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Gary Brantley
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Tamiya Douglas F4D-1 Skyray

August 12, 2015 · in Aviation · · 30 · 5.4K

This is my second kit to finish and it was well-engineered and thoughtfully designed. I started this about three years ago, only to put it aside about half finished. I returned to it about a month ago and pronounced it finished last Saturday. Yesterday, I took it and four other planes out to the Cameron Airport for a little photo-session. We have a new hangar out there and I wanted to use it for a background. It was quite hot even in the time I was there, 10-noon, building up to a heat index of 108 in the afternoon.

The gull gray on top and insignia white underneath are Model Master enamel, and the wingwalks are Humbrol dark gull enamel. The leading edges were done with Humbrol matt aluminum. Paint was applied with my Paasche H using CO2. The paint scheme was deceptively simple at first but turned out to require a lot of masking, compounded by several mistakes on my part. The final finish is MM semi-glass acrylic clear and Future was used for a gloss-coat for decaling and weathering with Flory washes and pastel chalks. I used the kit decals for the most part with a few from my decal spares stash. EZ Masks were used for the canopy. It is pretty much all out of the box, with tape seatbelts added to the 'pit. Originally, I intended to build her "clean" to show off the Skyray's cool lines but in the end, I did gaudy her up with a full load-out.

Looking back on my recent progress, I realized that my last three completions were all 50s jets! Man, I just love the planes from this era. The Navy and the Air Force weren't afraid of trying any new designs it seems now, and new designs were coming off the 'boards at a fast rate back then. It doesn't help that all these cool aircraft were coming along when I was a tender youth, zooming their plastic lookalikes around my room and yard! Thanks for taking a look at the "Ford".

Reader reactions:
7Β  Awesome

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

30 responses

  1. I fully agree with your view on 50's and 60's jets. My favourites are the Cutlass, Demon, Fury, Skyray, Tiger, Crusader and Phantom. I have heard that a 1/32 scale Grumman Tiger is due to be released ! I am also busy with this Tamiya Skyray and can concur with your assessment of this kit. Your Skyray looks absolutely awesome! Well done Gary!

  2. Beautiful finish on the Skyray! Is it 1/72 or 1/48? I also love these older birds - grew up watching 101's and 105's take off.

    Is that a refueling probe on the wing tank? I'd never noticed that before on the Skyray.

  3. nice looking jet! πŸ™‚

  4. Great looking build !

  5. Very nice model and equally good photography Gary, looks totally natural sitting in front of that hangar. I'm also a big fan of jets from that era. Why was the Skyway nicknamed the 'Ford'?

  6. Beautifully finished and photographed, sir...a nice job indeed.

  7. Thanks to all for your kind comments!
    Greg, yes that is a refueling probe on the port tank.
    Mike, "F4D"="Ford" πŸ™‚
    Again, I thank you my friends!

  8. Great build, Gary. I'm surprised that the dang thing didn't melt in the heat. I'm back in Florida after my stint in Houston, and it's hot here, but feels better because of the palm trees.

  9. Nice job Gary, classy looking bird.

  10. Gary, great work and photography, it looks real.
    What is that on the centerline? Fuel tank or guidance pod?
    Love them 50s airplanes!
    Wish we'd get an FJ-3, or a good Cutlass.

    • Bernard, the NAV-PAC pod on the centerline pylon held radio-beacon tracking and distance-measuring instruments for flights to Air Force or civilian bases where they might not have the same navigation gear used by the Navy.
      Oh man, wouldn't a nice injection Cutlass or F-11 Tiger in 1/48 be sweet? Why won't someone make one?!?! πŸ™

      • Thanks, Gary! Leaned something.
        Boy, wouldn't I like to have an F11F in 1/48! I remember the OLD Revell box scale one, with the Tiger jumping thru the ring of fire on the tail! I think somebody is doing a Banshee sometime soon, so we live in hope!

  11. said on August 12, 2015

    Great looking FORD , anything from the fifties looks great . And you did a fantastic job on this one .

  12. Thanks Bryan, Tom, Bernard and Gary!

  13. πŸ™‚ ... Greetings ... πŸ™‚ :
    Those pictures and the model, capture the look and feelings of that era and the aircraft. Very nicely done, thanks for sharing it.

  14. DE4ever, That's kind of you to say! I'm glad you like my Ford. πŸ™‚

  15. Wow, the background in the photos is great, it adds a lot to a nicely built model. I actually got to sit in the cockpit of a Skyray at Quonset Point naval airsta on Armed Forces day when I was a kid. Great build!

    • Thanks Mike, yeah, it was nice of the city to add more hangars out there for me. It does make for a handy backdrop, and I like the effects that different skies also give. Hell, I'd like to sit in a Skyray today! πŸ™‚

  16. Great looking Skyray. This is one I'd like to see as a vintage jet flying at airshows! Did you add the wingtips with reinforcing strips before you put the top and bottom halves together? The way the instructions show looks like it'll be a weak joint.(Any in process photos?) About your photography, great work getting it to look scale among the large hangars. You were the inspiration for me to start shooting outdoors in real sunlight!

    • Thanks Josh! Are there any flying Skyrays left? That would be very cool. Yes, I did add some reinforcing strips now that I think about has been almost three years since that step. Still, I was careful to avoid lifting the plane by the wingtips. Speaking of which, this might be the hardest plane I've built yet for finding a place to grab. I don't have any decent in-process pics though. Hey, I'm flattered that I was able to "inspire" anyone, good on ya mate!

  17. One of the most beautiful jets eve, and you have done it full justice!

    • Thanks so much Tom! She was a beauty wasn't she? The "Ford" has that retro-futuristic thing down pat, and knowing something about her background and the Lippisch influence, I can "squint" just right and imagine the airframe in German mottling with associated insignia. Now, that's a "what if" project with a future perhaps.
      Thanks again, it means a lot to me.

  18. Stunning build of this fine aircraft and along with your other kits, photographed there, its a great presentation

    • Thanks Bernd! I do think it might be my best build thus far. Sometimes I feel that my modeling skills have "plateaued" somewhat. I don't think I'm making much progress sometimes. I still see room for lot's of improvement, so there's some "job safety" I guess! πŸ™‚

      • Your modelling is really nice, Gary. Love the clean jobs you did with all these older kits.
        Modelling is sometimes a hit and miss thing and there is always room for improvements, its the same by me.

  19. Tamiya provides a nice pilot figure, but I added seatbelts instead. In steps four five, where the upper and lower fuselage halves are prepared and joined, don't overlook the step to open the holes on the underside of the aircraft for pylons.

    • Thanks for the comment Rudolph! Sorry for the looooong delay, I just now noticed your post! My sincere apologies and that's a good tip too. Best, Gary

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