Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale HA1428 Douglas A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149574, VA-153, USS Coral Sea, 1960s. Buy online at at Flying Tigers.
Designed by the McDonnell-Douglas chief engineer Ed Heinemann the A-4 Skyhawk met all the requirements of the US Navy and exceeded many. It was half the maximum weight, could carry four times the weapon load and small enough that it didn’t need folding wings for carrier duty. This small aircraft would earn many nicknames “Heinemann’s Hot Rod” “Scooter”, “Bantam Bomber”, “Tinker Toy Bomber”. The A-4M assigned to front-line squadrons would be replaced in the mid-1980s by the AV-8 Harrier II. The Skyhawk proved to be one of the most popular US naval aircraft exports of the post war era. Because of its small size, it could be operated from the older, smaller WWII-era aircraft carriers.
Douglas A-4C Skyhawk 148609 c/n 12802 was delivered to VA-64 in 1961. After spending time with VA-64 and VA72 148609 was assigned to VA-76 “Spirits” in 1964 as NP-685. VA-76 was deployed to Vietnam on board the USS Bon Homme Richard when on May 1, 1967 LCDR Ted “T.R.” Swartz flying 148609 shot down a MiG-17 over North Vietnam with an unguided Zuni missile making this the only time a Skyhawk scored an air-to-air victory during the Vietnam War. 148609 was lost in June 1972 after a mid-air collision.