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Julien

A-4E Skyhawk - 1:48 Hobby Boss

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A-4E Skyhawk

1:48 Hobby Boss

 

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The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was a carrier capable ground attack aircraft developed for the US Navy and US Marine Corps. It is a delta winged single engine aircraft. It was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company originally under the A4D designation, latter changed to A-4. The A-4 was designed by Ed Heinemann to a 1952 US Navy specification for a carrier based attack aircraft capable of carrying heavy loads. For this an aircraft was to have a maximum weight of 30,000Lbs, and be capable of speeds up to 495mph. Initially the Douglas design with a specified weight of only 20000 Lbs was greeted with scepticism. Ed Heinemann had in fact designed a very small aircraft. This was to be roughly half the weight of its contemporaries. In fact the wings were so short they did not need to fold for stowage below decks. Having a non-folding wing eliminated the heavy wing folds seen in other aircraft, one reason for a low overall weight.

 

The prototype also exceed the maximum speed the US Navy had specified. In fact not long after the aircraft would set a new world record of 695mph for circuit flying, bettering the specification by 200mph. The A-4A was the initial production aircraft with 166 being built. The A-4B was ordered with additional improvements over the initial design. These  were to be; Stronger rudder construction, a pressure fuelling system incorporating a probe for in-flight refuelling, external fuel tanks, stronger landing gear, additional navigation equipment, an improved ordnance delivery system, and an external buddy refuelling package. A total of 542 A-4Bs were to be made with fleet deliveries beginning in 1957 only a year after the first A-4B flight was made.  The A-4C would then follow giving an all weather capability with the AN/APG-53 radar, a new auto pilot and bombing system and a more powerful J65-W-20 engine.

 

The E model was a major upgrade to previous aircraft included a new Pratt & Whitney J-52-P-6A engine with 8400 lbs of thrust. The air-frame was strengthened and two more weapons pylons were added. Improved avionics were installed including a TACAN, doppler system, radar altimeter, and a bombing computer.  Later an even more powerful J52-P-8 with 93000 lbs thrust was added.  The E would then see the addition of a dorsal hump on the fuselage spine to house extra electronics as appeared on the later A-4F.

 

The Kit

This a new tool from Hobby Boss of this famous Douglas aircraft. The kit itself is on three sprues is fairly simple much like the real thing. Construction starts in the cockpit you will be surprised to know! The two part Escapac seat is put together and placed into the cockpit tub after the aft wall is installed. The seat is fairly basic and there are no belts included in the model. The control column is then installed along with the instrument panel (details by decal), this is followed by the area just behind the seat. The completed cockpit is then installed onto the top of the front wheel well along with the rudder pedals.

 

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Next up the wings are completed. This is standard single part lower wing with left & right uppers. Once complete it is placed to one side. Construction then moves to the main fuselage. The completed cockpit assembly and the intake duct are installed in the main fuselage as it is closed up. The avionics hump or the top fuselage fairing are installed depending on which decal option is being modelled. Two side intakes are added along with the main wing assembly. Two small parts then need to be removed from the tail. Lastly the engine exhaust is added along with a rear underside panel.

 

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Next up the left and right engine intakes are assembled and added to the main fuselage. The instrument coaming and HUD are added to the cockpit and the 20mm cannons & fairings are added to each side. Two small fairings are added to the rear fuselage. The all moving tails are made u (conventional upper & lower construction) and added, along with the air brakes. The canopy is added along with two strakes just above the cannon barrels. The underwing/fuselage pylons are then made up and added along with the gear doors. The front undercarriage leg is added which has the nose wheel moulded on to it. The rear legs and retraction struts are added along with the wheels. To round things off the arrestor hook and til bumper are added.

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Weapons

Hobby Boss aren't known for being stingy with these, and as you'd expect there are plenty to choose from, infact 5 sprues in this kit are devoted to underwing stores.  As always, check your references for likely load-outs if you are going for accuracy, or slap them all on if not.  It's your choice! Included are;

 

  • 12 x Mk.82 Bombs
  • 12 x Mk.20 CBUs
  • 2 x AiM-9B Sidewinders
  • 2 x Wing tanks
  • 1 x Centreline tank

 

Sway braces are provided where needed, as are launch rails and multiple ejector racks. There are other weapons on the sprues not used here so good for the spares box.

 

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The back page of the instruction booklet shows the pylon positions of the various options, but as above, check things over before you proceed.  Stencil locations are shown on a separate colour page, with positions and colours all called out.

 

 

Markings

 

Hobby Boss often supply only one option with their kits, but this one has two, one is documented incorrectly, the other is not. It is really about time HB started giving some information about its decal schemes in the kits rather than modellers going on-line to work it out themselves. The decals are printed in house, and are of good quality.

 

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  • 150056 VC-1 US Navy - No data is provided but the box art is very similar to an image from 1972 from NAS Barbers Point, Oahu,HI
  • 151074 VA-155 USS Constellation 1966 wearing experimental 3 tone camo. Note this aircraft did not have the dorsal hump despite the painting instructions showing it. Now preserved at Naval Air Facility Atsugi

 

 

 

Conclusion

This is a nice new tool of the A-4E from Hobby Boss. Recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Looks very similar to Hasegawa.

I wonder if they are simiral in regards of size etc. too.

If they are then this is nice alternative...

 

(I cannot get over those slats though)

D.

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Thanks Julien,

Wiil be at CC Castle soon I Think ! :coolio:

Nice review, will try this kit !

Sincerely.

Corsaircorp

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15 hours ago, DIO said:

Looks very similar to Hasegawa.

I wonder if they are simiral in regards of size etc. too.

If they are then this is nice alternative...

 

(I cannot get over those slats though)

D.

I had a quick look against my Hasegawa A-4E and it looks similar in size. There is no doubt its a simplified kit, and yes the did the slats closed. No doubt someone will be along to do them open. However its readily available and dare I say at a cheaper price point.

10 hours ago, corsaircorp said:

Thanks Julien,

Wiil be at CC Castle soon I Think ! :coolio:

Nice review, will try this kit !

Sincerely.

Corsaircorp

Thanks for the comments.

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I like the kit and with the price point and probably better availability i think i could live with the slats. Im working on the Hasegawa kit now and its a dream to work with. Almost no filler needed. My options to get them are somewhat more limited. I see more Hobbyboss stuff in the few local shops than Hasegawa. Though i have done a HLJ member ship so if i can get them cheaper that will change my thoughts.

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