1/48 Hasegawa Skyhawk converted to A-4PTM

Gallery Article by Raja Jamil Ariffin on Aug 31 2012

Malaysia National Day



In 1980, Malaysia purchased 88 ex –US navy surplus skyhawk airframe ( 25 A-4C and 63 A-4L) for refurbishment, redesignation as A-4PTM ( Peculiar To Malaysia ), and assignment to the Royal Malaysian Air Force ( RMAF ). However, due to inflation the number of aircraft eventually reduced to 40 airframes.

The upgrading works of the A-4PTMs was done by Grumman Aerospace facility at St.Augustine, Florida. The upgrading works included a complete rewiring, addition of two extra ordnance wing stations similar to A-4E and later skyhawks, refurbished the J65-W-20 engines and installation of improved avionics and ordnance gear including AN/ARN-N8 TACAN,a SAAB RGS-2A lead computing weapons sight, and an AN/ARC-164 UHF transceiver. The A-4C’s were fitted with the enlarge A-4M canopy, the dorsal avionics hump and a drag chute. The PTMs Skyhawk were delivered to RMAF in late 1985 and early 1986, and had a relatively short service life. Except for six TA-4PTMs retained for aerial tanker duty, the Malaysian Skyhawks were all retired from RMAF by late 1994.

The model is originally built from Hasegawa’s A-4C version. The kit has an excellent quality for detail and recessed panel lines with fine and crispy moulded parts. Surprisingly the kit comes with a dorsal hump and a drag chute. Therefore no extra work is required for converting this kit into PTM’s version and I can say that the model is made straight out of the box. The only modifications made were to the antennas on top of the dorsal hump and behind the vertical stabilizer.


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The construction of this aircraft is quite straight forward, no major modifications were required in order to convert this kit into RMAF’s version. Assembly begun with the cockpit area followed by the sequence according to the construction sheets given. The assembly work I used ‘Extra Thin Cement’ from Tamiya as a bonding agent. Most of the joints fitted well with little putty been applied on this model. The putty I used was the ‘Humbrol Filler’, it bonded well on plastic and dried fairly fast (it dries 2 to 3 hrs depending on the thickness applied). The shrinkage is minimal and I used industrial thinner as a solvent agent. 

Painting and Marking:
Initially during the delivery of the Skyhawks to RMAF, the colour scheme for the aircraft were painted in South East Asia (SEA) camouflage where the upper body painted with dark green, light green and tan, and the lower body is off white. Later the RMAF repainted these Skyhawks to a two tone olive green wraparound. I painted this model with the two tone olive green scheme. ‘Gunze-Sanyo Lacquer’ paints were used for the entire model except the interior cockpit detail where the water base paints called ‘Citadels’ were used. The decals for the Malaysian’s markings and squadron logo were custom made and I applied a dry transfer lettering from ‘letraset’ for all the serial numbers and letterings.

Happy Merdeka Day 2012

Raja Jamil Ariffin


Photos and text © by Raja Jamil Ariffin