1/48 Hobbycraft F7U-3M Cutlass
I built the 1/48 Hobbycraft Cutlass many years ago, and so far it's my first and only attempt at a natural metal finish. The Cutlass had a very short career in the fleet for several reasons, mainly due to it being dangerously underpowered. But you can't beat it for looks.
The kit is fair at best in term of fit and detail, but it's the only game in town if you want a 1/48 scale Cutlass. I build only Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, and I love the futuristic lines of the Cutlass, so it was this kit, or no Cutlass at all. I dressed up the cockpit and ejection seat with details from the scrap box, and added wires, cables and brake lines to the gear and wheel wells. Lone Star Models makes an excellent resin replacement cockpit and seat for this kit, and I highly recommend it. I bought one after I completed this build, to use in another Cutlass I have in the stash.
The main issue with the kit is that the shape of the entire nose, from the intakes forward, is incorrect. This is readily apparent when comparing profile photos. The shape errors were beyond my abilities to fix, so they went unchanged. I used an old MicroScale sheet for markings for an F7U-3M of VF-124 deployed aboard USS Hancock in 1955.
3 additional images. Click to enlarge.