ESCI 1/72 A-4E Skyhawk




$5.00 in 1983


See Review


Scott Van Aken


Currently Out Of Production (Oct 2000)


'Scooter'. The name given to one of the neatest aircraft ever tofly. Originally designed in the early '50 as a light attack aircraft, theDouglas people gave us the most compact airframe available to do the job. Inaddition to being quite rugged, it was small enough not have any weightenhancing things like folding wings, the first Navy attack plane since the SBDto feature that and the last fixed wing naval aircraft to have had thatdistinction as well.

The A-4E and F were the types that saw much of the action in theearly years of the Vietnam war. They were later replaced by the A-7 Corsair II,but not until later in that conflict. The scooter saw a huge amount of servicewith various US Marine units doing short range bombing in support of troops incountry, while the Navy versions took the war to the North.

Even after being replaced the A-4E/F went on for a couple ofmore dozen years as aggressor aircraft, the mount of the Blue Angels, and withthe reserves. The single seat Skyhawks were finally withdrawn in the mid-1990swith the two seaters lasting until the last months of 1999. By anyone'sstandards, a superlative longevity.



Thoseof you really on the ball will say, "Hey, what's up with the preview. Hedid a kit review of this back several years ago!",and you would be right. However, I thought it would be nice to see what the kitlooked like before being glued together and painted. As you can see, it istypical ESCI grey plastic with minimal interior, ok wheel well detail, and anice selection of ordnance to hang under the wings. This kit does NOT make the Fversion as it is lacking the avionics hump. The detailing is engraved on thefuselage and raised on the wings and tailplanes (?). Seems like the kit wasengineered by committee. The canopy is very clear and one piece. The slats andspeedbrakes are molded in the closed position. You do have the option of curvedor straight refueling probe.

ESCI got a lot of mileage out ofthis kit as it has appeared in at least 7 different boxings, all containing thesame basic plastic with different decals. The kit is a charm to build with noreal problem areas and can be done quickly. The instructions for this kit arevery well done and include eight  good photos of Skyhawks from the twounits on the decal sheet. The construction steps are logical and color calloutsare given throughout the sequence with FS numbers given where applicable. Thedecal sheet has two aircraft on it, one Navy and one USMC. Both are in lightgull grey and white. The Navy version is from VA-12 on the USS FDR circa 1968and the Marine bird is from VMA-121. While these decals have yellowed over theyears, there are a LOT of aftermarket sheets for the 1/72 Scooter that can beused. 

While this kit is OOP, it is not difficult to find.It also builds into a real nice aircraft, and while not as detailed as theFujimi kit, is much easier to build. 

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly by asite that has over 1,300 visits a day, please contactme or see other details in the Note toContributors.