Hasegawa 1/72 A-4E/F Skyhawk
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
Navy and Marine Corps. The Israelis used them in the Yom Kippur War, the
Argentinean air force and navy flew them against the
forces in the
War, and the Kuwaiti Air Force used them in
They eventually saw
service with ten different countries around the world, and upgraded examples
remain on the front line for
A-4SUs now relegated to training duties in
examples also now trainers alone. Examples are also flown by civilian companies
for training duties, and there are even privately-owned “warbird” A-4s on the
circuit. However many are now consigned to museums, their distinctive howl lost
from the skies.
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
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!
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.
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