The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was an attack aircraft originally designed to operate from United States Navy aircraft carriers. The aircraft was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company (later McDonnell Douglas) and was originally designated the A4D under the US Navy's pre-1962 designation system.
Over 2,960 A-4s were eventually built in 17 different configurations over the aircraft’s 25 year production run. Over the years, it earned a variety of nicknames, including Scooter, Bantam Bomber, and Heinemann’s Hot-Rod.
The original Skyhawk was designated the A4D-1, and after 1962, was redesignated the A-4A (165 built), followed by the A-4B (542 built) and the A-4C (638 built).
The A-4D designation was not used to avoid confusion with the pre-1962 designation. The A-4A through -C was flown by Navy and Marine Corps squadrons, filing the light attack mission previously filled by the propeller-driven Douglas AD Skyraider.
The aircraft featured a low mounted delta wing, a large tailfin, and engine intakes located one each side of the fuselage. These early models were fitted with two 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannons, each mounted in the wing root and carrying 100 rounds of ammunition, and featured three hard points for external weapons carriage – a centerline mount and one on each wing. The Skyhawk could carry a total of 5,950 lbs (2,698 kg) of ordnance, including nuclear weapons, plus fuel.
In the bag
Airfix's A-4B/4P Skyhawk is a new tool kit from 2012, and as such is a pretty good kit with a fair amount of detail. CMK however have released a set of 3D designed main and nose wheels to replace the kits offering.
Packed in a cardboard headed bag, the three resin parts are well moulded with no discrepancies. The two main wheels are moulded too a casting block, but are very easy to remove and clean up. The nose wheel is also on a casting block, and a sharp scalpel should separate the block from the part.
The two main wheels are straight swaps for the kits parts, so no issues should arise.
The nose wheel on the Airfix kit is moulded as one piece along with the leg, so a cut will need to be done along the lower section of the leg, for installing the new resin wheel.
Detail compared to the Airfix parts is more refined, and the main wheel hubs are a slightly different, although they are both "early spoke " style hubs.
The back of the main hubs is a lot more detailed then the kits offering and a major improvement.
The nose wheel on first glance doesn't look to be much of an improvement on the kits part, but upon a closer look the hub is slightly smaller with smaller bolts on the inside rim of the hub. Having looked at pictures of the nose wheel hub, it does look a bit too small to my eyes compared to the real aircraft.
A slip of paper which was also the backing for the packaging doubles up as the instruction sheet.
The instructions, if you can call them that, are clear with the area needed to cut shaded out on the nose wheel. The main wheels need to be placed in a certain direction which is also shown.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: A nice set which adds a little more detail to the wheels.Lows: Nose wheel hub looks a little small.Verdict: Good value, and the main wheels definitely improve the look of the finished kit.
About Andy Brazier (betheyn) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST, UNITED KINGDOM
I started modelling in the 70's with my Dad building Airfix aircraft kits. The memory of my Dad and I building and painting a Avro Lancaster on the kitchen table will always be with me. I then found a friend who enjoyed building models, and between us I think we built the entire range of 1/72 Airfi...