Hasegawa 1/48 A-4N Skyhawk Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2004||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||Douglas A-4N Skyhawk||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||09575||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice external details||Cons||Represents the pre-1973 war configuration only|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34.98|
Israel acquired their first A-4 Skyhawks in 1968. These were 'sanitized' A-4Fs that were redesignated as A-4H and deliveries commenced. The Skyhawk proved to be a major improvement in strike capabilities over existing Israeli aircraft and they wanted more.
In the meantime, Douglas had developed the A-4M Skyhawk II for the US Marine Corps, which incorporated numerous improvements over the earlier Skyhawks. Israel would acquire a number of these aircraft under the designator of A-4N, but this version differed from the USMC A-4M with Israeli avionics including a Heads-Up Display (HUD) and 30mm cannons in place of the stock 20mm guns.
The first A-4Ns had only started operations with one squadron before the Yom Kippur war started. The Skyhawks took severe losses in combat. The problem centered around the use of the new shoulder-fired SA-7 Grail surface-to-air missile. When it hit the Skyhawk in the tailpipe, it disabled the flight controls. Another Israeli aircraft, the Super Mystere, which had also been refitted with the Skyhawk's J52 engine, also suffered hits by the SA-7, but unlike the A-4, these aircraft usually returned home. The difference was the location of the tailpipe opening - on the Skyhawk it was under the tail flight controls, on the Super Mystere, it was well aft of the tail controls. The solution was simple, extend the exhaust duct to well behind the tail. All Skyhawks received this modification (amongst others) after the 1973 war concluded.
In their latest incarnation of the A-4 Skyhawk, Hasegawa has given us the Israeli Air Force A-4N version, sort of. Out of the box, the kit is molded in light gray styrene and is presented on nine parts trees, plus a tree containing the clear canopy transparencies.
The cockpit isn't bad in the Hasegawa Skyhawk series and this one is no exception. One of the nicer features of this kit is the open intake ducting so you can see an engine face when you peer down the intakes.
The leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps are positionable, though the rest of the flight controls are molded into place. The wing speedbrake is also molded closed, though some careful surgery can change that. The fuselage speed brakes are positionable.
As is standard practice with Hasegawa, the only external options you have on the pylons is a pair of external fuel tanks. Any weapons you might want to bomb up your Skyhawk with will have to come from your spares box or one of Hasegawa's weapons sets. A boarding ladder is included with the kit as are the 30mm DEFA cannons.
The only complaint I have with this kit is the lack of the extended tailpipe that was characteristic of all Skyhawks after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Only a small number of A-4Ns had arrived in Israel prior to the war and operated without the tailpipe. On the other hand, the kit contains both the hard nose used on the early A-4Ns and the nose that has the Angle-Rate Bombing System (ARBS) sensor inside. The instructions have you set the ARBS nose aside for this project, so perhaps we'll see another A-4N with the extended tailpipe sometime in the future.
To their credit, Hasegawa at least provided markings for two aircraft without the extended tailpipe:
- A-4N, Skyhawk II Test Aircraft, June 1972
- A-4N, 322, 115 Sqn Flying Dragons, 1973
This is a nice kit from Hasegawa. With a minor modification, it can be made to represent any of the 117 A-4Ns that were destined for Israel. This will definitely make into a nice looking Scooter for your scale flightline.