Airfix 1/72 A-4B Skyhawk

KIT #: A03029
PRICE: $10.99 SRP
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D under the U.S. Navy's pre-1962 designation system.

The Skyhawk is a light-weight aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 24,500 pounds (11,100 kg) and has a top speed of more than 600 miles per hour (970 km/h). The aircraft's five hardpoints support a variety of missiles, bombs and other munitions and was capable of delivering nuclear weapons using a low altitude bombing system and a "loft" delivery technique. Prior to the A-4E, power was supplied by the Wright J65 engine; on the A-4E, the J65 was replaced by the 9,300-pound-force (41 kN) Pratt & Whitney J52.

Skyhawks played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. Fifty years after the aircraft's first flight, some of the nearly 3,000 produced remain in service with several air arms around the world, including the Brazilian Navy's aircraft carrier,São Paulo.

A4D-2 (A-4B): Strengthened aircraft and added air-to-air refueling capabilities, improved navigation and flight control systems, provision for AGM-12 Bullpup missile, 542 built.

A-4P: Remanufactured A-4Bs sold to Argentine Air Force known as A-4B by the Argentines.


Airfix is continuing to replace kits in its old catalogue with new tool kits. In this case their ancient series 1 A-4A is being replaced by a series 3 A-4B. Now this is not the only Injected A-4B as Fujimi did a very nice one in the late 1980s that is probably superior in detail to this one, but not by much. A close look at the kit shows that there is a good possibility of later models of this aircraft as the wing has holes started in the wing for the outer pylons of later versions of the Skyhawk. All of the really common bits such as landing gear and cockpit bits are on the same sprue as the wings.

A few things of note on this kit is the excellent panel line detail and especially the crisply molded vortex generators on the wing upper surface. Wheel well detail is also nicely done. The kit includes a nose wheel molded in with the main gear which helps to make it sturdy. A full intake to the initial compressor stage is provided as is a full exhaust pipe from the last stage. The kit includes two types of Mk. 82 bomb; a slick and a snake-eye. Though the retarded bomb is shown as an option with the USN version. I am not sure how prevalent these were in the time period mentioned. The Argentine version may well have used the British design bomb on the centerline as is provided. There are drop tanks for all three pylon positions on the kit so you can use what combination you wish.

Other things of note are a pilot figure, the option to do the canopy open, the option to do the speed brakes open or closed, the Argentine ADF pack for the upper fuselage, and separate slats that can be positioned open or closed. While the slats are deployed on the ground, if building the kit in flight, they would be closed. 

Markings are for two planes. One is the boxart plane of VA-95 'Green Lizards' that operated from the USS Intrepid in 1966 when it was an ASW carrier. Not unusual is that these markings are the same as the A-4B displayed today at the Intrepid Museum in New York City. The other is C-240 from 5 Gruppo in April 1982. This plane is in two browns over light blue and without the 'Malvinas bands' worn by some aircraft at the time.  The decal sheet includes full instrument decals and a complete stencil suite. Color placement and painting instructions are provided in the instruction sheet.


Not only does this kit definitely puts the older A-4A to pasture, it also gives the Fujimi kit quite a run for its money. I am sure that this one will sell very well to USN jet fans and I know that one of these is going on my work bench quite soon.


September 2012

Thanks to me for picking this one up to show you.

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