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Janissary

1/48 Hasegawa A-4F VA-93

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My next build will be a 1/48 Hasegawa A-4F from VA-93, circa 1970. I plan to give this as a gift to a good friend of mine, his favorite airplane is the Skyhawk. The kit doesn't need any introduction, but I have the Revell boxing (Blue Angels + VMFA-324 markings). I really like the look of plain jane skyhawks. VA-93 markings are fantastic for this purpose:

 

https://photos.smugmug.com/US-Squadrons-USN/US-Navy-Attack-Squadrons/VA-93-BLUE-BLAZERS-pictures/i-TLdWVRQ/1/O/A-4USN 00191 A static Douglas A-4F Skyhawk attack jet US Navy 154195 VA-93 BLUE BLAZERS USS Bon Homme Richard NAS Lemoore 1-1968 military airplane picture by Doug Olson.jpg

 

I have the Super Scale set (VA-95 is a typo in the instructions, should be 93):

IMG_2683.jpg

 

I have a few questions for the Skyhawk experts. Unfortunately, I've not found any reference pics other than the one above. I have seen a few CG and 2D illustrations, but I don't want to go by them. So, with the focus on VA-93 with the above decal set:

 

- I plan to use two drop tanks. In the ref pic, the ends of the tanks are finless. But I like the finned version much much better. Would it be accurate to use the finned versions of these tanks for that era/squadron?

 

- Can I use a (captive) sidewinder on the outer pylon given the squadron? If so, what version would be accurate for 1970? Also the kit comes with a pylon for the outer side but, will I need an additional adapter for a sidewinder? I don't have the Hasegawa weapon's set.

 

- Can I use a single (captive) Mk.82 on the other outer pylon? Again, the kit comes with a pylon, but will I need a special adapter for the 82? 

 

- For the blade antenna on the hump: The ref pic and the decal sheet show two different antennas. Are they both acceptable? 

 

- What would be the chaff dispenser type at the bottom. As you may know, Hasegawa provides multiple options, but I am not sure which one I should use. 

 

- I plan to use the straight refueling probe, but just wanted to ask if the bent one could also be used.

 

I'd appreciate any help! 

Edited by Janissary

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I'll attempt to answer most of your questions, but I'm sure more knowledgeable people can give you more specifics. 

 

1. You can use either the finned or non finned tanks. 

 

2. The sidewinder would not be realistic. The first Skyhawks to carry sidewinder were Australian G's, and I believe the only U.S. ones to carry them were later M's.

 

3.a single mk 82 is a common load on the outer pylon. It doesn't need a special adapter

 

4. I don't have my references with me now, so I'm not sure about the antennae. By the early 70's I would think the decal sheet representation of the smaller antennae would be more common, but I don't know for sure

 

5. Again, I'm not 100% sure, but by that time period I believe the single chaff/flare dispenser would be accurate

 

6. Either refueling probe could be used, based on reference pictures. The bent probes were retrofitted to E's and F's, though some retained the straight probe. 

 

I hope that helps a little. As I said, in sure there are many people that know a lot more. The Skyhawk.org could be pretty helpful if you haven't seen that site yet

 

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4 hours ago, Brenhen said:

I'll attempt to answer most of your questions, but I'm sure more knowledgeable people can give you more specifics. 

 

1. You can use either the finned or non finned tanks. 

 

2. The sidewinder would not be realistic. The first Skyhawks to carry sidewinder were Australian G's, and I believe the only U.S. ones to carry them were later M's.

 

3.a single mk 82 is a common load on the outer pylon. It doesn't need a special adapter

 

4. I don't have my references with me now, so I'm not sure about the antennae. By the early 70's I would think the decal sheet representation of the smaller antennae would be more common, but I don't know for sure

 

5. Again, I'm not 100% sure, but by that time period I believe the single chaff/flare dispenser would be accurate

 

6. Either refueling probe could be used, based on reference pictures. The bent probes were retrofitted to E's and F's, though some retained the straight probe. 

 

I hope that helps a little. As I said, in sure there are many people that know a lot more. The Skyhawk.org could be pretty helpful if you haven't seen that site yet

 

A-4C's were flying in the mid-60's with Sidewinders as part of VSF-1, a squadron that provided dets to the ASW carriers for air defense.    So a Sidewinder on an A-4F in 1970 is possible, but I don't think it would be likely.  If desired, the Hasegawa kit has the ADU-299 and LAU-7 adapter and rail included with the kit, so all one would need would be an AIM-9 to hang on the rail.  An AIM-9B or AIM-9D would be appropriate for that time period.

 

 

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A-4 Skyhawks of that period (1970) were mere bombtrucks, so no Sidewinders carried. 

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Janissary,

 

VA-93's last A-4 cruise was the '69 Bonnie Dick cruise. In 1970, the date on the decal sheet, they were in transition to the A-7. What this means is straight IFR probe - bents didn't come about 'til 71-72.  No Sidewinders (though, A-4's were, as Joe pointed out, AIM-9 capable, although by '69 I doubt you would see an AIM-9B).  I have several photos of VA-93 A-4F's, most of the right side,  one left.  A chaff/flare dispenser is visible on the aircraft in the left side photo, none are visible on the right side photos, so one chaff/flare dispenser on the left side (part A8).  There are a couple early photos in A4D-1's and -2N/C's with finned tanks, but most photos, even -1's and C's, and all photos I have of F's show finless tanks - doesn't mean finned tanks were never carried,  just that it was probably less common.  A Mk82 on the outboard pylon is certainly possible.  In fact, I have attached a rather interesting load below. 

 

HTH,

 

Tom

 

Break, break......

 

Niels,

 

Use of the word "mere" is more than a little demeaning to attack pilots.  It takes substantial sized balls to roll in on a target and hold the dive until drop with SAM's and AAA flying around, and most of it aimed at those "mere bombtrucks".

o_nf302-L1(darling).jpg

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Thanks a lot for the info and the pic. These VA-93 Skyhawks were so clean and pristine in the few images I saw before. I like how this one shows a little bit wear and tear, and general weathering. I'd be so interested in seeing the other pics mentioned, but I understand if you're not able to share them. Again, thanks for the great info. I think I will go with two 82s on the outer wings (one each).

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Not trying to a know-it-all but actually from at least the "B" models, Sidewinders could be carried.  A-4Bs were used as fighter detachments on the smaller carriers from the Essex Class which were used for anti-submarine operations in the 1960s.  Naval Fighters No. 49 which focuses on the A-4A/B has several pictures of "B" models with Sidewinders and/or just the rails being operationally carried. The photos show the missiles were carried on the outboard pylons with a center line drop tank (up to the "C" Skyhawks only had 3 weapons pylons).  Hope that helps.

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I'm not sure how much it matters to your build, but those decals aren't that accurate as far as what I believe they're supposed to represent. As already mentioned, it says 1970 although VA-93 were using A-7s by 1969. VA-93's only A-4F cruise was in 1968 on the BHR (1969 was VA-22 and VA-94). So I assume this sheet is supposed be from that 1968 cruise. The NF tail code should be slanted and much larger in size, all of the blue stylized plane/arrows should also be slanted and they are missing the thin red outlines. I also have no idea why the 154976 is so large on the tail, they should be the standard height (like the other option on the sheet). Unless NF-311 at the time they based the sheet on was drastically different than the squadron's usual aircraft, none of those items were typical for their 1968 BHR cruise. Disclaimer, I make AOAdecals but what I say above is true based on what I've researched into VA-93 as I was/am planning to cover VA-93 as part 4 of the 1/48 Combat Scooter sheets.

 

My take:
It appears all the pics I have from that cruise show no fins on the drop tank, many with the round end caps instead. Both one centerline tank can be seen, while others show two inner pylon tanks. And no tanks also possible, though I suspect that was rarer.

 

Sidewinders?
NF-300 in the background right:
va-93b.jpg

 

NF-301:

va-93a.jpg


Mk.82s on the outboard does show in photos for that cruise. No adapter, just mount on the pylon.

 

The decal sheet instructions show a slanted thin antenna on the hump. That doesn't match any of the pics I have for that cruise, the one in the pic you showed was common for that cruise, as well as the rectangular one.

 

Straight probe only for that cruise.

Edited by ziggyfoos

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Also, the instructions on the top view show the black antiglare area for VA-93 option but none of their aircraft on the 1968 BHR cruise had any.

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Thank you very much for sharing this, it's incredibly useful. I hear you with the decals but I think I will just go ahead with them. However, I'm all ears if you have a timeline for your Combat Scooters #4. I'd love to have more accurate ones if I could have them in time (6-9 months maybe?).

 

I have so many other questions, like snakeyes, ECM antennas, existence of certain panel lines etc., but I will hold off on them until I need the answers as I feel embarrassed to have taken so much bandwidth without showing a progress pic. I have actually started the kit and I am in the middle of part cleaning and the assembly of the hump, intakes etc. Unfortunately nothing worth sharing with pics.

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The kit is really nice. I built this kit (Kuwait version) around 2008-09, but now looking back I did not appreciate how nice a kit it is. In case anyone interested, here are the instructions (again, Hasegawa plastic):

 

Instructions0.JPG

 

Instructions1.JPG

 

Instructions2.JPG

 

Instructions3.JPG

 

Instructions4.JPG

 

Instructions5.JPG

 

Instructions6.JPG

 

Instructions7.JPG

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Started with small subassemblies. Epoxy putty is to strengthen the joint.IMG_8223.JPG

 

Nice cockpit, but minimal effort on my part:

IMG_8224.JPG

 

IMG_8226.JPG

 

Decided to use a roll of epoxy putty to fill the hollow interior to prevent the front joint rom cracking while rescribing the outer surface details:

IMG_8228.JPG

 

I used Teenax for these main joints. Small/trivial tip: Before sanding the joint, I take pictures with my phone to capture all the surface details that will be lost to sanding. I can't restore all such details, but at least it will give me a reference to work from:

IMG_8231.JPG

 

Slowly coming together:

IMG_8229.JPG

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Bondo for the joint cleaned with MicroMesh 1500 and 0000 steel wool:

IMG_8232.JPG

 

Dreading all the scribing that needs to be done. Also, cut the bottom base in case I need to use spreaders to get a good joint with the wing assembly. Again, you can see epoxy putty to strengthen the joints:

IMG_8233.JPG

 

More work is needed to blend the hump to the fuselage:

IMG_8234.JPG

 

All these curved surfaces will be a nightmare to rescribe...

IMG_8236.JPG

 

I took the plunge and cut the slat wells off. That infamous step never bothered me until I started browsing Skyhawk videos and photos. Hopefully they will attach back nicely. Scored with the pin, then cut it off with the UMM razor. 

IMG_8237.JPG

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Hello Janissary,

 

You're making short work of the build! Agree with you on the Hasegawa kit being a nice kit having built two of them. 

 

Always enjoy following your builds, look forward to more progress.

 

Mike

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I might be mistaken but I feel like when I was doing my A-4F Blue Angels I think I discovered that there i actually a panel line down the middle of the forward fuselage section

 

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   Scooters have always been one of my favorite Naval jets.   Nice job detail painting the pit, as it really looks quite good. I was somewhat surprised by your using so much epoxy putty to reinforce those seams.

 

    Looking forward to your next update.

 

Joel

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9 hours ago, Darren Roberts said:

Notice in Superheat's picture that the gear doors aren't trimmed in red. Interesting!

 

That's pretty common for the A-4s of that period (middle/late 60s) - some had red, some didn't. Kinda crap shot of which did or didn't (A-6s same thing). Can see in the side view pic of NF-302 too the nose gear also having no red edging.

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A tiny update. I am now trying my iPhone6 for model photography. Bought a simple tripod adapter and so far works alright. 

 

IMG_8245.JPG

 

Here is the panel and rivet deepening work. Mostly done with a pin in a pin vise.  It looks rough at this point, but still needs to be straightened, sanded and cleaned with a brush. The whole thing takes time but it's at least not difficult. After getting the path down with the pin with a few light and careful passes, I scribed each oval (are these access doors?) with about 25 loops. Reattaching the slat wells worked alright with bondo, sheet styrene, and putty to ensure a strong hold:

 

IMG_2885.JPG

 

I can seem to get some of the details on gray plastic much better (at least to my eyes) than I was able to capture with my Canon A620. The image still does not look very sharp, but I think it is because of the downsampling from the original file:

 

IMG_2887.JPG

 

 

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 Your re-scribing really looks quite good.  I just learned the lessen that Trumpeter kits really need that treatment as what I thought was deep enough panel lines on my F4F-3 really aren't, and there is a good percentage of them that won't hold a panel line wash.

 

JOEL

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Thank you Joel, yes, without rescribing these details, it is very easy to end up with inconsistent washes, which often catches the eye fairly quickly. 

 

I had a question about the lights / antenna fairings on the wings. Please see this drawing:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/4a/b0/6c/4ab06c556482110c100540043343eda8.jpg

 

Parts of interest are 137, 138, 82, and 156. For 137/138, Hasegawa gives a single clear part. On the real thing, are these supposed to be two different sections like in the above link? Also, what is the color of these sections (underneath the clear part if they are clear)? I am planning to attach this part soon, but I would like to paint the underneath mating surface with an appropriate color if the part is going to remain clear. Also, if there are any light bulbs or something, I may carve that out into the clear plastic from the bottom side, which has to happen before I can attach it. I'm guessing 138 should be clear but 137 may not be. I could not find any close up images of this section except for museum Skyhawks. I'm not sure if the museum restorations are accurate enough to go by.

 

Same question for 82 and 156. Are these clear lenses (looks to be) and if so what is the underneath color? 82 I think is a red light but not sure if the clear casing is red, or if it is transparent but there is a red light bulb inside it. For 156, I'm guessing it will be a clear part with a silver-like base color? Any help would be much appreciated.

 

TIA.

Edited by Janissary

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