Hobbycraft 1/48 A-4E/H Israeli Skyhawk






Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Rather than go into a long-winded history of the Skyhawk, hereis some information on the A-4H, a version that was built especially for theIsraeli Air Force. Basically, it was an A-4E, but designed with an improved9,300 lb thrust J-52-P-8A. Externally, they can be spotted by their modifiedsquare-tipped tail. Unlike the A-4E, they had a ribbon parachute housing underthe tail. Since they were operated from land bases, these were deemed necessaryto shorten the landing run.

Armament consisted of twin DEFA 30mm cannon in place of the USN20mm guns. Later modifications were the avionics hump and an extended tailpipe.These two modifications were made in Israel by IAI. The extended tailpipe was togive greater protection against surface to air missiles. A total of 90 A-4Hswere delivered, staring in 1967 after the 6 Day War.

I believe that by now, the A-4 has been retired from the IsraeliAir Force.


For an overall look at the sprues and the kit itself, I'll referyou to the A-4C preview done here a few weeks ago.Most of the sprues for both kits are the same. What parts are different, areshown above. Now basically, that means the fuselage with intakes and nose aswell as the different tail tips. Only one will be used for the Israeliversion.  The other different parts are the extended exhaust cone, the 30mmcannon fairings, parabrake housing and a few other smaller bits. The canopyisn't different, but I wanted you to see a close-up of it. While the kit itselfis well detailed, the canopy is a bit off. For one thing, it is too wide. How itwill look when done is unknown as I have not built this kit as of yet. It isprobable that there will be an aftermarket set to correct this as well as tosupply a more detailed interior.

In Hobbycraft's favor is thatthe kit comes complete with a full ordnance load. This means no need for anexpensive additional weapons set. The weapons and racks are very welldetailed. 

Theinstructions are quite typical of those seen on the A-4C. They are minimal, butenough to be able to build the kit. The camo and markings instructions are onthe back of the box, just like the other Skyhawks. There is a bit of differencebetween the decals on the box and the sheet. Specifically the Israeli roundels.I'm sure that the research into the markings is good, but I would have a photoor two handy for the plane you are modeling if you want to be assured ofcomplete accuracy.

The decals of new Hobbycraft kits areexcellent and these are no different.You get markings for two A-4E and one A-4H. The H model has the extended tailcone and the 30mm cannon not found on the A-4E. It also has slightly differentmarkings placement.  From the top, you have an A-4H of the Golden Eaglesquadron from 1973, then an A-4E from the Valley squadron, also 1973. Finally,another A-4E, this time from the Flying Dragon squadron from 1969. 

Thekit appears to be one that will go together with minimal fuss, like mostHobbycraft kits. What's more, you should have a model that you can proudly placeon your shelf or show to your friends. After all, that is what the hobby is allabout!

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