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In-Box Review
Vietnam Scooters
Vietnam Scooters Limited edition
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by: Andy Brazier [ BETHEYN ]

Originally designed as a carrier-based nuclear attack aircraft with an ancillary conventional attack mission, the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk proved its worth during the Vietnam War as a highly-capable close air support platform. Designed by the prolific engineer Ed Heinemann, the Skyhawk first took to the skies on 22 June 1954 and squadron deliveries commenced in October 1956. 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.
Introduced in 1962, the A-4E (also called the Echo) was a significant improvement over the earlier A-4C, and was the first variant to focus heavily on conventional or non-nuclear ground attack missions. Proposed in late 1959, the Echo featured a more powerful Pratt & Whitney J52-P6A engine with 8,500 lbs (38.6 kN) thrust, a reinforced structure and landing gear, two additional outboard wing stations for weapons each rated at 500 lbs (226 kg), and a stretched nose (roughly nine inches beyond the A-4C) for additional avionics, including the ASN-19A navigation computer. The J52 engine was not only more powerful than its predecessor but also offered increased efficiency, and thus better range. The A-4E featured a splitter plate between the fuselage and enlarged intakes, as well as small plates just above the gun barrel, which distinguished it physically from its predecessor. The A-4E replaced the A-4C in fleet squadrons in November 1962, beginning with VA-23 Black Knights.
The A-4E could carry 8,200 lbs (3,726 kg) ordnance. Later models were fitted with the cranked refuelling probe and avionics “hump” found in the A-4F. A total of 499 A-4Es were built, with production ending in April 1966. Twenty-two squadrons flew the A-4E.
Introduced in 1967, the A-4F was designed with the benefit of Vietnam combat experience, and served solely with Pacific Fleet squadrons. The most noted feature was the avionics hump along the aft dorsal spine, which housed various defensive electronic countermeasure (DECM) systems, and the angled, or cranked, refuelling probe. The DECM was added to specifically combat the air defence threats of Southeast Asia. The A-4F featured nose wheel steering and new wing spoilers, and a more powerful J52-P8A engine with 9,300 lbs (43.1 kN) thrust, and later the –P408, offering 11,200 lbs (50.8 kN) thrust. The first A-4Fs deployed to Vietnam in December 1967 with VA-23 and VA-192 Golden Dragons aboard
USS Ticonderoga (CVA 19).
Douglas built 146 A-4F models. The A-4F was the final single-seat Skyhawk built for the Navy, and the type was replaced by the Vought A-7 Corsair II.
A-4E/F in Vietnam
The Skyhawk played a major role in the U.S. Navy’s air campaign against North Vietnam, flying more missions than any other type. Reflecting this high number of sorties, a total of 266 A-4s were lost, more than any other Navy aircraft type. However, as a testament to its ruggedness, the Skyhawk suffered only a .002 loss per combat sortie, the lowest of any naval aircraft during the war. Skyhawk's flew the first strikes against North Vietnam in 1964 and are reported to have delivered the final bombs of the war in 1973.
Skyhawk's flew a variety of attack missions, including close air support (CAS) and Iron Hand missions, the latter being directed against enemy surface-to-air missile installations. For Iron Hand missions, Skyhawk's carried the AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile and Rockeye II Mk 20 cluster bombs or Zuni rocket pods. For CAS missions, Skyhawk's carried iron bombs as well as early precision-guided weapons such as the AGM-12 Bullpup and AGM-62 Walleye. A-4s could also carry a pair of AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles.
A-4s as a whole made 112 combat deployments during the Vietnam War. Of these, A-4E equipped squadrons made 38 combat deployments while A-4F squadrons made 20. The Skyhawk's were eventually replaced aboard the larger attack carriers by the A-7 Corsair II, but remained aboard the converted Essex class carriers through the end of the war.
Info from Eduard instructions

In the box
Packed in the standard top opening box with a well used A-4 Skyhawk artwork adorning the box lid, the plastic sprues are packed in a single bag, with the clear parts separated into a bag of its own. A resin seat, a small coloured fret of photo etch, a set of masks, an A-4 size (not the plane size but the paper size lol) set of instructions, and a large decal sheet make up the contents.
The plastic parts are from Hasegawa and have no flash present, but the parts do have a high amount of very shallow pin marks. Most of these shouldn't be seen though.
The exterior of the kit have some very fine recessed panel lines, and the wings sport some rather thick vortex generators, but at least they are there. If you are modelling the A-4F or one of the A-4E aircraft then the dorsal spine must be fitted. This is a separate 2 piece part that slots over the fuselage halves.
The rudder, and elevators are all moulded as part of the tail and wings, but the wing flaps are separate and can be deployed in the down position by changing the flap actuator. The landing slats for the front of the wings can be deployed open.
The two fuselage airbrakes can be positioned open. The instructions don't state they can be closed, but by eliminating the airbrake actuator and a little trimming of the door they should be able to close.
The inflight re-fuelling probe, tail hook along with the various ariels complete the exterior detail.
A nice touch by Hasegawa is the inclusion of a boarding ladder for the cockpit.
Pretty much all of the moulded on Interior detail for the cockpit is replaced with the photo etch, with new side consoles, instrument panel and rudder pedal facings all benefitting from the pre coloured etch set. The interior walls of the kit has some very nice padding represented by Hasegawa and should look great with a wash over the top to really pop the detail out.
The HUD is replaced with a photo etch and clear film offering.
A resin two piece bang seat is supplied by Eduard to replace the plastic one in the kit. The casting is very good with some very fine detail moulded onto the two parts. A small casting block is attached to the underside of the two parts, of which care will need to be taken to remove them as they are quite large. The main seat frame is one part with the seat cushion as the other, which should help with attaching the harness. A pre-painted P.E harness is supplied, along with the ejection seat pull rings. Several decals are also supplied for the outside of the seat.
A very nice surprise with the Hasegawa plastic parts is the amount of detail in the wheel wells, they are packed with hydraulic lines, servo boxes and spars. Once painted up this will look very nice indeed. The nose bay is part of the cockpit flooring and the main wells are moulded into the lower wing.
The undercarriage is well detailed with a lot of P.E going onto the legs and the nose gear door has P.E actuators replacing the moulded on parts. The nose wheel is moulded as part of the leg, which should give it some added strength as the Skyhawk's nose gear is very long.
The main wheels have separate outer hubs which do have some nice moulded on detail on them. Two styles are in this boxing but only the "bolted" type is to be used.
The main doors have detailed moulded onto the inside face in the form of raised and recessed detail.
The exhaust is probably the weakest part of the kit with the exhaust ring having minimal detail present. The exhaust tube does lead to a fan. The air inlet also benefits from a fan, which is moulded into the air inlet tube.
As with most Hasegawa kits no external weapons are supplied other then a pair of drop tanks for the inboard pylons. A centerline and outer pylon are supplied.
The canopy is in two parts with the front windscreen as separate part. The parts are blemish free and distortion free. A couple of P.E rear-view mirrors attach to the inside of the main canopy. The instructions only show the canopy in the closed position but you could display it open as the canopy hinges from the rear.
A set of masks for painting the canopy are supplied by Eduard. The set includes masks for the wing navigation lights and the outside are for the tyres for painting the wheel hubs.
Instructions and decals
The six featured Skyhawk's represent a cross-section of Navy light attack squadrons over the course of the Vietnam War. VA-22 Fighting Redcocks deployed to Vietnam with the A-4F from April through November 1970 with Carrier Air Wing 5 aboard USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31). VA-72 Blue Hawks made two deployments with the A-4E, one aboard the Forrestal-class carrier USS Independence (CVA 62), and the second with USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA 42). The Blue Tail Flies of VA-153 also made two deployments, one each in the A-4E an A-4F, and both aboard USS Coral Sea (CVA 43). VA-192’s Golden Dragons made three deployments, one in A-4E and two in the Fox model, all aboard USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14). VA-195 Dambusters deployed once in the Echo model,
flying from USS Oriskany. Of the squadrons represented, VA-164 Ghost Riders made the most A-4E/F deployments; three each in the A-4E aboard USS Oriskany (CVA 34) and the A-4F aboard USS Hancock (CVA 19).
The decals are printed by Cartograph, and are thin, with a little carrier film around them. Having used Cartograph decals on numerous occasions I have never had any trouble with them.
The instruction booklet is the typical Eduard style with the build taking place over 20 odd steps, with internal colours and any P.E or resin parts highlighted during the build. Construction looks to be pretty straightforward, with any optional parts highlighted in blue.
As usual from Eduard all internal and external colours are from the Gunze Sangyo Aqueous Hobby colour and MR Color range of paints.

I feel Eduard have dropped the ball a bit with this release, as they have only included the cockpit extras, and some masks for this boxing. Eduard have released a Brassin exhaust pipe and resin wheels as separate items (reviews to follow), but I can't help but feel they should have been included in this kit.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: The Hasegawa Skyhawk is probably the best offering on the market, and Eduard have added a couple or three extras into this boxing, along with an extensive decal sheet.
Lows: Not a great deal different from the standard Hasegawa boxing to be truthful.
Verdict: See Conclusion in main text
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 1197
  Suggested Retail: £ 49.99 (Hannants)
  Related Link: Vietnam Scooters
  PUBLISHED: Jul 19, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Eduard!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Andy Brazier (betheyn)

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...

Copyright ©2021 text by Andy Brazier [ BETHEYN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Andy, An excellent review for sure. I came to the same conclusions and posted that a few weeks ago after I got my kit. I was pretty disappointed what was included for $80 when the Hasegawa kit sells for $38. The wheels and intake/exhaust were two areas that really needed to be addressed, which Eduard did, but felt that we had to pay additional for those parts. Needless to say I'm using the kit parts for my build. I was also disappointed with the decal sheet. 6 different aircraft but no stenciling. After all, there are only enough decals to do one complete aircraft, so what's the point of the rest of the decals. Half as many choices and a stencil sheet would have been the preferred way to go. I've got Eduard's Danger Zone F-14A which contains just about everything they offer for the Hobby Boss kit, so I really didn't think to much of what wasn't listed for this release. Believe me, I've learned my lesson, and won't be buying any more re-boxing from Eduard's unless it's exactly what I want. Joel
JUL 19, 2015 - 05:18 AM
Eduard really didn't drop the ball with this release. It's more the fact that they've had to pay a premium for the Hasegawa plastic. Witness the boxings of the F-104 Starfighter. Those kits also contain a minimum of photoetch and resin. No Burner cans no tires. In contrast to the kits containing Academy (F-4), HobbyBoss (F-14), or Kinetic (F-16) plastic where you get the full meal deals of Brassin wheels, burner cans, seats, masks, photoetch, and big Furball designed and Cartograph printed decals sheets. So these latter kits contain the full complement of aftermarket except for weapons stores. I do have a Vietnam Scooters kit on the way and I'm looking forward to getting it. However I will be spending extra for the Eduard Brassin tires and the Scooter weapons set which includes 3 MERs. I've been a member of Eduard's Bunny Fighter Club for a couple of years now so I order direct, but I buy enough items to qualify for free shipping. Not hard to do since there's always something Eduard offers that I need. Here's hoping Eduard will continue their Vietnam War theme and offer up the Hobby Boss A-6A Intruder in a "Going Downtown" boxing with correct Brassin GRU-5 seats and a Hasegawa F-8 Gunslinger. Already I've got the Mig-21's with Vietnamese Air Force markings.
JUL 20, 2015 - 09:54 PM
John, I opted for the straight Academy F4 kits, as there just isn't much AM needed in all honesty. The kits are that good. I do have the Danger Zone F-14A kit which wasn't exactly cheap, but has all that is necessary to build a well detailed model. As for the AF limited edition offering, we're talking about a general retail price of $38 for the Hasegawa kit. The decals are superb, but incomplete with hardly any stencils. Do we really need 6 options? I find it hard to believe that Eduard didn't include the intake/tube/exhaust, and wheels because of the cost of the Hasegawa kit. They're selling it for $80. The only other cost is the Cartograf decals which they now use for all their kits, as most manufactures do. their Resin seat and PE fret cost them next to nothing. Honestly, the kit is way over priced for what you get. Joel
JUL 21, 2015 - 03:36 AM
Joel I understand your feelings but over this side of the pond the Eduard kit makes more sense as the Hasegawa kit retails between £35 - 49 depending on version while the Eduard kit is £49 (cheaper if a Bunny Club member). Kits this side of the pond tend to be the same cost figure wise as the US but with a £ pound sign instead of a $ dollar. So the base Hasegawa kit works out as between $54 - 76 over here once you do the £/$ conversion. Andy thanks for the review.
JUL 21, 2015 - 04:09 AM

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