Hasegawa 1/48 A-4M Skyhawk Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||July 2005||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||Douglas A-4M Skyhawk||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||09611||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34.98|
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-4M first entered service in 1970 and the type remained in production until February 1979. Production of the "Super Mike" configuration began in 1974 with the Angle-Rate Bomb System (ARBS) nose, Heads-Up Display (HUD), and other improved avionics. Older Mikes were upgraded with ARBS as well. In all, 162 A-4Ms were produced, none of which would see combat in Marine service. The A-4M was phased out of service in the early 1990s as the AV-8B Super Harrier came online.
In their latest issue of the A-4 Skyhawk family, Hasegawa has produced the A-4M 'Super Mike". 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. This clear tree is packaged separately and has nice shields molded onto the trees to protect the canopy and windscreed. Nice job Hasegawa!
The majority of the kit's parts trees are common across at least several versions of the aircraft to maximize the use of the tooling.
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.
One of the new parts trees has the bulged main gear doors. These were used on BuNo 160036 and the final production batch of 160241-160264. If you're modeling one of the earlier Mikes, don't use these doors!
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 also included with the kit.
Markings are provided for one example - the colorful scheme worn by the last production Skyhawk, A-4M BuNo 160264. The bands along each side of the aircraft signify the countries that were operating the Skyhawk at that time, including, Argentina, Australia, Israel, United States, Kuwait, New Zealand, and Singapore. Of course Brazil joined the ranks of Skyhawk users since that time.
This is a nice kit from Hasegawa. If you're looking for a little Marine muscle for your scale flightline, we finally have a production Super Mike! This kit is recommended!