Hasegawa 1/48 A-4E/F Skyhawk
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2005 initial release. Base boxing|
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single seat subsonic carrier-capable attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the early 1950s. The delta winged, single turbojet engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later by McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated A4D under the U.S. Navy's pre-1962 designation system.
The Skyhawk is a relatively lightweight aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 24,500 pounds (11,100 kg) and has a top speed of more than 670 miles per hour (1,080 km/h). The aircraft's five hardpoints support a variety of missiles, bombs and other munitions. It was capable of carrying a bomb load equivalent to that of a World War II-era Boeing B-17 bomber, and could deliver nuclear weapons using a low-altitude bombing system and a "loft" delivery technique. The A-4 was originally powered by the Wright J65 turbojet engine; from the A-4E onwards, the Pratt & Whitney J52 was used.
Skyhawks played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. Sixty years after the aircraft's first flight in 1954, some of the 2,960 produced (through February 1979) remain in service with several air arms around the world.
This is one of those kits that seems to be in high demand. When it becomes less and less available, the prices those who have it keep going up. A look at several places offering this base boxing show some asking $70-100 for it. Well, it has recently been reissued, as is quite common with the base boxings and you can now get it for considerably less.
Despite the newer Hobby Boss release, most Scooter fans will gravitate towards this particular kit. It offers pretty much all one needs and thanks to not clipping off sections of sprues, you can do more than the kit variants. I saw bits for the A-4H, for example.
You get a pretty nice cockpit with a four piece bang seat, control stick and rudder pedals. There are decals for the instrument panels and side consoles if you wish to use them. You get intake trunking to the first compressor stage and exhaust from the last. There is room for nose weight and the nose gear well is attached to the cockpit floor.
Typically, there are inserts galore. These are for the wing tip lights, fin tip, the base of the fin fillet (you have the options of using the avionics hump), and the lower rear fusealge where there are inserts for whether you want to use the flare/chaff dispensers. Even these can be ones with the plates over them. Slats can be extended along with the flaps. There are also inserts for the guns. Keep in mind that a lot of sprues are used for the unarmed TA-4J and you may want to use this kit for an aggressor, which was also unarmed.
Landing gear is nicely done and includes the nose wheel steering equipment. You can pose the speed brakes open or closed. It was not uncommon for these to be barely open when on the ground. Rarely fully extended. There are no weapons included though you do have two fuel tanks. These can be built without the fins on the back. Normally the finless tank would be carried on the center line. Canopy can be posed open or closed and you can install a boarding ladder, assuming you open the holes for it. This kit has the straight refueling probe but the cranked one is also included for a '70s and later aircraft.
Instructions include markings for two colorful CAG birds. The box art plane is with VA-192 while the other option is with VA-22. The large decal sheet is the newer type without the off white and includes things like nose anti glare panel, intake lips, and the wing walk markings.
This is a very nice kit and while I'm not jazzed about the way the wing tip lights are done, it is a minor point. There are a lot of aftermarket sheets out there for the E/F Skyhawk if you don't like the kit options,
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