Hobbycraft 1/48 A-4E/H Skyhawk

KIT #: 1436
PRICE: 90$ (kit + decals).
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Francisco Santoro


Before the start of Malvinas, the Naval Aviation had in flying condition 10 A-4Qs of the 16 originally bought to the United States in 1971. These were planned to be phased out in favour of the Súper Étendard because of their age. The final blow was delivered by the British fleet during the war after shooting down 3 of the 4 aircraft that formed part of the mission to bomb British ships on May 21 1982.

Then, the Armada made a final, and desperate attempt, to get more fighter bombers. This decision seems surrealist because, since 1964, the Armada tried to buy Skyhawks, something that was done only after the US government accepted their sale to Argentina. Each time the Armada tried to buy a new batch of aircraft, Washington meddled in to stop the deal.

The question the sailors never seemed to ask themselves was, why would the US sell aircraft to Argentina when she was at war with the United Kingdom, their biggest NATO ally.

The only racional explanation on why Argentina set forth to buy the A-4E "Ayit" from Israel without the authorization of the US, was that it was a scam. "It was a scam. The guys knew what they were doing and knew this was impossible since the beginning," says Israel Lotersztein, from Isrex Argentina, who closely followed the operation.

Everything began when Admiral Isaac Anaya, Commander in Chief of the Armada (1981/82), sent Captain Horacio Pedro Estrada to Jerusalem with a check of 86 million Dollars in hand, fully knowing the US would veto the sale.

"Operación Goliat," as it was known inside the Navy, lasted until 1986, and it began in May 1982 with Estrada trying to get in touch with someone in the Israeli military complex willing to sell the Skyhawks, knowing the US wouldn´t allow the sale."

You can read more here (in Spanish).


The kit came inside a side opening box, with a real life photo of an A-4E as a boxart. There´re four bags inside, with three light grey sprues and a single clear one. Some pieces were rattling loose inside the bags, but everything was there.

Decals came inside their own small bag, and they provide three options for aircraft in the Israeli Air Force. However, after the story above, I decided to make this A-4E as an Argentinian machine in what if camouflage.


I began by painting the cockpit parts in light grey (Revell 76), with green cushions. The control stick was painted light grey with a black grip. While the paint was drying on the cockpit, I separated the fuselage halves and painted the insides in light grey too. While the paint was drying, I spent some time painting the fuel tanks, flaps, bomb racks, TERs, MERs, landing gear struts and wheel hubs in white (Revell 05). Back to the fuselage and cockpit, once all the paint was dry, I glued the cockpit to a fuselage side, and I glued under it the nose gear well. This serves as a roof for the cockpit, and provides strentgh to the entire assembly. Once the cockpit and wheel well were dry, I used what remained of my fishing sinkers and glued them as far forward as possible on the fuselage. Once the fuselage had set, I glued the intakes into place.

I then began working on the wings. I opened the holes on the lower wing to make way for the bomb racks, glued the slat rails to the slats, and then glued both wing halves together. After letting the wings dry, I glued the slats into the wing in the down position. This would end up being troublesome, because one of the rails broke while handling the model, and the other slat came loose, also while handling the model.


The basic colours of the Armada Argentina Skyhawks were light grey upper surfaces and white undersides. I first painted the white, and then masked the areas and applied the light grey. Once the paint was dry, I masked the anti skid areas on the wings, and painted the Argentinian flag on the empennage. I then glossed the entire aircraft and applied the decals. I used Condor Decals 48032 set, and instead of using the 3-A-309 for the fuselage numerals, I transformed it into 3-A-360 by turning the last two numbers upside down. The decals were a tad brittle, especially on the black printed areas, so I had to touch them up with black paint. I used some Micro Sol to make the decals set conform into the panel lines, but they did that by themselves after placing them over the surface. After allowing the decals set overnight, I matt coated the entire model.

I glued the landing gear, landing gear doors, fuel tanks, bomb racks and bombs into place. I left them all dry for some hours, and then placed the model on its wheels.


While the kit builds ok and looks nice when finished, the Hasegawa Skyhawk is better in all aspects, from detail to fit. The downside of both kits is, that the Hobbycraft version is OOP, and Hasegawa consistently releases the A-4M and, from time to time, the E.

Hopefully, Airfix will upscale their A-4B/Q, and maybe branch into other variants. Or maybe Revell. Whichever the brand, the world sorely needs a new tool, 1:48 (and maybe 32nd too), early A-4 Skyhawk.



Francisco Santoro

15 November 2022

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