Zotz Decals ZTZ 32054 A-4M Skyhawk 'Last of the red hot Scooters'
Units: See Review


$25.00 SRP


Max Tollens Jr.

Notes: Four aircraft

Zotz has issued a decal set for the 1/32 Trumpeter A-4M skyhawk kit, containing decals for 4 different USMC airframes. The set contains a booklet with illustrations for two static display airframes, both from USMC reserve squadron VMA-131 Diamondbacks. Bureau Number 160024 is on display in Havelock, NC while Bureau Number 158182 is on display in Willow Grove, PA.  The other two Skyhawks featured in this set are VMA-331's 158189 and VMAT-102's 159491.

There are only enough markings to do the Willow Grove airframe as the "Marines" markings that go with the Havelock airframe aren't included in this package. The artwork of 160024 in the booklet doesn’t show the "Marines" marking either but the actual aircraft had full markings.

The packaging and decals themselves are gorgeous; however, some of the text contained within the booklet is incorrect as pertains to descriptions of some of the airframes.  For instance, it describes 160024 as having been part of the Skyhawk batch with enlarged doors but this is incorrect.  The so-called "Super Scooters"-Bureau Numbers 160241-160264 were the only ones to receive beefed up main tires/landing gear that necessitated enlarged gear doors.  This airframes change was due to the increase in weight that necessitated beefing up the main struts and increasing the size of the tires; this required modifying and installing bulged main gear doors to enclose the larger tires.

The other incorrect information has to do with the nose configuration of the Willow Grove static display airframe, Bureau Number 158182; it does have the sensor-configured nose with the antenna bulges on either side of the nose (no ARBS glass).  The "earlier nose configuration" (no antennae bulges) that is referenced in the Zotz booklet is incorrect.  When it comes to the VMA-331 or VMAT-102 birds, you'll have to check your references.  More than likely, the '331 bird didn't have ARBS or the pitot tube on the tail when they flew 158189 back in the early 1970's.  Photos from the Skyhawk Association website (www.a4skyhawk.org ) show VMAT-102's 159491 with the nose antennae and without the tail-mounted pitot tube.  Most likely the ARBS modification wasn't done at this time based on other '102 photos from the Skyhawk Association website.

In conclusion, the Zotz sheet is a welcome addition for those of us who love the A-4 and who plan to build a bunch of the Trumpeter kits.  I would like to see Zotz issue a correction with the "Marines" decal for the Willow Grove airframe but otherwise I recommend this sheet.

Max Tollens Jr.

 December 2012

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