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Two kits in one box
A-4E Skyhawk
“VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers”

Platz, 1/144 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number and Description:

PD-20 – A-4E Skyhawk “VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers”

Scale:

1/144

Contents and Media:

Two kits in the box. Each kit comprises 34 parts in grey plastic and one part in clear plastic with decals for four marking options.

Price:

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

2 kits in the one box, incredibly fine detail, high quality decals and simple build

Disadvantages:

Engine detail incorrect, Error in one of the decal options

Conclusion:

Despite the minor niggles detailed above this is nicely engineered kit with great decals that should go together quickly. If you’re a small scale modeller or looking for a quick and easy build you could do with the kids then this is for you.

 

Reviewed by Calum Gibson


HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

 

Background

 

The A-4E Skyhawk was a major upgrade from the initial A-4B/C variants. The main changes included the introduction of the Pratt and Whitney J-52 turbojet. This resulted in a redesign of the forward fuselage with new wider intakes that stand off from the fuselage and longer nose. An upgraded wing structure allowed 2 extra weapons pylons to be added. All up the A-4E contained about 30% new structure compared to the A-4C.

The avionics systems were also significantly upgraded. The avionics included a new low altitude bombing system and navigation systems meaning the aircraft became a potent close air support/conventional attack platform rather than a simple original nuclear bomber.

Initially the A-4E did not have the distinctive dorsal hump of the later E/F and M variants. The hump was introduced to provide more internal space and contained defensive ECM equipment. Further changes like the bent inflight refuelling probe and zero-zero ejection seat were also introduced during the production of nearly 500 A-4E’s. The hump and other features introduced on the subsequent A-4F model were retrofitted to many A-4E’s during their service lives

 

 

FirstLook

 

This is another boxing of Platz’s excellent small scale A-4E/F Skyhawk. And like the earlier boxings, this one contains 2 complete kits.

Each kit features 34 pieces in grey plastic with 1 clear piece for the canopy. The canopies are separately packaged as is the decal sheet.

 

  • Platz 1/144 scale A-4E Skyhawk Review by Calum Gibson: Image
  • Platz 1/144 scale A-4E Skyhawk Review by Calum Gibson: Image
  • Platz 1/144 scale A-4E Skyhawk Review by Calum Gibson: Image
  • Platz 1/144 scale A-4E Skyhawk Review by Calum Gibson: Image
  • Platz 1/144 scale A-4E Skyhawk Review by Calum Gibson: Image
  • Platz 1/144 scale A-4E Skyhawk Review by Calum Gibson: Image
  • Platz 1/144 scale A-4E Skyhawk Review by Calum Gibson: Image
  • Platz 1/144 scale A-4E Skyhawk Review by Calum Gibson: Image
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As expected in this small scale interior detail is sparse consisting of only the ejection seat. However as the canopy is posed closed the lack of a cockpit won’t really be noticeable. The seat could perhaps benefit from a piece of wire for the ejection handle if you feel that way inclined.

The engraving is extremely fine and crisp. The level of panel line detail captured by Platz is very good. For example the myriad of panels on the underside of the wings is well represented as are the major panels on the nose, centre fuselage and tail. The detail on the landing gear and wheels is also very well done considering the scale.

 

 

Only 300 gallon drop tanks are included in the way of external stores so if you want to load the aircraft with ordnance you’ll have to source this elsewhere.

Although not in English the instructions are clear and simple to follow so assembly of this kit won’t pose any problems even for a novice builder. Paint colours are also given in FS numbers with suggested Gunze, Tamiya and Model Master matches.

The engine is depicted close to the end of the jet pipe which is incorrect. The end of the engine on the A-4 is actually closer to the midpoint of the aircraft. This can be easily fixed by the modeller by cutting the engine detail off and adding a piece of tube, then reattaching the engine detail.

Another minor criticism is that the wing leading edge slats are incorrectly depicted in the up position as up. The slats work on gravity so except for Blue Angels and the odd adversary aircraft, the slats would normally be extended on the ground.  However, whether it is possible or even feasible to achieve that sort of detail in this small scale is unknown to reviewer. This may be the reason Platz compromised on this detail.

As this boxing is named “Wake Island Avengers” USMC Squadron VMA 211 features in 2 of the 4 decal choices, the others being VMA-311 Tomcats and VMAT-102 Skyhawks.  The four aircraft are as follows

  • A-4E Buno  151988  from VMA-211
  • A-4E Buno  150076 from VMA-211
  • A-4E Buno  159651 from VMA-311,
  • A-4E Buno  151050 from VMAT-102,

 

 

The decals are printed by Cartograf. The decals are very colourful, in register and have a minimum of carrier film with even the smallest details legible. A nice touch is the use of decals to simulate the detail in the main landing gear wheel wells and for the countermeasure dispensers.

 

 

The only error I detected was that the VMA-311 option has an incorrect Buno number. Buno number 159651 is for a A-7E Corsair II I believe.  For the fourth option the instructions list Buno of the aircraft as 15050.  This is incorrect but printed on the decal sheet is the correct number, 151050.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Despite the minor issues detailed above this is nicely engineered kit with great decals that should go together quickly. If you’re a small scale modeller or looking for a quick and easy build you could do with the kids then this is for you

Thanks to Platz Hobby for the review sample.


Review Text Copyright 2011 by Calum Gibson
Page Created 25 July, 2011
Last updated 25 July, 2011

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