Published on
November 26, 2014
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/48
MSRP
$50.00
Product / Stock #
07377
Company: Hasegawa - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Hobbico

Thank you to the wonderful folks at Hasegawa and Hobbico for an excellent kit of one of my favorite USN jets, the A-4 Skyhawk. The kit was a joy to build. Thank you also to the IPMS Reviewer Corps staff members who do the hard work in getting us kits to review.

This re-release from Hasegawa as a “Limited Edition” provides a very nice building experience of a very unique aircraft. I remember sitting in the cockpit of the full-size version feeling like I was in a sports car, marveling at where the panel would detach my lower legs in the event of an ejection. I am very pleased with the results produced and the kit is an excellent value. There are markings options for 2 different Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VA-23 aboard the USS Midway, with options for pylons and wing tanks.

Presentation

The kit arrived in a shrink-wrapped 14 x 7.5 x 3.5 inch cardboard box with a colorful box top photo of an A-4E being loaded with bombs. The 10 sprue trees holding 156 parts are molded in gray, with one clear and one white sprue tree. All sprues were sealed in clear poly bags. The clear sprue tree parts held the canopy, windscreen, landing lights, etc. The white sprue tree was a “bonus” feature, containing a “toilet bomb” to be mounted on a wing pylon. I did not use this bonus feature, but I do not doubt there is some historical significance.

The parts had very little flash, and when present, the flash was easily removed with a fingernail. There was no sign of mold release anywhere. There are many unused parts included for other A-4 versions, including the camelback, and I recommend that these parts be removed and put into the spares locker right away. I did mix parts up sometimes!

Instructions and Other Materials

The instruction sheet is printed in black-and-white on a single piece of paper and opens up from a 10 x 7 inch footprint. A brief historical overview is included, followed by 14 sequential construction steps, not including the toilet bomb. Paint callouts refer to Gunze Sanyo and GSI Creos product lines, but FS numbers are provided. Excellent three-view drawings for both aircraft versions make decal placement and painting quite trouble-free.

Be certain to read the instructions thoroughly. Many attachment and mounting points are not drilled out, and may need to be opened before assembly, depending on what options you choose.

Decals

The decals showed no registration errors and had great opacity, even in white areas. Microscale solutions worked well on the decals overall. The decals had a nice balance of thinness and durability, responding well to nudges for positioning. I did have some trouble getting the decals to snug down properly over the finely molded fences on top of the wings forward of the ailerons. Several doses of decal solution and poking bubbles with a needle still did not resolve the snugging problem. Another area to be careful with is the red flash decal for the rudder strakes. Hasegawa printed the red flashes as a single piece, rather than multiple smaller decals for each raised strake. The clear carrier film bridges between the strakes, and requires a little careful slicing and reapplication of decal solution to eliminate the bubbles. But I think Hasegawa’s approach is better than trying to do the 18 flashes individually. The stencils are crisp and readable, and stayed in place.

Construction Summary

The kit is a traditional fuselage-halves design. Everything fit together very well, with no surprises. I particularly appreciate the options of extended flaps and leading edges. Hasegawa may have anticipated that the modeler would opt for extended flaps, etc., and molded in struts, gear door hinges on many parts. Furthermore Hasegawa provides solid alternate parts to make construction more effective and enjoyable. There are many smaller assemblies throughout, such as the ejection seat and intakes. I found the subassemblies to be very nice for painting part before assembly. The number of subassemblies is clearly related to the number of available kit versions.

Eight grams of nose weight are specified, but balance testing during dry fitting suggested that 11 grams are better. I was able to come up with an assortment of lead weight to tuck into a limited space in the nose. If you use denser tungsten weight, there should be plenty of room.

Finishing

I painted the model per kit spec, choosing aircraft 337. I had no trouble masking or painting. I used Tamiya and Model Master acrylic colors. As stated above, the decals are excellent. I hung the wing tanks, but elected to leave the center pylon and the toilet bomb off. I couldn’t resist wrapping the exposed hydraulics of the nose strut in Bare-Metal ultra-bight chrome foil.

Conclusion

I recommend this kit highly. I am very, very pleased with the results! I had nothing but fun with this build. The assemblies were easy and trouble-free. I would expect any modeler with patience and attention to detail will have no problems building this kit, regardless of skill level. I now have another USN jet in the collection that is a real eye-catcher.

Thank you again to the wonderful folks at Hobbico and Hasegawa for providing IPMS with this review kit. I value your support of the scale modeling community. Thank you again to the Reviewer Corps, who allow me opportunities to build exciting kits like this one!

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