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Year of the Cat Group Build. Monogram 1/48 F9F Panther from The Bridges at Toko-Ri

I’ve been wanting to do a Panther for a while. I had a stillborn attempt back when I was in high school when the kit first came out. I was impressed at how well it went together and have always wanted to try again. I had a few troubles with this one. From lint in the paint (I really need a dedicated spray booth separate from the rest of the dusty basement.) to placing some decals in the wrong location and not catching it until they had set. The 209 that was supposed to go on the nose I had placed under the flap so the ones I had left (the one that was supposed to go under the wing) was too large to fit on the nose. I did find some F9F-8 Cougar decals from Furball and was able to work together some numbers of the correct size. I didn’t notice until this afternoon that I had painted the air brakes for the wrong side as the white should go down the middle and along the bottom. (As of right now the actuators are also MIA. At the repair shop getting rebuilt for the first flight!) I’ll fix it later along with a few decals that I have neglected yet. Just wanted to get at least two of my planned four in before the deadline! I have a Cougar and Hobby Boss F8F-1 that I’m going to use my Testors Al Williams Gulfhawk decals that I had saved from my earlier Bearcat build going yet. I had thought about bringing back my F7F-3N and F8F but really didn’t want to re-post!

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

21 responses to Year of the Cat Group Build. Monogram 1/48 F9F Panther from The Bridges at Toko-Ri

  1. Good lookin’ build, Josh…can’t beat those “old” Monogram kits for the money (…and I watch that movie every time I see it listed…) – 🙂

  2. Thanks Craig. I’m gonna be in Pensacola around October. Wanna hit up the Naval Museum with me?

  3. Beautiful Panther! Nice build.Got the movie on dvd, read the book way back in high school. Love the flight ops scenes, The technology has changed but the basic concept is the same.

  4. Josh,
    Your Panther looks great to me. We have all had things happen during our builds that bother us.

    Often we as modelers are too hard on ourselves. I am personally guilty of that……..

    Even with the minor mistakes / mishaps you mentioned, your jet looks fantastic to me. To be quite honest with you, had you not mentioned these little boo boos, I would not have noticed them.

    Neither would 99.9 percent of any one else !!!! (If they are honest with themselves……….).

    Your build was a welcome addition to the Year of the Cat GB. I liked the movie too………………

    Thanks for posting. Two thumbs up Sir !!! I like it………. a LOT !!!!

  5. Josh, gorgeous !, A very well done model !
    I wonder how popular this airplane would be if it wasn’t for “the” movie !

    • The Panther would probably be popular just like the Tomcat without their respective movies. Even though the F-14 is my favorite Grumman cat I think the Panther is their best effort as far as being a beautiful aircraft. Not only that, but their first jet and boy did they get it right!

  6. Beautiful finished Josh, I’m with Louis – nobody would pick fault with it – a lovely job! I also agree the aircraft, done justice by your depiction, is very easy on the eye!

  7. Well done Josh, love the movie, and also the Monogram Panther, I have built 2 of them. Really to me the best fitting Monogram kit. I enjoyed building it, simple good details in and out, the raised panel lines are not an issue. I would build another but I would fold the wings next time. Thanks for sharing.

    • I don’t have a preference either way about panel lines. There are a few Monogram kits that look really good even with raised detail. They just happen to be all Republic aircraft too. I love how petite the details are on the P-47, F-84F and F-105! Some times when I sand down a model I simply rescribe a line and join it up to a raised line. One really can’t tell from a normal viewing distance. My B-25 has a lot of that sculduggery going on!

  8. Sparkling work, Josh.

  9. Josh,

    Excellent finish, I’ve always struggle with getting dark blue to look flawless as if it where liquid. What an excellent subject too. The Bridges was one the first anti-hero movie in which the hero doesn’t make it. The movie shows the reality’s of War and its still relevant to day given the current events on the Korean peninsula. Great finish and reminder.

  10. Great job on your Panther, Josh!

  11. Cracker. Nice model and a great looking aircraft.

  12. Nicely done, still the best 1/48 Panther around. And since Revlelogram changed the molds into the photo version, these kits will one day be gone.

  13. Nice. The Monogram Panther always looks good.

    As long as you’re going to fix the dive brakes, the border is coroguard silver, not white (an easy fix). The interior is red.

    Couple interesting asides about the movie:

    VF-5 did the air-to-air work flying out of NAS North Island (Korea is northern San Diego County). However, the movie company went to Japan and got the chance to go out on the Oriskany for ten days, where they did the carrier ops shots. So VF-5 had to repaint their “movie” airplanes like VF-192’s airplanes. After the movie came out, VF-192 changed their name to “The World-Famous Golden Dragons.”

    When Mickey Rooney went aboard “Oriskany”, he made a hit with the naval aviators by walking up to them and saying “Shake the hand that held Ava Gardner’s t – – !!” He once told me that when he decided to do the movie (which was considered “controversial” in 1953 at the height of McCarthyism for its treatment of the hero) he was told “If you do that you’ll lose your career!” to which he replied “I don’t *have* a career!” (The movie gave him his third comeback). He was also a hit with the crew for putting on shows on the hangar deck each night while they were out.

    The “real” Brubaker and Forney (a Skyraider pilot named Harry Ettinger from VF-154 aboard Valley Forge) and a helo pilot named Duane Thorin) actually survived to be taken prisoner and walked out of POW camp in August 1953, just after the book came out and just before the movie started production. They had been lost in February 1952 and were thought killed by the enemy.

    The movie was a commercial failure on first release, due to the end (it made a huge impression on 10-year old me that “the hero died!”). In the late 1960s it started showing up on late night TV and got noticed by guys coming home from Vietnam, who liked it for its honesty about men at war and overcoming fear, which led to it being reconsidered critically. Today it’s considered the best naval aviation movie ever made.

  14. Very smart model of a cool looking plane, you obviously have an eye for elegant aircraft as well as cars, especially your GTV 6.

  15. Nicely done Josh, one can never have too many Monogram Panthers. Did a good job with this one, I like it.

  16. Great job on the Panther! We all have our little mishapes when building, and when your eyes are constantly above your work in progress you will allways find the things not entirely up to the builders wishes, I know for myself as well.
    It doesn’t matter since your Panther looks fantastic, I like it!

  17. Nice work, and love the scheme! Well done.

  18. This is a beauty, Josh. I like Panthers. Both (main) types. They’re real classics. Your blue paint job is outstanding!

    Sadly, I have a confession. I’ve never seen the movie, but I’d sure love to see it! I’ve heard a LOT about the well-done flight scenes & the carrier flight ops filming.

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