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Tamiya F4D-1 Skyray 1/48


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I’ve just finished this, the well-known 1/48 Ford from Tamiya.  The only addition is Superscale decals for VMF(AW)-115 - one of the units in the kit’s decals, but much nearer the end of their time flying the Skyray.  Well, that and a couple of rudimentary seatbelts, because the cockpit’s surprisingly sparse under that tall canopy.

F4D1

 

F4D2

 

 

I got aftermarket decals to do something a bit different, and it was a good thing I did, as it turned out the kit’s decals were shot.  They looked fine, but when I tried to use one of the walkways I found it just wouldn’t let go of the backing paper.  I did without - there seem to have been any number of approaches to walkways, including not having any at all.  I’ve not been having a lot of luck with Tamiya decals … but then, I do stow kits for an awfully long time before I get around to them.  This one’s a stripling - only 17 years old when I finally built it.

F4D3

 

F4D4

 

The kit itself is pretty good.  I came across the same little foibles as just about everyone has found: wing profiles that don’t match either side of the fold, and odd intakes with half a duct leading to an engine face attached to a bulkhead.  But you can batter the wings down, and you can barely see into the intakes.  My own discovery was that the windscreen wouldn’t sit properly on the nose: there seemed to be a bump at the front that held it away and wouldn’t respond to filing without removing some of the frame.  Formula 560 to the rescue! 

F4D5

 

F4D6

 

Also, a common feature of kits with automatic slats: it gives you a well to sit them in, instead of the flush fit at the trailing edge.  That lets you build it slats-in but isn’t so good slats-out.  But the fix is dead easy: a thin fillet of plastic card (or in my case yogurt pot) sanded flush does the job.  And you can even leave its forward edge untidy and ragged, as the slat hides it.  Other features of the kit are better, like the foolproof fin attachment and the neat handed pins so you don’t mix up the left and right tanks.

F4D7

 

The basic paint scheme is Halfords Appliance White and Humbrol 129 light gull gray (several coats).  I painted the intake lips as I had no confidence whatever that anyone’s decals would work.  And overall, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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There’s a soft spot in my heart for the Skyray, as the first aircraft model I ever built was the old Hawk kit, when I was 8 or 9 years old. Yours looks great! Well done, sir!

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