Eduard’s 1:144 scale A-4F consists of 33 parts on three sprues. One clear part (combined windscreen and canopy) are provided on one clear sprue. A pre-cut self-adhesive masking set is also provided. The instructions guide the build over some 30 steps. The markings come on a single decal sheet for the following airplanes:
- A-4F BuNo. 154186, VA-192 Golden Dragons, USS TICONDEROGA, 1968
- A-4F BuNo. 154190, VA-22 Fighting Redcocks, USS BON HOMME RICHARD, 1970
- A-4F BuNo. 154190, VA-127 Desert Bogeys, NAS Fallon, 1983-1986
- A-4F BuNo. 155018, “Lady Jessie,” VA-164 Ghostriders, USS HANCOCK, 1971
Strengths: There was a time when most 1:144 scale kits were cringe-worthy, inaccurate, and toy-like. As injection molding has advanced, so has the quality of these most minuscule kits. Here, the plastic itself comes from Japanese kit manufacturer Platz, and it is excellent. Platz does great work and they specialize in 1:144 scale. The surface details are rich and complex even for 1:144 scale, and all the panel lines are very delicately recessed. It’s gorgeous. Even the ultra-fine landing gear, wheel hub, and wing root cannons are represented here. The wing vortex generators are too fine in this scale to mold in scale thickness, but they are represented by decals, at least. There is a rudimentary cockpit (basically, just an ejection seat). Shoulder harnesses and lap belts are provided as decals. The single-piece windscreen and canopy also look quite nice, and Eduard’s masking set for the wheel hubs and clear parts is a very solid touch. Two underwing drop tanks and a centerline pylon are provided as external stores.
The markings options are all quite interesting and include the famous “Lady Jessie” and other iconic schemes, including a very attractive Navy adversary scheme. Decals were printed by Eduard and they look great, down to some of the finer airframe stenciling details.
Weaknesses: There’s only a few small observations to consider. The engine exhaust pipe is several scale feet too shallow. The ESCAPAC ejection seat is a bit misshapen, but in 1:144 scale, it’s still nice to see that it is still recognizable as an A-4 ejection seat. The very thin refueling probe is a bit bent as it sits on the sprue, but one should be able to straighten it out as construction progresses.
EDUARD 144010: A-4F Detail Set
Before wrapping this review up, let’s also take a look at Eduard’s photoetched metal detail set for the A-4F, available separately. It contains 19 parts (most of which are pre-painted) on one small fret which represents a major upgrade to this kit and are very much worth considering. These include new ejection seat sides (to correct the principle shape error mentioned above), photoetched metal ejection seat shoulder harnesses and lap belts, and the overhead ejection handle. This set also features a complete photoeteched metal cockpit tub and instrument panel, replete with very fine pre-painted details. A few other airframe elements are also provided, such as details for the main gear wells and chaff and flare dispensers. This set makes a considerable difference, adding some key details that will elevate the quality, accuracy, and appeal of the completed model.