by: Sven Harjacek [ ]
Like always I shall start my review with some history on this plane.
The A-4 Skyhawk is a ground-attack aircraft made by the US company McDonnell Douglas. It is a small delta winged aircraft capable for use on aircraft carriers. It's powered by a single Pratt & Whitney J52. It was introduced in the early 1956. Skyhawks were one of the key aircraft in Vietnam and in the Falklands. It was used by the Israelis, Kuwait, Argentina, Indonesia and the US of course (Navy and Marine corps). In particular the A-4E version was powered by one Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6A and had two more weapon pylons plus some other improvments.
The reviewThe model came in a nice semi-gloss colorful box. I was suprised by how small it was, I have only seen few 1/144 boxes and all of them very much bigger. The front of the box shows two complete models (you get 2 models in here), and few lines about the model. On the back we can see 4 profiles and two more drawings of the versions you can build. When I opened the box I saw 8 sprues in total and the instruction sheet. The sprues are carefully packed in a small bag, clear parts are separated from rest of the parts. The instruction sheed is a double side printed A4 paper in Black & White.
The instructionsAs I stated above the instructions are printed on a Single A4 paper (double sided) but folded to look like a little booklet. The instructions are pretty clear and easy to understand. It shows you how do you need to paint the parts (Gunze, MM and Tamiya paints).
Step 1 - assembly of the drop tanks.
Step 2 - assembly of the main undercarriage legs and wheels.
Step 3 – assembly of the main fuselage halves and wings.
Step 4 – assembly of the side intakes and the exhaust nozzles, ejection seat and canopy.
Step 5 – all the bombs (actually 2 drop tanks), pylons and the undercarriage gear.
Next part shows you the under and upper side of the model for painting instructions and decal application.
On the last page you see 4 profiles for the marking options.
The spruesYou get 6 light gray and 2 clear styrene sprues ( you need 3 light gray and 1 clear to complete each model). In total 34 parts for each model.
The most dominant spure is the one with the delta shaped wings. It includes total of 14 parts which are really nicely molded with no flash or ejection pins around.the detail is amazing, all the panel lines and the rivets are recessed with no mistakes or unconsistency. I must say that I'm really amazed with the amount of detail for this scale. All other parts on this sprue are very nice too.
The second spure is the sprue with the fuselage halves. It consists of 13 parts. Again the panel lines and rivets are amazing, they look so real.The intakes are very thin (unlike most of the 1/144 intakes) and won't need any additional sanding. Main undercarriage legs and wheels are pretty nice. The ejection seat is nicey molded but will require adding seatbelts. The pitot tube is really thin and realistic for the scale.
The smallest sprue contains 6 parts for the extra drop tanks, detail on them is even better than some fuel tanks in 1/72 and even some 1/48 scale models. Just amazing how the technology of injection molding advances.
The clear sprue contains 1 part (canopy) which is pretty thin and clear. In this scale only few wish to superdetail the cockpit and open the canopy, but in that case you will need to cut the canopy in 2 pieces .
All of the parts are pretty well detailed and thin, it's a shame that they didn't include the Instrument panel and some more detail in the undercarriage. But I must say this is one of the best 1/144 models I have ever seen, when completed it about 3 inches long so it's really small.
The decalsYou get to choose from 4 options (all are Gull Gray and White). The options are:
- A-4E Bu151988 VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers
- A-4E Bu150076 VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers
- A-4E Bu159651 VMA-253/VMA-311 Tomcats
- A-4E Bu15050 VMAT-102 Skyhawks
I must say all of the options come with nice colorful decals. The decal are very thin and all of the colors are spot on. You even get few stencils, thats really rare for this scale.
ConclusionSo, I dont think I have to write anymore. This is one of the best and most detailed 1/144 kits I have ever seen - rivets, thin parts... Shake & Bake - simple as that. If you're interested in A-4E this is your best option!
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