Sunday, August 3

Gary gets into a flap with his A-4 Slats & Landing flaps from Eduard

Today Gary reviews the 1/32nd scale Eduard landing flap set and A-4F slats in brass photo etch. As well as a basic explanation of which is which and what they all do Gary has many comparison shots as well as a good write up on the kit to get you properly orientated…

Eduard A-4F landing flaps 1/32
Kit No: 32345 + 32346
Designed for: Trumpeter A-4F
1/32 scale
Photo Etch parts: 1 fret in each set
Available from: Eduard directly & most model shops

Today I’m doing a dual review of both the Landing Flap (32346) and Slat (32345) photo etch detail sets from Eduard for the Trumpeter A-4F Skyhawk in 1/32. Each set contains one PE fret and a single page instruction sheet.

The A-4 Skyhawk employs “slats” which are aerodynamic surfaces on the leading edge of the wings which, when deployed, allow the wing to operate at a higher angle of attack. On the A-4 the slats lie flush with the wing leading edge until reduced aerodynamic forces allow them to extend when needed. Using this method of slat activation provided a saving in weight and space by omitting actuation motors and switches. On the ground the slats are always extended (via gravity) due to the lack of aerodynamic force to retract them.
Flaps are devices used to improve the lift characteristics of a wing and are mounted on the trailing edges of the wings to reduce the speed at which the aircraft can be safely flown and to increase the angle of descent for landing.

The A-4 Skyhawk employs a “split” flap whereby the rear portion of the lower surface of the airfoil hinges downwards from the leading edge of the flap, while the upper surface stays fixed. 
Trumpeter provides separate parts for both slats and flaps in its 1/32 scale A-4 kit. These parts are accurate in shape and for the most part in scale (with the exception of the vortex generators which we’ll cover off a little later).
Let’s start with the Eduard detail set for the leading edge slats. This photo etch sheet provides surface detailing for the forward section of the wing proper and the interior surface of the slat itself. The sheet also contains replacement “vortex generators” and layout templates for use when gluing them accurately in place on the upper surface of the wing and slat.
Parts 2 and 3 are the largest parts on the sheet and need to be gently curved to conform to the wings leading edge. Parts 4 and 5 are fitted to the inside of the slat itself and again will need to be bent to conform to the curved shape of the slat.

One of the distinctive visual features of the A-4’s wing is the presence of vortex generators. These are small “blades” of sheet aluminum about one inch long and one-half inch high. There were 37 on each wing and their function was to smooth out the air flow over the wing and aileron.
The vortex generators on the Trumpeter kit wing are very noticeably over scale (chunky). As a solution to this, Eduard provides PE replacements for each and every blade. These need to be positioned very precisely and to facilitate this Eduard provide layout templates that will be temporarily held in place on the wing and slat while you glue each vortex generator in place. Obviously before you add the new blades to the wing you will need to shave off the kit plastic parts and sand the wing surface smooth.
With the new PE parts in place on the model the difference is quite noticeable. I have to admit that I’m not sure that the addition of raised rivet detail to this section of the wing is altogether accurate (have a look at the photo of the Skyhawk wing above and the rivets are clearly flush).
Next up is the Eduard detail set for the landing flaps. Much like the slat set, Eduard have not provided complete PE replacements for the kit parts rather giving us photo etch parts that glue onto the kit part and provide surface detailing in the way of rivets and access panels.
Parts 1 and 13 are for the surface of the lower (or movable) part of the flap. Parts 2 and 12 cover the upper (or fixed) portion of the flap inner surface. Trumpeter provides the hinges (parts 16 & 31) in the kit and Eduard enhances these with PE knuckle replacements via part 8.
Unlike my doubts about the raised rivet detail on the leading edge slats surface the above photo clearly shows that the inside of the landing flaps are covered with raised rivets and Eduard is spot on here.
These two sets are fairly simple in what they provide and how they provide it. I would say that from the slat set the most useful parts are the replacement vortex generators and the templates provided to install them. These will enhance the realism of your Skyhawk wings no end. The landing flap set adds welcome detailing to the split flap interior and hinges in a simple and easy fashion
Both sets retail for US$16 each, which I think is fairly reasonable for what you get. These sets, more than some, add detail in just the right area of the Trumpeter kit so on the finished model you will get bang for your buck.

Gary Wickham
You can get these from Eduard directly & most model shops