The 1/72 scale Douglas A-4E/F Skyhawk was either my second or third Hasegawa model. Judging from Squadron Mail Order ads in old SCALE MODELER magazines, this kit appeared in the U.S. around 1973. The one I got originally like the one shown here is the second issue from 1974 (it's hard to tell though because Hasegawa and their U.S. subsidiary Minicraft never dated anything!) The quality of this kit is far superior to the F-104J and the Mig-21. The parts are cleanly molded in light gray, with hardly any flash at all. My original one from '76 looked pretty good; I left the upper body and wings in the natural gray plastic, and hand-painted the underside flat white. I built the Marine Corps "E" version with drop tanks and two Bull Pup missiles.
For this rebuild, I spray-painted the upper surfaces gloss light sea gray, with gloss white under-surfaces. In homage to my original, I did the same Marine Corps version but this time I left the tanks and missiles off. The Skyhawk is a pretty sleek-looking little hot rod; and although it would have been unlikely for a Marine A-4E to go into combat with nothing but the twin 20MM guns, it's not impossible to imagine a slick Skyhawk going up for a test or training flight. That's the look I wanted - a slick underside to accentuate the plane's hot rod-iness.
A test of one of the original decals revealed they were too brittle to use without Micro Decal Film, so I put some on and they went on fine. The gloss surface helped them adhere without much trouble or additional products.
This is a nice little kit to have on display again, and reminds me of my later days of modeling at the house on J-5. There are only several more kits to go before a major transition comes in the history of my boyhood model airplane building.