A-4KU (AF-1) Skyhawk 'Brazilian Navy VF-1 15th Anniversary'

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Company: Hasegawa - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Hobbico
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The Hasegawa A-4 Skyhawk kits have been around for many years, and many models of this remarkable aircraft have been covered at one point or another. The Brazilian Navy is still operating these Skyhawk’s.

As I have built a Hasegawa A-4L before, I was armed with knowledge of certain areas that need a bit of care. As well as those where it is a joy to assemble.

The instruction sheet is the typical fold out sheet. The pictorial information and directions are clear and easy to understand.

The cockpit was first, and no problems there. The instrument panel and side consoles have beautiful raised detail that you can paint or apply the decals over. I chose to use the decals, and they overlaid the details perfectly. It was necessary to trim the carrier film in some areas the help the fit. The seat back cushion sides needed some trimming to fit the seat frame, but the molded on seat belts were quite nice. I had a spare resin seat that I painted up to compare with the kit seat. The cockpit features quilting on the side walls. I don’t think this cockpit needs any aftermarket at all!

There were quite a few ejector pin marks in both upper and lower wing parts, some creating dimples in the plastic. There were two long recesses on the underside of the wing, either side of the center pylon area from plastic shrinkage that I fixed with putty and sanding (See the circled areas in the wing picture). Some sprue attachment points are very close to molded detail, so careful removal and cleanup is required. The air brakes that fit to the rear sides of the fuselage had sprue attachments in awkward locations, requiring some delicate removal.

The wing and fuselage halves assemble precisely, and no filler was needed. Don’t forget to add some weight in the nose. The rear joint between the lower fuselage and wing is so good, it needs only a quick swipe of liquid glue. The forward joint was similar, but light clamping resulted in a joint that matched the other panel lines. The tail planes have tabs that insure good alignment. These were attached after painting. The rear intake and compressor blades are molded as one piece, and requires careful painting, although not much is seen when assembled. This piece slides into slots, and I did not glue it in place to assist alignment of the forward intake parts. The fit is good nonetheless.

Hasegawa is famous for using inserts to allow different versions from the same molds, and this presented a few issues for me. The forward wing root inserts don’t have the same thickness as the wing, and filler is needed. I aligned the top and filled the bottom. The avionics hump halves are fiddly and require careful assembly and alignment. The engine intake ducts needed filler where they attach to the fuselage sides, as well as the intake leading edge parts. The nose is a separate item, but fits fine. All of these issues are nothing that basic modeling skills can’t sort out.

The undercarriage bays, legs and wheels are very detailed and only require careful painting (white), and wash.

All the clear parts are well done with nice frame detail. The main canopy has a mold seam through the middle, which only took a few minutes to sand and polish. The wing tip lights need a little seam cleanup to fit the recess. All the other “glass” fits fine.

The decal sheet is good quality, and most settled down into the recessed panel lines nicely with some setting solution. I was most concerned with the hawk’s head on the nose, as it is the main attraction. It included part of the dark grey extending to the rear of the nose gear bay, and black around the leading edge of the wing root gun fairings. I needed to trim the black to get it to fit better, and cut off most of the dark grey to help “blend” the decal and my paint mixture. You can see my attempts at matching the color on the decal sheet. The right side hawk head is in two parts with the bottom wrapping over the refueling pipe to meet the top part of the head. The left head is one piece and was no problem. With care these large decals lay down OK, and look great. I would suggest cutting the rear head/feathers piece into two pieces. It fits behind the canopy and extends up and over the front of the avionics hump. Cut so the piece over the hump is separate. I should have done this, and had to trim after I applied it.

Paint colors reference FS numbers, or color name. I had to do some research to see what greys were needed. Hasegawa offers an 80/20% formula of two greys to match the main dark grey.

All the small parts, like antennas, gear doors and pylons fit very well. The external fuel tanks mount fine, but have close tolerances to the lowered flaps, and forward main gear doors.

This is a great kit that generally fits very well, except for the couple of areas I mentioned. With the complexity of the hawk head decals, and paint mixing, I would recommend it to modeler’s with a few build behind them.

Thank you to Hasegawa for the opportunity to review, build and present another fine model from this great company.

My sincere thanks to Hobbico and Hasegawa for the kit, also to IPMS USA for the invite to join the ranks of the Reviewers Corp.


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