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A-4C Skyhawk

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The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single seat carrier-capable attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later by McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated A4D under the U.S. Navy's pre-1962 designation system.

The Skyhawk is a lightweight aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 24,500 pounds (11,100 kg) and has a top speed of more than 600 miles per hour (970 km/h). The aircraft's five hardpoints support a variety of missiles, bombs and other munitions and were capable of delivering nuclear weapons using a low altitude bombing system and a "loft" delivery technique. The A-4 was originally powered by the Wright J65 turbojet engine; from the A-4E onwards, the Pratt & Whitney J52 was used.

Skyhawks played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. Sixty years after the aircraft's first flight, some of the nearly 3,000 produced remain in service with several air arms around the world, including from the Brazilian Navy's aircraft carrier, São Paulo.
The Model
This is my recently completed Hobbycraft A-4C Skyhawk in 1/48th scale. I have always liked the Hobbycraft kit and I thought it was an underrated jet model. Construction was very straightforward and without problems. I wanted to depict this aircraft in a powered-up state so I placed a Hasegawa pilot figure in the cockpit, giving the customary thumbs up. Since the Skyhawk is shown “starting up”, I finished the inside of the intakes and created a blurred turbofan effect by using grey and white Mig Pigments on a dark grey background in an effort to simulate the whirling fan blades.

The plane was painted with Model Master Enamel Flat Gull Grey and White. Some spots of old Polly Scale Dirty White were airbrushed on underside panels. Post shading was applied using a lightened application of the Gull Grey on the upper surfaces. Panel lines were drawn with a .005 Micron Ink Pen and then shaded with Tamiya Smoke applied at low pressure with my airbrush. A wash of thinned Testors CreateFX Black was applied to various recesses and gear bays. Also, fluid stains and grime were applied using Burnt Umber Oil paint which was streaked using a brush.

Rocket pods were added from one of the old Hasegawa weapons sets but the centreline drop tank came from the kit. The pitot tube was scratch built, only because I lost the kit tube during construction. Eagle Strike decals were used to depict an A-4C from VA-112 “Broncos” off the USS Ticonderoga during the Vietnam War. The decals were a little old so it took some careful applications of MicroSol to get them to lie down properly.
All in all, this was a simple, fun build and the Hobbycraft A-4 offering builds up into a respectable “Scooter” with some patience and TLC.
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About the Author

About Ian (SaxonTheShiba)

I have been modeling for about forty years and enjoy building 1/32 scale and 1/48th scale aircraft as well as an occasional piece of 1/35th scale armor. I love building modern USN/USMC subjects as well as RAF/RCAF/RAAF/FAA prop driven and jet subjects.


Hello Ian, Good looking bird. My Dad serviced on the Ty and the Connie. He was a plane captain, brown shirt, during the Gulf of Tonkin incident and was in charge of an A-4. I just hope I can do as good a job of building one for him as you've done. See ya in the funnies............
JUL 24, 2015 - 11:19 AM
Thanks Brian and glad you liked it. Grateful for your fathers's service as well. No easy feat maintaining and herding jets on a small deck like the Tico, especially in a combat zone. Best wishes, Ian
JUL 24, 2015 - 05:18 PM
Ian, That's one really nice Scooter. Just enough weathering to make it look like an operational aircraft. Joel
JUL 25, 2015 - 05:16 AM
Vnice. Good to see pilot in your Scooter. Aircraft need pilots.
JUL 25, 2015 - 05:26 AM
Joel---Thanks for the kind words. It was a fun build and it won't take up a lot of shelf space! Carl--Thanks. I thought it would be neat to do the plane with a crew figure, getting ready to depart. Best wishes, Ian
JUL 25, 2015 - 05:38 AM
Ian, great build. The weathering is superb and is a nice contrast to the colorful color scheme. Thanks for sharing
JUL 26, 2015 - 02:34 AM
Thanks Jesper! Hope you are well. Best wishes, Ian
JUL 26, 2015 - 03:12 AM