Hobby Master HA1412 USMC McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk Attack Aircraft - VMA-311 "Tomcats", 1981 [Low-Vis Scheme] (1:72 Scale)
"Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America - not on the battlefields of Vietnam."
- Marshal McLuhan
The A-4 Skyhawk is an attack aircraft originally designed to operate from United States Navy aircraft carriers. Fifty years after the type's first flight, some of the nearly 3,000 Skyhawks produced remain in service with smaller air arms around the world. The aircraft was formerly the A4D Skyhawk, and was designed by the Douglas Aircraft Corporation, later McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing.
The Skyhawk was designed by Douglas' Ed Heinemann in response to a U.S. Navy call for a jet-powered attack aircraft to replace the A-1 Skyraider. Heinemann opted for a design that would minimize size, weight, and complexity. The result was an aircraft that weighed only half of the Navy's specification and had a wing so compact that it did not need to be folded for carrier stowage. The diminutive Skyhawk soon received the nicknames "Scooter", "Bantam Bomber", "Tinker Toy Bomber", and, on account of its nimble performance, "Heinemann's Hot-Rod."
The Navy issued a contract for the type on June 12th, 1952, and the first prototype first flew on June 22nd, 1954. Deliveries to Navy and U.S. Marine Corps squadrons commenced in late 1956.
The Skyhawk remained in production until 1975, with a total of 2,960 aircraft built, including 555 two-seat trainers. The US Navy began removing the aircraft from its front-line squadrons in 1967, with the last retiring in 1975. The Marines would pass on the A-7 Corsair II. The last USMC Skyhawk was delivered in 1979, and were used until the mid-1990s until they were replaced by the similarly small, but V/STOL vertical landing AV-8 Harrier.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale USMC McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk attack aircraft that was flown by VMA-311 "Tomcats" during 1981. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 4.75 inches
Length: 6.75 inches
Release Date: March 2010
Historical Account: "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" - The first A4D-2 Skyhawk was received by the "Tomcats" in the summer of 1958, initiating 30 years of Skyhawk service. In May 1965, the squadron, now flying A4E's, deployed to Chu Lai in the Republic of Vietnam and on June 2, they conducted their first combat mission of the Vietnam War. In August 1965, VMA-311 supported the 7th Marine Regiment in Operation Starlite -- the first major American operation of the war. After almost eight years of operations in Vietnam the Tomcats totaled 54,625 combat sorties before leaving in January of 1973. Among the sortie count was an amazing four-day sortie total of 240 from May 5th-8th, 1968 in support of their fellow marines during the Battle of Khe Sahn. During most of their time they were based at Chu Lai. The squadron flew the last Marine Corps sorties out of Chu Lai on September 11th, 1970. In May 1972, VMA-311 once again deployed to Vietnam with MAG-12 Forward at Bien Hoa, Vietnam. Thier final sortie in-country would occur on January 29th, 1973 and a day before they would drop the last ordinance from a Marine A-4 Skyhawk during the war. VMA-311 would fly 54,625 combat sorties during their time supporting operations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.