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A-4 Skyhawk questions

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I have two questions concerning my 1/32 Trumpeter A-4 Skyhawk build-up.  


1.  I'm using the aftermarket one piece AMS resin intake set.  How do members paint the interior of the curved  inside lip?  Obviously it it very difficult to mask off.  I am considering using red decal strip.  Is there a better way?

2.  Many if not most parked A-4s have the horizontal stabilators angled downward at the leading edge.  When they are angled downwards there is a hole or opening in the vertical tail.  Should this opening be blanked off in its interior, with plastic card or just left open at front and back, top and bottom?  Is there any type of support structure in that area?  Does anyone have access to a close-up photo to verify what I'm doing a poor job of explaining?


Opinions and advice would be appreciated.

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 This might be of some use. They make felt tipped pens of several Mil- Spec colors in a few different formulations ( acrylic, etc. ). If you want to paint the lip, prime with White ( the intake is white anyway), then use the pen to paint the intake lip warning red. That red is the same color as the interior flaps, gear doors edges, interior slats, etc. 

 I think what you’re seeing on the tail is the stabilizer trim system. On A-4’s, pitch trim and stability augmentation was controlled by trimming the  whole stabilizer, up and down, instead of using trim tabs on the elevator. They did this with an electric screw jack that pivoted the horizontal stabilizer. There was an aft and forward sleeve that guided plates  on each side of the fin that pivoted perpendicularly with the stabilizer when it moved up and down It could move to some extremes. The plates kept junk out of the pivot and jack area. So you’ll see “air” if they’re at max trim. They’d park them at max nose down trim especially if the nose (having a high AOA), was in they wind. Being nose high, a brisk wing could generate some lift- hence the nose down trim.

 Agree with Slartibartfast. His reference suggests a wealth of knowledge!

Hope this might help a bit.

Good luck,


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As afoxbat stated, the horizontal stabilizer was one piece, mounted in a large opening in the vertical fin. The plate he describes initially covered the hole through the full range of stabilizer movement (there’s a similar arrangement on other Heinemann designed aircraft). However, a “sugar scoop” fairing was added above the A4D’s tailpipe very early on to solve a buffet problem. If you look closely, the aft bottom edge of the plate therefore had to be trimmed to clear the top of the sugar scoop. That meant that the opening was no longer completely closed when the stabilizer was positioned leading edge down.

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Many thanks to the gentlemen who took the time to respond to my questions.  First off, I have a copy of Tommy Thomason's 'Scooter!', a must reference for any Skyhawk fan.  Over the years I have collected as many A-4 references as possible dating back to the old AirCam Aviation Series No. 27 in 1971.  KoKu Fan use to include many colour photos of Skyhawks during the Viet Nam War as well.  


I'll have to make a trip to my local Staples and check out those felt tipped pens.  Great idea!


Wow!  What an impressive series of close-up photos that 'a4s4eva' included.  They should be published in a specialty book on A-4s.  I found the image #8821 to be of particular interest as well as several others that covered the tail area in question.  Jeez, will I ever know very much about anything?  



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