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Hasegawa A-4M Skyhawk ‘Low Visibility’

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single seat carrier-capable 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 by McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated A4D under the U.S. Navy’s pre-1962 designation system.

Skyhawks played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. Sixty 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 from the Brazilian Navy’s aircraft carrier, São Paulo.
[Source: Wikipedia]

The delta-winged A-4M Skyhawk was powered by a J52-P-408a turbojet engine, resulting in one of the fastest Cold War-era aircraft. The Skyhawk could fly at blistering top speeds, often exceeding 600 mph! Its ultra-light weight and ultra-compact size made it a favorite of U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy pilots in the early stages of the Vietnam War, where it was ideal for last-minute air strikes.

KIT HIGHLIGHTS
  • Stock Number: HSGS9951
  • Mfg. Number: 09951
  • Skill Level 3
  • 146 Parts
  • Length: 10.09 in (256.5 mm)
  • Width: 6.96 in (177 mm)
  • MSRP: $39.99 USD

Decal Options:

  1. U.S. Marine VMA-214 “Black Sheep,” Code: WE15
  2. U.S. Marine VMA-311 “Tomcats,” Code: WL17

This is the Hasegawa 1/48 A-4 M Skyhawk ‘Low Visibility’ kit # 09951. I started this kit a few weeks ago while working on it alongside several other builds of different subjects. The kit comes molded in the traditional light gray color and clear parts. There is a thin mold line to deal with on the canopy. So if you are hypersensitive about this, you will have to put some elbow grease on it. Frankly I left it as it came because it didn’t bother me that much but I know that mileage might vary. The air intakes fit leaves a natural minor gap that can be addressed with medium viscosity CA glue and the painted with the Gloss White of your choice. The wheel wells are well appointed out-of-the-box. The cockpit doesn’t look that bad but you might want to add a resin seat if you plan to display your model kit with its canopy open. Speaking of cockpit, make sure you don’t close it before checking other steps. I did closed mine after finishing Step 1 to find out that there were more parts and work to be done in Step 13. Silly me, I should have known better.

The fit on the fuselage halves was very good and the wings to fuselage fit snaps onto place perfectly. In fact, I painted the botom and top of the wings separate and left them aside while I painted the 3 color camouflage pattern on the fuselage. Having the wing out of the way makes the masking for the upper colors a lot more easy. I used Model Master Acryl colors woth this project and the weathering was done using Mig’s US Navy Weathering Set A.MIG-7419 and a few shades of gray pastels for streaking effects on the fuselage.

The A-4M Skyhawk model kit comes with two marking options and I chose the Tomcats to display it next to my Hasegawa 1/48 Harrier AV-8B II Plus. I found that the marking colors printed on the decal sheet is off compared to the marking colors of the real aircraft. I had to settle with this (not too happy) and faded the markings a little bit with thin coats of the base color. This in a way helped a bit with the weathered look but still, those markings are the wrong color. A shame because quality wise, I found the decal set in the Goldielocks zone, not too thick, not to thin. They reacted very well to Microsol decal solution and no signs of silvering was detected.

The drop tanks did not match the quality of the overall kit. It felt like if they were coming from another kit/company. Not that this was the case but that’s how I felt. In comparison with the rest of the model, there was a difference in fit and some flash around.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

Overall except with the marking colors specified above, this is a very nice kit. I would have loved to have some ordnance hanging on those empty pylons but none are included. If you like A-4 Skyhawks you will love this kit. This kit seems to be OOP which surprises me since this was a submitted sample. I did a quick check and it can still be found. We recently received an email announcing the upcoming
A4-KU Skyhawk Brazilian Navy Anniversary Edition kit # HSGS7423. It will be built and presented here.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

My sincere thanks to Hobbico.com for the sample.

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George Collazo
George Collazo
George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.
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