Fujimi 1/72 A-4C/E Skyhawk

KIT #: F-26 & F-24
DECALS: Four options in each kit
REVIEWER: William Alcott
NOTES: You can never have enough Fujimi Skyhawks!


The A-4C and E/F were the most common Skyhawk variants during the Vietnam War.  Compared to the earlier A-4B, the A-4C introduced a limited all-weather capability, while the A-4E added additional avionics in an extended nose (and later in a dorsal ‘hump’), as well as an additional pair of under wing pylons (for a total of 5).


This review is intended to complement my A-4B review (q.v.).  Most of the same general comments apply to these kits.  The A-4C kit is largely identical to the A-4B, with the exception of the forward fuselage halves.  The A-4E/F kit features a new forward fuselage, new intakes, and an optional avionics hump.


I followed the same construction process as for the A-4B.  I made a couple of additional enhancements compared to that build:

-          I added the retractable landing light to the inside of the starboard main landing gear door, using an MV lens.

-          I carved away the moulded-in wing tip position lights and the approach light in the port wing, and replaced them with chunks of clear sprue which I sanded to shape and polished.  For the approach light, I drilled three tiny holes in the inside face of the light.  Note that the large position lights on the wing tips are not coloured, unlike the smaller navigation lights.

-          I added sway braces to all the pylons, using scraps of plastic.

Like the A-4B, the A-4C nose is moulded with the rain removal fairing in place, whereas it should have a windscreen wiper.  I removed the fairing and scratchbuilt the wiper and arm from sprue and thin plastic sheet.  The A-4C should feature the radar altimeter fairing under the port wingtip – this is included in the A-4E kit as part 89.  I used the A-4E part as a reference and carved a duplicate from plastic sheet.  The A-4C I chose to model was an early version, without any radar warning aerials.  I fitted 1000-lb Mk. 83 bombs from a Hasegawa weapons set to the outboard pylons, and used one of the kit drop tanks on the centre-line station.

For the A-4E, be sure to use the early style nose gear strut (part 8).  Part 91 depicts the later strut with nosewheel steering, introduced with the A-4F.  The A-4E I modeled did not feature the avionics hump, but did carry five RWR aerials under the nose and aft fuselage.  I fitted a D-704 buddy refueling pod to the centre-line station (from the Fujimi KA-6D kit), and a pair of drop tanks to the inboard wing stations.  I modified the kit wing tanks (which have tail fins) to the earlier style, with a rounded aft section, like the centre-line pod provided in the kit.


Like my A-4B, I found most of my reference material for these builds at the A-4 Skyhawk Association website (www.a4skyhawk.org). 

For the A-4B, I modeled an aircraft from VA-153 “Blue Tail Flies” aboard USS Coral Sea in 1965.  This aircraft featured a black radome, which was quite uncommon on the A-4, and was did not appear on all aircraft in the squadron during this cruise.  The blue and white tail markings were masked and sprayed.  The NL tail code was created from black decal stripes, with a healthy dose of Solvaset to get them to conform to the ribs on the rudder.  The other markings came from a mix of Scalemaster letter/number decals, Superscale national insignia, and a collection of leftover A-4 decal sheets.

For the A-4E, I modeled an aircraft from VA-12 “Flying Ubangis” aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, during that carrier’s one and only Vietnam Combat cruise, during 1966-7.  There is a great colour photo of this aircraft in the Detail and Scale volume on the A-4.  Unusually, VA-12’s A-4Es carried the national insignia on the forward fuselage, the typical location for the A-4B and C.  Most A-4E and F squadrons carried the national insignia on the rear fuselage.  The FD Roosevelt titles came from an old sheet from the AMT/ERTL A-4E.  The decals from this sheet were very thick, so this was the only marking I used from that set.  The ‘Kiss of Death’ markings actually come from the A-4C kit.  Note that the skull faces to the right on both sides of the aircraft – the AMT/ERTL decals had mirror-image skull markings for each side.  For the black trim on the rudder I used a combination of black decals stripes and a Sharpie permanent marker.

For the AB tail code, I enlarged a 1/72 scale drawing of the A-4 tail to 200%, then carefully drew the tailcode on the enlargement.  I then reduced the drawing back to 1/72, and taped it to black decal film.  I carefully trimmed the code letters from the decal sheet – tedious, but reasonably successful in this case.  The nose modex required black numbers, shadowed in white – trying to find two sets of identical style and size had me combing the spare decal box!


These were my 4th and 5th Fujimi Skyhawks, and I’ve still got a TA-4F and another A-4C in the stash.  These kits are a blast to build – the multi-part fuselage makes assembly a little tricky, but the end result looks great.



A-4 Skyhawk, Detail & Scale Vol. 32, Bert Kinzey

William Alcott

July 2010

roduct reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page