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Gábor Szabó
65 articles

The “Scooter” – Douglas A-4E Skyhawk, VA-195 “Dambusters” – 1:48

Hi All! This is a result of the excellent 10 part "The Wietnam War" documentary serie ( I've seen recently. Actually this was around a while just I was too lazy to publish it here and frankly I've been busy recently with work stuffs so modeling (and sadly iModeler) was on low priority 🙁 I hope it will change a bit. Enough moaning let's see this A-4 instead! Over the years I turned on to prop driven aeroplanes and among them the interwar and Golden Age types - this is still my favourite subject. As a result I haven't built a single modern jet in the past 20 years or so thus this experience was like a new challenge to me. Those miriads of little fiddly bits and weapons - it's not for the unpatient modeler (like me most of the time). Its hard to say anything wrong about the Scooter as this is a rebox of the excellent A-4 with some well assorted goodies (ejection seat, photo etched parts and a huge and much needed decal set). The kit's only difficult part is where the lower wing meets the front fuselage othervise the joins are quite good. I added some details inside the wheel wells and to the landing gears. I altered/filled the recesses of the wing slats as they are smooth in reality. As I heard all 1:48 Skyhawks suffers (except the Trumpeter which hasn't got positionable slats which is incorrect unless You modeling a Blue Angel A4) from this problem - maybe because the wing slats can be positioned extended or retracted. I filled up the gap with stirene and sanded the recesses flush with the wing surfaces. The photo-etched parts are a bit oversized for the cockpit - a common problem with Eduard stuffs as I experienced, so be careful here. Originally I wanted a Bullpup armed A-4E but I didn't like the Hasegawa offering. I tried some Shrikes on and the menacing "sparrowish" look was too tempting, despite I choosed the USN marking option (as seen during WestPac 1969 cruise aboard of USS Oriskany), which was the squadron's final deployment with Scooters. This is a late "E" version with the F's "hump" and electronic countermeasure improvements. Keen aviation historians will warn me that the Iron Hand ordnance layout with AGM-45 Shrike missiles not correct during that time because there was an embargo on air raids against North Vietnam, therefore no missions were carried out into the SAM-rich enviroment (actually I've found pictures with Shrikes loaded A-4s during WestPac - maybe practicing or special patrol duties?). I've sticked to this ordnance in spite this facts as it looks great IMHO - and I like it. The Shrikes are from the Hasegawa equipment set and the slicks on the MER are from an Academy F-4 kit with some improvement. Originally I intended a simple base for the model but I saw pictures and and article about the A-4 starting procedure with the GTC APU (more to see for the curious one: and things followed each other and finally ended with this small (vignette?). The crew figures are mixed from Fujimi and Hasegawa sets and also the big fire extinguisher. The access ladder is from Eduard and simply fantastic! Every other stuff are strachbuilt. I 3D printed some parts as an experiment - the wheel chocks and parts of the towing bar - not bad for first try but there are room for improvement. I used 320 grit sandpaper glued onto thick plastic card for the carrier deck and photo etched tie down crosses (I made holes for them into the deck with a punch and die set). Finally I played a bit with PS on the photos. I liked the experience and I learned that: 1. modern jets are fiddly and 2. they are fun so I can buy another bunch of kits (sigh...). I didn't want overdo the weathering as I found a pic about the original plane and I like that quite clean look. Finally there's a jet in my cabinet again and maybe more to come - and now the pics, hope You like it! Cheers!

88 additional images. Click to enlarge.

24 responses

  1. Gorgeous work, Gabor. And nice to see the Huffer at work. Beautifully done all round. Can I give this TWO ‘likes’?

    • Thank you for the double like! This was a longer journey than I thought but I think it's quite common in our hobby. Making the Huffer took nearly as long as making the Scooter 😀

  2. Spectacular all-around work, sir...very nicely done indeed.

  3. Gabor, This is undoubtedly one of the best A 4's in 1/48 that I have seen in a very long time. Your attention to small details makes this model even more interesting to look at. Well done!

  4. Gabor @remete, Really outstanding job here. This is museum quality for sure. You attention to detail is impressive. Well done!

  5. Huge beautiful work and a great model! Congratulations!

  6. Thank You Gentlemen!

  7. Just a masterclass job. The scooter looks so great, and the deck job too, but I specially like the live that provide the figures are so amazing.

    Like me so much.

  8. Hey Gabor, Superb! Nice presentation and build progression pics. The end result is well done.

  9. Actually, "Iron hand" loadout in 1969 is right. Patrols were flown off the coast of North Vietnam during the bombing halt, within potential range of SAM sites, also in the northern part of South Vietnam there was fear the NVN would position SAMs in the DMZ, so Iron Hand escorts were flown.

    The Hasegawa kit is great, as you said.

  10. Very nice! And thank you, thank you, thank you, for not over weathering it! I still see way too many over weathered USN aircraft, it makes my old Maintenance Chief Petty Officer blood pressure rise! You look to have gotten it just right!

    • You are welcome. And thank you! I do not like the now-fashionable very dirty plane trend - it's just doesn't look right IMHO. Airplanes are sophisticated and expensive instruments so you can think they are cared for, right? Thank you for confirming this to me.

      • Your welcome, you will occasionally see very dirty aircraft on the flight deck, the modern tactical grey scheme dirties up quite easily, but even then they get wiped down daily by the Plane Captains and washed at least every 14 days.

  11. Outstanding work Gabor. That is one fine looking Scooter.

  12. fantastic work! and also thanks for the pre-shading WIP pics, these are very useful for me.

  13. That's a beautiful A-4, and as others have commented, just perfectly "seasoned" and weathered. Wonderful attention to detail, and all your extras just really set it off. And I love your posts for getting a behind-the-scenes look at how you end up with the final results - a master class in modeling always!

  14. Hello Gabor,
    Interesting diorama. It has all the trimmings that makes it come to life, including your own Huffer to get the turbine into motion.
    With the passing away of the former Naval Pilot Senator John McCain, the Scooter is back on the front pages.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  15. Super work Gabor - nicely put together scene.

  16. Thank You David! 🙂

  17. Just a little update about the model's afterlife: the Scooter yesterday won a silver medal in the professional's diorama cathegory on the Bolyai Model Cup in Budapest.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

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