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A-4G/K Skyhawks

Royal New Zealand Air Force
Parts 1 & 2

 

 

Gekko Graphics


 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: GG48-001 - Royal New Zealand Air Force A-4G/K Skyhawks
GG48-002 - Royal New Zealand Air Force A-4G/K Skyhawks
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Each set has one decal sheet; three double sided glossy A-4 colour instruction guide; three b&w notes and stencil placement guide.
Price: AUD$25 each plus $3 postage and handling (approx. USD$15.80 total)
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Wide selection of schemes, colours and markings; 20 subjects per sheet; excellent quality decals with perfect registration and minimal carrier film; colours look good; accurate schemes; attractive colour artwork; good quality notes on individual aircraft and colours; some Aussie subjects also included.
Disadvantages: Some additional work required on the Hasegawa A-4E/F for a totally accurate post-Kahu A-4K; I will need to buy more Skyhawks!
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 


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FirstLook

 

Gekko Graphics is a new company that has burst onto the scene with two beautiful premiere releases. The subjects for the first two decal sets are Royal Ne Zealand Air Force A-4G/K Skyhawks (1970-2001), Parts One and Two.

For more than 30 years, these Kiwi Skyhawks graced the skies of New Zealand and Australia finished in an interesting variety of schemes. Most, if not all, of these schemes are depicted in the 40 subjects on these two decal sets.

The three basic aircraft types encountered on these two sets are

  • the A-4K, a specific New Zealand variant that originally carried the SEA finish on upper surfaces and light grey undersurfaces;

  • the A-4G/K, ex-Royal Australian Navy Skyhawks sold to New Zealand. Several subjects on the sheet represent these birds in their Australian grey wraparound scheme. These, and the A-4Ks mentioned above were later repainted in the European 1 scheme of two greens and a dark grey.

  • A-4K Kahu, an upgraded Skyhawk modernised to F-16 standard with glass cockpit, APG-66 radar, VHF antenna behind the cockpit, ILS aerials either side of the fin and numerous other noticeable modifications.

The early A-4K and A-4G/Ks may be modelled straight from the box of Hasegawa's 1/48 scale A-4E/F kit. The late A-4K Kahu will need some additional work, primarily in the cockpit. Otherwise, most of the external modifications are included in the A-4E/F kit.

In addition to the basic schemes mentioned above, very late Kahus were finished in an overall green. One particular aircraft even had low-visibility reversed green markings - very interesting!

Other oddities include an overall bare metal Scooter called "The Bucket", complete with bucket artwork on the fuselage side; and even a Kiwi A-4K that was left in Australia after a problem with bird strike in 1984, only to have its owners return to find the tail adorned with 75 Sqn RAAF's striking Magpie Squadron insignia on the fin!

Each set includes three double-sided, glossy, full colour guides to the colours and markings. The artwork is produced to a very high standard. Subtle details such as stains, varying shades of the same colour from panel to panel and non-standard colours are depicted clearly and realistically. Every one of the 20 subjects on each sheet is illustrated, with notes on the colour pages supported by more detailed text on an additional black-and-white page of notes. The three monochrome pages also provide a stencil placement gude, ordnance painting and decal guide and additional details about the paint.

The decals themselves are beautifully printed by Cartograf in Italy. They are delivered with a minimum of carrier film and registration is perfect on my samples.

 

Conclusion

 

Gekko Graphics' first release is very impressive. Both sets are high quality, with helpful and attractive artwork and a very professional presentation. These sheets have already inspired me to build one A-4 Skyhawk, and there are others that I will have to build in the future too - inspirational stuff here!

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Gekko Graphics for the review samples


Gekko Graphics decals are available online from their website


Text Copyright 2002 by Brett Green
Page Created 30 May, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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