- Published on Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:02 Robin Jenkins
In modelling terms, the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk family have not been the best served of the US-built jet fighters. The "Scooter" is certainly a different looking aircraft that has seen a fair amount of action with several nations (including, of course, in Argentinian service against the U.K. in 1982) but somehow, at least in Europe, it is rare to see any A-4 models at model clubs or even shows. A quick internet trawl reveals that there have been relatively few kits in all major scales in comparison to the likes of the F-4 Phantom, F-15 Eagle or F-16 Fighting Falcon. In the larger 1/32 scale, for many years there has only been an older offering from Hasegawa; more recently, Trumpeter have entered this market with a couple of better kits of the A-4F and A-4E versions (below).
Even with their better moulding and more accurate profiles, the Trumpeter kits both would benefit from extra detail in this larger scale. A few aftermarket parts have been arriving on the market and now we have received three detail sets from Eduard to enhance the A-4E model. Each of these will now be examined in turn.
32719: A-4E Interior S.A.
The first set covers the cockpit interior and consists of two frets. He first is a pre-coloured self-adhesive fret (below);
with the second being a more traditional standard fret (above). The entire cockpit (excepting the ejector seat) is catered for, as is the interior of the canopy. Although the pre-coloured etch is well up to the usual Eduard standard and will definitely enhance the 'office', I was particularly impressed this time by the parts on the standard etch for the canopy interior. This is an oft-ignored part of a kit and Eduard have really done this area justice with some beautifully detailed parts.
32724: A-4E Escapac IA-1 seatbelts
Although labelled as a "seatbelt set", around half of the parts on this fret are for the actual seat itself. The Trumpeter seat is not the best part of the kit, being a little "bland"; this set will add to it greatly and, of the three sets, is the one which will have the most obvious impact in comparison to what the kit actually provides. One possible issue is that the main seatbelts do look a little on the thin side in comparison to photos of an actual Escapac IA-1 seat with its belts, but they may well build up alright in the end.
32730 A-4E Exterior
The third set covers a wide area of the "exterior" of the airframe, which includes the undercarriage bays, doors and legs, airbrake, general fuselage surface, dielectric and instrumentation panels and the engine nozzle. Again, there are two frets: a small, pre-coloured fret (below);
and a much larger traditional etched fret (above). The standard of detail on these two frets is excellent, particularly on the pre-coloured panels and the parts for the undercarriage on the larger fret.
All three of these frets will enhance the standard model, but none of them are at the cheaper end of Eduard's products.
So What Do We Think?
It is a common issue with Eduard's detail sets for larger scale aircraft: the price is relatively high but so is the quality. All 3 sets are worth having if you are building a 1/32nd scale Trumpeter A-4E kit; if funds are limited, then the set for the Escapac seat will have the most obvious impact and is the one to choose.
A trio of very usable detail sets
Our thanks to Eduard for the review samples. To purchase directly, click the catalogue numbers in this article.