Hasegawa 1/48 A-4F Skyhawk 'Lady Jessie'

KIT #: 09399
PRICE: $30.00 when new
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas
NOTES: Still an excellent kit.


The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a small single-seat, single engine, delta-winged subsonic carrier-capable light attack aircraft developed for the USN and the USMC in the early 1950s.

Nicknamed “Scooter”, relatively light and with a good top speed of 670 mph, this successful aircraft could be loaded with a variety of ordnance, being able not only of carrying a bomb load equivalent to that of Boeing B-17, but also to deliver nuclear weapons using a low-altitude bombing system and a "loft" delivery technique.
Skyhawks played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. As of 2022, some still remain in service with the Argentine Air Force and the Brazilian Naval Aviation.


Hasegawa came in 2000 with their very nice new tool single seater A-4 series, with the much anticipated dual seater versions starting to appear after 2009. Per the Hasegawa trend, these kits were expected to be frequently reissued with the occasional extra parts, in order to cater for various versions and, of course, typically interesting decal schemes. In the A/TA-4 case, Hasegawa outdid themselves, with the total number of editions clocking up to 44 (excluding the 2 OA-4 Monogram reboxes)! My copy was the 2001 A-4F “Lady Jessie” edition, bought from one of my usual (and, sadly, either systematically closing or gradually transforming to the "sign 'o' the times" internetic) hobby shops in Athens back in 2004.

Typically for Hasegawa, the kit comes in an excellent quality medium sized top opening box, with the usual equally excellent Koike Shigeo boxart, depicting “Lady Jessie” flying in formation with another VA-164 bird. Upon opening the box, I was greeted with 166 light gray styrene parts arranged in 8 medium sized sprues. Plastic is of typical “modern” Hasegawa quality, tad on the hard side and molding is first class with minimal - if any - flash. All sprues are bagged together, meaning some potential scratches, with, at least the clear fret separately sealed.

Surface detail looks superb with nicely engraved panel lines. Not all parts are to be used for building this kit, seemingly Hasegawa having molded together some parts that are destined for other versions.

Cockpit looks well appointed and the 5-piece seat is believable. Nice decals are to be affixed and (with the aid of decal softener) succumb onto the instrument panel and side consoles which feature already molded-on instruments, with the final looks typically at Hasegawa kits looking very nice.

The intakes seem well appointed and done in full depth, ending in a good looking compressor face. The tail pipe looks well done too, as does the distinctive hump that is used in one of the two kit versions. A nice step ladder is also provided.

Landing gear looks very good, with the brake calipers nicely molded, the bays and door innards well detailed and the main wheels nicely futuring separate external rims (making painting a breeze), the only minor remark being the one piece nose leg that has the wheel molded on: a number of modelers prefer it to be separately provided, so the looks will be more realistic.

Flaps, slats and air brakes are separately provided (most ground pics depict Skyhawks with flaps down, slats “deployed” and air brakes either slightly deployed or fully retracted). The distinctive external tanks and their pylons look really nice (with “fiined” or “un-finned” tanks optionally built) , as do the other two external pylons and the ventral one. Per the usual Hasegawa trend, no ordnance is provided, which you have to buy separately, something not that favorable, especially taking into account the not particularly low basic kit price and the fact that most modelers would go for nothing less than a fully armed “Scooter”.

Transparencies are superbly molded and crystal clear. Instructions come to the usual excellent Hasegawa pamphlet, containing a pleasantly read short history of the type, a parts list, with the construction spread in 13 concise steps, where the options or version differences are clearly indicated and of course color callouts also given where applicable.

Two schemes are provided, one being  VA-212’s 150000/222 machine, the other being VA-164’s 155018/401 “Lady Jessie”, both of them being gull gray over white. Colors are typically given in Gunze Sangyo, Mr Color and in generic form. Decals are superbly printed by Cartograf and look to be still in pristine condition.

Instructions want you to first assemble the cockpit, intake duct and tail pipe and trap them between the fuselage halves. An unspecified amount of ballast must also be trapped at the front: since the model will be a serious candidate for tail sitting, I would stuff some serious amount in the nose area (you can get an idea from
 one of our Editor’s builds).

Assembly and installation of the air intakes and the distinctive hump (which is correct only for the one of the two kit versions) is next, followed by assembly and installation of the wings, where you will have to pose the flaps and slats at your desired position (the slats are only depicted in “retracted” position at the instructions, so you should consult your references in order to place them correctly deployed). If attaching pylons (which is the “natural” thing to do, unless you model an aerobatic bird or so…), you must predrill the indicated holes before assembling the main wing.

Landing gear installation and various external bits attachment comes next, followed by the exhaust nozzle and air brakes (the latter are depicted “open”, a posture, as stated above, rarely witnessed when on ground, usually they were either shut or slightly open).

Pylons, drop tanks (where you have to choose between “finned” or “unfinned”), external ladder, transparencies and various “delicate stuff”  are finally to be attached, ending a build of seemingly average complexity.


This is still an absolutely fine kit of the iconic Skyhawk. General shape of parts looks correct, details are sufficiently provided, especially at all key areas, molding is excellent, transparencies are nice and clear and decals are supreme. Even out of the box, a superb looking model can emerge. Construction itself, though not basic, does not not look too complicated, with the excellent instructions deeming the kit suitable for anyone but the absolute beginner.

The kit builds nicely, as the numerous reviews found at the MM archives clearly indicate. The particular kit is not that easy to find nowadays (as of 2022), but, for sure you can find later reboxings of similar versions, most of the time sensibly priced. If you fancy the type, this is a kit worth building.

Happy modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

September 2022 

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