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Early Scooters

A-4B/C Skyhawks



1/48 scale





S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: 48-773 Early Scooters - A-4B/C Skyhawks
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Waterslide decals
Price: May vary according to place of purchase (USD$9.00 if purchased directly from AeroMaster)
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Good colour reference sheet; perfect register, thin carrier film, interesting subjects;
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Aeromaster's Early Scooters is available online from Squadron.com


Ah, gull grey and white! AeroMaster 48-733 provides markings for two early Douglas A-4 Skyhawks of the U.S. Navy.

The first option is A-4D-2 (A-4B) Bureau number 142420, the VA-12 (Flying Ubangis) CAG aircraft. Typical of the era, she sports full colour in-you-face markings over a basic canvas of semi-gloss gull grey upper surfaces over gloss white undersides and control surfaces.

She wears blue/white/yellow bands over her fuselage and blue yellow/blue flashes on her rudder. The former marking is supplied as a one-piece decal and will require careful handling whilst the second marking is supplied as individual decals so as you can apply them one at a time between the ribs that feature prominently on her rudder. There is a picture of this aircraft on page 5 of the old (but excellent) squadron/signal book USN Aircraft Carrier Air Units Volume 2 1957-1963 and the supplied decals compare favourably with the picture with the exception that the Bureau number shows as being applied stencil style whilst the decal is in solid block numerals. The photo also shows that there is a name (pilot's?) stencilled under the cockpit, this does not appear on the decal sheet either. Other photographs of VA-12s machines I found (Model Publishing Naval Air Weapons Meet 1956 1959 by Angelo Romano) from the same time frame also show their aircraft with a pilot's name applied beneath the cockpit. Don't stress these last points, they are minor and don't really detract from the quality of this sheet.
The other option is A-4C Bureau number 147710 of VA-93 (Blue Blazers). The markings depict her from her time aboard the USS Enterprise on Yankee Station off the north coast of Vietnam. This machine is also in the same gull grey and white finish of the first option and wears equally striking markings. If you think that it looks familiar, you are right as a painting of the machine appears on the cover of the squadron/signal book USN Aircraft Carrier Air Units Volume 3 1964-1973. A photograph of her also appears on page 22 of the same book and the supplied markings compare favourably. The dark blue flashes on her rudder are also supplied as separate decals which, if you have built any of the Hasegawa 1/48 scale kits, will realise that it will considerably ease the pain of application on the ribbed rudder. A nice touch is also the black areas of the drop tanks being supplied as decals.

The supplied markings are quite comprehensive and include two of everything (save the black and white arrestor hook stripes but this decal looks wide enough to sliced in half and be sufficient for two hooks) so you can build two models from the one sheet. The right hand side national insignia is supplied as a three part decal to make the task of trying to get it to settle down over the base of the in-flight refuelling probe a whole lot easier. The red areas the intake warnings are supplied as a complete marking which will save you the hassle of masking off the intake and painting it. Anti-glare panels are also supplied; again, this is great as it saves the irksome task of masking and painting.

The decals themselves have been printed by Cartograf. They are sharply printed and in perfect register. Whilst not as user friendly as Superscale decals you will achieve the same results with patience and plenty of settling solution.

The placement guide shows side views of both machines on the front, with the first option getting both left and right hand sides shown and the upper surfaces of both machines on the back.

The placement guide and the decal sheet are packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag.

A well thought out sheet from AeroMaster.


Thanks to Eagle Strike / Aeromaster  for the review samples

Review Text Copyright 2005 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 27 December, 2005
Last updated 26 December, 2005

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