Hasegawa 1/48 A-4E Skyhawk Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2014||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Kit Number||07377||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||Nothing serious noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$49.99|
The A-4 Skyhawk was first designed in the mid-1950s as a lightweight, agile attack aircraft. In its numerous versions, the Skyhawk served the US Navy and Marine Corps in peace and in combat into the 1970s. While the Navy transitioned into the A-7 Corsair II, the Marines opted for a new version of the Skyhawk as a stop-gap until the next generation of attack aircraft was available that could meet the unique mission needs of the Marines.
The A-4E was the first in the series to be designed with five external pylons versus the earlier three, thanks in part to a switch in engines from the Wright J65 to the Pratt & Whitney J52 rated at 8400 lbs of thrust. The A-4F was an updated A-4E with 900 lbs more thrust and the introduction of an avionics hump (which was retrofitted to the A-4E and other models).
The A-4E/F would serve as one of the primary strike aircraft for the US Navy and Marine Corps during Vietnam, and even after the Navy transitioned out of the Skyhawk in favor of the LTV A-7 Corsair II, Skyhawks remained in service in a variety of support roles, not the least of which was serving as a surrogate to the MiG-17 in Top Gun and then as a general dissimilar adversary aircraft for many years. The A-4F remained with the Blue Angel team as a low-cost performer for 12 years before the team transitioned into the F/A-18 Hornet.
Hasegawa has reissued their nice kit of the A-4E Skyhawk in 1/48 scale, this time with some new decals. When Hasegawa first released their first 1/48 scale Skyhawk kit, the Monogram 1/48 A-4 kits were the best in scale up to that point. While they had beautiful detail and were easy builds, the Monogram kits had blanked-out intakes and raised surface details. The Hasegawa kit was an instant success because it too was an easy build, it incorporated the engine face inside the fuselage using a design similar to an aftermarket upgrade for the Monogram kit, and the surface detailing was all scribed. The kit was so well received that Hasegawa produced virtually every variant of the Skyhawk in 1/48 scale.
Among the other features and options in this kit:
- Simple but effective cockpit with decals for instrument panel and side consoles
- Positionable canopy
- Optional boarding ladder
- Positionable slats and flaps
- Positionable speed brakes
- Positionable landing gear
External stores included:
- 2 x external fuel tanks
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- A-4E, 151161, VA-23, NE/337, USS Midway, 1965
- A-4E, 151150, VA-23, NE/340, USS Midway, 1965
The markings in this kit depict the VA-23 Black Knights as they appeared during their Vietnam combat cruise Mar-Nov 1965, the last cruise for the USS Midway before its four-year-long SCB-101 upgrade that significantly enlarged her flight deck. The decals include a nice set of airframe stencils as well. To bomb up the aircraft, you'll need to find MERs and bombs out of your spares or from one (or more) of the optional Hasegawa weapons sets.
This kit still has the other parts in the box including the rear fuselage chaff/flare launcher, avionics hump, etc., should you want to build a different A-4E than the aircraft depicted in this release.
This kit and the rest of the A-4 series from Hasegawa remain the best of the subject in 1/48th scale.
My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!