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Sabrejet

North American FJ-2 Fury

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Hoping this helps with those who will be building Sword's new 1/72 FJ-2 (I will be among those!), a few jottings and comments on the type.

 

To begin a bit of background. The FJ-2 series of swept-wing carrier-based fighters commenced with three prototypes which served to test the main elements which differentiated the FJ-2 from the F-86: carrier-based equipment and armament. The prototypes were designated XFJ-2 (carrier test) and XFJ-2B (armament test). Since the armament conversion was less extensive than the changes required for the carrier equipment, the XFJ-2B was completed first (and based on the F-86E), while the two XFJ-2s were based on the F-86F and flew later.

 

So to begin chronologically, XFJ-2B (North American Aviation (NAA) type number NA-185) was ordered on Contract NOa(s)51-756 on 8th March 1951 and given BuAer serial number 133756. It flew for the first time on 27th December 1951 and was converted at Inglewood. 

 

Aside from the armament (and as with the XFJ-2s) it also featured modified LH/RH windshields, which extended further forward than F-86E/F items, and were in fact similar to those fitted to the F-86A and F-86E-1/5. These were required to assist in forward vision when approaching a carrier to land. All photos below NAA Official:

 

XFJ 756 (3)

 

XFJ 756

 

XFJ 756 26Sep52 (1)

 

XFJ 756 (2)

 

Note F-86-style landing gear and despite being designated XFJ-2B, '756 was marked 'XFJ-2' above the serial number (beneath the horizontal tail).

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The XFJ-2s were basically the same, with no armament and based on the F-86F (the single XFJ-2B was based on the F-86E). The carrier-test XFJ-2s incorporated the barrier guards (upper and lower), catapult attachment, hold-back, bumper and arrester hook. Neither had folding wings however. Two were built, with BuAer Numbers 133754 and 133755. They were also ordered on 8th March 1951 under Contract NOa(s)51-756, but were given NAA type number NA-179.

 

BuAer No. 133754 first flew on 19th February 1952. Note below the drop tanks with no end plates to the aft horizontal fins and also the wingtip camera fairings in two of the photos.

 

XFJ 754 (2)

 

XFJ 754 (3)

 

XFJ 754

 

The second XFJ-2 had a short life: it crashed in July 1952 en route from Patuxent River to NAA's Columbus plant: Lt Horatio Gates ‘Bud’ Sickel, assistant director of the USN Test Pilots School was killed in the accident.

 

XFJ 755

 

XFJ 755 04Sep52

 

One other thing: the 'XFJ-2' displayed at Pensacola as '133755' is not a genuine XFJ-2: it is a production FJ-2, BuAer No. 132023:

 

132023 (6)

 

Production FJ-2 to follow. Note that if you are building an XFJ-2 or XFJ-2B, you need to start with an F-86E or F kit because the production FJ-2 is a completely different airframe shape.

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OK so here's the next bit.

 

The production FJ-2 was assigned NAA model number NA-181 and all were built at Columbus, Ohio. Originally 300 FJ-2s were ordered under Contract NOa(s)51-642 of 10th February 1951, but only 200 were actually built. Bureau numbers ran from BuAer 131927 thru 132126. The first FJ-2 was accepted in November 1952 with the last going into service in September 1954. 

 

As a starter, below a few general arrangements and pages from manuals various:

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

7

 

8

 

9

 

10

 

11

 

Photo below shows the Columbus production line with the final 25 or so FJ-2s finishing production at front and with the first FJ-3s overlapping production at the rear. Date is 28th August 1954 (NAA Official)

 

28Aug54 (1)

 

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Starting at the nose, early FJ-2s had a single windscreen wiper mounted on the RH side and no landing light in the nose gear door (all photos Navy Official, NAA Official and via Bruce Robertson) - VMF-235 bird:

 

a VMF-235

 

I'll do a redux of all the serial number vs. changes later, but for now here is how the 'later' FJ-2s differed in this area: i.e. no windshield wiper and the landing light installed - VMF-122 machine:

 

a VMF-122

 

I see comments elsewhere about the nose landing gear yoke. All FJ-2s left the factory with silver nose gear, and only Reserve aircraft had white-painted gear. First is a factory-fresh aircraft:

 

nose

 

Note landing light on this VMF-312 FJ and also red-painted interior of the door (usually closed on the ground):

 

nose VMF-312 (2)

 

VMF-235:

 

nose VMF-235 (5)

 

VMF-312 again:

 

nose 2 VMF-312 (1)

 

and a Reserve, white-painted gear:

 

nose St Louis

 

All FJ-2s left the factory with 'clean' leading edges to the wings. Most received the 5, barrier engagement devices later in service:

 

b VMF-312 (1)

 

Finally (for now), all FJ-2s had a camera in the RH wing leading edge AND another in the lower intake:

 

camera

 

to be continued...

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SJ,

 

Thank you sooo much for the photos- great little details to be added to a model...can't wait to see the Sword kit, as I have one on the way. So, when is your Sabre and Fury modeling guide going to be published? Just kidding!

Mike

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Errata to the above (you live and learn!) is that the 'camera' in the lower intake lip isn't a camera at all - I did wonder. In fact it is a 3-colour approach light, which allowed the deck-bound LSO to judge whether the aircraft was above, below or on the correct glide path. It was installed as part of Service Change No.319 which seems to mean that all aircraft had it fitted - or at least provision for it to be fitted. See below:

 

light

 

light 2

 

And as promised, here is a list of visual FJ-2 differences and which aircraft they applied to:

 

* Landing light (in nose gear door): installed on BuAer Nos. 132047 thru 132126 & also done as part of Service Change No. 128 on other aircraft

 

* Barrier pickup (striped pole below fwd fuselage) removed as part of Service Change No.322

 

*Windshield wiper (LH side only) installed on BuAer Nos. 131927 through 131986 & deleted on these aircraft as part of Service Change No.108

 

*Seat ejection handle moved from LH to RH side of headrest on Service Change No.396

 

*Drop tank jettison ground safety pin introduced as part of Service Change No.287

 

You'll need photos to show the absence or presence of Service Change items, since their embodiment depends on when or if they were done!

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Great stuff! I can only echo what the guys commenting earlier said. Thanks SO much for the posts. 

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Thanks for the photographs of 754, 755 and 756.  Several of these I had not seen before and have now been printed to add to my collection of materials on these three aircraft.  The appearance of a Sabrejet in GSB simply can not be topped.

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Few more bits & pieces. Photos NAA Official, USN Official, Lionel N Paul and Bruce Robertson.

 

FJ-2s flew in four main colour schemes:

- overall gloss blue (FS 15042?)

- NMF

- light gull gray FS 26440/white FS 27875

- red/white (Reserve FJ-2).

 

Just a few of the test FJ-2s wore the overall gloss blue scheme, as shown here. First is the prototype, BuAer No. 131927:

 

131927

 

And also Fleet Test machine BuAer No. 131930:

 

131930

 

Most were delivered from NAA's Columbus plant in natural metal finish, as shown by a few more here:

 

NMF (1)

 

NMF (2)

 

NMF (3)

 

NMF (4)

 

NMF 132032

 

And just a snippet that I know will be of use to modellers: all moving doors (landing gear, air brakes, tail bumper etc) were originally red for the door interior and interior green for the actual bay/well + actuator body. Example here, with red interior of the air brake panel just visible on the other side of the aircraft:

 

brakes

 

Still waiting for my kit to arrive!

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Did the red door interiors and green wheel wells appear on the few planes that were finished in GSB or did those planes have those parts finished in GSB? There seems no question about the red and green appearing on the NMF aircraft.

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On ‎8‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 21:00, Sabrejet said:

Starting at the nose, early FJ-2s had a single windscreen wiper mounted on the RH side and no landing light in the nose gear door (all photos Navy Official, NAA Official and via Bruce Robertson) - VMF-235 bird:

 

a VMF-235

 

 

Sorry to be a bit pedantic, but surely the windscreen wiper is on the port side or LH, I think you were looking from the front, not from in the cockpit ;)

must confess that is the first time I have ever seen that they even had an windscreen wiper

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Absolutely correct: my mistake. You'd think 36 years working on aircraft would have that drilled in by now! But I never did know my left from right.

 

I could use the excuse that I'm used to dealing with port and starboard, but I also know my No.1 engine from my No.4, so that won't work. You'll note that I correctly put the gun camera on the RH wing, so I'm claiming senility!

 

Anyhow, accuracy is everything, so please continue to be pedantic and don't apologise! :wink:

Edited by Sabrejet

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12 hours ago, Sabrejet said:

Absolutely correct: my mistake. You'd think 36 years working on aircraft would have that drilled in by now! But I never did know my left from right.

 

I could use the excuse that I'm used to dealing with port and starboard, but I also know my No.1 engine from my No.4, so that won't work. You'll note that I correctly put the gun camera on the RH wing, so I'm claiming senility!

 

Anyhow, accuracy is everything, so please continue to be pedantic and don't apologise! :wink:

SJ,

 

Question- the area of the wing exposed when the slats are out looks like they are the same metallic shade as the gun port panels; is that your understanding? They don't look to be red, and I'm guessing the underside of the slats is the same unpainted metal? Getting picky, I know, but this is one weenie cooker that I want to do justice!

Mike

 

Which one are you doing?

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1 hour ago, 72modeler said:

SJ,

 

Question- the area of the wing exposed when the slats are out looks like they are the same metallic shade as the gun port panels; is that your understanding? They don't look to be red, and I'm guessing the underside of the slats is the same unpainted metal? Getting picky, I know, but this is one weenie cooker that I want to do justice!

Mike

 

Which one are you doing?

Possibly a gull gray/white one (just to be different) or TBD as they say. Underside of the slats is likely to be NMF. Most FJs had corrograd leading edges, but it seems likely that Marines FJ-2s weren't going to sea much of life on the ocean wave, so didn't have that type of finish.

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MInd blowing detail, SJ!! Thanks VERY much.

 

Having learned a tough lesson from the Photobucket fiasco, I'm saving this thread ... just in case Flickr does something as deplorable!!!!

 

Gene K

 

 

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On 10/10/2017 at 22:51, ejboyd5 said:

Did the red door interiors and green wheel wells appear on the few planes that were finished in GSB or did those planes have those parts finished in GSB? There seems no question about the red and green appearing on the NMF aircraft.

Apologies: yes - red door interiors on the XFJ's and green in the wells.

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