Jump to content

As a result of the close-down of the UK by the British Government last night, we have made all the Buy/Sell areas read-only until we open back up again, so please have a look at the announcement linked here.

This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

PeterB

Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat

Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

As I should finish the last of my entries in the Nordic GB shortly, I will make a start on my "Electric Intruder" this week. To fill in whilst waiting for glue and paint to dry I have my Japanese cruiser Jintsu, but I thought I might put another "quick" build into the production queue as well.

 

Having built the Grumman F8F Bearcat in the Frog GB and the F9F Panther together with an F2H Banshee in the "Year I Was Born", I still have half a bottle of Gloss Sea Blue left so I thought I would use it on this-

DSC02616-crop

The Tigercat, like the Bearcat, is one of those planes which just missed out on the war and were soon replaced by jets, and so is a plane I was vaguely aware of but knew very little about for many years. Apparently Monogram first released this kit in 1965, but this is the 1975 re-boxing according to Scalemates and is probably the same as the one I saw in a model shop in Chester not long afterwards (the 1973 boxing is the same except for the French bit ). I did not buy it then - as ever I wished I had, and I eventually got one second hand from an auction site about 20 years ago so it has been gathering dust in my stash since then. It is typical of its time, a bit crude and lacking internal detail so I might make a few "improvements". Over the years the parts have come off their sprues and a couple of small pieces are missing but they can be replaced. The decs are very yellow and are currently getting the "in the window" treatment, but with the present lack of sun that could take a long time. However they too can be replaced relatively easily should the need arise.

 

Not sure when I will make a start on this but probably in the next couple of weeks.

 

See you then.

 

Pete

 

 

Edited by PeterB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the parts, or at least the main ones.

DSC02620

It is a bit of an odd kit. The main gear doors are moulded open as part of the engine nacelles so they clearly intend it to be built wheels down, but they also provide a stand. Not only that but they provide a small transparent strut which you can glue in the hole for the stand so you can display it on the wheels without adding a weight if you wish! They provide a decal for the instrument panel and centre console although they do not actually mould them in the kit. Checking the instructions on Scalemates for the only other Monogram kit I remember building, the P-51B of about the same date, I see the instructions say cut it out on the card and glue it into the cockpit as I suspected but they don't actually mention it in the instructions for the Tigercat. Lastly, they seem to assume you will not be painting the “Sea Blue” plastic, except for the wheels, legs, props and the like, and the canopy frames which the box top “picture of the actual model” shows a lighter blue – shades of Matchbox! Having said all that the panel lines, although raised are quite delicate and with a bit of work it could look reasonable – time will tell.

 

I said earlier I had very little knowledge of the plane for quite some time and even now I am not much better off – I have Putnam's books on US Navy Aircraft and on Grumman, Angelucci's book the American Fighter, and Squadron Signal's Tigercat in action, plus of course Wiki, so I have the general background, but details of the operation life are sketchy and at times contradictory so if anybody out there knows more by all means please let me know.

 

Basically it seems that having failed with their XF5F-1 Skyrocket and the Army equivalent XP50 in the late 1930's/1940 Grumman decided to have another go at a twin engined fighter/fighter bomber in response to an Army request in December 1940. and managed to get the USN interested as well. Although the Army subsequently dropped out, the Navy placed an order for the F7F in late June 1941, on the same day they ordered the F6F Hellcat, and therein lies one of the reasons that the Tigercat was very slow in development – Grumman were told to concentrate on building lots of Hellcats and the Tigercat was low priority. Although it took until 1943 for the choice of powerplant to be settled, the other main reason was that the Navy did not at that time have any carriers in service or building that could safely handle anything as large and heavy as the F7F, but were looking forward to the entry intro service of their new very large Midway Class which was still being designed. In reality, when the first F7F-1 flew in November 1943 the largest carriers available were the new Essex class, and according to the various sources I have it either failed Carrier Qualifications, or it passed but was not considered safe enough – take your pick. Not only was it rather too big for the Essex, but the combination of weight and landing speed was too much for the arrester gear on the carrier, the arrestor hook was inadequate as well, and there was concern about single engine performance, so the Marines used the 34 F7F-1 built from land bases, some if not all having a nose radar enabling them to be used as single seat night fighters also called F7F-1N.

 

This was followed by 65 two seat F7F-2N, though some apparently were modified back to single seaters, and one squadron of these night fighters belonging to VMF(N) -531 had reached Okinawa when the war ended. The main production version was the single seat F7F-3 with the larger vertical tail, as in this kit although a handful were modified to the F7F-3P photo version, and some , perhaps as many as 100, were modified to F3F-7N two seat night fighters which saw some success in the Korean war. Total F7F-3 production was 250 and a further 12 strengthened F7F-4N were produced and they at last were carrier qualified (just about), though all Tigercats mainly operated from land, with the odd carrier visit..

 

The Tigercat was retired after the end of the Korean war, although by that time many had already been converted to either target drones, or drone directors. Quite a few went into civilian hands, many for fire fighting. Like the Bearcat, it was another plane that almost made it but was just too late, and was soon replaced by jets - the Midway Class carriers also just missed the war too. The markings Monogram provide are for a Navy F7F-3 with the wartime “stars and bars” with no red stripe. I may end up changing it to a Marine plane with post war markings as I have virtually no pics of it as in the kit, and some sources say the large numbers on the cowlings were only used during delivery or transfer flights. Either way I would welcome any pics you have of the single seat F7F-3 so I can work out what to do.

 

Cheers

 

Pete

 

 

Edited by PeterB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found these in a digital copy of Monografie Lotnicze #1. There isn't much out there for good photos of F7F single seaters. I didn't include the captions as they're in Polish.

 

 

49557610341_552fd7e487_o.jpg

 

49557844812_b46ff73865_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

Chris

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dogsbody said:

I found these in a digital copy of Monografie Lotnicze #1. There isn't much out there for good photos of F7F single seaters. I didn't include the captions as they're in Polish.

 

 

49557610341_552fd7e487_o.jpg

 

49557844812_b46ff73865_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

Chris

 

 

Thanks Chris,

 

Same as on the kit box I see so perhaps it is correct after all. Those numbers do look rather crudely painted on the nacelles so maybe they were indeed only temporary.

 

I will keep digging.

 

Pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice choice Pete, you don’t see many of these built!

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, PeterB said:

Those numbers do look rather crudely painted on the nacelles so maybe they were indeed only temporary.

Delivery numbers from the factory, applied to be removed, it was a Grumman thing.  Eduard's Hellcat kit range includes them as options.  Dunno what kind of paint it was at 12" : 1' scale, I suspect something chalky or shoe-polishy.

 

Monogram has always liked their gear down, even when they include stands.

 

Starfighter makes a resin set or two for this kit.  I know one for gear wells, and maybe one for cockpit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is just possible to put enough weight in the nose and nacelles to keep if from tipping back when it’s sitting on its landing gear. On the other hand, there are pictures of the airplane sitting back with its nose in the air while parked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally forgot I had two of the AMT varieties in my stash.  Hmm, do one of them or stick with the Eduard F6F-3.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Tailspin Turtle said:

It is just possible to put enough weight in the nose and nacelles to keep if from tipping back when it’s sitting on its landing gear. On the other hand, there are pictures of the airplane sitting back with its nose in the air while parked.

Thanks TT,

 

I had a quick look at your website yesterday on the off chance you had something on the F7F, as it was very helpful with the F8F and F9F but not a subject you have covered it seems. Maybe a future subject for "Naval Fighters"?

 

Yes, I have seen pics of then nose up when unloaded - bit odd!

 

Cheers

 

Pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, PeterB said:

Thanks TT,

 

I had a quick look at your website yesterday on the off chance you had something on the F7F, as it was very helpful with the F8F and F9F but not a subject you have covered it seems. Maybe a future subject for "Naval Fighters"?

 

Yes, I have seen pics of then nose up when unloaded - bit odd!

 

Cheers

 

Pete

I actually have three blogs (four if you count the Superheat work-in-progress). See https://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2013/10/f7f-tigercat-shell-ejection-ports.html and https://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2016/11/grumman-f7f-tigercat-variations.html

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks TT.

 

Useful - will have to do a bit more checking on exactly what the F7F-3 was used for and by which units,

 

Pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I would make a start on this whilst waiting for paint to dry on a couple of other kits.

DSC02782-crop

As I mentioned earlier the kit cockpit consists of a pilot without a seat and an IP on the decal sheet which I gather I am meant to cut out complete with the card backing so I though I might improve it a little. I started off putting a bulkhead at the rear of the cockpit and adding a full length floor which doubles up as the roof of the nose wheel well. I have put a couple of small bulkheads in at either end of the well but can't box it in completely due to the various locating sockets for the leg. I have stuck the IP to a bit of thin plastic, and found a seat in the spares box. The plane itself was tail heavy and the kit even more so but hopefully the 20g of lead I have added should sort that without overstraining the legs - if not I could get some in the engine nacelles. Next I will add the seat, stick and some side consoles and try and get the IP in - the lower part angles to create a centre console I believe.

 

As you can see I initially painted the interior in green, but I now gather that the side walls above the consoles were black - easily fixed. The seat is probably completely wrong as I have no pics, and the rear bulkhead in the well probably should be further back as I suspect there were a pair of small doors behind the main one which are moulded in the closed position on the kit. I make absolutely no claims for accuracy but it is better than it was!

 

Cheers

 

Pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some nice enhancements to this golden oldie Pete.  It's a great looking aircraft too.

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/19/2020 at 5:52 PM, dogsbody said:

I found these in a digital copy of Monografie Lotnicze #1. There isn't much out there for good photos of F7F single seaters. I didn't include the captions as they're in Polish.

 

 

49557610341_552fd7e487_o.jpg

 

49557844812_b46ff73865_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

Chris

 

 

I have that photo of Tigercats on deck in the Warbirds book “36 Air War over the Pacific”.  The Caption reads “just to late for the war a squadron of Grumman F7F-2N Tigercats VMF(N)-533 sets out for the front on board USS Windham (CVE92) August 1945”.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unusual to see the drop tank moulded with the fuselage.

 

AW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Andwil said:

Unusual to see the drop tank moulded with the fuselage.

 

AW

Hi AW,

 

Yes it is, and like the radio aerial it is rather vulnerable - in fact the aerial had to be cut off last night before it got lost. The paper IP reminds me of my first Airfix Wellington - you had to cut the IP from the instruction sheet and it was printed in red!

 

Pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Andwil said:

Unusual to see the drop tank moulded with the fuselage.

 

AW

Yes - but one should consider putting some lead in the front end of it in addition to every other space forward of the main landing gear (engine nacelles, for two) to keep it from tail sitting - although there are pictures of the F7F with the tail bumper on the ground and the nose wheel in the air (sorry for the repeat).

Edited by Tailspin Turtle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 20/02/2020 at 15:44, Tailspin Turtle said:

It is just possible to put enough weight in the nose and nacelles to keep if from tipping back when it’s sitting on its landing gear. On the other hand, there are pictures of the airplane sitting back with its nose in the air while parked.

1553736399707-png.533332

 

I did at one point find a shot of one propped up with a 50 gal oil drum as well...  I'll add it if I find it..

PS found it

215996d1352863457t-1-48-f7f-2-2n-tigerca

 

@Tailspin Turtle  is this a F7F-2N?   Any idea of unit/location?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Hi Guys,

 

Yes 20g is nowhere near enough it seems, but the nose leg is rather fragile - the rear strut has already broken but I have reinforced it with piano wire.  I can get quite a bit of lead in the nacelles and cowlings so we will see if that works - if not I will fall back on the clear plastic strut Monogram provide as a "prop"! Bit of a pain - guess the "N" with the longer nose would be more "modeller friendly".

 

Cheers

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great choice of subject. I have its big brother (the HpH 1/32 uberkit) and it's one of the most handsome shapes in the sky. I wouldn't balk at using the strut, in the end I built the AMT version as an inflight pose because I just couldn't get enough weight in the front...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like it might be OK. With lead in the cowlings I have achieved neutral stability ie it will sit on the nosewheel but will not automatically do so if you push the tail down. I had this with the He 162 I built in the Frog GB last year, and when I painted and sprayed it I had to add more weight, so to avoid that I will add more lead to the cowlings - pics in the morning hopefully.

 

Cheers

 

Pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got back from "Pensioner's Happy Hour" at my local supermarket - quieter than I expected and most things in stock except Tinned Tomatoes and Corned Beef, Flour and Toilet Roll. If we follow the pattern of Italy, things should calm down once people realise there are no real shortages. One small benefit is that petrol is down to £1 a litre!

 

So, having glued the fuselage together I stuck on the wings and tail, and assembled the nacelles.

DSC02786-crop

As you can see it wants to be a tail sitter, so I have stuffed the engine cowlings with lead. Once they are on (taped initially), it sits on the nose wheel even if you push down on the tail - to a point. Should be ok even when the paint is on, though I will have to  think about reinforcing the joint between the nacelle and cowlings as they are ruddy heavy and there is not much contact surface to put glue on! I think I will try putting a pin on the the flat front surface of the nacelle to locate in the hole in the middle of the lead in the cowlings.

 

The fit was not too bad though a little filler was needed on the wing joints. I have used my pot of Xtracrylic Gloss Sea Blue for 3 previous builds and there is not a huge amount left, so I think I will use a hairy stick rather than my airbrush - it brushes on well with a big one, and I may not bother with priming as I want to keep the weight down as mentioned previously. Being gloss it also dispenses with the need for a gloss varnish coat before putting on the decs, which are currently taped to a window in the forlorn hope that the yellowing will be reduced. I expect I will have to resort to my decal stock for most if not all of them though.

 

Not a lot more to add - resin 50 cal in the wings, the pitot tube, canopy and the aerial, together with the props and the nose wheel door, so onwards and upwards!

 

Cheers

 

Pete

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The cowlings, canopy and nose wheel door are on and it is sitting on the nose wheel albeit a little reluctantly - the props are just a push fit for the moment.

DSC02790-crop

The kit instructions show the wheels and legs “silver” but other sources say they were Gloss Sea Blue, so I have gone with that, just painting the oleos silver. With most of the radial engined kits I have built over the years, the exhaust system consists of either of a large single pipe eg Fokker DXXI, two smaller pipes eg F4F Wildcat, or individual “ejector” stacks at the rear of the cowling eg Ki-84 Hayate aka Frank. However, from the F6F Hellcat onwards Grumman hid the stacks under the cowling – on both the F6F and the F8F Bearcat they exhaust through a “trough” in the fuselage at either side of the engine, but in the F7F there is no trough and the cowling stands slightly “proud” to form a lip. I did paint the pipes rust but forgot to take a pic before putting the cowlings on.

DSC02792-crop

I have had to lighten the pics but even so it is hard to see anything against the dark sea blue. In the above pic you can just about see the 2 x50 cal synchronised mg in the wing root, and 2 of the 4 x 20mm cannon under the nose. The lumps under the outer wing are the 8 “zero length” rockets launchers - there are no rockets in the kit however. With hindsight, the 50 cal muzzles are so close to the cockpit that I should probably have used barrels fitted with "flash hiders".

 

There is a small hole underneath the drop tank to take either the stand or the transparent support prop, and if it is still ok after the decs and varnish are on, I will fill and paint it.

 

I will pause for a while now to see how the decs come out - I have suitable "Stars and Bars" on various sheets, but the all have the dark blue part as well, unlike the kit ones which are just the white bits.

 

Cheers

 

Pete

 

Edited by PeterB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...