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TA-4J Skyhawk Conversion


Kiwi Resin Models, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and Description Kiwi Resin Models - MDD Ta-4J Skyhawk Conversion
Price: NZ$60.00 (around USD$43.00) plus postage available by email from Kiwi Resin Models skygodnz@clear.net.nz (Paypal is accepted)
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Cream coloured resin; vacform canopy; decals
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Nice detail and casting; well engineered; long wished-for variant; excellent donor kit; includes decals
Disadvantages: Some pin holes; experience required
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

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Yes, it is true!

Kiwi Resins, the company from the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand, have answered the prayers of those amongst us who have been waiting a long, long time for an accurate model of the two-seat version of the A-4 Skyhawk, the TA-4J, in 1/48 scale.

Given their name, the entire conversion consists of resin (apart from the canopy and windscreen) and it has been designed to be used with the superb Hasegawa A-4E kit.

Essentially, Kiwi Resins provides you with left and right fuselage halves, front and rear cockpit tubs, ejection seats, front and rear cockpit sidewalls, rear instrument panel and coaming, front and rear control columns, rear bulkhead, the centre of the canopy/canopy actuator ram, rear cockpit rudder pedals and various other tiny details.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The conversion has been intelligently engineered so that the resin forward fuselage halves attach the kit pieces at what is the transport joint of the one-to-one-scale version of the TA-4J. Kiwi Resins correctly identified that the join needs to be reinforced and has designed the pour points to be structural and fit inside the kit pieces. You will notice from the accompanying scan of the parts that this is missing on my fuselage halves. I stupidly cut them off thinking that they were just casting residue that needed to be removed. Always read the instructions first!

Speaking of clean-up, you will need to spend considerable time here removing flash and casting plugs as there are plenty of both! (The image shows the parts after I had removed the vast majority of the flash and pour plugs to scan them). Not a hard task I know but it is time consuming and there is a whole lot more than you will be used to if you are accustomed to using Airies, Cutting Edge or True Details conversions and detail sets.

The pin-hole fairy has also paid a visit as there are pin holes in some of the parts. To be fair to Kiwi Resins though, I suspect that this may be just because the conversion I received was rushed out of the door for review as none of their other products I have seen have any pin holes at all.

One problem that you may encounter is adding sufficient weight to the nose to stop your kit from being a tail sitter. I say that as most of the nose forward of the windscreen is solid resin. Kiwi Resins have done this to reinforce the parts and prevent the resin cracking. Careful use of a Dremel tool will be required here to hollow out enough of the nose to add fish weights.

In regard to the windscreen and canopy, both are provided as vacform pieces. You get a one piece A-4M canopy and the clamshell portion of a TA-4J canopy so you will have to separate the windscreen from the canopy to use it for the TA-4J. What this means of course is that you will have to have a raised clamshell whether you like it or not. Judging by the clarity of both pieces I would venture to say that they have been produced by Falcon.


The detail on the fuselage halves is scribed to match that of the donor Hasegawa kit. If anything, it looks a little underdone and would benefit with a gentle re-scribe with a sewing pin chucked into a pine vise – gently does it here!

The detail that has been cast into the seats and the cockpit tubs is excellent and will only need a very light wash and dry brushing to make it stand out.

Instructions for the conversion are minimal and confined mainly to a couple of pictures, a typed list of parts, and a couple of paragraphs of words to guide the first time user of resin parts. It also contains the line "under no circumstances should this (the plug cast onto the ends of the fuselage halves) be removed as it aids in fitting the front and rear sections (of the fuselage) together with good alignment". Doh!

Decals are also provided for the conversion. The decals are for a single machine –TA-4J Bureau number 158094 of VT-7. The deals are of the silk screen type and have been printed in the Czech Republic by International Airways Graphics. They are thin and in perfect register and only application of the white decals over the international orange of the vertical stabilizer and the red of the flaps will tell if they are opaque enough. An A-4 sized page with coloured left and right views of the fuselage and upper and lower plan views of the wings is provided to aid decal placement.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The decal sheet and vacform canopies are packed in the same plastic zip-loc bag whilst the resin parts are packed in a further plastic zip-loc bag. Both bags are then placed into a stout cardboard box which appears to be particularly robust.

Don't be fooled by the appearance of the kit in the box, whilst it really is excellent you will be embarking on a major modelling exercise if you choose to tackle it.

So, there you have it, a very, very nice conversion from Kiwi Resins. Even though there is a fair amount of clean up required I still have no hesitation in recommending the conversion to any modeller, new or old. One thing though; read the instructions thoroughly first!



The naysayers amongst us might say that "as soon as I build one, Hasegawa will release the two-seat version in plastic". Maybe so but I hasten to point out that it took Hasegawa a something like six or seven years to release the two seat version of their F-104 Starfighter! I'll be building my first TA-4J using the Kiwi Resins conversion.

Thanks to Kiwi Resins for the sample

Kiwi Resins' kits and conversions are available online from their website

Text and Images Copyright © 2007 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 03 April, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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