1/72 ESCI A-4G “Royal Australian Navy” rebuilt

(how to recover an old model)

Gallery Article by Alex Cimenti on Nov 9 2012

 

 

Hi to everyone, after a period of holidays and hard work I'm back with one of my models.

The story of this model is quite long and personal, anyway starts last year when I decided to do some order in my homes' attic where I found an old ESCI A-4G model made about 26 years ago, but in miserable conditions: Lack of parts like canopy, external stores and wheels, broken gear legs, but worse of all, was painted terribly.

It was one of my first models made when I was 16, suddenly I decided for a recovery mission, an operation that sounded like impossible.

I found a new kit of the same model on ebay just to recover instructions, decals and some spare parts, then I decided to remove the paint using a caustic solution (It's strongly recommended to younger and inexperienced modellers do not follow this technique !) and after a week of immersion of the kit in the solution all the paint was cleaned, and I was ready to repair and rebuild this A-4G.

I had to rebuild the cockpit using spare plastic parts and the ejection seat, I had to adapt a spare canopy from an old Fujimi A-4C Kit (is more correct than the ESCI kit' part for this version of our Skyhawk and the Fujimi guys put two canopies on every kit), rebuild the gear legs, cannon barrels and using the ebay' kit refuelling probe and other stuff to complete the rejuvenated A-4G.

 

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Once the glue was dry and all pieces ready at their right place, I used some putty and fine sandpaper to finish the A-4G before painting. 

The livery I chose was for an A-4G of Royal Australian Navy 805 Sqn operated from HMAS Melbourne, the Royal Australian Navy's only active carrier at the time. 

The first two Australian A-4Gs were handed over to the Royal Australian Navy on 26 July 1967, with all ten aircraft transported to Australia from the United States onboard HMAS Melbourne in November 1967. 

The Australian Skyhawks were gradually withdrawn from service from 1982 after HMAS Melbourne was decommissioned without being replaced in June 1982; the last flight took place on 30 June 1984. 

The camouflage colors are Light Admiralty Grey (BS 381C-697) and Aircraft Grey (BS 381C-693). This is the air superiority camouflage applied to all of the Australian Skyhawks in the last few years of Australian service. Eventually, all the surviving Australian Skyhawks were sold to New Zealand where they retained this camouflage for some time. When the aircraft were updated to the A-4K standard, this camouflage was removed. 

The colors in this camouflage proved to be a bit elusive and difficult to make. I had three sources that tried to match the closest FS number to these BSC numbers. I found light color matches including Duck Egg Blue (F.S.35622), L.Ghost Gray (F.S.36375), and Aggressor Blue (F.S.35414). I found dark color matches including Air Mobility Gray (F.S.36173), Medium Gray (F.S.36187), and Graish Blue (F.S.35237). 

After all I was satisfied of the painting process, so I finally added the kit' fuel tanks, full mk 82 bomb load and two AIM-9B Sidewinders AAMs . 

Thanks to GEKKO decals for the documentacion and to Mr.David W.Aungst that inspired me with the pattern infos.

Happy modelling to everyone !

Alex Cimenti

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Photos and text © by Alex Cimenti