Building an accurate Argentine A-4C Skyhawk C-318 (Falklands)

1/48 scale

by Fabian vera © 2005 Modeler Site

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A-4C C-318 took part in several missions during the Air Battle for Malvinas/Falklands. During the missions flown on May 1st, 9th, 21st and 23rd, she was the mount of Lt. Paredi, Capt. Caffaratti, Capt. Pierini and again by Lt. Paredi during which no target was hit due to different reasons. On May 24th, she was one of the planes that took part in one of the missions that will be recorded in the history of worldwide aviation.


1st Lt. Vázquez, Lt. Jorge Bono and Ensg Guillermo Martínez in C-318 headed for the ships moored at San Carlos Bay.

There were lots of ships and the planes aimed their attack on frigate HMS Arrow. A flame was seen coming out of the ship. During the attack they received heavy anti aircraft fire of all kinds and even hand guns, and while leaving the target zone they found that all of them were loosing fuel.

Therefore they eagerly searched for the KC-130 tanker but while flying over the sea close to San Jorge island, the plane flown by Lt. Bono started to descend in a gentle turn until it hit the water. The pilot did not bail out.

Shortly afterwards they found the tanker that had came close to the island as the Hercules commander had been informed about the desperate situation of the survivors. The KC-130 started feeding the Charlies but they were loosing so much fuel that they were not able to leave the hoses and had to fly this way until they were 30 miles away from their base, where they landed without any further problem.

On the 27th and 28th, this time flown by 1st Lt. Ureta and Castillo, it carried out two more missions without visible result.

Then, on May 30th and being the mount of Esgn. Gerardo Isaac, she flew on the most complex mission ever

undertaken by the Air Force and the Navy: the attack to the aircraft carrier HMS Invencible. C-318 along with C-321 flown by 1st Lt. Ureta were the only two survivors.

On June 8th, during the attack on the landed British troops at Bluff Cove (Bahía Agradable), this plane participated in one of the missions. The escuadrilla had to attack the troops that were already ashore at the Beach Head. When they arrived to the target area, visibility was greatly reduced by fog and dusk, no matter what they found their target thanks to the flashes of the AAA guns, which was very intense ahead and at their sides. They dropped their bombs and escaped thanks to darkness that allowed them to see the approaching missiles. Regretfully, the bombs of C-318 didn't fall. Hit by the enemy artillery, she had to return to her base connected to the tanker again.

This very short history of C-318 during the war makes us remember, not only the fierce combats, but also the great capability and excellent design of this little plane.

On October 3rd, 1988, C-318 was destroyed in an accident at Villa Reynolds. The pilot, Lt. Claudio Castro, was able to bail out and save his life.

Source: Centro de Estudios Históricos - Fuerza Aérea Argentina

The kit

In the 2004, Hasegawa introduced a new release of their well known A-4C, it was a long-awaited version, including the types B/C, with decals to achieve two Argentine aircrafts that saw action in the Falklands War.

Its quality is similar to the new Hasegawa kits: recessed panels, good interior and highly detailed well wheels, correct dimensions and proportions, etc.

I want to mean that the kit appears dimensionally correct accompanying photos, capturing the graceful lines of the plane.

After getting over the first impression, what a disappointment!, having in mind that this kit is a piece that has been introduced almost like a “limited edition”, the first I noticed was that the dorsal antenna (provided in resin by the manufacturer), is wrong.

Some years ago, Hobby Craft introduced the A-4C and A-4B with dorsal antennas for Argentine versions, although they didn’t have the right shape, at least they were different, something that Hasegawa should have taken as reference.

The one Hasegawa supplies could be just accepted by a beginner and for the navy version.

Well, the only thing that remains to tell you, is that I decided to replace it with the resin set provided with the decals from Condor Decals 48031”A-4B/C in the Argentine Air Force”. As it can be appreciated in the picture, the shapes are completely different, this set offers the dorsal antennas for both versions as well as the one for the lower part of the tail, jut behind the arresting hook which has not been provided by Hasegawa.

The Omega antennas might have been used, but I decided to use the white metal ones from the Condor set.
The second disappointing point comes from the decals: although they are well printed, there are a great deal of mistakes which could go unnoticed such as the wrong typography used in the word “Armada”, or the flag’s suns (version A-4C), or the rudder (A-4B) with black edges, nevertheless, the wrong shape of the anchors would be unacceptable, even for the less expert modelers.

All the stencils have been provided in English, it’s an aberration, indeed. It shows a disrespect on the part of the manufacturer, I have never seen a F-15 or other kit from the this company, representing an aircraft of the JAF with stencils in other language than Japanese, as is right.
Perhaps, the painting guide is the only redeemable in this special version, since the colors draw near to match the photos in references, although there are also mistakes that would have been corrected if the research had been more intensive

In short, and as a quick review, it´s not worth paying the difference of money between this A-4 and any other box of the A-4B or C from the same brand, since the parts that have been “especially” made for the Argentine version, decals included, will have to be rejected, turning into a simple A-4.

Assembly and detailing 

When I started building this kit, the experience I had acquired with the A-4AR to which the resin wells had been added, was very useful. After weighing up the results and the time spent, I decided not to add these parts to my model, thus the only resin part is the seat.

After the awful experience I had had with the wrong shaped parts, and knowing, that it would not be difficult to replace them and the decals, I set to my project trying to get an accurate Argentine A-4 to dispel all the doubts about the scheme and special features of these war veteran. This is the basic aim this note pursues. Here, I’ll also show a painting technique that has been mentioned lots of times but hardly ever explained.

As I said before “to dispel all doubts”, I want to tell you that to achieve this version, I took as reference bibliography from some well-known historians around the world, also from the very same Argentine Air Force archives, through its “Centro Oficial de Estudios Histricos” and not from a mere collection of pictures taken by some amateur.

Thus, I began to add small details, as the pipelines to the landing gears, ring locks to the nose landing gear.




In addition to this, the placement of the resin antennas (dorsal and rear inferior) and to check if the real thing matches to the Hasegawa kit are the only steps considered as extra tasks to achieve this model.

The differences between the Argentine A-4C and other versions are these antennas and the scheme.

The assembly was straightforward following the usual construction steps, needing not much puttying or sanding, so, I will not enlarge on this point.

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