VA-106 ‘Gladiators’, US Navy, USS Essex 1959
This, my third Hasegawa Skyhawk, was built simultaneously with an A-4K and an A-4M. As remarked with my A-4C and A-4F, this is a nice kit and Hasegawa has correctly back-dated it to the earlier A4D-2 (A-4B after 1962) by providing a new nose and instrument panel to the Charlie-model kit. They also tell you all the corrections necessary to make an accurate early Skyhawk by removing certain bits and pieces from the airframe. The kit went together okay, but it takes a while to remove the seams from the rear lower fuselage inserts, forward wingroot inserts and the insert at the base of the fin. Fit of the transparencies and the wing-to-fuselage is exemplary, and the new nose fits well also. The tailplanes are a push fit and can be added at the end of construction, as can the tailpipe. I used Humbrol enamels to paint the aircraft with Alclad II Aluminium for the leading edges of the wings, tail and pylons. I suspect I have made a mistake by following the instructions and painting the landing gear door edges red — most pictures of early Skyhawks seem to show that the door edges were white. I went for the second of the kit decal options with the stunning fuselage markings in that lovely shade of blue. They went down well with a combination of Micro Sol,Daco Products Stong Setting Solution and Mr Hobby Mr Mark Softer. The tricky bit is getting the upper national insignia to go over the vortex generators, and I’ve not found a satisfactory solution to this problem on any of my four US Skyhawks.
Year bought: 2002 (Hannants, London)
Year built: 2005 (Chesterton, Cambridge)