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Josh Patterson
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AMT’s 1/48 F7F-3N Tigercat

March 22, 2014 · in Aviation · · 27 · 2.9K

Well, not only do I love vintage jets, but I'm also a s****r for anything with a round engine! (Hearing EAA's B-17 flying around yesterday got me thinking about it again!)I think the ranks among the best looking of them all! (Well, maybe not this one, but the earlier variants without the radar nose!) I'm happy to see so many out on the airshow circuit now!

I still have some light exhaust shading to do to finish it off (see Big Bossman for an idea of what I'm looking for), but I'm happy with the way it turned out. The only drawback to the kit is there is no place for the radar operator to putt his feet! (I was going to buy a resin cockpit, but I figured good enough!) Also separate parts for the wing inlets would've been nice, but hey, it's a Tigercat so I'm happy! (The fit of this kit is also excellent by the way! I used absolutely no putty in the build, so that kinda makes up for the squawks!) I still have a Navy -2 to build so I'll finally have my "sleek" Tigercat!

This is my first successful application of gloss paint out of my airbrush, so I think I'm done painting single color gloss jobs out of a spray can. (Although I do shoot the paint into my airbrush bottle so it's properly thinned!)

I've also heard about the vinyl tires in this kit disintegrating over time, but we'll see what happens. The kit itself is pretty old and they were still good in the box. I've also had Academy's Su-27UB on its gear for about 20 years now, and its tires are still fine. (Although it sticks to the table. Keep something under the tires if they don't get moved very often!)

Reader reactions:
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27 responses

  1. I agree. A great looking airplane & model. What brand paint did you use & did you polish it out?

  2. I used Model Master Glossy Sea Blue. This one I painted with thinned paint out of a bottle. My Bearcat I painted with paint from the spray can sprayed into a bottle and airbrushed. The Bearcat is a little darker. Maybe because the paint lightened a little when I thinned it on this one? I didn't polish it out as I thought it would be too glossy. As it is this one is walking that fine line! (I've polished paint on cars and it works great, but that was mainly to eliminate orange peel! I don't get it too much with the airbrush except where overspray got on stuff I'd already painted. I will paint my next one with the wings and tail off. (It goes together that well! You don't have to worry about seams at the wing root. I just looks like another panel line!)

  3. Wow, just Wow, what a stunning paint job. With your comments about air show warbirds, if that's where you're headed with this kit it's perfect.

    The problem with the tires isn't that they disintegrate, they melt the wheel hub, it takes a couple months to show. It happened with my Tigercat and I had put a barrier of foil between the hubs and the tires. Maybe the tires are old enough that they've "gassed out" what ever caused that.

    I still can't come up with a better word than "Stunning" for that beautiful finish.

    • Maybe having paint on the hubs protects them, but seeing as they're separate, everyone probably paints the hubs beforehand. We'll see what happens over time. Is that a problem with this kit, or vinyl tires in general? My Su-27 has held up, so it's a mystery to me!

      As for the airshow warbirds, that's why the exhaust outlets are highly polished on this one! On my next one I'll use stainless buffing metalizer to tone them down a bit and add variation between the two. I'll probably also do the landing gear in the proper blue. (I've seen them four different colors on the airshow circuit and two for the cockpits!)

      Thanks for the kind words!

    • Just a though about the tires. Did you build your kit as a new release? Maybe you're right about them gassing out over the years. I'll have to check my other kit to make sure the tires aren't resting on anything.

      • On the model car collectors side this is called tire melt. It is a common problem with unbuilt AMT car kits from the 60's. If the tire lays on any plastic it will melt into the plastic. I have a Revell kit built in the 70's that the tires are fine but the plastic wheels are melted beyond saving. I'd recommend putting all rubber tires in unbuilt kits in plastic bags & sealing either the plastic or rubber before assembly.

        • I wonder what's in the vinyl to cause that? Maybe a topic for a future group. What do you think a dusting of talcum powder or baking soda would do?
          I do have an Academy Su-27 built in the early 90's and its wheels are still good. What gives!?

          • I believe it's just a question of the composition of the vinyl used by the manufacture. Think I would use Future or a clear coat paint.

  4. Hi Josh outstanding finish by the way. At the Chino Air show there could be as many as 4 different Tigercats in the show. All in glossy show colors. In regard to the operators station, that is how the floor is, even the resin replacement update is the same as the kits, just a little more detailed. To confirm what Rick says, it is about a couple of months the tires will soften and melt the wheels the paint will not keep this from happening. I just finished this kit last December and one of the tires had made it's way on one of the wings and left an impression on it which i had to clean up when I started to build it. You are correct, it is actually a fun build, and big when finished. But I do suggest that you get a set of aftermarket resin wheels to replace them soon. True Details and I believe also Ultra cast offers them as well. And you have the right of amount of weight to keep the nose down. I thought I did, but it still sits on the tail. Nice to see another Tigercat, Well done Josh and thanks for sharing.


    Fly Navy

    • So the radar operator sat with his knees in his chest!? Man, that sounds even worse than the guy that was crammed behind the pilot in a P-38!
      When I balance a plane I tape everything together and balance it at a point just forward of the main gear, that way you avoid adding more weight than necessary. (I still had to add lead sheet to the cockpit floor of my B-57 because I undershot my target. I don't get it right every time!)

      • Actually those chosen to do the mission were not very tall. Besides they are Marines, who said they were comfortable unless they had a weapon in their hand. You know that is the same technique I use, but somehow it failed me on this one. I pick it up and it wants to tip forward, but I place it on its gear it tips back, has to be that long tail and the fact that it sits low towards the back end. Heck the real one would sit on the tail when the tanks were empty.

        • I did read warnings about it tipping back in the pilot's operating manual. (Avaiable from Periscope films.)

          • That's why when it's parked and not fueled, they put a fuel/oil drum under the tail, with a sandbag or two on top. Comes with the kit, I seem to remember. That's why. Like the ladder and step up box (that's my technical term) in the Monogram B-25. Clear pegs in others. They know where that is going. Recenlty, some manufacturers tell you the amount of weight you need, an improvement, unless you are gram challenged. I remember when I used modeling clay. Not recommended, by the way. Nice chemical experiment, like my overzealous use of vaseline to make things turn or drop. My UPC Dinah looks like it had a major oil seal failure, along the flap line.

            It's a survivor! Much like it's owner.

          • Your best bet for a sure fire balanced model it to get in touch with Terry Dean and buy a set from him, especially if you have a glass nosed bomber! He makes a set for Monogram's B-29 that are perfect. They're molded to sit between the fuselage and nose gear well on either side and don't stress the model as they are as far forward as they can go and not any more weight than is needed to get it to sit properly.

  5. A fantastic build of the perfect Cat that never made it to the last justifiable War. Love the paint finish,everything is smart,tight and crisp. One niggle that has nothing to do with modeler...the props are facing in the wrong direction. That is a manufacture snafu...Ultra-cast can correct that or 99 percent of those who look at models could care less." I like it."

    Two thumbs up on the perfect paint job.

    • I think I see what you mean about the props! The pitch and cupping of the blade is going the right direction, but they have the trailing edge swapped with the leading edge! You can't even cut them off and turn them the right way because the cup of the blade will then be pointing out! I can swap 'em out easy enough as they're not attached, just resting on the shafts. I just have to find some the appropriate diameter! I guess I'm on of the 99%, cause I never noticed either! (Just keep telling yourself "1/48 Tigercat"!

  6. said on March 22, 2014

    totally lovely josh

  7. What a nice Tigercat Josh, great finish, although I would say a bit of exhaust staining would not of gone amiss.
    Still a great build.
    Well done Josh.

  8. Excellent, Josh, really nice finish, it would be a shame to weather it.

    • I'm not doing much, just a few exhaust streaks. (Even the best cared for examples aren't perfectly clean... Not for long anyway! :-D) Just have to figure out what I want to use. Big Bossman's streaks are mainly a tan color with a little white, and mostly on the upper ports above the wing. The sides and bottom are relatively clean. (Maybe because that's what they can reach?)

      People would always volunteer to help Delmar Benjamin clean the exhaust streaks off of his Gee Bee. For some reason he wanted them there! (Maybe they're love streaks!)

  9. Josh,

    Absolutely beautiful. This is one of the most gorgeous airplanes ever. You did a fabulous job. I did this kit a number of years ago and had it on display at a local model shop. It sat there for a while and then I was asked why I had put white sidewall tires on it. What this was was the beginning of the end of the landing gears. The plastic continued to melt until I took the gears off. I still have it sans landing gears.

    Where I lived at one point Aero Union used F7F's as fire bombers. I never tired to see them fly.

  10. Josh, I agree: the F-7-F Tigercat, especially the single-seat early "clean" version is the most beautiful twin ever made. So sleek & sexy. Like you, I love the fact that there are so many flying with airshows. Must take a lot of ca$h to keep one in top form, eh?!

    Your paint job is excellent. I'm doing an armor build & am stuck using rattle cans ... which is OK, I suppose, as I have never used an a proper airbrush but once, back in the mid 1970s on one of the great Monogram 1/48 B52s. I never finished it because my teacher - Dad - passed away. You already look like a pro with one!

  11. I had the same experience with the tires. They got up against the canopy and ate into it. I'm going to use resin tires/wheels, rather than chance tire/wheel interaction. I agree it's probably the formula for the vinyl they used. I wouldn't trust it, myself. Once bitten, and all that.
    Also, Tom Cleaver says the Squadron vac pilots canopy for this is for a fire bomber, if, like me, you have to go that route. .

  12. Josh, two questions: where did you get the radar nose? And who is Big Bossman?

    • AMT marketed the -3N as a complete kit. One could be found with an Ebay search with relative ease. (Although I think Italeri may be bringing them all back out, so maybe check their website to get a new copy.)

    • Oh, Big Bossman was (is still?) the name of Mike Brown's Tigercat that he raced at Reno. If you can find the movie "Thunder Over Reno" There are some nice shots of it in there. (And a LOT of footage of Bob Odegaard and Race 57 and Gerry Beck in Precious Metal just before his death at EAA in 07.) The movie is hard to sit through, but a lot of the actual pilots have starring roles and the air to air footage is fantastic!

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