Along with their fine line of decals, MAW Decals also produces a fairly good size line of resin products. Most are small add-ons, updates, and conversions to correct and update existing kits. Most of these resin sets stem from options on their decal sheets making them necessary for an accurate build when using some of their decals. One of these is a simple conversion for the Hasegawa 1/48 scale A-4C kit to convert it to an A-4B.
The main external difference between the A-4C and A-4B is the nose. This is due to the A-4C having several avionics upgrades, including limited all weather and night capability with the installation of the APG-53 Radar. This made the nose a bit larger (about nine inches longer), so the nose of the A-4B is noticeably smaller.
The product comes in a small plastic bag with a simple card label. This conversion consists of 2 resin parts, a nose and instrument panel. Both are finely cast in a cream colored resin with no air bubbles or short casts in my sample. The nose in the Hasegawa kit comes as a separate part, so the resin nose is designed as a direct replacement. A correct instrument panel for an A-4B is provided, and it is nice that this was not overlooked by MAW-Decals.
The detail on the parts is very crisp, with fine recessed panel lines. They may even be a direct copy of what is provided in the Hasegawa A-4B kit. One small issue is that on my sample there appeared to be a slight flaw along the top and bottom of the part, basically in the same location as a joint line between two halves. It is vary faint, and a small application of putty or Mr. Surfacer and some slight sanding would eliminate it. However it does betray the possible origins of the parts. The contour and shape looks to be right on the profile of a A-4B nose.
To use the part, all that has to be done is remove the resin plug being careful to keep the mounting surface square, and then shave off the mounting plug on the plastic fuselage making a square, flat surface for the resin to graft on to. The instrument panel is a direct replacement for the kit part, so no work needed there.
On a side note, there are some other minor differences between the A-4B and A-4C that the conversion doesn’t cover (nor does the Hasegawa kit as far as I know) such as a earlier style RAPEC ejection seat vs. the ESCAPAC 1 seat of the A-4C. However ESCAPACs were retrofitted to A-4Bs, so it all depends on what timeframe the particular A-4B is that you are modeling. Plus the differences between the two externally are almost unnoticeable to those who are not familiar with the two seats, so most won’t notice. There are also minor differences in the layout of the controls within the cockpit, but they probably won’t be noticed by anybody other than a Plane Captain or Pilot of an A-4B.
Overall I give this little conversion high marks due to its simplicity, ease of use, and cost. The Hasegawa A-4B kit seems to be slightly more difficult to come by compared to the A-4C kit, plus you may be in a situation (like me) where I wanted to do an A-4B but only had a A-4C in the stash. A quick investment of $5.00 gave me what I needed to do what I wanted. Also if ordering direct from MAW-decals, shipping is free within the US and the order arrived within a matter of days. Great job MAW-decals for producing this product.
Highs: Clean resin, very easy to useLows: very slight seam line along top and bottom of noseVerdict: A very simple, effective, and cheap conversion for those wanting a A-4B using a A-4C kit. A little putty and sanding will take care of the seam with very little effort
About Andy Renshaw (skyhawk) FROM: FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
I started modeling around 8 years old when my dad bought me a Monogram 1/48 A-7. We built that together, and after that he turned me loose. Along with armor and figures, I also enjoy building aircraft and trains (model railroading), and tend to cycle between the genres.
Recently married, I have...