1/48 Hasegawa TA-4J Skyhawk

Gallery Article by Paul S Teixeira on Nov 20 2009

 

Being crazy about anything related to Naval Aviation I could not wait to get my hands on a 1/48th scale Naval "Advanced Jet Pipeline" machine.  I waited, and waited for a decent release of a TA-4J, but for many years, not a decent offering in this scale.  Finally, my wish come true, not just one kit, but two.  1st a 1/48th Classic Airframes TA-4J, limited run, then the king of 1/48th modern jet manufacturing, Hasegawa released a TA-4J variant of it's jewel Skyhawk line.  Oh, boy, what to do?  I'm not a huge fan of building two of the same kind in a short time frame, so I needed to pick a winner for my 1st TA-4J build.  I purchased both of coarse, closely compared them both over several months, and then, in my opinion ,a winner was chosen.  It was a close comparison.  The Classic Airframe kit had some advantage with it's included resin details, but Hasegawa did a phenomenal job replicating many of these details with injected styrene.  The only clear advantage, that Classic had in this category, was the pair of resin ejection seats, so I compromised, build the Hasegawa, but include the resin seats.  The only other changes I made to the OOB configuration, other then the bang seats, was some scratch building of the canopy details, some details to the rear of cockpit, some wiring, and brake lines.  I hope you enjoy the outcome. 

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Some may comment that the included "VT-7" decal coloring is a bit on the orange side.  I reviewed another article that also concluded that and the builder could not find a color match, so he chose the alternate box art color scheme.  I did some research and found some great color photo's which showed the exact aircraft markings included on the decal set, and to my surprise, Hasegawa was right on.  The real aircraft definitely had orange markings, much more so then the more standard "reddish" appearance of most Navy trainers.  So, I lightened up MM International Orange, and "Voila" a perfect match..

The kit is a very easy build with perfect engineering, and fit throughout.  This is especially true of the wing assembly to fuselage joint.  No filler used.  I did have a minor fit problem w/ nose assembly, appearing slightly out of shape to fuselage nose section.  Possibly my fault, but very careful assembly process and procedures will provide you with a perfect outcome.  Easier than any other Hasegawa kit I have built.  The wheel well detail is as good as any resin aftermarket parts I have seen. 

The flap and spoiler details are also superb, as good, or even better, then the Classic Airframe resin detail parts.  The cockpit detail is good, except, as mentioned above the bang seats.  The 2-piece canopy/windscreen assembly is crystal clear, and molded perfectly.  Also, an amazing fit.  This to, is better than the other available kit.  I just cannot say enough.  The most challenging part of the build is the paint scheme, and color matching.  Many don't like working w/ white!

My next build will complete my arsenal of Naval Trainers, meeting the need to add to the "Intermediate Jet-Pipeline".  This will be a 1/48th scale Rockwell T-2C Buckeye.  It is a new release, and the 1st 1/48th scale version produced in styrene. "Two-Bobs" will be releasing it anytime now!

Drop by my website at  https://texmodelmaker.jimdo.com/

Paul S Teixeira

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Photos and text by Paul S Teixeira