The F-89 stemmed from a USAAF technical specification for a jet to replace the P-61 Black Widow. Northrop originally submitted four different designs. Initially the XP-89 made its first flight in August 1948, with the first production being authorised in 1949. The F-89A had an AN/APG-33 radar with 6 x 20mm cannons. Two 300GL fuel tanks were permanently fitted and underwing racks could carry 16 x 5 rockets, or up to 3200lbs of bombs.
The major production variant was to be the F-89D. This first flew in October 1951, and entered service in 1954. Here the USAF removed the 20mm cannon in favour of rocket armament which was de rigueur at the time. A new E-6 fire control system was fitted by Hughes and two pods of 52 Mighty Mouse FFAR rockets were added in the front part of the wind fuel tanks.
The final variant of the Scorpion was the F-89J. This was based on the D model but replaced the wingtip pods with 600GL fuel tanks. Pylons were fitted under the wings for Falcon and Genie missiles. The F-89 was never exported by, the US but remained a mainstay of the early cold war defense of the US. The F-89J has the distinction of being the only aircraft to fire a live nuclear rocket when in July 1957 as part of Operation Plumbbob the one and only live test of a Genie was conducted.
I think the Revell F-89 has been around since the early 1990s, it has been released under various boxing over the years, all with the ability to build either a D or J model, and this one is no different. The kit comes in one of Revells open ended boxes. Inside we three sprues of silver plastic and one small clear sprue. The moulds for this kit have held up remarkably well over the years.
Construction starts with the cockpit. Revell have done a nice job here. The cockpit is made up from quite a few parts. The seats are five part affairs and they have captured the differences between he front and back seats. Once the cockpit has been assembled then this is inserted between the main fuselage parts not forgetting the front engine face and the all important nose weight.
Following this the under fuselage insert which runs from the front wheel well to the exhausts is fitted. Then you need to add the engine intakes and exhausts. Revell have moulded these as on part so thankfully there are no seams to clean up here. Following this the wings need to be assembled and attached to the fuselage. At this stage you need to decide (if not done already) if you are going to make the D or J model, as you need to open up the appropriate holes in the wings. For the D just one pair for drop tanks, or for the J 3 pairs for the missile pylons.
After these steps then its time for all the small fiddly bits. The sides to the front wheel well (including the gear doors) need to be added. Various scoops and small parts are added, along with the landing gear, though most modellers will leave this till last (I know I would). Finally you need to either build the wingtip tanks for the J, or the tank / rocket pod combos for the D. The kit is finished by adding your various underwing parts and then the canopy.
Two decal options are supplied by revell.
The First is for F-89D-45 22143, This was with the 61st Fighter Interceptor Sqn, based at Ernest Harmon AFB; New Foundland 1957.
The second is for F-89J 32470, This was with the 59th Fighter Interceptor Sqn, based at Goose bay AFB, Labrador 1957.
The decals all appear to be in register with good colour density. Like all revell decals at the moment they should work as advertised.
There are enough parts in the kit via the options to keep the more serious modeller happy, and to challenge the more in inexperienced modeller. The kit makes into a good looking model of an important if untested early mainstay of the cold war. I would recommend this kit.