Hasegawa 1/48 OA-4M Skyhawk

KIT #: HM 173
PRICE: ¥2600 (about $28.00 US, see pricing note)
DECALS: Two Options, both H&MS-12
REVIEWER: John Bibay
NOTES: Rebox of Monogram kit


When Ed Heineman designed the A4D Skyhawk to meet requirements for carrier-borne attack plane with the capability to delivery “special weapons”, one wonders if he could have foreseen that his design would go on to serve 40 years with the US Navy and Marines and it would still be flying in the foreign military service well into the 21st century.

The TA-4F is prime example of the utility of the Skyhawk design.  It was a derivative of the A-4E in that it had 5 hardpoints on the wing and full combat capability.  (The later TA-4J only 3 hardpoints and was intended for the training role from the beginning.)  The TA-4F and OA-4M (23 converted TA-4Fs with additional radios) was used by Marine Headquarters & Maintenance Squadrons (H&MS) in several roles including jet-based Forward Air Control (FastFAC), airborne communication relay station, dissimilar air-combat training (DACT), and range control during combined arm exercises (CAXs).

Kits of the OA-4M have been produced in the 3 major modeling scales – Hasegawa in 1/32 (actually a TA-4J kit with parts to convert it to an OA-4M), Fujimi in 1/72, and Monogram in 1/48 (thus far the only one in this scale).  With the release by Hasegawa of their 1/48 TA-4J in 2009, a new-mold 1/48 OA-4M kit has been expected to follow… until now. Here is a sneak-peek at the Hasegawa 1/48 OA-4M with Koike Shigeo boxart and decals…wait for it….sort of.


Despite the Hasegawa labeling, the wonderful Koike Shigeo boxart and the decals, this really is the venerable 1/48 Monogram OA-4M molding.  It has all the traits of a classic Monogram kit of the 1980s – good shape, surprising out-of-box interior detail, ejection pin marks in the strangest places, and (to the horror of some) raised panel lines.  This boxing was intended for domestic consumption (as in “within Japan”) and one of many Revell-Monogram kits under the Hasegawa “HM” series.  (Other “HM” kits were the F9F-5 Panther, A-6E Intruder, A-1H Skyraider, and F-8E Crusader.) The instructions have Gunze-Sangyo callouts for colors and Japanese text, but otherwise the diagrams are exactly identical to the Monogram versions.

Other than the price (more on this in a bit), the big difference is the decal sheet.  It is shouldn’t come as a surprise that the markings are for a unit based at MCAS Iwakuni.  Two jets from H&MS-12 are depicted in the TPS scheme that most OA-4Ms wore.  Also included on the decal sheet are decals that overlay the instrument panels, a feature shared among all the new-mold Hasegawa A-4 kits.  The lighter decals disappeared against the background of the paper, so the colors in the scan have been exaggerated. 


When Hasegawa released their new-mold 1/48 A-4 kits a few years ago, the parts layout indicated that two-seat A-4s would soon follow.  After much speculation and expectation, they were finally released in 2009.  With the release of the TA-4J kits, there is much speculation and expectation of an OA-4M kit.  Here is what I consider a sneak-peak at the decal options for that future kit.  In the meantime, the old Monogram Skyhawk is not a bad for a 3-decade-old kit if you need to have a 1/48 OA-4M right now.


A note about the pricing of Monogram kits in Japan – due to import taxes and handling charges, US kits like Revell and Monogram are priced much higher in Japan than in the US.  When I was there, an $8 Monogram F-8E Crusader was priced the equivalent of $20 for the identical kit.  The local Japanese IPMS folks were routinely shocked to find out that we didn’t pay $50 for 1/48 B-17 and B-24 kits.  (I don’t remember seeing B-29 kits on the shelves of the hobby stores.)

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