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Testors F8F-2: my first Corsair


DMC
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My recent reading about the Vietnam helicopter air war led me from Hueys to the use of F8Fs by the French.  The Bearcat and I go back quite a long ways, back to the early 50s in fact.  A foggy memory prevents me from remembering exactly when and how I first became interested in them but I have an idea.  Back then there was very little, if any, reference material available for modellers so I expect I first saw one after we moved to Merrimack Park, next to NAS Norfolk, Va.  There was a spot near Mason's Creek where we could look across the creek and watch the planes take off and land.  If it flew and was military I must have seen it at one time or another, even blimps!   I used to, at the time but not now, read comic books.  The best were published by EC Comics and Frontline Combat and Two-fisted Tales were the ones I usually bought, for only ten cents.   Anyway,  such was my interest in the Bearcat that I wrote to EC and requested a piece on Bearcats operating off the Korean coast (the war was raging at the time).  Who knew?  I never heard from EC but that didn't quell my enthusiasm for the Bearcat and I eventually discovered that there was indeed a model kit to be had for the princely sum of $2.95, which was, to me, a fortune in those days. 

 

But more about that later.  Skip to the present and me pulling my two F8F kits, Testors and Hobbyboss,  from my modest stash and having a good old rummage through the boxes.  I had bought the Testors kit for next to nothing at a Duxford air show not long after I enlisted in BM.  I thought "well, I'll just give the Seasprite a bit of gardening leave and do a little work on the Testors kit", if I messed it up I'd not be out a lot of coin.  

 

The first order of business was to see about correcting the front cowling.  I had made a clay mould after I bought the kit with the idea that I might be able to plunge mould a new one.  But I didn't think plunge moulding would quite do it so I decided to go the vacuum forming route.  I had a small wooden gift box and a bit of perforated metal that I had intended to make into a rig that I could vac cowls, canopies and such like.   I put the rig together and had a go at vac forming a new cowling out of .040 styrene. 

 

Clockwise from top left:

 

Clay mould on the left and the Testors cowling

 

My mini vacuum forming rig

 

First pull, not bad, will work on any 1/48 kit

 

Second pull, pretty good, sharper definition.  I'm pleased with this

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

cc5785c5-6b32-40f3-8d00-235efbe67c9b.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

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14 hours ago, StealthBomber said:

I like the homemade vac forming rig. What are you using to heat the styrene?

Hi,

I use a beat up old toaster oven.  The dials have been worn clean so I use an egg timer to help with, well, the timing.  Also use an oven thermometer.   Vacuum source is a "Henry" shop vac.  Would like something with more suction but that's what I've got.  I understand a bicycle pump can be rigged up with a shop vac to provide additional suction.  Sort of two stage vacuum pump. 

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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Hello Dennis,

Is this the testors that is wrong ?

Can I bet that the HB one is good ?

I also have 2 testors and an HB...

And what's the problem with the cowling please ?

I thank you beforehand .

sincerely.

CC 

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22 minutes ago, corsaircorp said:

Hello Dennis,

Is this the testors that is wrong ?

Can I bet that the HB one is good ?

I also have 2 testors and an HB...

And what's the problem with the cowling please ?

I thank you beforehand .

sincerely.

CC 

Hi CC,

 

Ok, understand the following comments are just my take on the Testors kit, others may disagree.  I am, however basing them on an excellent set of plans that I stumbled upon.

The cowling is a little sharpish and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to correct it by sanding.

The engine is a bit simplified.  Resin replacements would do nicely.  (Get two F7F Tigercat replacements and save a little £.)

Working backwards, the cockpit is almost non-existent.

The vertical stab needs lengthening and widening.

Underneath, the wheel wells need detailing, as do the landing gear.

The wheels are a little on the thin side.  The Barracuda resin ones look pretty good.

 

There's more probably, just depends on how fussy you are about the details.  Having said all that, I like the kit.  The plastic is on the soft side (mine is anyway) and easy to work with and I really like cutting them up and "correcting" them. 

 

I'll add a couple of links that might interest you in a few minutes.  Must tend to supper now as I am the kitchen toto tonight.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

 

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43 minutes ago, corsaircorp said:

Is this the testors that is wrong ?

apparently the cowl ring is

https://modelingmadness.com/review/allies/us/jacksonf8f.htm

44 minutes ago, corsaircorp said:

Can I bet that the HB one is good

the Hobby Boss kit has a really thick wing

interesting thread on fixing the HB wing  here, along with more information.

ah,  I knew there was a kicker...

On 29/11/2011 at 22:22, Jon Kunac-Tabinor said:

Hi guys, after much work, I am reluctantly consigning this model to the "where are they now" file.

There is simply too much to put right, in my book, to justify effort and time on what I have now come to consider to be a classic modern paradox of model kit making: beautifully designed, well moulded, but abysmally researched and hopelessley inaccuate.

In short - my time to spend on the hobby I love is finite, and while I don't mind a bit of work, the more I have delved into this model, the more I find I need to do to make it look right. And I love Bearcats too.

I will not vent my spleen at the rank amatuerishness of the research that went into this kit, nor will I rail at the obvious contempt the kit maker must hold its customers in, to release a model so inaccurate as to be a joke of the sickest kind.

I will merely say that if you want a nice fitting, well detailed model of something that actually looks like a Bearcat, go and find the old Academy / Hobbycraft model and sand the cowling to shape. Invest a few quid in the eduard etch set and you'll have a pretty nice F8F.

I very rarely say this about any model, and for those that have it, and are enjoying the build, please forgive me for what I am about to say.

Accuracy wise this kit is total and utter pants. HobbyBoss should be pilloried from the highest battlement for what is in effect a rude pastiche of the real thing.

 

Neat vac former Dennis, hope the above is of  some use.

 

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Okay, kitchen duties over.

 

The following build by this Japanese gentleman features his observations on the F8F and a complete reworking of monogram's 1/72 kit.  There are also two sets of his own extensive drawings on the -1 and -2 which I have based  my comments on the Testor's and Hobbyboss kits on.   I have an enlarged set of the drawings in front of me as we speak and I'll start with the Hobbyboss kit.

 

The Hobbyboss -1 kit is a near perfect match with the drawings.  The much maligned cowling is a good match on the sides and underneath but, oddly, there appears to be a slight bump on the top which could be easily removed with a few swipes of some sandpaper.

 

The wings and empennage outlines are, again, a near perfect match.  There may be the difference of a pencil line width but, hey.

 

The wing root thickness, when compared with the drawings, matches very well.  After all, this airplane, with its stubby wings, needed thick wing roots for what it was designed to do.  Dogfight!

 

What's wrong with the wings, as Jonners has stated, are the valleys between the aileron and empennage ribs and the shallow and spurious detail of the wheel wells.   The valleys could be reduced by piling on the primer and sanding it down, or even by replacing them with ones from the Testors kit as they are a pretty good match.  They wheel wells need to be cut out and new ones scratched.  Or, replaced with resin ones if they are available.

 

If you have the Hobbyboss kit and have held off building it because of accuracy issues, just go ahead and build it.  It'll look like a Bearcat when your done.  Just don't look too closely

at the ailerons or pick it up and fret about the wheel wells

 

http://www.geocities.jp/yoyuso/f8f/f8fe.html

 

Some good shots, here, of, I assume, the first F8F being built.  There's a good head on shot about halfway down.  Check out the thickness of the wing roots. 

 

http://axis-and-allies-paintworks.com/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?4033.post

 

The Testors ki, a -2,t is also a pretty good match with the drawings, except for the cowling and vertical stab.  As the Japanese gentleman has stated, "t has a good atmosphere".

 

1 hour ago, Troy Smith said:

Neat vac former Dennis, hope the above is of  some use.

 

Thanks, Troy, and thanks for the links.  I've read Jonner's post and already have Jackson's Testors build bookmarked.

 

And thank you, Jonners, no offense meant.  It's just that I think the Hobbyboss kit is a pretty good one overall and undeserving of such harsh criticism. 

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jon Kunac-Tabinor said:

 

PS - meant to add theres some great recent research by Tommy Thomason about  the dash 1 and dash 2 windscreen shapes being different

 

Thanks, Jonners, already bookmarked and one of my favourite sites.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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I've been looking at building a French Indochina Bearcat in 1/48 too, and over at ARC the responses have been in favour of the Hobbycraft/Academy kit over the Hobby Boss, with very little mention of the Testors. I'm after a reasonably cheap build too and I'm thinking of getting an Academy kit (it and Hobby Boss are very close in price here).

 

That said, I do enjoy building old kits so I'm keen to follow along with your Testors build.

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12 hours ago, DMC said:

Okay, kitchen duties over.

 

The following build by this Japanese gentleman features his observations on the F8F and a complete reworking of monogram's 1/72 kit.  There are also two sets of his own extensive drawings on the -1 and -2 which I have based  my comments on the Testor's and Hobbyboss kits on.   I have an enlarged set of the drawings in front of me as we speak and I'll start with the Hobbyboss kit.

 

The Hobbyboss -1 kit is a near perfect match with the drawings.  The much maligned cowling is a good match on the sides and underneath but, oddly, there appears to be a slight bump on the top which could be easily removed with a few swipes of some sandpaper.

 

The wings and empennage outlines are, again, a near perfect match.  There may be the difference of a pencil line width but, hey.

 

The wing root thickness, when compared with the drawings, matches very well.  After all, this airplane, with its stubby wings, needed thick wing roots for what it was designed to do.  Dogfight!

 

What's wrong with the wings, as Jonners has stated, are the valleys between the aileron and empennage ribs and the shallow and spurious detail of the wheel wells.   The valleys could be reduced by piling on the primer and sanding it down, or even by replacing them with ones from the Testors kit as they are a pretty good match.  They wheel wells need to be cut out and new ones scratched.  Or, replaced with resin ones if they are available.

 

If you have the Hobbyboss kit and have held off building it because of accuracy issues, just go ahead and build it.  It'll look like a Bearcat when your done.  Just don't look too closely

at the ailerons or pick it up and fret about the wheel wells

 

http://www.geocities.jp/yoyuso/f8f/f8fe.html

 

Some good shots, here, of, I assume, the first F8F being built.  There's a good head on shot about halfway down.  Check out the thickness of the wing roots. 

 

http://axis-and-allies-paintworks.com/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?4033.post

 

The Testors ki, a -2,t is also a pretty good match with the drawings, except for the cowling and vertical stab.  As the Japanese gentleman has stated, "t has a good atmosphere".

 

 

Thanks, Troy, and thanks for the links.  I've read Jonner's post and already have Jackson's Testors build bookmarked.

 

And thank you, Jonners, no offense meant.  It's just that I think the Hobbyboss kit is a pretty good one overall and undeserving of such harsh criticism. 

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

 

 

 

Hi Dennis, no offence taken - but if you look at the pics in that second link - take a look at the position of the leading edge wing air intakes relative to the fuselage. They are much further outboard than either the Hobbyboss kit or the Japanese guy's drawings ( he's honest enough to state his drawing are based on photos "of existing aircraft taken from far enough and exactly right side") , and the wing thickness on the Hobbyboss kit is too thick ( I just pulled mine out again to treble check).   

Comparison to photos is one thing - but drawings based purely on photos, especially technically well done drawings- have a habit of appearing "correct" because the look official and "techy" and beautiful. I have a couple of sets of F8F plans - and neither are 100% correct when one looks at a photo or two.

I did a lot of research on the F8F when I was building the Academy / Hobbycraft model so I do stand by my opinions on this. It's not a deal breaker for the unconcerned modeller - it will just build into an F8F with thick wings - hardly anyone will notice as the F8F isnt that well known a shape.  The flap and aileron ribbiness is just pants though!

 

cheers

 

Jonners

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9 hours ago, k5054nz said:

I've been looking at building a French Indochina Bearcat

Hi Zac,

 

This, then, if you haven't already seen it, might be of interest to you.   It's the Testors kit with a few detail additions and a reworked stab back dated to a -1.   No mention of the dreaded  misshapen cowl.  Looks pretty good to me. 

 

My 'cat, should I ever finish it (my completion record is not very good), will have US Navy markings.  I only reconnected with the F8F after reading a little about French ones in Indochina.

 

Not sure about the Hobbycraft F8F  but I've read it has accuracy problems also.  See the link in Troy's reply above.  I expect I'll pick one up at Telford on Saturday just out of curiosity.

 

http://www.arcair.com/Gal6/5701-5800/gal5769-Bearcat-Reinbott/00.shtm

 

42 minutes ago, Jon Kunac-Tabinor said:

no offence taken

 

Good, I am a follower and admirer of you work and wouldn't want anything to sour the experience.  It would seem that none of the 1/48 F8F kits are without faults.  But as you say, they are perfectly acceptable for the "unconcerned", which probably describes the larger percentage of modellers.  For me they are not deal breakers, I just look at them as kits with a few problems that I can work on solving.  Which is what I like to do.

 

Taking your comments on board and no doubt more on the subject later.  Out for the day now.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

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After removing the excess styrene from the best of the two cowling pulls, I wasn't too happy with the look of it.  Too much of a blunt, bullnose appearance, I thought.  So, after adding a little more to the back of it and baking that on, I chucked it in my trusty Tamiya drill and reshaped it a bit and also enlarged the front opening somewhat.   After another pull I cleaned it up and fitted it to the larger part of the cowling.  A pretty good match and I won't be messing with the cowling anymore (but a spare might be useful in case of an accident).

 

Also, there is an oil cooler vent, underneath, on the aft end of the cowling.  On the kit it is blanked off and not very convincing.  I tried scraping an opening but it turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.  Rubbish effect, in fact.  So I just cut a bit out of the panel and replaced it with a width of beer can foil.  Much better now, really thin as it should be.  There are four braces to fit in the opening but I'm going to hold off on them for the time being.  There is a good picture of this vent on Tailhook Topics.  The link for that is in Jonner's reply above.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

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That was a very interesting article by Junpei Temma; Hadn't seen it before, and i always enjoy looking at his work.

 

Even the 72nd scale Monogram F8F, which was lauded for many years as having a "pretty good shape", comes up short in areas significant enough that Mr. Temma went Full Winchester on cutting up the fuselage and wings, as he often does.

 

But you can't argue with the end result.

 

-d-

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Dennis - don't know if these are useful - but here are pics of my Hobbycraft/Academy cowling, before & after the reshape

2C4uKnU.jpg

 

CIYBIDQ.jpg

 

7lQhsVW.jpg

and heres what I mean about the wing LE air intake - again these are on the  H/A model  - compare with the hobbyboss position.

 

hsccQrR.jpg

 

Cheers - and your cowling looks much better.

 

Jonners

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15 hours ago, David H said:

i always enjoy looking at his work.

As do I but when perusing his Home Page I find it hard to believe he made all the models  I don't know very much about his methods but surly some of those were made by contributors?  Or not?

 

11 hours ago, Jon Kunac-Tabinor said:

here are pics of my Hobbycraft/Academy cowling, before & after the reshape

Great stuff, Jon, are these from a WIP?  If so I'm wondering how I missed it?  Before I enlisted perhaps?

 

Pulled another couple of cowlings today.  The one in the above photo looked pretty good in shape but the depth looked a little shallow by about half a mil or so (I know, it's a curse). 

Got it this time, however,  and unless I step on it or do something equally stupid it's the one I'll use.  Also had a trail run with pulling a canopy and that looked promising.  I'll post photos tomorrow if the light looks good.  If not, it'll be after Telford.

 

The photo below is the best one I've found so far of the cowling in profile.  Had it for so long I've forgotten just who took it.  Happy to credit anyone who took it.

 

Cheers, and thanks again

 

Dennis

 

79676842-d6f2-4d04-a61e-cb0c4388f792.png

Edited by DMC
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The Testors canopy is a bit thick and the windshield is slanted as on the -1 rather than a -2, which is what the kit is.  So, referring to Temma's drawings and close up photos of the real thing, I shaped one out of clay and fit it to the fuselage.   It had that blown look that I was after so I vaced  it using opaque styrene rather than clear Pet-G.  Using white styrene gives me a better idea of the shape and fit.  The first pull wasn't too bad but there was a little webbing so I tried a second.  Much better the second time and after trimming, a pretty good fit. 

 

I've pulled several out of Pet-G and after some trouble with the oven temperature managed to get one that is usable.  I'll post photos later today.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis 

 

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I had a little trouble when I attempted a pull with the PET-G.  Small bubbles appeared in the first three or four attempts.  Finally, DOH, realized I might have the heat set too high and was practically boiling the plastic.  Tried a different thermometer and reset the heat.  Much better but didn't allow for the extra time needed.  An incomplete pull.  Sorted that and got a much better result.  Tricky business this vacuum forming.  I'm learning but also going through a bit of material doing so.

 

The cowling on the Bearcat goes from a shallow curve at the front to a definite peak at the windshield, and on into the cockpit.  The peak is commented on and shown in Mr Temma's build linked above.  The Testors cowling is more rounded at the windshield.  I tried to file a peak but had no luck with it so decided to insert a piece with the peak already formed.  I shaped a clay mould and pressed it into a rectangle of .030 styrene.  The result looks promising and I'll see about fitting it in later in the week (incommunicado for a few days).

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back after a few pleasant days in Cardiff.

 

Decided to go ahead with fitting the cowl insert  Rather than make the cuts on the panel lines I dropped them down a little into the next panel.  That way I won't have to re-scribe on a glue or filler line.  Could have fit the insert in one of three ways: split it down the middle and join the halves in the usual way;  fit it in after the cockpit was installed but sanding swarf and dust in cockpit not good;  fit it in and install the completed cockpit  through the cowl opening.  I had done a little work on the cockpit so after a trail fit chose the later option.

 

Also, the exhaust trough on the Testors' kit runs almost to the end of the panel.  On early photo examples that I've looked at it only runs about half way.  I could have tried to alter the kit troughs with filler but decided to see what I could do with a clay mould and a vacuum formed insert.  Not too bad and with a little sanding and fitting I think it will work out ok.  Not sure if I'll leave the LG wells as they are, just seeing if I could get away with saving myself a little work.  Having gone this far with it, I might as well just cut them open and do a proper job of it. 

 

Dennis

 

 

d6cbdf7f-b4a4-4b76-83e7-b6a365a96003.JPG

 

 

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12 hours ago, k5054nz said:

I have a second-hand homebuilt vac set I've never tried and the canopy posts have been quite informative.

 

Thank you, Zac, and good luck with the vacuum forming.  I've just made another platen, styrene rack, because on the first one the clips were preventing a good seal.  Sucking in a lot of air from underneath unless I got the platen placement spot on.

 

Based on Mr Temma's drawings, the Testors fuselage holds up very well.  The vertical stabilizer needs a bit of work but that's really about all.  Photo below not the best quality but couldn't get the light right.

 

Dennis

 

 

 

d386a0bb-f065-4ca7-9cef-1777251cab5f.JPG

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Ok, refined exhaust trough worked out well.  Looks more like the ones in the early photos.  Had a good "pull" for the one on the starboard side so that's another little mod taken care of.  I'm enjoying working on this kit.  The plastic is on the soft side and easy to carve and file.  To remove this panel I just drilled around the panel lines and connected the dots with one of those pointed razor saw blades then cleaned up the opening with a scalpel.

 

Dennis 

 

 

a3a16c29-625f-422a-b188-a25a23aae97c.JPG

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