This plane does not need an introduction. Every fan knows about it, simply because it fulfilled the task it was designed for perfectly. This is something between a first and second generation jet, designed in the early 50s. Surprisingly still in use to this day.
For years we had beautiful Hasegawa options in 48th and 32nd scale. They are still very good, and in my opinion, their quarter scale is unbeatable. But Hobby Boss did a very good attempt with releasing their own A-4 line, including A-4M, A-4E and A-4F. The kit is designed as a direct competitor to Hasegawa’s releases, but actually it can satisfy slightly different types of modelers.
Box and Contents:
Box is the standard Hobby Boss cardboard thing, nothing special nor too shiny. The colors are a bit pale and the explanations on the sides are not very sophisticated. Inside, everything is packed separately for protection. Nice execution which can be seen on every Trumpeter/HobbyBoss model.
Instruction sheet, alongside with marketing leaflet can be found on the bottom. Instructions are aligned in landscape mode, pretty much like every Trumpeter kit that I’ve built. They are simple, easy to follow and clear of any unnecessary complications. Quality-wise they are far from the current standard, however price of the kit is too – far from today’s tags.
Again, typical Hobby Boss/Trumpeter stuff. Light gray plastic, flexible enough, with detail that is chunky more often than not. Lack of excessive riveting is visible on that kit, which I believe is not bad. After all, it is better to spend some time riveting by yourself, rather than deal with wrong lines done from the mad-riveter.
Detail is not consistent all over, but few Hobby Boss kits show such thing. That doesn’t mean the kit is bad. Not at all. This A-4 is very decent piece of plastic and even though it has some flaws and questionable accuracy, I believe it is well worth the money.
Some of the kit’s surfaces like flaps for example are molded. With Hasegawa you get more movable and positionable parts. That is exactly what I meant in the beginning – this kit being aimed toward different kind of modeler. A modeler, that doesn’t want everything open, but prefer simplicity and in-flight or ready-to-fly modes.
For the latter ones, I trust that this kit is superior compared to Hasegawa’s.
Pictures show clearly the level of sophistication of this plastic piece and in my opinion they do not disappoint. The details might be insufficient for many, but they are not bad at all. One thing is certain – in order to achieve accuracy and stunning appearance, additional work will be needed.
Clear parts are also mixed bag of things. They can show more detail, but they are not that bad. The level of transparency is good, which is the most important thing for me. Bending of the objects /seeing throught them/ is good /means minimal/, which is very important for that scale.
Another thing to mention is that they are not thick as you might expect them to be. Quite a pleasant surprise from Hobby Boss. After all, you get the clear parts separately covered and packed like a very delicate and precious item in this kit. It is because they actually are such. Good job!
Decals and Options:
Decals are represented by a sheet, which includes two marking options. Nothing much to say about those, other than they are standard quality for Hobby Boss. Many question their accuracy, including me, so I would stick to aftermarket deals or masks.
The two options are interesting, one is unusual camouflage and the other one is with high-visibility markings. However, based on what Skyhawk was used for and how widely, I trust that this is only a touch of the surface. If you dig deeper, you will find endless options for various wonderful paint options.
Especially Top Gun A-4Es, which are interestingly painted and worn altogether. Sky is the limit for the Skyhawk. Truly.
Very tricky here. How exactly do I start the conclusion? I have one of two choices: Mixed bag or I like it. It is indeed a mixed bag and inferior to Hasegawa in more than one ways. However, I like it because it is just about enough and will satisfy many. Especially those who would like to make it in an in-flight mode.
The price is acceptable. Low for today’s standards. However, the quality is not up to those either. But after all, you can get it and try to make most of it, or just complain about the quality and wait for another decade or two for a new and improved tooling.
I would say, go for it. It’s not a bad kit and with a little effort you can improve it and beat the competition. After all it is a Skyhawk. Attention is deserved.