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A-4C Skyhawk

by Ingo Degenhardt

A-4C Skyhawk

Images by Lutz Degenhardt


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale A-4C Skyhawk is available online from Squadron.com





The A-4's well-known nickname is what came to my mind when I heard that Hasegawa was releasing their first A-4 kit of their 1/48 scale Skyhawk series.

Quite some time has passed since, and now I have finally bought and built the "C" version.

The kit is a state-of-the-art product and the part’s fit is something near to perfect. A little disadvantage is that no ordnance comes with it except for two external fuel tanks. Just a few items to fill the pylons would be nice for a relatively high-priced kit like this one. I myself would be perfectly satisfied with a pair of TER’s and/or MER’s to be included as these are always in short supply.





As mentioned, the parts of the kit fit very well, making the assembly pure joy. No problems, just a little filling, sanding and rescribing here and there – for example when attaching the wing assembly to the fuselage, there is something to be done about the connection fuselage bottom/wing undersides – just aft of the nose wheel well.


The model was built mostly out-of-the-box, only brake pipes were added on all three gear struts, according to some photography found on the internet (although I have lost the URL).

The cockpit contains just the kit parts which is fairly good enough for my choice of a closed canopy. With just two tiny drops of cyanoacrylate on each side it snaps perfectly into place.

I have seen a lot of negative comments written about front wheels moulded in place with the gear leg. I consider it no real disadvantage after the part is neatly painted.

Because I wanted to do something about the external load, I looked into my various Aircraft weapons Sets by Hasegawa. I would have liked an MER for the centerline pylon, perhaps with something from the Mk 80 series but of course I had none left. Instead I found two TER’s and decided to equip the A-4 with a centerline drop tank and the two TER’s under the wing pylons – each loaded with two LAU-3 rocket launchers from Hasegawas ‚B‘-Set. This configuration looks quite probable to me for a Vietnam-era Skyhawk .

Likely or not for a parked and armed aircraft, I built the speed brakes in the open position – just to display the red insides and the sliced NAVY- stencilling



Painting and Markings


As always with my aircraft kits I used Xtracolor paints for their high-gloss finish, making any clear gloss coat to prepare for the decal job unnecessary. Furthermore they have a wide range of FS and other colors.

I went for marking option No. 2 of the kit with the whole vertical stabilizer and rudder in light blue. Hasegawa provides a large decal for each side, but I decided to spray-paint the whole thing in order to avoid some major problems with the heavily corrugated rudder construction. I also found the Blue chosen by Hasegawa being a little too ‘bright’, according to a photograph of aircraft 302. So I started to mix the color from various Humbrol Super enamels. It took some time but finally I was satisfied with the result. Tip and chevron of the drop tank were also painted in this mixture.

Main painting sequence was:

  • Flat white overall (very lightly sprayed basecoat)

  • Blue

  • White

  • Gull Grey

  • Insignia Red

After a test fit of the intake leading edges (parts G3&4) and the horizontal stabilizers I decided to paint them seperatly to avoid masking during the following paint jobs.

A nice decal is provided for the anti-glare so I didn’t have to mask and spray this area.

After two days drying time, the whole model received a ‘wash’ of heavily diluted enamels – dark brown for the White, dark grey for the Gull Grey and black for the Blue surfaces. I worked in smaller sections that were wiped with a thinner-soaked tissue after drying, just leaving the paint in the engravings and recesses, as intended.



All Grey and Blue surfaces were then drybrushed with the respective color lightened up with flat white.
The smaller clear parts (of course not glued on yet) had a coat of ‘Future’ brushed on to give them a more ‘glassy’ appearance , although I did not dare to use it for the canopy and windshield.


Marking option No. 2 depicts an A-4C of US Navy Squadron VA-153 „Blue Tail Flies“, USS Coral Sea, ca. 1965.

The decal job calls for some extra attention and care with several decals to be applied in difficult areas.
Beginning from the aft, the first encounter of this kind were the white chevrons running across the vertical stabilizer and rudder. As they often do, Hasegawa made this a separate decal, leaving us the paint option for larger areas just like the blue tail.

I pondered a while wether to paint the chevrons too (and cut out the NL-tailcode) or to use the decals. But masking the rudder surfaces would not have been much easier – so I went for the decals with all carrier film cut off. It required a lot of assistance from Micro Set and Sol to get them properly into place. But after several treatments with Sol and a lot of piercing and cutting of the decals it finally turned out satisfying.

Next was the upper wing national insignia, that must be applied directly over the boundary fences on the wing.

No chance for Set and Sol to deal with this, so I cut out the affected decal section and put the rest of the decal into place – fore and aft of the fences. Insignia Blue and White, applied with a fine brush, filled the gap.

The third and last challenge is the nat. insignia on the right fuselage side. Already enlarged by Hasegawa because it goes right over the tube of the aerial refuelling probe fitted there. This is exactly what Sol&Set were made for. The decal firmly pressed into place with a soft, damp tissue, a drop of Sol brushed on top and after a few hours the decal perfectly wraps around the tube and is ‘sucked’ into every panel line.
With all the decals dry and the excess glue and Sol wiped off with water, the ‘wash’ is carefully repeated for the larger decals.

After that, the model received a complete overspray with Humbrol Matt Cote. Powdered pastel chalk was used for a little further ‘weathering’ of the plane.





In conclusion, I found this kit fun to build with no major shortcomings or problems and as there is a whole series of A-4’s by Hasegawa.

I am quite sure I will make another one sooner or later, although the next one might be a ‘Camel’.


Project Summary and Additional Images


Project Statistics

Completion Date:

26 January, 2002

Total Building Time:

27.15 hrs


8.45 hrs

Painting (includes creation and printing of custom decals):

14.08 hrs

Decals / Markings (includes creating and printing custom decals):

3.09 hrs

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2002 by Ingo Degenhardt
Page Created 08 June, 2002
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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