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Found 25 results

  1. An earlier build (early 1990s) and only photographed fairly recently at the Cameron Airport, the Testors 1/48 F-104A Starfighter is a very basic, simple old model. Originally, it was a Hawk release from 1957. I love these birds and really, how can one go wrong with a type named "Starfighter"? Is that not just the coolest name ever for a jet? The rudimentary landing gear was given some much-needed detail and I used the pilot figure to add a bit of interest to an otherwise bare cockpit. The horizontal stabilizer and brake doors were covered with Baremetal foil. The kit decals were used. Several different NMF paints were used but it's been so long since I built the plane I really don't remember. Here's another look at scale models from the really distant past. A quick comparison of this kit with today's great new offerings reveals how far plastic scale model kits have come. Thanks for your interest in this old warbird!
  2. I have really got into the scale modelling doldrums this year and am in danger of ending 2019 having just finished one kit in the year. That isn't good! I have decided that I want to build something fairly straightforward and thin the stash out so I have chosen this kit: IMGP3285 by Michael Baldock, on Flickr It is the Italeri 1/48th F-4S Phantom which was released sometime in the very early 90's. It is a very basic kit with raised panel lines, quite rigid plastic, and probably a fifth of the parts of a modern Zoukei-Mura offering. I bought it on eBay 12 years ago for a fiver so that might be a tenth of the Z-M offering The obligatory view of what is in the box: IMGP3286 by Michael Baldock, on Flickr The Italeri boxed Phantom line has been interesting over the years because they have used the old ESCI moulds and also appear to have had a tie-in with Testors in the USA. This F-4S kit uses the same core parts as their F-4E, F-4G and maybe RF-4C Testors based offerings of the 1980's whereas their ESCI based Phantoms appeared from the early noughties. Personally I think that the ESCI based Phantoms are by far the better kits. Back to the kit, what can I build? IMGP3297 by Michael Baldock, on Flickr It isn't a sophisticated set of decals but I do like the choices, USN VF-151 and USMC VMFA-321 birds in the final TPS paint scheme used before these old gals went to the boneyard. I do have several items to add to the build: IMGP3287 by Michael Baldock, on Flickr I will be using AK Interactive acrylic paints for airbrush, a SuperScale decal set dated 2006 focused on VF-103, and maybe some unused parts from an Academy F-4B kit. Testors or Italeri? All will be revealed Michael
  3. I am slowly working through my shelf of doom, finishing some kits that should have been binned. This was originaly built in the 70’s by my brother. I got it when he was going to throw it out. It had a fuselage, wings, and a propless spinner, only slightly less than the kit originaly had..... Over the years, I opened up the undercarriage bays, gave it an Aeroclub prop, vacuform canopy of unknown provenance, undercarriage, tailplanes and enlarged radiators from the Spitfire spares box. Highly inaccurate cannon barrels are turned brass by me. Now, if you wanted to do PK312 as it was originaly built, it would be far easier to start with a later F22 kit and swap an earlier tail on it. I have finished it and posted it because, well, not a kit many people are dumb enough to build, and I never give up on anything.....
  4. Okay, I didn't think I would be joining this one, what with my Matchcaster in the works in the Matchbox GB, and a Matchbox He-115 I was thinking of making after that. But... I came across this Testor's kit (factory new) on ebay, and with its sleek lines, good scale and awesome cheap price, I had to buy it. And now, I have to make it! It will need some help though. There's no cockpit. There's a pilot, but he is a baaad pilot, and not worth taking off the sprue. So, it will need a seat, interior framing, an instrument panel and a control column. Also, the raised lines on the wings and the placements for the decals will have to go. After that, Ill also be opening the exhausts and removing some detail on the bulges that I'm not seeing on the actual planes. Hopefully, this won't take too long, and it won't side-line my Lancaster. I'll see about getting some work started on it when I'm off on Friday.
  5. This Republic P-47D Razorback, a 1/48 scale Testors kit (a re-pop of the very old Hawk P-47), was built many years ago. The build was inspired by one done by Dr. Paul Budzik of Francis "Gabby" Gabreskis' T-Bolt in an old Finescale Modeller magazine. I remember that his was done in 1/32 and of course, was a magnificent model. I had the old Testors kit in my stash and was motivated to try and duplicate the bigger plane as best I could. This is my humble result. I added quite a bit of detail in the cockpit, on the engine and some brake lines. Built mostly OOB, I did lower the horizontal stabilizers, open the cowl flaps and drill out the gun barrels as well. This kit had the option of building either the razorback or bubbletop version; I went with the razorback because that part seemed to fit a little better. This was also one of the first builds where I tried to modulate the paint finish a bit but it is almost unseen in the pics. Heck, looking at them now, I can't see it! I’m sure I was too timid in my efforts. The decals mark her as a 84th Fighter Squadron plane with the 78th Fighter Group, operating out of Duxford, Cambridge in 1944 flown by Major Quince Brown. (http://www.americanairmuseum.com/person/173590) Thanks for your interest and comments! Gary
  6. A build from 6 years ago. You youngsters have it easy now, with new 1/72 and 1/48 Ryan NYPs at you disposal. We used to have to distill petroleum, make our own plastic, build our own presses, fabricate our own tools, and build a kit in a life time, IF WE WERE LUCKY! After much debate, it is still undetermined when the first 1/72 kit of the Ryan NYP was issued. Although the later incarnations are known, in the form of kits from Frog, Hawk, Airlines, Novo, and the like, the first fossil kits clearly show up in the Cambrian strata, together with trilobites and algae, before even the most primitive dinosaur dared to show its ugly snout. Some scholars go as far as placing them as contemporaries of the first stromatolites. We may never know; but what we do know is that they survived al the cataclysmic extinction events that wiped out other kits, and we know too that in these, our times, the kit re-popped under the Testors brand. I hear you, in all those eons the kit did NOT evolve: the same recessed engraved lettering, the same chunky engine, the same strange prop blades, the recessed ribbing on all surfaces, the even more mysterious interior filled with the horror of nothingness... BUT, is there any other, more evolved 1/72 kit specimen around? Nope. There is no other contemporary kit in the market of one of the most iconic planes of all times. The scholars found out that most of the kit manufacturers are too busy churning out infinite versions of the same warplanes. Talk about dinosaurs... The kit: you will need only your fingers to count the kit’s parts. Scale-Master decals are included, as well as a clear base, which is something like your appendix, still there after all those millennia, just in case, but of no real use. Attached to the clear base, by the way, are the not-so-transparent transparencies. The word “HAWK” in tiny font can still be seen under the base. One of the photos shows an obscure statement engraved inside the fuselage sides: "Made in USA". Archeologists and paleontologists are still debating about what that could possibly mean. So, what do you do with your Testors kit? Well, it is long list. First, forget about that tail skid and the anemometer post protruding from the fuselage halves, they will be inexorably obliterated anyway during construction when you try to smooth the fuselage joint. Second, get out the putty and cover that hideous, unsightly recessed lettering –and the ejector pin marks under the wing since you are at it-. Third, get another, better engine, chop the cylinders and replace the kit’s ones. Fourth, figure a way to produce a credible fuselage and flying surfaces ribbing. You may replace the sort of chunky tail feathers if you feel like. Fifth: hey, scratch some interior. Not much can be seen of it, but you can cut and pose the door open to help with that. Do not fill the recessed lines on the nose when you deal with the lettering there, those are panel lines and are sort of OK. And, did you know that a second machine (Ryan NYP-2) was built and sold to Japan? Aha. It was registered J-BACC and went through a few color changes. There, another option for your frozen-in-time, primeval Testors kit. Now, a confession. Long, long time ago when I was young-er, naive and inexperienced, I built the thing, out of the box, in all its tragic crudity. I know. So as said before the stringers and ribbing effects were dealt with, a nice interior fabricated for it to show through the open door and windows, and a few external details prepared for later addition. The engine was replaced by an Aeroclub white metal item and the kit's "engine" reworked and used as a master for a vacuformed part . Holes were drilled for the control cables, fuselage handles and stab struts (all missing in the kit). Other details that may be added are the fairings of the wheel hubs, the carburetor intake, a better representation of the anemometer, control horns and cables, the periscope, etc. Different shades of metal paint were used, and a combination of home-made and the kit's decals applied. Beware -to add insult to injury- that the kit's decals' instructions have the position of the rudder ones (3 and 4) reversed. Besides the other mentioned details, the kit is missing a diagonal brace strut that bridges the rear leg attachment of the LG to the fuselage and the top of the suspension mechanism. So, can you build a decent, accurate replica from this kit? only if you commit a great deal of time to research and fabrication, and you become a Shaolin modeling monk.. Can a 10 year old have fun with this simple kit without any kind of accuracy concerns? you betcha. But if you are a serious modeler, you know what you are up for. I would not hesitate to scratch-build this one, since the time involved should be actually less than the time I employed here in accurization and detailing. As long as the results are good, then is all fun.
  7. Spitfire addict

    Color help

    Hello friends havent posted in quite a while but need some advice. Now that Testors has for the most part eliminated their MM line of enamels I find myself in the land of acrylics, where my problem has been the fast drying time for an old man who paints slow and deliberate. Anyway, my question is what Tamiya color is closest to MM dark glossy blue, or 15042 if I remember the FS number correctly. I want to do a nice dark glossy sea blue on a circa 1945 Hellcat. If I have to start using acrylics then a basic spray job is in order. Are acrylics ever glossy, or is a gloss coat necessary? I know that the vast majority of you guys have been using acrylics for years but this old dog needs to learn a few new tricks out of pure necessity. Well, any help would be much appreciated. Cheers SA
  8. This is the old Hawk kit, in the Testors box with new decals. For a 1/48 kit it's pretty small. Detail is pretty much non existent, there is literally no interior to speak of except for a pilot figure holding a control column, but I have omitted him. The outline of the colour scheme is also engraved into the surface of the kit, so it's all been either masked and sprayed, or painted freehand. I knocked up a small base for it to sit on out of a picture frame and some floch.
  9. I saw Bridge of Spies a few weeks ago and quite enjoyed the film. The U-2 sequences where very good, dramatic license aside, and it wasn't long before I had checked out a few books from the library on Lockheed's Skunk Works and the U-2. The next step was to see what kits were available. I was somewhat disappointed to discover that there were no kits currently in production and unless I could find something on eBay, I was out of luck. Well, as luck would have it, soon after I started looking one or two popped up on eBay UK. The one I liked had a low starting price so I put a bid in and waited. Only one other bidder joined in but didn't seem to want it as much as I did so I won the auction. The box was a little worse for wear and many of the parts had broken off the sprue tree but it was all there. It is an old kit, however, and not at all cutting edge but, based on drawings I have since acquired, I think the general overall shape is good and it just cries out for a little scratch building and super detailing. Which I am more than happy to get stuck into now that I'm giving the Camel a bit of a rest. I've started on the cockpit and will post a couple of photos tomorrow. Meanwhile: pic in a minute.
  10. Hi all! All guidance appreciated. Thanks in advance. Martin
  11. Project fighter based on GeeBee R-2. Used reworked plastic Testors. The hood, engine, landing gear and canopy Dora Wings. The machine guns Browning are Master Models 1/32.
  12. Hello Gents, Following a bet with @jrlx I'll ask to join that great band of wet feet modellers. Knowing myself, I did'nt start a great thing since it must finished in January Since yesterday, I Wonder, did I join in ? Or not ? But wich will be my entry ?? Martin Marlin, Catalina, Kingfisher, none of these could be possibly finished in time. Then I saw over the cabinet... This one I picked her up with the idea of selling her on evilbay, since I have 2 of these... Seem to be a decent kit with a funny diorama base WTF ?? But, can get Something out of this, will be a first...
  13. I decided to do a second build for this GB, despite the fact that I am no where near done on the first. Like the Bristol 138A I am already working on, this kit had also been starring me down, just asking to be built. The Testors kit has only a few parts, and would be a very simple build if the wings actually mated to the fuselage well. I have a couple of these, from different boxings. and although the color and the softness of the plastic may change, the fit doesn't get any better. One good thing about the newer kits, they look like they have MUCH better decals. So I am building a bit of a mix, the old silver plastic one, with harder plastic, but using the new decals. The kit..... The huge gap... The poor fit... and of course the poor fit on the left wing doesn't match the poor fit on the right wing... The fun begins!! Greg in Oklahoma
  14. This was a project I was doing over at ARC for a Group Build (Far East), but I haven't finished it yet. I've been reading up on South Vietnam's F-5 operations and was inspired enough to want to build one. The kit I am using is Kinetic's F-5A, which does the job nicely. Work naturally started with the cockpit: The panels and side consoles are nice, but I wish Kinetic would have done a set of cockpit instrument decals since the panel detailing is okay, yet lacks dials on the instrument faces. So out came my collected instrument decals to do the job. Eduard does color etch, but I was a little cash strapped when I started. One minor issue I will point out is if you are doing an F-5 that ISN'T a Canadian bird, the kit provides a Marconi HUD box rather than the more rudimentary NORAIR gunsight that most F-5A/B models have. The Marconi HUDs are something seen more with air forces that have updated fleets. It took me a few minutes with a file to make the HUD/gunsight mount look a bit more featureless, although if I had to do it again I would have cut the box completely out of the panel and stuck in something a little smaller. But it looks okay. With cockpit work done, I assembled the intakes, fuselage and wings. Everything more or less went together okay. One thing I recommend when building this kit is to not finish the nose and rear fuselage separately and glue them together as the instructions recommend. Instead you will have MUCH cleaner seams up top if you glue each nose half to each rear fuselage half before gluing them together. Fit was good and the resulting seam was a lot easier to handle. It did not need filler. Now there is a little bit of a gap between the intakes and rear fuselage, plus a similar gap between the bottom nose/fuselage plate ahead of the wing and the wing itself. I was able to fill the gap perfectly with some .010" styrene sheet (plasticard) and it blended in nicely. You can position the control surfaces on this kit. The rear wing flaps are traditionally up when the plane is parked. Leading edge flaps sometimes have a slight droop when parked (or more depending on the operator). One thing that all early F-5 and T-38 jets seem to have though are drooped ailerons when parked as they seem to sit about five degrees down on both sides when the hydraulic system is not pressurized. Thankfully it is pretty easy to represent that with this kit. One unique feature of VNAF F-5s were the 90 lbs. of lead armor plate they had mounted under the nose and parts of the tail. The plating was introduced during the USAF's "Skoshi Tiger" evaluation and South Vietnam continued the practice when they got the original F-5C jets and some additional F-5A and B models. Again I used some plasticard to represent the armor plates based on available photos found in my reference books and online. Another thing I'll mention is the outer wing pylons. If you wish to droop the leading edge flaps, a notch will need to be added to the outer pylons. On the real jets, this notch is covered by a spring loaded flipper door/fairing that goes up when the flap does. Kinetic didn't scribe in the fairing area in so I am going to represent that with pencil lines. I did sand in a slight notch into both pylons to help make space for my slightly drooped flaps. So that is where I am. I've got the model in primer with some paintwork done to the bottom. I'll shoot another round of photos when I start laying on the SEA camo on top. I'm using a little different pattern than Northrop's factory camo. Based on pictures I've seen, it looks like the oldest F-5s in the VNAF fleet likely went through depot level maintenance in 1969-70 and when they got repainted, the camo pattern seemed to be based on the desert/Asia Minor scheme, but with SEA colors. Hopefully I can pull this off properly.
  15. OV-10A Bronco Testors 1:48 The Bronco was initially planned as a light attack, long loiter time aircraft with a span of 20ft that could operate from roads close to the combat zone, however it materialised with a much longer span of 40ft and heavier due to the specifications including avionics and ejection seats limiting its use to airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to become a light armed reconnaissance & forward air control aircraft with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines. The need was bread out of the Cessna O-1 & O-2 becoming obsolete due to the limited performance. The requirement needed a two seat two engined aircraft that could carry over 2000lb of payload, 6 paratroopers or stretchers, high G tolerance and have a 350mph capability whilst being able to have a good loiter performance and STOL capability. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller operating in both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is most known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late on as the Gulf war where it received its last losses in US service before retiring in 1995. The USAF started to receive it's Bronco's in 1968 and was primarily used as forward air controllers. This was a varied role in itself, using smoke laying methods as well as later using laser target designators. Development also led to it carrying its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs to support ground movements. As well as a fairly small part played with the US Navy, seven export contracts were made, a few of which are still in service today with Venezuela. These included Germany, Columbia and Indonesia. Whilst it was an effective aircraft, it suffered from being underpowered, an issue that led to several aircraft being lost where it couldn't out climb the terrain. The Bronco has also seen non-military use in the war on drugs in South America as well as operating as a fire fighter. More recently, Boeing were looking into a new variant known as the OV-10X in 2009 as a modernised forward air control variant with the latest glass cockpit technology. There had been export interest in the possibility, however I'm unable to find any more news about how that proposal progressed. The kit If you're wanting to build a Bronco in 1/48, then you have a 'Hobsons Choice'. This is the old Italeri / Testors kit re-released. On opening the box, you're presented with the parts all wrapped up in a light grade polythene bag along with the instructions. On the front of the instructions is a poor image of the completed kit which does nothing to market the kit, it looks like a poor copy of a poor copy. On opening the instructions, you're hit with how basic the kit is, the instructions are very straight forwards. On a good note, there are written instructions that offer assembly tips such as painting options for some of the detail and in what order to paint them, something that you don't normally see in kits. Onto the sprues. My first impression is of the early Airfix kits. The kit is moulded in light grey plastic. Detail is very basic and the surfaces of the fuselage and wings are covered in heavy rivets with a mixture of raised and recessed panel / moveable surfaces. The main issues with the aircraft are widely known. The tail booms are too close to the fuselage and not accurately shaped. To correct this will require some extensive surgery to add extension pieces to the inner wings and of course the tailplane which joins the two tail booms. I guess for most builders this isn't an option that they'd be confident of undertaking. The remaining choices are either to live with this or to see if you can get hold of an out-of-production Paragon correction kit (review HERE) although I think you'd be lucky. The correction kit also addresses the cockpit or lack of with a resin replacement. With such a large greenhouse over the office, the kit cockpit is very sparse comprising a tub with side panels, seat and a decal only option for the panel, so you may want to add some scratch building to give it a makeover. Assembly starts with fitting the cockpit tub and nose wheel to the fuselage. This is either going to be a very fast affair if you build out of the box or very much longer if you don't. With the fuselage done, the sponsons housing machine guns and hard points are fitted to the underneath. The tail booms are another quick affair with the main undercarriage sandwiched inside the two halves on each side. With the wing assembled, it's fitted to the top of the fuselage and the tail booms and tail plane fitted into place. The remaining detail such as undercarriage doors and various antennas are fitted. Another observation is that there are no part numbers on the sprues. They are either on the parts or not at all. In the case of the undercarriage doors, they are on the inside surface which means you will need to sand them off. 4 iron bombs are supplied that fit onto the sponsons. Despite the chunkiness of the plastic in general, the fins on the bombs are quite thin. Despite the very basic appearance of the grey sprues, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the clear parts. These are quite refined and very little distortion. Now this could be a problem if you've not added some extra detail to the cockpit interior as it will be very much on show ! The canopy is moulded in three parts giving you the ability to have it open, however if you keep it closed, care will need to be taken joining the three parts without getting glue on the clear parts. The decals Scale master decals appear to be very nice. There's little in the way of colour due to the schemes supplied, but they are printed very sharply. The squadron emblems are very fine indeed and the stencil lettering can be read despite the very small size. The two schemes are: Aircraft 155483 - US Marine Corps - experimental paint scheme used on an OV-10D USAAF - 27th Tactical Air Support Squadron, George AFB, California Conclusion This is a very basic kit that's showing its age where the main sprues are concerned. It's comparable to the early Airfix kits in terms of its simplicity and surface detailing, although the clear parts and the decals are rather nice. It's a great beginner's kit, but if accuracy is important, most notably the tail boom positions, then you have some decisions to make as discussed in the review. If you really have to build a Bronco, then it's your only choice in town. For this reason, we should congratulate Testors, they have a niche and if the demand is there, then credit to them for supplying the need.
  16. Hi I am hoping for some advice. I recently bought a 1/9th scale Testors Harley Davidson FXSTC softail from Ebay. Unfortunately the tyres are missing. I've contacted Testors and Italeri but neither has any replacement tyres. Does anyone know where I might be able to get some 1/9th scale tyres for this model or how I might be able to replace them? Many thanks if anyone can offer any advice Danyel
  17. Has anyone built the Testors Concorde? a bit smaller than 1/72. I made two many years ago, restored both, yet to finish decals. They have a very short tail cone, which I noticed after I painted them wondering why they would have short tails. I never saw photo of a short tail cone.
  18. Me Hearties, C'est Fin! My Curtiss Racer R3X-2. A 1:48 scale Testors kit, it bears a fictional colour scheme. I think it suits the beast well though. Also my first serious attempt at interstrut rigging. Arf! Cheers for looking. ~M~
  19. I'm having a bit of a modelling sabatical at the moment, not a crisis of faith but just felt the need for a short break. That said, I have just finished a Testors 1/32 Kamen Husky that I picked up for a tenner at the excellent little shop at NELSAM in Sunderland. It's standard 70s fare, oversized rivets and minimal detail but presented no great challenge. There was a bit of warpage and flash but nothing you wouldn't expect on a kit this age. I had to do a bit of scratchbuilding to cover up some of the more obvious deficiencies but for the most part it's built OOB. Cheers, Liam
  20. I've been using Testors RLM colours in enamel. I love the colours and they spray well when thinned with Testors enamel thinner. BUT....I've found that even after a couple of days the paint can rub off when handling the model. Anyone else experience this? Any possible reasons??? Cheers Bruce
  21. I've had this old Testors kit kicking around the stash for ages. I bought it with the intention of building it which kept me from selling it when they were going for 250+ on Ebay because I thought, pffft, who's going to bring out another kit of this ugly looking tractor...hmm Dragon apparently. So since I passed up the chance to make a stonking great profit, I might as well build it. I have made some modifications. I left out most of the glass as looking at pictures these were either destroyed or removed anyway, I took the tools away from the back of the cab and I replaced the horrendous hard rubber tracks in the kit with some workable links from ModelKasten. All the stuff in the back came from the spares box along with the MP-40 holder in the cabin. To this, I added an Italeri ZIS-3 76mm anti tank gun. These weapons were captured by the hundreds and the Germans would often put them straight back into service, with some weapons being modified to fire German 75mm ammunition. For it's age the gun is pretty good and went together with minimal work.
  22. I purchased a set of testors acrylic paints a while back. I have used one of the paints - Metallic Silver with code number of 1921575 on my klatest build. I am just about to run out, and can't seem to find this paint as an individual pot. I can only find it in the set, which of course, is about $14, and I haven't touched most of the other colors in the set, so I am going to end up with duplicate colors that will never get used. Does anyone know if Testors offer this particular silver in any other format?
  23. This thread will be about the Testors classic SNJ Texan, originally a kit from Hawk. The main reason I went for this kit is that it reminds me of my Top-Flite AT-6 Texan. My main hobby is R/C flying and so the plastic kit building is secondary and mostly a winter activity (not very often good flying conditions in Norway in the wintertime. Dark, cold, wet, windy. Sounds nice, hmm?) Pics of the inspiration: Here is the Testor kit: Onepiece wing, benches instead of seats, quite charming actually.The fit is not bad but i used some filler on the wing and tail + the holes for the landing gear. I will do it gear up. Progress so far:
  24. F8F Grumman Bearcat 1:48 Testors The story is that the Grumman Bearcat concept came about during a meeting between US Navy Battle of Midway veteran pilots and the then Grumman Vice President Jake Swirbul. Here it was made clear that power and climb rate were important to the pilots. Grumman then spent some time (approx 18 months) analysing carrier warfare in the Pacific before designing the F8F Bearcat. The specifications for the Bearcat called for it to be able to be operated from the smallest carriers, and to retain the P&W R-2800 engine. The big prop for the engine (measuring 12 4) would require a long landing gear, in order to achieve this the undercarriage used an articulated hydraulic trunion which extended the length of the legs. Additional benefits of this was that when retracted the legs would be housed entirely in the wing, and the wide track helped counteract torque as well as proving a more stable platform for carrier operations. In order to save weight internal fuel was limited to 160 gallons, and armament was only 4 x 50 calibre machine guns. One unique weight saving concept tried on the bearcat was detachable wing tips. If G force was to exceed 7.5g then the tips would snap off still leaving the aircraft capable of flight, and a carrier landing. Unfortunately while this idea worked under controlled conditions, operationally it was a failure. This lead to situations where by only one tip would come off leading to the possibility of a crash. Grumman tried replacing the tips with ones which could be jettisoned by explosives. This system was stopped after the tragic death of a ground crewman after the tips blew off accidently. The Bearcat was also the first US Navy aircraft to feature a bubble canopy giving the pilot an unrestricted 360 degree view. The first production bearcats were delivered in February 1945, with VF-19 going operational in May 1945. However no Bearcat saw any combat in WWII. The first combat would have to wait until 1951 when French Forces were supplied Bearcats for the war in Indochina. When the French left in 1954 28 Bearcats were handed over to the newly formed South Vietnamese Air Force. Another operator in the same area at this time was the Royal Thai Air Force. A production bearcat would set in 1946 a time-to-climb record of 10,000 feet in 94 seconds from a 115ft take off. This would stand for 10 years before being broken by a modern jet aircraft. Due to the excellent performance of the Bearcat they became a popular aircraft for air racing. Stock as well as highly modified Bearcats would dominate the races at Reno for a long time after the aircraft were retired by the military. The Bearcat Conquest I broke the world speed record for Class C-1 with a 3KM record speed of 483.041 MPH. This aircraft now proudly rests in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. The Bear cat Rare Bear which was modified with a Skyradier engine set world speed record for Class C-1 with a 3KM record speed of 528.33 MPH in 1989 and broke the 1946 time-to-climb record with 3000m (9842 ft) being reached in 91.9 seconds in 1972. The Kit The kit is a re-boxing of an old Hawk kit from the 1960's. As such it is the technology of the time. You get a plastic bag with an assortment of parts in grey plastic. Details are a strange mix of recessed panel lines on the fuselage, raised panel lines on the wings, with recessed areas for the flight controls. The fabric areas for the control surfaces are actually very well done and restrained. Construction is fairly simple as too be honest there are not a great deal of parts. The instructions would have the modeller first complete the sub assemblies of the drop tanks, bomb, pilots seat, propeller/cowling and wings. Next the fuselage is joined together incorporating the very basic cockpit (a floor and seat).There then seems to be a step missing from the basic instructions as step 3 shows the canopy being added. Between step 2 and 3 say step 2a the modeller will have to add the wongs and completed cowling to the fuselage. To then finish off the landing gear and underwing stores are added. Colour call outs throughout are given in FS numbers and Testors own brand numbers. Canopy The clear parts are a little thick, but seem fairly clear. In this kit they were just inside the bag with all the other parts so that the canopy became detached from the sprue leaving a chunk missing. Decals The decals for the kit are good. They are by Scalemaster and printed by Microscale. They look good solid decals, in register and glossy. Markings are for two aircraft. The First is a Bearcat F8F-2 used by the Naval air Reserve at Glenview IL in 1953. This aicraft features the orange tailband as used on Naval Reserve aircraft at the time, this will need to be painted by the modeller. The second is a civilian version of the bearcat, a G-58A Gulfhawk. Markings are for an overall orange aircraft flown by Major Al Williams. To make this version the modeller will need to make some minor modifications to the kit. These modifications are detailed in the instructions. Conclusion Even though its in no doubt that there are more modern and better kits of the Bearcat out there; with some degree of modelling skill this kit should be able to be made into a good looking model. The addition of decals to make a Gulfhawk is a nice touch. Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for
  25. Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Razorback/Bubble Top 1:48 Testors The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was the Largest heaviest, and most expensive single piston engined aircraft used in WWII. When the airframe was combined with the massive Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, eight 50 Calibre machine guns, ammunition & fuel it weighed in at over 8 tons. It could carry an impressive 2500Lb bomb load (half that of a B-17), 5" rockets could also be carried. While it was an effective medium range escort fighter, the Thunderbolt really came into its own as a fighter bomber in both the Pacific and European areas of operation. The P-47 would be used in WWII by the USAAC, The RAF, French, and Russian forces. In addition Brazilian and Mexican units fighting with the US were equipped with P-47s. After WWII the P-47 would go onto serve in a considerable number of Air Forces, including; Brazil, Mexico, Peru, The Dominican Republic and Yugoslavia. In fact many of the surviving P-47s came back from Peru and Yugoslavia. Republic designer Alexander Kartveli designed the P-47 as a successor to the P-35. As far back as 1939 Republic designed the AP-4 powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1830 with a belly mounted turbocharger. This became the P-43. While working on the P-43 a more powerful version called the AP-10 (Later XP-47) was being considered which was more lightweight with an Allison engine. As the war in Europe progressed both Republic and the USAAC realised that both of these designs were inferior to current German fighters. Republic initially tried to improve the XP-47 which did not come to fruition. Kartveli then came up with an all new and larger fighter which was designated the XP-47B. The new aircraft was of an all metal construction (except fabric tail surfaces), would have elliptical wings. The cockpit was designed to be large and roomy. Power was to come from the P & W R-2800 Double wasp. This engine was to have be a two row 18 cylinder radial devolving 2,000hp. This would be fed from a turbo supercharger system in the fuselage. Refinements of the original design led to the P-47D. This was to be the most produced variant with over 1200 being built. Improvements for the D were; adding more engine cooling flaps at the rear of the cowl to reduce overheating, as well as refinement to the oil, hydraulic and fuel systems. Additional armour was also added for the pilot which would prove useful in the ground attack role. Fuel capacity was also increased, and the bomb racks were made wet to accept additional jettisonable fuel tanks. Upto this point all the aircraft made had been of the Razorback canopy style with the tall spine behind. This limited vision for the pilot. Following on from other aircraft such as the P-51D & later marks of Spitfire, plus the Hawker Typhoon, it was seen that the Bubble canopy was the future for aircraft design. It was found that cutting down the rear fuselage to accommodate the new style canopy resulted in yaw instability. Republic introduced a dorsal fin fillet in running from the radio aerial to vertical tail. As well as being fitted in the factory this was also retrofitted in the field. The last Thunderbolt (a P-47N) was built in October 1945. The Kit The kit is a re-boxing of an old Hawk kit from the 1960's. As such it is the technology of the time. You get a plastic bag with an assortment of parts in grey plastic, and one sprue of black plastic. Details are a mix of mainly raised panel lines with recessed areas for the flight controls. There is a little flash present but on the whole the parts are pretty well moulded fir the time. Construction is fairly simple as too be honest there are not a great deal of parts. The instructions would have the modeller first complete the sub assemblies of the drop tanks, bombs, pilots seat, propeller hub; and landing gear. Next the fuselage is joined together incorporating the very basic cockpit (a floor and seat). Next step is to complete the engine cowling, construct the propeller from separate blades, and complete the engine. Following this the wings need to be completed. The landing gear is added at this time, as seems to be case with a lot of early kits. Following completion of the wings, the completed wings and engine/cowling are added to the fuselage. Following completion of this the appropriate top (Razorback, or bubble top) needs to be added, although I am sure many modellers would do this before adding the wings. Final assembly then consists adding the drop tanks, bomb, and landing gear doors. Colour call outs throughout are given in FS numbers and Testors own brand numbers. Canopy Or should that be canopies as you get both types. They are a little thick but they are well moulded. The modeller should have no problem masking the frame lines. For the bubble top canopy a separate injection bottom part is provided so you wont have to mask this off. Decals The decals for the kit are good. They are by Scalemaster and printed by Microscale. They look good solid decals, in register and glossy. Markings are for two aircraft. The first is a Razorback aircraft from the Famous first and only Black Army Air Corps unit; The Red Tails. This aircraft is natural metal finish with yellow wing bands,and of course a red tail! It was with such aircraft that the 302 Fighter Squadron became the only unit ever to sink a German Destroyer with machine gun fire in Trieste Harbour in 1944. The Second aircraft is the Tiger Stiped camo aircraft of Top USAAF Ace Col. F Gabreski. This aircraft features invasion stripes which the modeller will have to paint. Conclusion Even though its in no doubt that there are more modern and better kits of the P-47 out there; with some degree of modelling skill this kit should be able to be made into a good looking P-47 model. Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for
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