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Republic RF-84F Thunderflash - 1:48 TanModel


Julien
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Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
1:48 TanModel


box.jpg


The Republic F-84F was essentially a new aircraft, however due to budget issues it was promoted as a development of the straight winged F-84E. The original XF-96A was the last F-84E fitted with a swept wing but it was found that performance over the straight winged airframe was marginal at best. However at the time it was ordered into production with the hope that the J65 engine (a licence built Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire) would improve performance. Adoption of this engine saw the fuselage stretched vertically creating an oval cross section. Production was slow and encountered many difficulties resulting from the idea the airframe was a development of the F-84E. In reality only 15% of the tooling was the same. Spar production was also delayed as the available machinery was being used for B-47 spars which were given priority. Despite production starting on 1952 the aircraft was not declared operational until 1954.

Like many aircraft of the period it was decided to make a dedicated reconnaissance version of the aircraft. This was to be the RF-84 with the Thunderstreak name changed to the apt Thunderflash. The main difference n the airframe was that as Cameras were to be carried in the nose the air intakes were re-located tot he inner wing roots on either side. The aircraft retained the four wing mounted guns of the F-84F with the ability to carry up to 15 cameras. Computerised controls were introduced to adjust the cameras for light, speed and altitude setting with a periscope giving the pilot a better view of the target. A voice recorder was added in order that the pilot could add observations to the visual imagery. The RF-84F suffered the same production problems as the F-84F and as such did not enter service until 1954, it was retired from front line service in 1957 being replaced by the Voodoo. The aircraft did enter Air National Guard service before being retired from the US inventory in 1972.

715 RF-84F would eventually be made by Republic. The majority of these would be supplied to NATO countries under the Mutual Assistance Program. They were operated by Belgium, Denmark, West Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and Turkey. In fact the last aircraft used were only retired by The Hellenic Air Force in 1991.


The Kit
This is a new venture into 1/48 scale kits by TanModel following their inaugural 1/72 HURKUS-A kit. The kit arrives on 4 main spures of light grey plastic, a small supplemental sprue; and 2 clear sprues. Overall the quality is a on a par with other mainstream companies. Panel lines are recessed and rivet detail is restrained. A full colour CAD drawn instruction manual is provided, with a smaller booklet covering the decal options. In this boxing there is a colour poster of the decal options and a mouse mat depicting an airfield taxiway, though these two items are only available in the initial boxings.

sp1.JPG


Construction starts conventionally enough with the cockpit. The ejection seat is the first thing to be made up. This consists of 8 parts which give a realistic version of the real seat used in these aircraft. The rear part of the seat and the seat rails are attached to the rear cockpit bulkhead. The main cockpit tub features moulded on side consoles along with inserts. The two part main instrument panel is made up and added, along with separate rudder pedals and the control column. Once the tub is made up and the seat installed this can be set aside for later.

sp2.JPG


The next stage is to make up the air intake and jet exhaust. The intake is full depth upto the main engine fan which is provided in two parts to give a good depth to the plastic parts and provide a good looking part for those that want to peer down. The exhaust duct has then engine part at the correct depth with a tube leading up to the single part nozzle. Once made these two parts are set aside for later as well.

sp4.JPG


The next area to receive the modellers attention is the forward camera compartment, this is after all the Thunderflash! Tanmodel seem to have done a very good job of the camera compartment. All of the main cameras are included. There are a lot of parts for the downward facing camera on the rear bulkhead, downward camera in the front of the nose, the three oblique cameras, and the forward facing camera. Care taken in this area will pay off for the modeller with all the detail available. Some of this detail will be seen normally through the camera windows and the kit does give the modeller the opportunity to open up these compartments. The Main fuselage halves are done with the compartments closed for those modellers who don't want to display them open, but they can be cut open and separate covers with their hinges are provided to model them in the open position. With all the detail in there I can see many modellers opening theses compartments up.

sp5.JPG


Next up construction moves to the main fuselage. Some detail parts are added to the forward camera bays, and the top of the bays are cut open if the modeller wishes this. Next up the cockpit, intake, exhaust and camera bay sub-assemblies are put into the fuselage. Once these are all in it can be closed up. Once the main fuselage is closed up the external (but internal to the wing) intakes can be added, along with the boundary air separation plates. The instrument area under the front canopy with the Head up display is made up and added at this stage.

sp6.JPG


Next up for construction are the wings. These are of conventional upper and lower in the main, with the main gear well being trapped between the two. A good touch is that the air intake in the wing root is moulded as a separate part thus the modeller does not have a seam to deal with. The flaps and ailerons are separate parts and can be posed as needed. The wings can now be added along with the tailplanes and the separate rudder.

sp3.JPG


sp7.JPG


The next area of attention for the modeller is the canopy. Another good point for TanModel here is that separate canopies are provided for the open and closed option. A single part canopy is provided if the modeller wishes it closed. If modelling the canopy open then a good job has been made of the complicated canopy mechanism the F-84 had. Next up the wing fences are added, the rear airbrakes, camera compartment covers (if building them open) and all the camera windows are put in place.

sp10.JPG


The undercarriage now needs to be tackled. It is noted that for all wheels the tyres and hubs are separate parts which should make painting them so much easier! I for one hate this part of detail painting so thanks for this :) The front leg and its retraction strut are a one part moulding. The scissor part is then added. The tyre is added to the hub. The FOD guard for the front wheel can then be attached around the wheel assembly. The front leg can then be attached along with the front main bay doors. Each main wheel consists of the main leg, small detail part, with the wheel hub and tyre again being separate parts. The main gear legs incorporate the one part of the door. The other two door parts are added onto the bays. Lastly for construction the underwing pylons and their tanks are made up and fitted.

Clear Parts
The kit contains one sprue for the canopy parts and another for the other clear parts such as the camera windows. The parts are well moulded and clear. As mentioned it is good that two types of main canopy are provided depending on whether the modeller would like the canopy open or not.

sp8.JPG.sp9.JPG


Decals
There is a large decal sheet in the box, but no details of who printed them. The decals are glossy and with minimal carrier film. There are a couple of issues. The original French roundels are incorrect and these come on a separate sheet. The German flag markings are out of register on both the main sheet and the supplemental sheets, and will need to be trimmed up if used. The Blue in the USAF Stars & Bars appears too light. The clarity and depth of colour is not as good as some I have seen, however none of these are insurmountable issues. The decal sheet provides 5 sets of markings for the diverse users of the aircraft.
  • Turkish Air Force; N7450, 114 Filo 1st AB, Turk Hava Kuvvetlen, Turkey 1965-1972.
  • USAFE; 52-7292, 32nd Tactical Recon Sqn, Spangdahlem AB, West Germany 1955-1958.
  • Luftwaffe; 53-7688, EA-244, Aufklarungsgeschwader 51 "Immelman", Erling AB, West Germany 1959.
  • Italian Air Force, 27394, 3-44, 123 Gruppo 3 Aerobrigata, Villafranca AB, Italy 1968.
  • Armée de l'air 27300, 33-CP. ER 4/33 "Belfort" RAF Akrotiri 1954 (With Suez Stripes).
  • Hellenic Air Force, 28736, No.338 Mira, Larissa AB, Crete 1972.
  • US Air National Guard, 52-7367. 171st Tactical Recon Sqn. Detroit AB, Michigan, 1968.
  • Royal Netherlands Air Force, 51-27233, TP-6/P-4. No.306 Recon Sqn, RAF Laarbruch/Deelan AB, 1961.

decal01.jpg


decal02.jpg


Conclusion
We have waited a while for the this kit from TanModel but it has been worth it. A new tool Thunderflash is well overdue. Despite its limited service in the USAF the aircraft was used by many NATO air arms so we have quite a few options open to us as modellers. With this as the first 1/48th release we look forward to what TanModel brings us next. Highly recommended.



Review sample courtesy of
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Distributed in the UK by logo.png

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Nice review Julien, I'm looking forward to mine turning up any day soon.

I know I've said it before but we could do with one of these to this standard in 1/72nd. After that, what about an F-84F Thunderstreak to this standard in 1/48th (and 1/72nd naturally)!

Wez

Edited by Wez
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Thanks for the review! Good news then. I'm hoping for a 1/72 kit too. Perhaps their work on the 72nd Buccaneer and subsequent sales (crossing fingers) will persuade them... :pray:

Decals
There is a large decal sheet in the box, but no details of who printed them.

Not sure who printed them, but designed by Dutch Decals, as per Tanmodel's facebook.

Jay

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I dislike the mad riveting. They just added a riveted line along each panel lines, more or less like Italeri, the actual aircraft isn't this way:


pof_rf-84k-03.jpg


If it was to make this, I would have preferred if they didn't make any rivet at all...

Edited by Stanhauser
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There is a double rivet line (though not very visible) along the main panel lines? If you look between the F & S you can see the line with the rivets either side, and a rivet line on one side of the panel fasteners where they are. There is no "mad" riveting.

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It is not wrong, or sloppy I have the kit in front of me and the rivets and lines match the photo which I see has been lifted from cybermodeler.com, have you permission to do this?

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There seems to be an element of over-stating of "errors" which leaves me with the distinct feeling there's an axe to grind somewhere. I've looked at the picture and the kit, and those rivets are there on the real thing. What's sloppy about that? :shrug:

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What I see in the photo, guys, is different sets of rivets everywhere.

They have different sizes, different amount, different spaces between each other etc.

The kit, as far as I have seen on this review, has only continuous lines of small holes, equal everywhere.

Note that there are rivets in the middle of the panels too, not only at the side of the lines.

The surface of the aircraft is rich of texture, and the engineer who made the project of the kit simplified everything.


He has the right of doing this, I have the right of dislike it, and more so I have the right of telling my opinion.

The kit is nice, but I would preferred if the rivets representation had more finesse.


...and I am not asking the impossible, take a look on the new 1/48 Tornado from Revell , compare the rivets to pictures and you will see what is a well done job.

Edited by Stanhauser
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I dislike the mad riveting. They just added a riveted line along each panel lines, more or less like Italeri, the actual aircraft isn't this way:
If it was to make this, I would have preferred if they didn't make any rivet at all...
Note that there are rivets in the middle of the panels too, not only at the side of the lines.
The surface of the aircraft is rich of texture, and the engineer who made the project of the kit simplified everything.

So in two posts you've flipped to arguing for the exact opposite of what you were originally complaining about. That says a lot about your (dubious) motivation.

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I am not being dubious maybe I could have written it better:

I dislike the mad riveting (on the kit). They just added a riveted line along each panel lines (on the kit), more or less like Italeri, the actual aircraft isn't this way:
If it was to make this (on the kit), I would have preferred if they didn't make any rivet at all...
Note that there are rivets in the middle of the panels too (on the real aircraft), not only at the side of the lines.
The surface of the aircraft is rich of texture ( the real aircraft), and the engineer who made the project of the kit simplified everything.

Therefore:

The interpretation of the rivets on the kit surface isn't equal, doesn't match, what I see in the photo of the real aircraft.
I would prefer if they had made a better research on the real aircraft instead of applying a single line of holes parallel to each line on the kit.

I am sorry, better than that, only if I make you a drawing...

Edited by Stanhauser
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Concerning the rivet argument; I do not have a model in front of me but it would help if your argument for 'mad riveter ' was reinforced with good comparison picture. Secondly, despite our best intentions, ideal models populate only the Modeller's Heaven. :)

The original review had a pic of stb tail fuselage part that to my eye looks quite comparable to the prototype.

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It is not wrong, or sloppy I have the kit in front of me and the rivets and lines match the photo which I see has been lifted from cybermodeler.com, have you permission to do this?

Thanks for the review Julien. Reference the "rivets" are some of them not showing up in the pictures then? For example the panel on the fuselage in front of the intake, looks in the photo to have rivets around the edge of the panel, Dzus fasteners on the access panels within this panel and around the outside of these a set of rivet but no other rivets on the panel. Is this the case or are we not seeing the other rivets?

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Despite the recent fracas over the Blackbird/UMP distribution, there is no denying TanModel have produced not only an excellent kit, but a superb package on the whole. Scratching my head at the "rivet counters" though.

Tenuously related, having watched the UMP video review for the kit if there was one area where perhaps the likes of AMK could improve, it's in the quality of the images provided for the paint schemes. But this is really splitting hairs, the AMK drawings are detailed and functional enough as is and the kit as a whole is incredible, so I hope that statement is not take as a criticism, it's not meant as one. Looks like I picked a good time to come back to the hobby - some of the recent releases have been on a whole other level in terms of detail, fit and finish, etc, compared to what I put together when I was a kid.

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Despite the recent fracas over the Blackbird/UMP distribution, there is no denying TanModel have produced not only an excellent kit, but a superb package on the whole. Scratching my head at the "rivet counters" though.

Im not a rivet counter, I would rather of had no rivets on this kit, but some manufacturers nowadays seem to like to put a few rivets on there kits because it seems to be fashionable, which would be fine if skin panels were held on by their edges, but as it is, it just looks weird. I would rather manufacturers either leave the rivets off or add them so at least they have a believable pattern, they don't have to be that accurate.

I was just trying to confirm if that is the case with this kit so I know how much work I will have filling the rivets, it's not going to stop me buying this kit.

Edited by Tbolt
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