by: Matthew Robeson [ ]
The kit is kicked off with some very nice box-art, typical of all Hasegawa kits. I don't know what it is about their kits, but they always come with great art on them. This one is branded as a Limited Edition, so it would be smart to snap one up quickly before they disappear from the shelves.
Inside, the plastic should look very similar to anyone who has built a TA-4J kit, or any of the other Skyhawks from Hasegawa. Many of the parts are the same between all variants, so they are included in the box in the normal mix-and-march way. One problem I found with the molding of my kit was that the sprue around the rear fuselage was broken, so check and make sure there is no damage on your kit.
The plastic all is top-quality as always, with petite engraving and rivets where necessary. Digging deeper, you'll see lots of great detailing in the wheel wells and cockpit. The seats are a weak point, but I haven't seen many jet kits with well-detailed ejection seats. They're just such complicated pieces of machinery for plastic to produce. There are always resin replacements though for those that want them.
At the bottom of the box are the clear parts and the decal sheet. The clear parts are nice, and are molded with big protectors around them to make sure that the parts don't get scratched. There is a small mold seam on the canopy, but it's on a frame, so should be easy to remove and clean up.
Underneath the clear parts sits the decal sheet. This is a great, very bright sheet of Hasegawa in-house printed decals. There are two schemes, both of which are bright and colorful. I'll probably do the box-art scheme, because of the extra bright colors, but I think that there are some aftermarket options out there if an aggressor is more of your speed.
The instructions are well laid out, with all of the paint codes being called out in Gunze codes. There are a few inserts, and holes that need to be drilled out to make it correct. I think a few of these small parts also distinguish this version from the TA-4J, so if you want to build that out of this box, check your references.
All in all though, this is a great product from Hasegawa. They are king-of-the-hill in the Skyhawk market, and this one continues that tradition. The price is getting a bit steep on these, but that's normal for model kits these days. If you want one, grab one quick before you have to browse eBay and pay collector prices. I know I'll be building and enjoying my kit.