by Tommy H. Thomason

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Airfix 1/72 A4D-2 Overall Size and Shape

A question has arisen as to whether the length of the Airfix 1/72nd A4D-2 is correct. One reviewer looked at the station diagram in Naval Fighter Number Forty-Nine, Douglas A-4A/B Skyhawk, and correctly calculated the overall length for the A4D shown as 39' 2".

He then noted that the Airfix kit was several scale inches shorter than this.

Unfortunately, this station diagram is for an A4D-2N (note the canted bulkhead in the nose) rather than an A4D-1/2, which have a nine-inch shorter nose.

Realizing that this isn't the correct length for an A4D-1/2 isn't helped by the fact that there are two basic overall lengths for the A4D-1/2, one parallel to the ground with the airplane in its normal stance and the other parallel to the fuselage reference plane (also known as the waterline):

Note that the length parallel to the ground is 39' 4 1/2", close enough to the A4D-2N waterline length to be confusing if that's the only length given in a table and without reference to a drawing.

As best I can tell, the Airfix kit is the correct length.

Compared to pretty good Douglas drawings, however, the rudder extends down a bit too much on the fin and the nose is definitely tilted down, suggesting a foreshortened A4D-2N nose. (I had thought the nose looked a little off when I first saw pictures of the kit and this tends to confirm that observation.)

For much more on the Airfix A4D kit and the Skyhawk in general, see


  1. Hello,
    what you can says about Fujimi Skyhawks kits? What better A-4A: Fujimi or Airfix?

    Thank you.

    1. Neither is a 1/72 A-4A (unless you're referring to the original Airfix kit, which is pretty crude) as you probably know. I'd say that it's a tossup. The Fujimi A-4B is probably more expensive and a little fiddly to build but better in terms of surface detail.