1/48 Hasegawa A-4S

Gallery Article by CL Kwek on Aug 9 2003

  Singapore National Day 


Singapore Skyhawk

This model represents the A-S Skyhawk that were flown by the Republic of Singapore Air Force from 1974 to the mid 1980s.  This is not the A4-SU version currently being operated by RSAF.  Numerically the most important aircraft in the inventory in the 1980s, the A-4S first flew on 14 July 1973. The scooters were modified from former US Navy A-4B airframes, which had been in storage in the Arizona desert.  Lockheed Air Services (LAS) undertook the extensive overhaul and more than 100 modifications to produce the A-S (S for Singapore).  Some of the airframe modifications included longer nose radome, split spoilers, angled flight refueling probe, a brake chute and fitting of a pair of underwing pylons to fire the AIM-9 AAM.   The British 30mm Aden gun replaced the original 20 mm Colt Mk 12 guns.  LAS also produced a unique 2-seater Skyhawk TA-4S with two separate canopies, but that’s another story. 


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This is an in-progress shot of the model.  The extended refueling probe was made from copper tubing with the kit probe end super-glued to the tip. The “hump” was made from Tamiya epoxy.

The first A-4S was delivered in an overall white finish with the orange/red roundels, similar to the Peruvian colors.  After the first delivery of 8 single seaters and 3 trainers, subsequent production shifted to Singapore.  About 50 A-4Ss were eventually manufactured. The Skyhawks were subsequently repainted into the South East Asia camouflage, and adopted the Ying-Yang insignias, which was used till 1990.  The A-4S was eventually superseded by the A-4S1, and the final version is the A-SU with modernized avionics with a new engine (F404).  

This model was modified from the Hasegawa A-4E kit. It would have made my life easier using the A-4C kit instead but when I first started on this kit, that particular version has not been released yet :-(.  I guess that’s bound to happen to everyone at least once sometime sooner or later.  Not wanting to write off the kit, I spent time cutting and reshaping the intakes.  Other than that, it is basically an out-of-the box build with the major changes being the modified intakes plus the airframe changes mentioned earlier.  I also added the distinctive hump on the back of RSAF A-4S, I used “True Detail”’s aircraft antenna set and decals came from various sources. 

The model represents a 143 Squadron machine, using markings from the squadron marking from an old Mircroscale (yes, it’s that old) sheet. The white decals were yellowed with age and I printed the buzz and bureau numbers using an ALPs printer. I chose to make airframe 647, which I had pictures from an “Open House” in 1977. 

The data stencils and the Ying-yang insignia came from the Horizon ModelTech Skyhawk decal sheet, which is highly recommended for those with the slightest interest in Singapore scooters.  I lightly weathered the model using a combination of post-shading and wash.  

CL Kwek   Wingnuts Singapore

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Photos and text © by CL Kwek