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Douglas TA-4 Skyhawk (1/32 Hasegawa)


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  • 3 weeks later...

The tail colours were airbrushed after masking with fine tape after looking at photos. I used for the Oxford blue (about FS 15058) Gunze Sangyo H328 acryllic paint and for the yellow Gunze H413 (approx RLM04).




The model had now received the main colours and a few gloss varnish coats were airbrushed with thinnen Johnson Future/ Pledge. The thin ratio is about 3 varnish : 1 thinner, which is a mix of Isoprpoyl Alkohol (IPA) and distilled water. This gives a good undercoat for the decals to avoid “silvering”, that is the disturbing effect of air bubbles below a decal that spoils the appearance.


The markings of this particular TA-4G from VC-724 were not aftermarket but gathered from other kits and spares. A large Xtradecal sheet  X72260 provided 4 big roundels of about 23 mm diameter but I needed 6. I was lucky to find 2 more on in the Revell (Italeri mould) Mirage III kit #03919 (though 1 mm larger) which were to be set on the lower wing. The NAVY titles came from the Hasegawa kit decals. The smaller RAN airframe stencilling markings were not very clear to me, I simply assumed these not to be that different than US Skyhawks. The RESCUE arrows though have a different shape and were found in the spares box and Microscale A-4 sheets.




A pair of RAN squadron badges were found on a 1/32 Revell Sea Venom decalsheet that looked quite like those seen on the TA-4 of VC-724. The large aircraft codes (“878 “picked) seem to have the “British” style and were also found on that Sea Venom sheet. The small a/c Bur.no N13-154647 were composed of various smaller number decals.  




When decals had been applied, it was time to proceed completing the cockpits. Various details were added to the used AVIONIX cockpit set like throttles, various handles etc. I used the Detail and Scale Vol.32 A-4 Skyhawk book which shows nice details. In front of the forward instrument coaming I saw a sort of grey pipe, maybe for demisting? This was added from scrap. Aft of the rear seat some extra’s were added as well.    






 Adding all those small details took a whole afternoon (and a few beers!   ) 




Undercarriages as per kit are fine and strong enough. I needed however to scrape off the raised mould ridges on the legs. The tail hook was painted white with metal bits and got black stripes. 




The long nose gear leg has the steering rod as well and this is in the Hasegawa kit part #D6. I replaced it with a long metal wire though to have a metal shiny effect. After the gear had been set in place, the gear bays got more details made with wires and stretched sprue for the many hydraulic pipes seen in a real A-4 bay.  


On the gear legs also but just a few hydraulic wires were added. A dark wash was added when all was painted  mainly white. On the gear door with the landing light, an electric wire was added as well.



I used the IPMS The Netherlands A-4 Walk Arounds that my over 40 years’ modelling friend Cees Hendriks made for detailing, look here:




Thank you Cees! 


Edited by mydesign
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Next, it was time for adding the wing leading edge slats. These drop by gravity on parked aircraft. I had quite some work here. The slat rails in the kit look good but I think they are 2 mm too long. So these were shortened and getting a symmetric and parallel installment takes time.  




The wing tip lights are in the kit. The forward portion is clear, the rear red on left wing tip or blue on right wing tip. I painted a small section in gull grey to suggest 2 separate lights as seen on real Skyhawks. It seems there is also a small tail light (kit clear part #F7); though I could not see it clearly on photos, I assumed it is also to be there on a RAN A-4. On top of the fuselage spine, a clear red anti-collision light was set that I had in the spares box. (the Hasegawa bit had been removed earlier). 


The AVIONIX seats were used, painted and detailed. Many sources quote seats to be mainly black but I saw on photos mainly dark grey with various colours for the packs etc. Some metal wire was added to suggested buckles and the small pull handles on top and lower ones were made from yellow stretched sprue with black stripes added with a tooth pick. 



The big canopy in the Hasegawa kit is fine and you get some internal detail. The big canopy will be set open and will fit in a notch in the back. So I added more details as on photos very prominent the locks are seen at the canopy sills. All these were copied using as pattern an etched metal set included in a nowadays very rare 1/32 Hasegawa OA-4M kit that I still have.  




The canopy locks were made similar to the etched set patterns from old photo negative strips, cut to size. 




The 2x2 rear view mirrors came from an old REHEAT mirror set. The interior colours in the canopy show black frames, these were suggested with a combination of black decal stripes and painted.  The kit extension rod #A6 was replaced partly with a metal spoke to get a shiny effect and suggest the hydraulic rod of the actuator. The metal bit should be at the front. 




(on retrospect... the locks are a bit oversized but it was decided to retain them as the photo negatives are that size).


Later on, I decided to set the extension rod fixed not with the canopy but with the coaming to avoid breaking it.

The seats were set in place.




The model is nearing completion.... 


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Last steps.

The wing fuel tanks had received some more details and inscribed lines and the tanks had been airbrushed white earlier. I noted that sometimes the RAN VC-724 tanks had a blue-yellow stripe and these were added from Xtradecals stripes. I only added the stripes on the outsides though some photos show these to be on both sides on each tank. The tanks are to be set as per kit with pins and holes. These holes were enlarged a bit and than could be installed. Note that not the pylons #C4 but #C10 should be used and that each tank drops a bit to the rear when set which is correct. 
The refuelling probe on the RAN A-4 is the “cranked type”. The kit part #A5 can be adapted: carefully bend with two kinks and remove a section of 2 cm aft of the tank mouth. (you may also use the cranked probe in the 1/32 single seat Hasegawa A-4E kit). 



The wind screen was set with white glue without any issue. It had been airbrushed after masking earlier as was the big canopy. The wind screen inside’ frames had been painted black. 
Now, nearly there! The horizontal stabilizers were set in 2 minutes and look good. (note that I had made razor saw cuts before top suggest separate elevators). 


The last step is to apply a light coat of gloss varnish. When doing this, obviously leave off the big canopy and shield off the clear wind screen and the “matt” tyres. 


That’s it!  

A very nice large scale plane RAN TA-4G of VC-724 as based at HMAS Nowra in 1979 completed. Making this kit took about 45 hours overall (excluding researching the history and schemes).





 RAN TA-4G of VC-724 as based at HMAS Nowra in 1979, Australia 




It sits nicely with my RAN Sea Venom FAW53 and RAAF Mirage IIIO of the ARDU made years ago. (these can be checked out at my website).



Edited by mydesign
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