1/72 Fujimi IAF A-4N Skyhawk II

Gallery Article by Richard "RJ" Tucker

 

History:
At the end of the '67 war, Israel found itself in a perplexing turn of events. They won the war and the scorn of Europe, especially France, their largest supplier of military equipment. Egypt embarked on it's second phase of the war; using it's superior size and resources, it engaged Israel in a war of attrition. Under these circumstances, Israel approached the United States for help. Specifically, they wanted the F-4 Phantom. The Johnson administration declined to offer Phantoms, but did offer the A-4 Skyhawk. The Israeli Air Force, IAF, was, mildly put, under whelmed. Having no place to go, they placed an order for the A-4H. Basically an A-4E, it had the squared-off tail fin and provisions for the 2 DEFA 30mm cannon. Upon receipt, the tiny Skyhawk flew into action in the War of Attrition. With the Mirage flying top-cover, the Skyhawk carried the brunt of the air-to-ground load for the IAF and earned the respect of the ground crews that kept it flying and the pilots that dodged SAMs and flew through murderous AAA fire. The IAF realized they had a winner! Simple, reliable and tough the Skyhawk was perfect for the task the hand.

With the Yom Kippur war , the Skyhawk suffered tremendous losses. The latest Soviet supplied SAMs and mobile AAA gun took a horrific toll! The US rushed replacements to the IAF. A-4Es were taken right out of squadron service and rushed to Israel. Eventually, the quality of the Israeli military overcame the numerical superiority of the Arab forces, and Israel pushed back to the Suez Canal and re-took the Golan Heights. The super-powers then imposed a cease-fire. The IAF looked to replace its losses with the latest Skyhawk version. The A-4N Skyhawk II is based on the USMC A-4M. The improvements include: improved avionics, up-rated engine, and strengthen airframe. The IAF, once again, added the DEFA cannons and extended the exhaust can to defeat man-portable SAMs.

 

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The kit:
The Fujimi A-4 series is the definitive A-4 kits in 1/72 scale; it's the only kit that have the wing-slats down. Unless the slats are pinned in the up position, they extend when there is little or no airflow over them. The down side of the Fujimi kits is the parts break down. The fuselage is in 4 parts. This arrangement leaves some serious gaps around the intake pieces and the forward wing root. Some filler and careful sanding solve the problem. The only ordnance is 2 4-shot 5" Zuni pods. They went into spares box. You, also, get: 2 triple ejector racks, 2 multiple ejector racks, 2 wing drop tanks, and one centerline drop tank. To realistically arm the skyhawk, you'll need a weapons set.

The Model: 
This model is the 1/72 scale Fujimi A-4KU kit with the Ron's resin A-4H conversion kit. The Mk 82 bombs are from the Hasegawa Weapons set I. I made the blade antennae out of plastic card and the cannon barrels out of hypodermic needles. It's finished with Model Master enamels applied with a Badger 200 and Aztek 470 airbrush. The panel lines are lighted and in places restored with a hard lead pencil. The decals came from Sky's decal sheet # 5 IAF A-4s; this model depicts an A-4N Skyhawk in the late '70s.

Refs:
Reference for any IAF airplane is scarce and much of what is available is vague. The most definitive info on the IAF is from the 80s and 90s. 

Here's what I used:

  • Israeli Fighter Aces- The Definitive History by Peter B. Mersky, Specialty Press Publishers 1997

  • Detail & Scale Vol. 32, A-4 Skyhawk By Bert Kinzey, Kalmback Books, 1989

  • A-4 Skyhawk, Combat Aircraft Series vol. 11 by Linsey Peaock, Osprey Publishing Ltd. 1987

Happy Modeling!

Richard "RJ" Tucker

      

Photos and text by Richard "RJ" Tucker