Vietnam Scooters Eduard 1/48 A-4E
I recently re-watched one of my favourite movies - Good Morning, Vietnam - and thought I'd like to try build something from this conflict. Being impressed and inspired by the A4's recently posted on this site, and after talking to my good friend Craig, I decided on this Eduard kit, which, I think, is a re-box of the Hasegawa kit and includes some extras including etched cockpit panels, canopy mask, Cartograf printed decals for six different options, resin seat, and quite a number of other small etched details. The instructions are re-printed by Eduard, and give full page colour illustrations of the six different options. I chose the A-4E Blue Hawks, partly because I preferred the sleeker look of the A-4E, and also I thought the colour scheme was simpler (this is only the second aircraft kit I've built since I was in short trousers).
I don't think it's necessary to go into the history of the Skyhawk here, A-4E 149993, VA-72 "Blue Hawks", USS Independence, 1965 is the title of this one. VA-72 would see combat over South East Asia deployed aboard CVA-62 from June through December of 1965. It was during this deployment that VA-72 was credited with the first successful attack against an SA-2 missile site. The squadron would lose 2 aircraft to enemy fire during the deployment. Later in the deployment many of the squadrons in Carrier Air Wing 7 would have mission marks applied to both sides of their aircraft as well as having applied the "Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club" badge in 1970. Unfortunately 149993 would be lost over the South China Sea during an inflight refueling accident while assigned to VA-152. Thanks to Eduard for this information.
Onto the kit. I started a WIP, but due to the spare time I had available during the Chinese Spring Festival/New Year the build went quite quickly, and I forgot to take the photographs necessary to keep this up to date. Due to my haste, and not being able to purchase anything over the holiday period, I realised I didn't have the light grey paint necessary to finish the model. I hoped to be able to use Tamiya white and grey primers, while the white primer was fine, the grey was far too dark. What to do? Wanting a slightly worn, faded finish, I tried a bit of pre-shading using Tamiya's panel liner, then experimented with slightly spraying matt white over the grey primer to try and end up with a light grey finish, and the pictures show the result. I then used Mr Clear Gloss before applying the decals. Here I had a big problem, I was painting the model in its major parts before final assembly, and the clamp I had holding the fuselage came loose, I grabbed the fuselage and of course ended up with three big fingerprints. I gave up and left it for a couple of days. Looked at it, tried to sand down the damaged areas and started again, I got to the same stage again and managed to apply the decals, which went on without any proglems. Another coat of gloss, followed by a coat of matt to quieten it down a bit. The kit includes two drop tanks but no armament, maybe I'll try to get one of the Hasegawa armament sets and add some, can anyone advise me which is the best set to get, they seem to do so many!
So, that's it, I hope it's been good practice for the forthcoming Phantom! Thanks for looking, George.
8 additional images. Click to enlarge.