I picked this up with a 50% off coupon on Saturday when the local Michael's craft store didn't have any airbrush cleaner in stock; I couldn't let that coupon go to waste. I got it for $15 CDN, which works out to about $12 USD.
To my surprise, it has raised rivets and panel lines. After doing a little Scalemates research, this kit and the molds for it date back to 1986. This was standard practice back then for models of that vintage. Regardless, it's still held in fairly high regard as it seems to have the best and most accurate overall shape, compared to the real thing. As well, its competitors are anywhere from double to triple the price. Finally, the rear of the aircraft has raised rivets as well, so there is an element of accuracy with these details.
I plan on doing this kit quick and out-of-the-box. I'd like to do a closed canopy, but that may not be possible with the windscreen molded the way it is.
Here's my progress after an afternoon at the bench. The kit includes a waterslide decal for the front instrument panel, but nothing for the side panels. I thought I should go for a consistent look throughout the cockpit, so I hand-painted everything.
I started with a layer of black Stynylrez over the assembled cockpit and integrated ejector seat, then I laid down Flory Gray wash over the instrument panels. I scrubbed the wash back off the panels with cotton buds, leaving the gray between the instrument panels. Next, I dry-brushed the panels with a medium gray acrylic. I applied India Ink wash inside the dials, and used a little gray and white Flory Wash on the attitude indicator on the main instrument panel. I finished most of the dials off with a light gray dry-brush. I also lined the bottom of some of the dials with green, as seen on reference photos. I used these photos to pick out some other coloured details on the instrument panels. The glass dials were glazed with a couple coats of Micro Gloss varnish.
I decided to model a Gulf War-era A-10, so I put the pilot in a khaki flight suit. I highlighted the cloth folds with the khaki lightened with a tiny bit of pale blue. The flight suit was then given a light wash with Citadel Gryphon Sepia. The green flight vest is Vallejo Uniform Green, highlighted with a mix of uniform green and a little Vallejo light rubber gray. This was given a wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade. Brass hooks and buckles were painted with Reaper Paints Bronze, then toned down with a little thinned Vallejo Dark Rubber, to simulate the brass rubbing through the flat black paint on the metal buckles. The helmet, boots, and gloves were various mixes of Vallejo Basalt Gray, Rubber Black, and Pale Blue and Citadel Nuln Oil wash to base-coat, highlight, dry-brush and wash all of these parts. The visor got two coats of Micro Gloss varnish.