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  1. Here’s my attempt at Hasegawa’s 1:48 A-4C Skyhawk. It’s the best-detailed 1:48 Skyhawk to date, though quite expensive and hard to find now. It’s an out-of-the-box build, except for the True Details ESCAPAC aftermarket seat I added. I managed to snap off the kit nosewheel during construction, so I re-attached it at an angle for a more candid appearance. I used a very light wash of thinned black paint to subtley highlight the exquisite surface detail of the kit. I used kit decals to finish it the markings of VA-15 Vallions while deployed aboard USS Forrestal on their 1969 Mediterranean crusie. The only major problem I had was trying to get the many small decals that make up the gold and black tail colors to settle down into all the nooks and crannies. I wound up getting a second set of kit decals to cover up several mistakes. For weapons, I wanted something different, so took a bit of artistic license and educated guess and loaded it with a B43 nuclear weapon on the centerline pylon. At the time (1969), A-4's were an important part of SIOP, or the Single Integrated Operational Plan, which was the was the United States' general plan for nuclear war from 1961 to 2003. In case of nuclear war, carriers stationed in the Med were tasked with destroying targets in Baltic and other Soviet satellite countries, and A-4's were to be used to deliver nuclear weapons to some of these targets. In fact, the US had a 'Broken Arrow' incident (loss of a nuclear weapon) during a 'special weapons' loading exercise off Japan on Dec. 5, 1965. An A-4E of VA-56 rolled off a deck-edge elevator into 16,000 feet of water about 80 miles off Okinawa. The pilot, plane and weapon were never recovered.
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