KIWI RESINS


1/144 RAN A-4G Skyhawk


Review by Andrew Perren


Introduction

The Mc Donnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawk served the Royal Australian Navy – Fleet Air Arm from 1967 until 1984, when the remaining aircraft were sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force. During their RAN Service the aircraft were operated by VF805 and VC724 Squadrons from their shore base at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW. The aircraft were also embarked aboard the RAN aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

The Kit

This is a very small kit of an equally compact aircraft. The entire contents are packaged in a sturdy box not much bigger than a large cigarette packet. The packaging looked solid enough to withstand postage and arrive intact. Inside the box are a couple of small, one zip lock bags containing the various parts. There are two fuselage halves, one with the tail fin attached, and feature separate jet intakes. A single piece wing assembly is a nice touch along with separate flaps. You also get two tail planes, nose & main gear assemblies with separate gear doors, and some under-wing stores including 3 drop tanks. The parts list also mentions outboard wing pylons but these were absent from the sample kit. The canopy is of the clear vac-form type and you should receive two according to the aforementioned parts list. The last things to mention are a finely cast refueling probe (bent style) and a small decal sheet for one RAN example. There is no instruction sheet to speak of but experienced modellers should be able to get by with the small number of parts present.

First impressions

This  kit is typical of  limited run cottage industry resin kits and is aimed at the experienced modeller. Most of the parts have some sort of resin pour stub and flash to be dealt with which should not be too challenging. There are however, a number of large air bubbles which are apparent on a number of parts. These spoil an otherwise well detailed little kit. The gear assemblies in this kit also suffered from air bubbles and are very fine pieces of resin. Rather than try to repair the holes on the wheels, or to have the fine assemblies destroyed by some ham fisted activity later on I decided to display the model in flight and close the gear bays.

Construction

Since there are very few parts to clean up construction soon began with the fuselage halves. The nose sections on the sample kit would not meet and appeared to be slightly warped. The resulting gap and some big air bubbles under the nose were filled with thick superglue and sanded back. Fitting the one piece wing assembly was straightforward as were the tail planes. There was a small wing to fuselage gap on both sides which I took care off with some milliput white epoxy putty. The three drop tanks are well done and the integrally cast pylons are “keyed” for the mounting slots under the wings. Unfortunately for me the starboard wing tank had another large bubble which badly affected the tail end and fins meaning I could only use the centerline tank. Milliput also took care of the slots for the unused pylons.

There is a part included for the cockpit which is a basic seat. It also looks to be the mount for the nose gear but I chose not to install this as the gear doors were already fitted. The tiny vac-form canopy was nice and clear but very challenging to cut to the right profile. Because I had no detail to show off anyway – I fitted, filled and painted the glass areas black. This looked quite acceptable to my eye in this scale.

The Paint Job & Decals

With construction all but complete the model was painted with Tamiya enamels using blu-tac to mask the camouflage pattern. The detail areas were then picked out by brush. The kit’s parts list includes a side-on colour profile stating the colours as Light Admiralty Grey and Aircraft Grey and mentions FS numbers. The mentioned colours are in fact British Standard colours BS381C – 693 Aircraft Grey and BS381C – 697 Light Admiralty Grey both in matt finish. The FS codes mentioned (FS16187 & FS15414) may well be close equivalent colours, but the first digit being a “1” denotes a gloss finish. Some Modellers may wish to further research these colours. Whichever way you go you will have to mix the colours by eye as neither are available off the shelf in model paints that I am aware off. Looking at the finished model I should probably have lightened the colours a bit more for scale but that’s a personal taste thing. A quick shot of future acrylic clear prepared the model for decals.

The small decal sheet is Alps printed and quite reasonably detailed. There is no white backing on any of the decals. I punched some small discs out of white decal sheet to go under the four Aussie Roundels and deliberately avoided the vortex generators on the upper wing surface. The roundels should sit over them but there was no way I was going to try and coax such small decals down over this detail with decal solvents.  Decals and paint were sealed in with a light dusting of Testors Dullcote.

Conclusions

The finished kit sure looks like a Skyhawk and the kit is well detailed for its size. For those modellers who are prepared to work in resin and are not scared of a little clean-up and filling work, then a smart little model can be made from this kit. On the negative side the presence of some nuisance air bubbles slightly detracted from the “fun-o-meter” result for this build. I spent around 6 hours on this wee “Scooter” including painting.

Many thanks to Dave from Kiwi Resins for the review sample and to Slingers and Dave Harvey for letting me have a go at it.


 

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