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Cutlass and Tiger, why no kits


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Remember, Kitty Hawk did the XF5U-1 flying pancake. So I think a poor service record or a lack thereof is not a barrier to creating a particular kit.  

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Kittyhawk's XF5U-1 might have been them probing the market to see what it would accept. Great idea and a novel aircraft. From the reviews I read, it was a kit that built well and that doesn't help make it sell well.

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Everybody has their little darling that they think is better than sliced bread. But limited service, limited schemes, no combat, and poor reputation are major strikes against the Tiger and Cutlass. It's easy to spend someone else's money on cutting a mold, and model companies clearly don't feel these are profitable subjects, and probably never will. Consider it good fortune that Fujimi did the Cutlass in 1/72. I'm amazed the Skyray got produced by Tamiya, but that is likely explained by it being someone high up in the company's pet, and it didn't matter whether it would sell or not, like some of their other decisions. 

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9 hours ago, Asmodai said:

I'm amazed the Skyray got produced by Tamiya

I think it's the only aircraft kit made by a mainstream manufacturer that I'd never actually heard of.  In my monster History of US Naval Aviation it merits one tiny black and white photo.

 

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3 hours ago, Nev said:

I think it's the only aircraft kit made by a mainstream manufacturer that I'd never actually heard of.  In my monster History of US Naval Aviation it merits one tiny black and white photo.

 

It was a pretty decent airplane, another USN design that had a short service life, but an offshoot of the F4D, the F5D Skylancer, would have been an even more potent performer, had it gone into production; with the J-79 engine, it would have had outstanding performance! See the link to an article on the F5D. There is a Project X 1/72 vacform that was released by Maintrack years ago; I have one and it is an excellent kit of the F5D.  Thought you might enjoy reading about another obscure USN golden age jet! BTW, the Tamiya kit is an excellent one!

Mike

 

https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=260

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12 hours ago, Asmodai said:

Everybody has their little darling that they think is better than sliced bread. But limited service, limited schemes, no combat, and poor reputation are major strikes against the Tiger and Cutlass. It's easy to spend someone else's money on cutting a mold, and model companies clearly don't feel these are profitable subjects, and probably never will. Consider it good fortune that Fujimi did the Cutlass in 1/72. I'm amazed the Skyray got produced by Tamiya, but that is likely explained by it being someone high up in the company's pet, and it didn't matter whether it would sell or not, like some of their other decisions. 

The Cutlass may have had limited squadron service but it served with nine active fleet squadrons during it's time. The Tiger served with eight along with several advanced training squadrons and not to forget the Blue Angels. Did they serve long in front line service? No but several fighter designs from then had short front line fleet service lives. Banshee's, Cougars, Fury's, Demons and Skyrays all had relatively short front line service lives. From that period, only the Tiger and Cutlass have not had relatively recent, quality kits made of them.  I am a 50's NavAir fan so naturally I'd like to see them produced as kits. Nowadays with the older modelers pretty much dominating the purchasing of kits, new kits tend to make a quick hit sales wise shortly after release then a quick taper off. I would love to see what the sales figure are for the KH Fury. There were a lot of naysayers to the possibility of a kit before KH went ahead and did one.  

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1 hour ago, jpk said:

The Cutlass may have had limited squadron service but it served with nine active fleet squadrons during it's time. The Tiger served with eight along with several advanced training squadrons and not to forget the Blue Angels. Did they serve long in front line service? No but several fighter designs from then had short front line fleet service lives. Banshee's, Cougars, Fury's, Demons and Skyrays all had relatively short front line service lives. From that period, only the Tiger and Cutlass have not had relatively recent, quality kits made of them.  I am a 50's NavAir fan so naturally I'd like to see them produced as kits. Nowadays with the older modelers pretty much dominating the purchasing of kits, new kits tend to make a quick hit sales wise shortly after release then a quick taper off. I would love to see what the sales figure are for the KH Fury. There were a lot of naysayers to the possibility of a kit before KH went ahead and did one.  

You continue to make the case better than I did  why- they filled some space for a few years in an era where lots of planes did, then were discarded as quickly as possible. 'I am a fan of 50s Navair' clouds your economic perspective greatly. If it hasn't happened in 60+ years of plastic models, there's a reason. I don't seriously remember any naysayers on the Fury 🤣 . Sabres sell!!! The naysayers were worried it would be another Kitty Hawk pile of 🤮💩

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3 hours ago, 72modeler said:

It was a pretty decent airplane, another USN design that had a short service life, but an offshoot of the F4D, the F5D Skylancer, would have been an even more potent performer, had it gone into production; with the J-79 engine, it would have had outstanding performance! See the link to an article on the F5D. There is a Project X 1/72 vacform that was released by Maintrack years ago; I have one and it is an excellent kit of the F5D.  Thought you might enjoy reading about another obscure USN golden age jet! BTW, the Tamiya kit is an excellent one!

Mike

 

https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=260

I have actually built the Tamiya kit.  I did it in USN Test Pilots School markings.  According the decal sheet, the TPS kept a Skyray in their fleet "to teach students how to fly an aircraft with poor handling characteristics" :D

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9 hours ago, Nev said:

I think it's the only aircraft kit made by a mainstream manufacturer that I'd never actually heard of.  In my monster History of US Naval Aviation it merits one tiny black and white photo.

 

Well the Skyray is rather well produced. Lindberg made it in 1/48 and Hawk/Testor made it 1/72. Airfix also made it in 1/72 and Tamiya in both 1/48 and 1/72...

 

Cheers / André 

Edited by Andre B
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2 hours ago, Andre B said:

Well the Skyray is rather well produced. Lindberg made it in 1/48 and Hawk/Testor made it 1/72. Airfix also made it in 1/72 and Tamiya in both 1/48 and 1/72...

 

Cheers / André 

Ooh! I built this one! Think I was  ten or eleven.

Mike

 

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/hawk-624-60-skyray-f4d-1--170618

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19 hours ago, Andre B said:

Well the Skyray is rather well produced. Lindberg made it in 1/48 and Hawk/Testor made it 1/72. Airfix also made it in 1/72 and Tamiya in both 1/48 and 1/72...

 

Cheers / André 

Well, I did say mainstream which excludes Lindberg and Hawk/Testor and I don't remember ever seeing an Airfix Skyray.  The Tamiya kit was the first time I ever remember coming across the aircraft.

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IMHO @jpkmakes some very good points and I feel that the actual place of these types in the history of aviation is sometimes misunderstood: yes, many early USN jet fighters had relatively short careers, but this does not necessarily mean that they were all bad designs. The biggest problem was that progress was so fast in those days that it only took a couple of years to make a new fighter obsolete. Sure some of these types suffered from certain problems and the sad story of the J40 engine affected a couple of them, but when viewed in the contest of early '50s aircraft development problems like these were not uncommon.

Several of these designs were also quite advanced for their days and sometimes this meant a lot of problems, The Cutlass is a good example, as first flew in 1948 and only entered service in a much redesigned form in 1954. To put things into perspective, this was the same year when the Sea Venom entered service... and there is quite a difference in design between these two types. A swept wing fighter had already entered service in 1952 in the USN, this being the Cougar. Again a type that is not really that famous but yet entered fleet service two years before the Hunter.. and then was replaced relatively quickly, at least in frontline service (but carried on for many years in other roles). Clearly with the advent of types like the Crusader most previous fighters had become obsolete and when a couple of years later the Phantom arrived there was little place for anything else.

Each of these types had their history, some were more and some less succesful. Their main "fault" however was to be quickly eclipsed by much superior types, in particular by two of the best carrierborne fighters ever built... and one of them was also one of the most important aircraft ever. With such competition, it would have been very difficult to stay in service for long. Had something like the Tiger been designed in Britain for the FAA, it would have probably served well into the mid '60s. With the USN having the resources to develop a large number of designs and continuously introducing more and more powerful types, it could never happen.

Edited by Giorgio N
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Yes, I've often wondered why such enigmatic types such as the Tiger and Cutlass, and indeed the Cougar, have been either poorly produced, or ignored by the mainstream Manufacturers. The Tiger served for years with the Blue Angels, and would be so straightforward to produce, and the Cutlass is so dramatic looking regardless. And a good Cougar goes wanting, the KH kit notwithstanding. Limited colour schemes someone mentioned, but look at the Sea-Vixen!  1/48 scale awaits these types!!

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On 29/03/2020 at 18:26, Nev said:

Well, I did say mainstream which excludes Lindberg and Hawk/Testor and I don't remember ever seeing an Airfix Skyray.  The Tamiya kit was the first time I ever remember coming across the aircraft.

This is an Airfix Skyray...

 

Skyray-D.jpgSkyray-G-JPG.jpg

Edited by AV O
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3 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

IMHO @jpkmakes some very good points and I feel that the actual place of these types in the history of aviation is sometimes misunderstood: yes, many early USN jet fighters had relatively short careers, but this does not necessarily mean that they were all bad designs. The biggest problem was that progress was so fast in those days that it only took a couple of years to make a new fighter obsolete. Sure some of these types suffered from certain problems and the sad story of the J40 engine affected a couple of them, but when viewed in the contest of early '50s aircraft development problems like these were not uncommon.

Several of these designs were also quite advanced for their days and sometimes this meant a lot of problems, The Cutlass is a good example, as first flew in 1948 and only entered service in a much redesigned form in 1954. To put things into perspective, this was the same year when the Sea Venom entered service... and there is quite a difference in design between these two types. A swept wing fighter had already entered service in 1952 in the USN, this being the Cougar. Again a type that is not really that famous but yet entered fleet service two years before the Hunter.. and then was replaced relatively quickly, at least in frontline service (but carried on for many years in other roles). Clearly with the advent of types like the Crusader most previous fighters had become obsolete and when a couple of years later the Phantom arrived there was little place for anything else.

Each of these types had their history, some were more and some less succesful. Their main "fault" however was to be quickly eclipsed by much superior types, in particular by two of the best carrierborne fighters ever built... and one of them was also one of the most important aircraft ever. With such competition, it would have been very difficult to stay in service for long. Had something like the Tiger been designed in Britain for the FAA, it would have probably served well into the mid '60s. With the USN having the resources to develop a large number of designs and continuously introducing more and more powerful types, it could never happen.

I would also like to add. The USN had the problem of operating a high performance jet fighter on to and off of the decks of their many WWII vintage Essex class carriers, which were not going away. They were 10 years old or less. The three Midway class ships were larger and stronger but the bulk of the carrier force was the Essex class. The designs had to work on those ships. The USAF had no such restrictions. Consequently a majority of their 50's designs lasted well into even the early 80's and beyond. So as for modeling, the late 50's on through the 70's & 80's saw a lot of USAF jet fighters modeled, not because they were particularly good but because they had been around for so long and had become familiar. Not until the Crusader followed by the Phantom did the USN have a high performance stable of fighters that could compete with land based counter parts.

 

It really pisses me off when people say those USN 50's designs were bad, no they weren't. In many ways they were more creative than the USAF designs because the navy fighters had to be able to operate throughout a much more restrictive flight envelope yet strive to be as good as their land based counterparts. 

Edited by jpk
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I've always been mildly puzzled that the Tiger didn't get more attention - perhaps a 1/48 Monogram kit when memories of the type as the mount for the Blue Angels were still fresh. There were just enough marking schemes for the type to allow for a Blue Angels plus a couple of other squadrons (I suspect inevitably, VF-21 with the shark/tiger mouth). 

As a very tongue-in-cheek aside, given the Tiger's issues with endurance, I'm slightly surprised that the RAF didn't buy it.... ('We want an aeroplane to complement the Lightning, but which is faster than the Hunter and carries missiles. Mmmm. Grumman F11. Supersonic. Four missiles. And preposterously short on endurance! Fits all our long-standing interceptor requirements! We'll buy 200!')

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On 3/29/2020 at 6:26 PM, Nev said:

Well, I did say mainstream which excludes Lindberg and Hawk/Testor and I don't remember ever seeing an Airfix Skyray.  The Tamiya kit was the first time I ever remember coming across the aircraft.

I feel Lindberg, Hawk and Testor was the first mainstream modelmakers. And that long before Tamiya, Hasegawa and Fujimi was knewn as modelmakers...

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Well, perhaps if Lockheed wasn't so, um, helpful in, um, enabling, F-104 procurements, Grumman's "Super Tiger" may well have done better...

Edited by dnl42
Grammar...
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On 3/27/2020 at 8:47 PM, SAT69 said:

Kittyhawk's XF5U-1 might have been them probing the market to see what it would accept. Great idea and a novel aircraft. From the reviews I read, it was a kit that built well and that doesn't help make it sell well.

Obviously the quirkiness of the subject was the point of making the kit. KH was hoping the unusual nature of the subject would be enough to generate sales and pay for creating the molds. The actual aircraft never flew but it did have some taxi tests.

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3 hours ago, Andre B said:

I feel Lindberg, Hawk and Testor was the first mainstream modelmakers. And that long before Tamiya, Hasegawa and Fujimi was knewn as modelmakers...

Back in the day, late 50's and 60's, Lindberg and HAWK were generally just as available as Monogram and Revell. I would consider both as mainstream manufacturers. This was several years before Testors, who at that time was a hobby paint company, acquired HAWK's molds and partnered with various other overseas model makers like Fujimi and Italeri.  

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9 hours ago, dnl42 said:

Well, perhaps if Lockheed wasn't so, um, helpful in, um, enabling, F-104 procurements, Grumman's "Super Tiger" may well have done better...

 

I doubt it. The Super Tiger was potentially a very interesting aircraft but remained mainly a light fighter and was not well suited to that strike mission that was an important part of the selection of the F-104 in NATO countries.

Said that, the Super Tiger could have been of great interest to countries that wanted a pure fighter. Japan was one of them and they looked into this type with great interest. With no US order however it would have been very, very difficult for Grumman to push their aircraft to any potential customer.

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Regarding the success of these types among the modelling industry, it may sound today that they had no success but this is not entirely true. There were for example two kits of the Tiger in the late '50s-early 60s, the well known Lindberg one in 1/48n scale and a slightly smaller Revell kit (1/54),

Same for the Cutlass, Lidberg did the F7U-1 in 1/48 and Revell the F7U-3 in some other "box scale" (IIRC 1/60 or so). Aurora also did a 1/70 kit in the same era.

Clearly today all these kits are obsolete and some are hard to find, but they were made in around the same time as these types were in service and therefore well known. And companies like Revell, Aurora, Lindberg, but also Hawk and later Testors were all mainstream manufacturers in those years. Some of them may be forgotten today in Europe but in the '60s they were as important in the USA as names like Airfix were in the UK.

Similar story for the "box scale" kits, today they are a funny chapter in the history of plastic models but in the '60s they were the norm for many American manufacturers. We're talking of an era when Monogram had not started making 1/48 kits yet and maybe the first American company to introduce a constant scale range was Lindberg.

Clearly with the time passing many of these types were then forgotten and we've seen very little, and probably nothing until recently in 1/48. But the same really applies to every "transitional" type: how many kits have we seen of types like the DH Hornet or the Attacker ? And even the Venom, that had a longer career than many, how many kits have appeared of these ? Frog did most of them and then there was nothing for decades. Had it not been for short run manufacturers like Special Hobby, there would have still been no decent kit of many British types of the '50s, and the same mostly applies to early USN jets.

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