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F9F-8 & F9F8P Cougar - 1:48 Kitty Hawk


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F9F-8 & F9F8P Cougar
1:48 Kitty Hawk


The Grumman Cougar was a development of the companies F9F Panther. In most basic terms the Cougar had a swept wing to the Panther's straight wing. As the US Navy considered the Cougar to be a development of the Panther both had the same F9F designation with cougars starting at F9F-6.

The F9F-8 was to be the final fighter version of the Cougar. It had an 8" stretch in the fuselage and the wing was modified to have a greater area and chord. The wing improvements would give better low speed handling, a higher angle of attack, and increased fuel capacity. Other improvements would be ability to carry the new Sidewinder missile, and some were even made nuclear capable aircraft. A total of 601 were delivered to the US Navy.

In addition to the fighter versions the F9F-8 would be produced as a reconnaissance aircraft, this would be designated the F9F-8P. For these aircraft the nose would be lengthened by 12 inches to accommodate the camera equipment. All guns, the radar system and armament control equipment was deleted, and there was some re-arrangement of the panels in the cockpit to accommodate this, and the addition of camera controls. Additional ducting was provided to channel hot air from the engine to the camera bays. A total of 110 would be produced.

The Kit
The kit arrives in a fair sized box, inside which we find 4 sprues of grey plastic, two clear sprues (in their own box), a small photo-etched fret; and two sheets of decals. The four sprues of grey plastic are all bent double, so if you separate them you have eight. I wish they would not do this as there is potential for damage when they do it, and when you have to separate them. The details on parts are good, with engraved panel line detail. There is some flash on the sprues, but none on the parts. The sprues are quite large, and the sprue gates heaver than on other kits. Care will be needed removing especially the smaller parts. Construction starts as with most aircraft kits in the cockpit.


The first area of business is to make up the ejection seat. The kit provides both the Grumman seat and the Martin Baker Seat. Now there were two different types of headrest for the Grumman seat, and the MB seat used in the Cougar. There is no mention in the instructions which one to use, so the modeller will have to consult their references. Once the seat is made up it can be installed in the cockpit tub along with the control column and rudder pedals. The instrument panel and front bulkhead are also installed at this point. The instruments on the panel and side consoles are supplied as decals, or as photo etch parts. Two different decals are provided for the instrument panel however the instructions make no note of which one to use for which option. The rear decking, sidewalls and instrument shield are added to finish the cockpit off.


Construction then moves onto the front wheel well. This is built up from seven parts and the front landing gear is added (thought this will probably be left till later). The front gear is a two part leg with a conventional left/right tyre to build up. Once the wheel well is complete, this together with the cockpit can be added to the front fuselage and this closed up. The instructions then have you adding the front gear doors and airbrakes to this complete front section, though I suspect most modellers will leave these parts until much later on.


The next section deals with the construction of the fighter version nose. If making the photo-reconnaissance version then please skip to the next section. A very good rendition of the fighter nose is in the kit. The four 20mm cannon along with the ammunition containers are all provided in the kit. A lot of this detail will not actually be seen. The nose section can then be closed up around the cannon section and the nose mounted refuelling probe added.


If the modeller is going to make the photo-reconnaissance version then the next steps deal with making the camera bays. If making the fighter version then you have already made the fighter nose! The model comes with a quite comprehensive camera fit. The different cameras and equipment racks are built up and added to the camera nose section. The camera nose refuelling probe is also added. A lot more of the camera detail will be seen through the extensive glazing in the kit.


The appropriate nose can then be added to the completed front fuselage, and construction can start on the main body of the aircraft. The lower main body is a one art section ith left and right upper parts. The main wheel wells need to be built up and added to the lower section along with the arrestor hook. Parts are then added to the ends of the section where the wings join. These will the insides of the fuselage if the modeller wishes to have the wings folded. Even if the wings are straight then they need to be added as they stiffen the structure. The left & right upper parts can then be added. Construction then moves to the underside of the main body with the addition of the main landing gear. This is a one part main gear leg with a one part main wheel. These are added with a retraction strut. A tail bumper is also added at this point.


The construction now moves to the rear fuselage section.This is of conventional left & right construction. The three part exhaust needs to be made and installed before you can close the two halves up. The two part rudder and the tail planes are then added at this point. Once complete the the tail section is added to the complete main body. Once done it's time to turn your attention to the wings. These again are of a conventional upper & lower construction. There is a detailed end plate you need to add which like the main body part not only adds detail if you wish to fold the wings, but also provides some structural properties if you do not. Separate control surfaces are provided for the wings, and a photo-etched upper slat is provided.


Final construction steps are to add the wings, in either the folded or open position (note if closing them then there is a small tab which must be removed from the main body). Photo etch wing fences are also added at this point. The forward fuselage part can then be added to the rest of the main body. The canopy is added along with under wing pylons. Fuel tanks, early sidewinders, and rocket pods are available as underwing stores as needed by the modeller.

The kit comes with two canopy sprues. One for the fighter version, and one for the reconnaissance version. Both main canopies look the same so you effectively have a spare. The parts are of excellent quality, clear and distortion free.


A large and a small sheet of decals are included with the kit. Markings are provided for 3 fighter versions, and two photo-recon versions.
  • F9F-8 Of VF-61. Grey over White aircraft with large yellow side markings.
  • F9F-8 of VF-121. Overall Gloss Sea Blue aircraft with red markings.
  • F9F-9 of The US Navy Blue Angels Display Team.
  • F9F8P of VFP-61. Grey over White aircraft with some red detailing
  • F9F8P of VFP-61. Overall white aircraft with large high visibility red areas.



The decals are well printed, with no register issues and look colour dense. There are no markings for the intake lip areas including the thin white strip for the Overall white aircraft which will be difficult to mask. The main walk area on the wing is provided for only two of the decal options which seems a bit strange. Also the Yellow for the Blue Angles markings looks a little off.

It is great to see a new tool Cougar released, something some of us US Navy fans have been waiting for. It is also good news that this can be built as either the fighter or reconnaissance version. The instructions are lacking in a few places, however this does not detract from the kit. Recommended.

Review sample courtesy of logo.gif and available soon from major hobby shops

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Did you check if the stencils indicated your plane suffered from a very painful and quite often terminal disease?

Kitty Hawk Boodoo had pancreatic cancer...



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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a note on this model - the tailplanes will need their elevators re-scribing in or the existing "panel lines" deepening.

The tailplanes were variable incidence I believe, but not "all flying" ( like an F-4s) - so there still needs to be an elevator hinge line shown, with its balance outbound - see this pic of an -8T. Its the same on the -8 and 8P




[edited to provided clarification]

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The lines are there Jonners just very fine so they do not show up in the photos. The trim tabs are also there.

Hi Julien - I know - I have the model too - it's just they need to be a bit more pronounced I'd say, rather than panel-liney ( is that a word?)

Jonners - wondering if he should start his now to go with the FJ-3

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