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Minicraft 1/48 XF-5F Skyrocket

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As a first entry on this forum I’d like to present a model I recently finished: the 1/48 Minicraft Grumman XF-5F Skyrocket (Long-nosed version). I picked it up in a local hobbystore quite a few years ago, and after I had started with a few sub-assemblies for some reason it undeservedly moved to the ‘shelf of ignored projects’ for the next couple of years. It’s a model I hardly ever see built, and the type might even be unknown to some of you. With only one prototype built it actually never progressed beyond experimental status. Probably the only benefit it had was providing Grumman with valuable experience on a twin-engined design, eventually leading to the development of the F-7F Tigercat.


The kit itself presented no real problems. I enhanced the cockpit and engines with a PE set (Eduard 48-285). After some disappointing airbrush sessions with Vallejo acrylic Metal Colors I opted to use Tamiya AS-12 straight from the can. The wings were treated with Extracolor X106 Insignia Yellow.

I tried to mask the smaller frames on the canopy, with non-convincing results. I then took a piece of blank decal film (Testor’s), which I painted Interior Green/Black/AS-12 (in that order). A fresh X-acto blade was then used to cut small strips the size of the canopy frames. After applying these decals the strips were trimmed to connect to the canopy main frame. I was actually quite pleased with the results.

After the painting sessions the Skyrocket was given a few coats of Future in preparation for the decals. Decalling is one of my favorite parts, that is, most of the time. Not this time though: the lettering went on flawlessly but the national insignia refused to conform to the recessed panel lines. Micro Sol didn’t seem to have any effect at all on these kit decals, despite several consecutive coats. I then resorted to Mr. Mark Softer, which had the opposite effect in that it reacted a bit too enthusiastic and started to eat tiny pieces of insignia. Why I experimented on two decals at the same time I still don’t know, what I do know is that I’m glad that I started with the insignia on the underside of the wings. By not touching the decals and letting it dry properly before any further handing the result in the end wasn’t as bad as it seemed initially. The insignia on top of the wings were just placed with just a little bit of Sol. They did conform only slightly but in the end this is hardly noticeable. A final coat of Humbrol Matt Cote marked the end of the painting process. Antennae wires were made from AK-Interactive Hyper-Thin elastic wire.


I experimented with focus stacking to try and create overall sharp pictures. I must say that I’m pleased with the simplicity of the required workflow in Lightroom/Photoshop as well as with the results.





A77I5728 A77I5733 A77I5737


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