Hasegawa 1/72 A-4E/F Skyhawk
KIT #: B9
PRICE: NZ $21.00
DECALS: Two options


The Douglas A-4 is one of aviation’s great success stories. It was a small, delta-winged single-engined jet fighter that was highly agile, nearly supersonic and could carry a hefty payload. Designed by Ed Heinemann (of SBD Dauntless fame) it was originally intended as a nuclear bomber, but over the years it was a fighter, close-support aircraft, bomber, aggressor (as in the classic 1986 film Top Gun), interceptor, trainer, target tug and air-to-air refueller.

 Between the prototype XA4D-1’s first flight in 1954 and the delivery of the last A-4M in 1979, close to 3000 Skyhawks were produced. The type was first blooded in the Vietnam War, seeing active duty with pilots of the US Navy and Marine Corps. The Israelis used them in the Yom Kippur War, the Argentinean air force and navy flew them against the UK forces in the Falklands War, and the Kuwaiti Air Force used them in Operation Desert Storm.

 They eventually saw service with ten different countries around the world, and upgraded examples remain on the front line for Argentina and Brazil, with Singapore’s A-4SUs now relegated to training duties in France and Israel’s examples also now trainers alone. Examples are also flown by civilian companies in the US and Germany for training duties, and there are even privately-owned “warbird” A-4s on the US circuit. However many are now consigned to museums, their distinctive howl lost from the skies.


  It is unique among Skyhawk kits that I have seen in that the dorsal avionics “hump” is a separate part, so that many different variants can be built. It also has a large amount of external stores: three drop tanks, 18 ejector tower-covered bombs, and two each Shrike and Bullpup missiles. Unlike the Italeri kit, all of the external stores are moulded separate from the pylons. The pylons themselves seem to be quite different shape-wise to the real deal and will require replacement or modification. The wing-mounted 20mm cannon are moulded to the upper wing halves.

I think it must be a fairly old kit as the panel lines are all raised (but petite), there is minimal detail in the (open) main wheel wells and ejector towers in the nose well, the interior has a seat shape and stick, and there is a bit of flash to be found everywhere. The vertical stabiliser is moulded with the left fuselage half, possibly this will result in a seam to fill.

 There are no real options to speak of, except that both straight and kinked refuelling probes are included. The gear doors (with minimal or spurious detail) are all moulded separate to facilitate static/gear down builds, and the aft speedbrakes are moulded separate also (the wells have vertical ribbing, but I’m not sure how accurate this is).

The single clear piece is the windscreen and canopy, which are separate from their framing. This will make for an interesting exercise in cement use!

 Decals (including stencils) are provided for two aircraft: 154173 of VA-55 “War Horses” USN, and 151984 of VMAT-105, USMC. They even have a true white, rather than the ivory/pearl we are so used to from Hasegawa.


It’s far from the most detailed, but this looks to be a good kit overall with room for improvement. Recommended for the intermediate modeller or someone wanting to practice their detailing.





Zac Yates

April 2012

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