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1:72 Airfix Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk

Navy Bird

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My first build for 2023 (gawd, is it really 2023 already? I am so old...). This is the recent (albeit over a decade ago) "new tool" kit from Airfix of the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk. OK, it's now called the A-4B, but I like those old USN designations. Much more informative than the USAF scheme that the politicians required so they wouldn't get embarrassed again. This is a nice little kit, but I felt the panel lines were a bit too deep and wide for my liking, and there were a couple of mistakes that I tried to clean up. The biggest was the curvature of the underside of the nose - not sure I made much of a difference but I tried. I'll take my participation trophy now.   :)


Other than that, the biggest issue was getting the yellow and red checks to snuggle down onto the notorious Scooter rudder. Eventually we got there, but the amount of decal solvent required made some of the checks look like Dali designed them. I guess that's why it's called a solvent. I had to touch those up with a tiny brush but if you don't look too closely you won't be shocked.


Here's my usual summary:


Project: Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk

Kit: Airfix Kit No. A03029
Scale: 1:72 (need you ask? This is me we're talking about...)
Decals: Xtradecal sheet X72180 for VC-5 Checkertails at NAS Cubi Point in 1967.
Resin: Several items from CMK - 7431 Cockpit, 7432 Control Surfaces, 7436 Undercarriage; Aires 7242 Wheels
Photoetch: Eduard 73459 interior and exterior set
Paint: GSI Creos Mr. Hobby H12 Flat Black, H11 Flat White, H315 Light Gull Gray H317 Dark Gull Gray, H23 Shine Red, H90 Clear Red, H94 Clear Green, H95 Smoke Gray; Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black; Alclad ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-111 Magnesium; Testors 1169 Flat Yellow; MRP-048 Super Clear Gloss Varnish, MRP-126 Super Clear Semi-matte Varnish



  • Reshaped underside of nose to have more curvature
  • 2-3 applications of Mr. Surfacer 1000 in panel lines to reduce their depth and width
  • Lowered wing flaps using card stock and Eduard photoetch
  • Complete resin cockpit and ejection seats, added rear view mirrors and canopy latches
  • Lowered elevators with resin parts
  • Added resin tyres and wheels
  • Photoetch details under leading edge slats and inside speed brakes
  • Photoetch antenna and windscreen wiper
  • Drilled out cannons
  • Used decals to represent fuselage upper attach bolt recesses and avionics cooling intake in nose
  • Subtle weathering via post shading

WIP can be found here. Now for some pictures:
























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That looks really good.  The USN certainly loved bright, colourful aircraft.  If you hadn't mentioned the decals and rudder I would not have known.  Still can't see where you needed to do touch ups.  Nice work all round, well done.


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21 hours ago, Hopesdaddy said:

Sharp build of the early Skyhawk, I can hardly tell the checker decals were a problem


Thanks. Trust me, though, those checker decals were a royal pain. I probably would pick a different scheme next time!    :)


18 hours ago, Harry Lime said:

Simply superb! A really tidy looking rendition of an eye-catching scheme.




Thanks Mark. I really like checkers on planes for some reason. Colour me odd.     :)


11 hours ago, David H said:

I love it!

<rummages through kit stash, looking for started Fujimi A4D-2...>


I hope you find it!


11 hours ago, Fred piket said:

Those were the good days: a nice and bright colorscheme.. Lovely build and not too overweathered..


At least we can still build models from the good old days. And, occassionally, one of those grey jets get a nice colourful display scheme.


7 hours ago, _alfisti_ said:

Great work on this nice little kit. I love what you have done to the panel lines, so it looks much more realistic than my Airfix Scooter.


Thanks. I didn't think the panel lines looked that bad, but after painting with Light Gull Gray they looked black - presumably because of their depth. I had to do something, as I don't like black panel lines. Even on black aircraft!     :)


4 hours ago, Fritag said:

Beautiful work, Bill.  Neatness to the extent of flawlessness is an entrenched Navy Bird trait that’s on display here as usual.  Love the subtle shading in the grey.


Thanks Steve. I really tried for subtle, as I didn't want to overdo it.    


3 hours ago, giemme said:

Up to usual NBS standard, with that added touch of tasteful and measured weathering - I love it!  :clap:


Thanks Giorgio!




Everyone can feel free to watch me wrestle the AZ Model Nakajima Kikka into submission over in the WIP forum.




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She looks beautiful Bill, an absolute stunner!


I wonder if we could encourage you to bring one of your fine builds over here someday, maybe as a Telford entry, or on a club table. There would always be room on the IPMS Wessex table. I know that for sure, as I'm club sec!



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