still require a little glue to keep them together. After wandering around Hobby Lobby for a few minutes we found super glue and an Xacto knife (more because I think they are cool than the fact that we needed one) and made our way to the checkout.

Putting together the A-10 Thunderbolt

The instructions for this kit were very clear and incredibly easy to understand. Each part was clearly labelled with a number and the pictures made each step simple.

Now, knowing both me and my son, I made sure to only remove a piece from the rack when it was time for that piece to be used. Otherwise we would have had one giant mess of parts and a bird that would have been harder to assemble.

Here we go with adding the wings to the main fuselage.

Once we added the tail my son was getting excited. It was really looking like a real plane! He wanted to take a photo op break before we finished it.

A-10 Thunderbolt Model

And the completed plane with all the bombs attached.

Even with trying to take my thumb apart with an Xacto knife, this little endeavor only took us about 20 minutes.  The smiles and joy of having a plane that my son ‘built’ is worth every penny.

Check out the smiles!

About the A-10 Thunderbolt

The Thunderbolt entered service in 1975 and was designed specifically for close air support. It is the only plane that was built for close air support for the United States Air Force. This war bird was built around the 30mm GAU-8 Gatling gun but carried a significant weapons load came under its wings.

Credited with flying 8,100 missions during Desert Storm and even a few in Afghanistan the A-10 Thunderbolt was a key battlefield weapon system during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The single seat plane was equipped with titanium armor protecting the pilot. It could withstand significant damage allowing both pilot and plane to return safely.

Still in use today, the A-10 is potentially up for replacement by the F-35. However, many critics believe this would be a step back in both efficiency and cost. As of right now, the USAF has determined the A-10 will be in service until 2028 and possibly beyond.

I’ve never seen one of these in person, but if the model looks this good I can only imagine the real deal is even better. Let me know if you seen one of these up close and personal!