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Douglas TA-4 Skyhawk (1/32 Hasegawa)


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For the "In the Navy" group build I pulled a very old kit from the loft:


Hasegawa TA-4J Skyhawk in 1/32


This kit was one of the first 1/32 Hasegawa kits (after their F-104) that was released around 1981 along with their single seat A-4E Skyhawk.

I am sure many of folks here know or even have made this kit, but the last decades I have only seen a few made. It is still the only TA-4 trainer in this scale.


As it is so long ago, I thought it would be nice to first show the contents of kit #S024:




The sprues are in white plastic with some common sprues with the single seat A-4. Most notably is the longer fuselage.








You get a few less "stores" in the TA-4 kit with only the wing fuel tanks.




The few panel lines are raised and very tiny raised rivets are seen as well. That was the technology those days and it does not look bad at all. 


The decals in this kit are for a single US NAVY VF-126 "bicentennial" bird in 1976. 




The decals have "yellowed" over the years. I will stick them on a sunny window for a few weeks to brighten them up again with sun light. Or will make another scheme with different decals.


This kit has a good outline and although the cockpit interior is basic (with optional 2 very crude pilots), it does have instruments and side panels with raised details. Very nice. But I will use an AVIONIX (probably ex- Black Box) resin cockpit set #32040 that I found in the loft as well. 




The resin parts are seen here and look good but the bottom mould block at the floors is rather thick. The consoles have very fine raised detail for the instruments. These are very tiny and a paint challenge. The ESCAPAC seats seem to be of type 1G-3. 





For this Group Build model I will follow some suggestions during constructions as nicely explained by Mike for a TA-4G seen here at LSP (2014 article): https://www.largescaleplanes.com/articles/article.php?aid=2072


Some of these are:

- inscribe panel lines

- remove the "step" at wing nose with drooped slats

- open main air intakes

- improve cockpit interior

- add detail on landing gear and in bays


Other nice improvements would be:

- to droop the trailing edge flaps

- lengthen exhaust pipe

- add detail inside the canopy


I have plenty of reference books at home. But will also look at the many walk around photos that my modelling friend of WWW.IPMS.NL Cees made seen here:



Many details on the single seat A-4 and TA-4 are similar.



Still I do not know what NAVY scheme to make the model in for this Group Build....


I have a few aftermarket US NAVY decals sets but also decals also to make an Australian Navy TA-4G. But first I have to sort out a few unknowns and may ask some questions here at LSP.


Cheers, Meindert


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Still not decided to make a US Navy TA-4J or an Australian Navy (RAN) TA-4G.


Looking at the cockpit I have a couple of questions:


(1) ESCAPAC seat...


A nice info link on LSP about the ESCAPAC seat is seen here: https://forum.largescaleplanes.com/index.php?/topic/24882-escapac-seats/&tab=comments#comment-206951


Here a few drawings from manuals and particularly at the upper section/ head rest some differences are seen:





What seat did the RAN TA-4G use?


Was it the old ESCAPAC 1C-3 seat? Or were these aircraft upgraded later on after delivery and got the 1G-3  or even get the 1F-3  (which would be very similar to the 1G-3...) ?


It seems that the AVIONIX resin cockpit set is a copy of the Black Box set,  reviewed here on LSP:



Unfortunately I only have a single instruction page in my AVIONIX set with only a few photos (so no further details...)

Here a few photos of my AVIONIX set:




The 2 seats in this set are much better and are now separate parts (they appear to be the  ESCAPAC 1C-3 :



Any suggestion for the RAN TA-4G seats?



(2) instrument panels:


The 2 AVIONIX resin instrument panel parts are a "copy" of the Hasegawa kit parts... 


Are these usable for a RAN TA-4G? 


I believe I saw some photos of instrument panels that had more couple of CRT rectangular screens (or where these also an upgrade retrofit?).  A photo of both RAN TA-4G forward and rear panel would be great....


Suggestions welcome!





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Work on the wing started.


(1) On all parked A-4's the slats droop and fortunately the Hasegawa kit has separate slats. There is however a noticeable "step" that should not be there as seen here.




(2) Most trailing edge flaps also are seen drooped on parked A-4's as well. Later A-4 versions also had a split upper flap. Here the kit only provides a solid rear wing so cutting with a razor saw is needed: 




So thin new upper split flaps, which will be set closed but need to be made from new thin plastic card.


(3) Although Hasegawa provides a sort on interior with tubes in the lower wing halves for the main gear bays, these are a bit thick and undeep. I will simply cut these out and they can be later be glued to the bottom (this being the upper wing halves) or make new ones from scrap.  To be done. 




Before cutting and working on these areas.....


(4) The wing was re-scribed with a scriber using the raised kit lines as guide. I drew lines with a pencil at these lines. When done, lines were inscribed. Next, the raised lines were sanded off with the now new inscribed panellines remaining. Make sure to keep the very good vortex generators at the wing.






The "step" at the the slat section was to be made invisible....



The wing trailing edge sections were cut. I also decided to remove the ailerons and set these separately later on.




The removed trailing edge flaps were sanded thinner and will get a rounded nose. The removed wing area were closed with thin plastic card. These represent the upper split flap section but will be set "closed".



All needs to to be blended in and made flat with putty and sanding. When done, rescribe some panellines and gaps. (not yet done).


Step work was done with putty. A couple of sanding and putty passes were needed to get smooth results. Protect the surrounding areas with tape.




The split flaps were also tackled, puttied and to be sanded blended in....


NOTE: between the flaps a detailed mid-section is seen; Hasegawa suggests this can be drooped open for engine access / cooling, a very nice suggestion as it is often seen on parked A-4's. Will be considered later on. 




and the result.... some more putty is still needed.... 





To be continued....


Edited by mydesign
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  • 1 month later...


The major work on the wing was ready. A quick dry fit revealed that setting the wing on the fuselage is quite easy. This kit, though some 40 years old, fits pretty well.


Now, the twin seater fuselage was tackled.


First, as done with the wing, the raised panel lines were to be re-scribed. Pencil these out using the kit lines as guide and inscribe. As the fuselage is curved, some flexible metal rules were used to get straight lines. When done, the fuselage halves were sanded, removing the raised details.




There are no engine air tunnels and when the intakes are set in place, a solid was is seen which is quite undeep for this scale. 




The walls were cut open after drilling  a few holes, take care as the plastic is rather hard and avoid “spilling blood…”.




As the resin AVIONIX cockpit set will be used, it is necessary to remove the raised inner wall detail in the cockpit. A motor tool was used here.




  It was decided to do just a bit work on the interior. A bulkhead was made from thicker card and in the spares box a big engine fan face found. 



Some plastic walls for the “tunnels” were made, bended a bit and set.


Some dry fitting was done now for the AVIONIX cockpit tub. This revealed that the poured floor is rather thick. I am not a fan of sanding resin, preferring sawing. Any resin dust is very harmfull. Cutting is also very risky with a razor saw but gives less done. Cutting was done under a running water tap, wearing nitrile hand gloves and put face mask on.

It however resulted in some damaged forward floor areas. But these can be repaired with card.



  Also, a part of the wheel well needs to be cut and replaced with resin as seen here…




Meanwhile, the resin bits of the cockpit were airbrushed. The standard colour is probably FS3621. 



 When done, it was rather gray and on photos I saw a more “blue” hue in the cockpit.  So it was decided to airbrush another a light coat of FS36320 with Gunze Sangyo H307 on the horizontal surfaces in the cockpit.  




Here it is seen dry fitted in the fuselage.



The insides of the fuselage halves were roughly airbrushed grey with Revell Aqua 75 or use anything you have here. This was done as models with white plastic often show a “shine through” in sun light under the applied camouflage paints later on, so better ensure a thicker paint cover.




It was decided to make this model as Australian Navy (RAN) TA-4G with a gull grey and white scheme. This model would fit nicely within my small Australian 1/32 jet collection. 

A previous post did not provide a clear answer if the RAN TA-4G would have significant different cockpit panels and instruments as compared to the USN TA-4J. It was decided to paint the instrument consoles as the standard on the TA-4J assuming that the TA-4G is not that different when these were delivered. 

The console details were painted with a fine brush looking at photos such as those found in the Detail & Scale #32. Colours are black and gray switches. (the engine trust handles and other details will be added much later). 


The main instrument panels were painted as for the TA-4J as well. (though it is probably that later on in their service career some main instrument “clocks” were replaced with rectangular ones).



 That's it till now. 

Edited by mydesign
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Nice work.  I remember my first Hasegawa kits; 1/32 P-51 and F6F-3/5 back around 1977-79.  I was blown away by the F6F at the time and became a dedicated Hasegawa fan.  I really like how some of those old Hasegawa kits still stand up to today's modern kits in terms of fit and engineering...I'm also a fan of Hasegawa not over engineering and adding all the fiddly bits which will never again see the light of day once buttoned up.


I'll continue watching this thread with interest.  I always wanted to build the 1/32 Scooter...and I'm not a huge jet guy other than F-86s.  I have two or three of the Hasegawa 1/32 F-86s in the stash I need to build.

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  • 2 weeks later...

June 7


The jet pipe is a bit undeep as per kit. The rear was cut off and the pipe was lengthened with a bit found in the spares box. In this case with 2 sections of a Hasegawa F-5E 1/32 tank.





and seen here in the tail…



The fuselage interior is now ready for closure.



The prepared AVIONIX cockpit tub was set with superglue as well as the sidewalls. It was needed to remove a few slices of the resin side walls in order to fit these.



Also, a few side walls from card were set as these resin bits had been damaged earlier.




The cooling duct #C24 at the spine was opened up and set..



Now a very important moment during the built…. Closing up the fuselage….  





The intakes were installed, some joints puttied and sanded. Sanding was also needed at the lower fuselage. On the cockpit sides and intakes some “shrinkage” was filled and some sanding done.  




The air brakes are separate parts and will probably be set closed. They fit O.K. 

The spine needed however some extra putty and sanding.


That's it till now.


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The wing-fuselage junction as per kit is quite good, the small gaps can be closed with white glue.

The optionable rear engine bay hatch can be posed open later on if desired. To have this option, I detailed a bit the empty bay in the kit with some spare parts suggesting a lower view on the engine.




The hatch was painted red and also the added detail.




The wing was joined with the fuselage but the engine hatch was not glued!






The split flap is seen here:




As noted, the rough moulded tubing in the gear bays were cut out and these were set with glue deeper. Some more details will be added at a later stage.

The gaps in the bays were closed with card and white glue, creating the bay enclosures.



   Overall assembly….


 At the rear of the cockpit tub, a small inside bulkhead had been set and the gaps were closed with white glue. Same was done with the small gaps at the resin side walls and cockpit openings. 



Next steps will checking the overall surface with a base grey primer also to avoid any further "white" shine through.... 


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  • 4 weeks later...


The model got now a first base grey coat with Revell 75 steingrau with the airbrush. Some tiny spots needed a bit more putty and sanding.




The lower surfaces and the tail areas were airbrushed white as the Australian Navy (RAN) TA-4G has a gull grey and white scheme. The separate ailerons and flaps were also airbrushed white. For the white I really like the Gunze Sangyo acrylic paint H1 which gives a very fine finish when thinned with the Gunze acrylic thinner. 

After the white had dried, masking was done and the insides of the flaps and fuselage recess were airbrushed bright red. The white tail with rudder would get the special coloured panels and was also masked. 




The lower areas were masked and the upper gull grey FS36440 airbrushed with Gunze Sangyo H325 acrylic paint. The canopy and windscreen were masked of and carefully airbrushed as well.


And the slat insides were after masking airbrushed red. 



The result is seen here (NOTE:  the tail colours were still to be added).




The tail colours need figuring out with photos to apply with masking tape. This is the next step to be done.... 



Edited by mydesign
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