Hasegawa 1/48 TA-4J Skyhawk

KIT #: 07243
PRICE: $56.50 SRP  ($46.10 from www.greatmodels.com)
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New fuselage, canopy and interior bits.


With the jet age came the need to provide a trainer for pilots transitioning to what were new types. The A-4 series was no exception and so good an airframe was it, that the two seat trainer was chosen by the Navy as their advanced jet trainer to replace the T-33B and short lived T2V SeaStar, and later TF-9J Cougar. For decades, the TA-4J was a regular Navy addition at air shows around the US. Those living near airports would frequently see these planes on cross country flights and it was chosen by many units for utility work and for aggressor training. The TA-4J outlived its single seat cousin in US military  operation by about a decade, finally succumbing to the T-45 that is now in use.


Hasegawa has FINALLY come out with its TA-4J in 1/48 and it is about time. Now I can finally trash my Fujimi 1/50 kit and the Eduard interior set that produces seats too wide to fit into the fuselage. It is one of those projects I started a decade or so back and gave up on in frustration.

As you might imagine, Hasegawa has chosen to provide one full new sprue and additional inserts to two existing sprues. One of those is the clear canopy and windscreen, while the other is the sprue that normally holds the fuselage halves. The other is an an new sprue that includes the additional pieces for the interior and the nose of the kit. One might be tempted to think that Hasegawa will do an OA-4M, and it could be done, but the canopy, windscreen and canopy attachment area are quite different and would need some additional pieces.

Anyway, Karnak the Great doesn't need to be consulted to see that this will be a bonanza of limited reissues, thanks to all the cool aggressor paint schemes worn by this aircraft and the fact that just about every country that flew the Skyhawk had a few two seaters. Then there are the TA-4F Fast FAC versions flown by the Marines. Now as you know, the Hasegawa A-4 series is rife with inserts to do all the versions and so it is with this one. One of the options is shown with armament, and while not at all uncommon, most TA-4Js were either without guns or often had only one fitted. All the other options (flaps, slats, open canopy and so on) that are with the other A-4 boxings are available on this so I won't go over all that again.

There is a very large decal sheet with two options. On this sheet are instrument and console decals, wing walk decals and now anti-glare panel decals. Be advised that often times, the upper forward portion of the wing drop tank was frequently painted matte black to cut down on glare. Also the wing walk area on VT-7 planes was not always the very wide on that continued onto the flaps. I have what seem like hundreds of VT-7 slides and you'll find a lot of variations. So back to the schemes. The box art scheme has always been a favorite with TA-4J kits and so this one is no exception. For the VC-1 CAG bird (which is a bit of a misnomer as VC-1 didn't belong to an air wing), you need to paint the blue areas on the aircraft and the fin stripe colors don't totally match what is on the box art. The VT-7 plane is in standard trainer colors and though Hasegawa would have you mix the International Orange (which they inaccurately describe as "DayGlo Orange", you can get this paint in the Testors line-up. Decals are well printed and should provide no surprises.


I'm sure that there are many as jazzed as I about this kit finally being released. I wish it had come years before when the plane was still in service, but better late than never. I can anticipate many aftermarket sheets for this one.


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