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Jim Sullivan
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1/48th AMT F7F-3N Tigercat

September 4, 2015 · in Aviation · · 43 · 4K

I found this -3N AMT kit to be a smooth build with no noticeable problems other than those that were self-inflicted. Despite filling the nose with lead, I found the model to be a dedicated tail-sitter. AMT must have been aware of that as they included a barrel and a tool box to be used as a prop under the fuselage to make the appear to sit on all three wheels. This Tigercat is airbrushed in Testors MM Dark Sea Blue enamel. The radome is radar tan and the anti-glare panel was achieved with clear flat over the GSB. The decals for VMF(N)-542 were supplied in the kit. The model replicates a USMC night fighter from the Korean war period. Although AMT is not what I'd consider a plane-modeling company, in my opinion, they did a fine job with the Tigercat.

Reader reactions:
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8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

43 responses

  1. Jim, good looking model! Nice job on her.
    Did their rubber tires rot your canopy? In mine, both were together in a plastic bag, and that's what happened.
    Was any aftermarket used? I'm guessing the radome is.
    Just a pretty plane, son of F5F. Wonder what Blackhawk could have done with this? Art imitating life, jets came in, instead.

    • Hello Bernard...No, I didn't suffer any canopy damage with the way those parts were packed in the kit. I've read some horror-stories about that but fortunately I didn't have that problem. I did use the CMK after-market wheels and should have mentioned that in the post. Thank your for your comments.

  2. A fine build indeed, Jim...great pics as well. Clear flat for the anti glare panel, huh? Neat idea. I'll have to remember that. As for the nose weight dilemma, I'll bet if one used the radome ONLY for the lead shot (or whatever was used), it wouldn't have been enough - probably should have utilized the entire section from the canopy forward. 🙁

    • Hello Craig...Thank you for your comments. Although I added what I thought was enough nose weight, that model just refused to sit properly. If I'd added any more I think the nose landing gear strut would have given it up. AMT's barrel and tool box was a neat way to resolve the issue.

  3. Jim, one of my favorite looking airplanes, Its nice seeing one well done, like you've done here.
    I've see a few of these in person, but was most impressed watching one race at Reno a few years ago. They are surprisingly fast.

  4. A really sharp looking Tigercat, Jim !
    Got the -/N in my stash. It has very nice interior details and wait since a long time for the build.
    Found these days a post from a very good modeller, who uses the wheel chocks to make his build stand on it s wheels ( it was a Canberra )

  5. You're supposed to let it tilt back on the barrel. The real thing was a tail-sitter when it didn't have a full load of fuel.

    • Hello Tom...Yes indeed, the F7F surely had that tail dragging capability as I've seen in a number of photos. My preference would be for it to sit on all three wheels as to me, it just looks better that way.

      • Oh...well SEE, Jim - you didn't put a full load of fuel in the build. If you had, it would've sat "correctly". 🙂

        • Yes, that would appear to be the case. But worse than that, I took it to our local modeler club meeting (Charlotte Scale Modelers) tonight and about halfway thru the show and tell, I noticed that the port engine had come loose from the engine bulkhead and was hanging at an awkward angle. So it would appear that not only did I not put enough fuel in it but I didn't use enough glue to hold the engine in place. Man, I've got to tighten up !.

          • And of course you didn't notice it until AFTER you started the presentation in front of everyone...DOH!
            Let THAT be a lesson to ya..! 🙁

  6. Hi Jim, I understand your dilemma quite well, I thought I put enough weight also even with a white metal landing gear and it still sat on its tail. Bernard mentioned the tire damage that can happen, mine suffered a little mishap on one of the tail planes and left a sink mark which I was able to repair. But other than that it was a nice build, good detail, though I folded the wings on mine and added the CE cockpit resin set. And its in a weathered black. Yours looks good, thanks for sharing, Amazing how big it is next to a Hellcat. The real thing is quite large when you stand next to it.

  7. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    You did a fine job on this Thunder Cat model. A model seldom seen.

    • Thank you DE4EVER, that Tigercat was a nice kit that went together quite smoothly. The only thing I didn't like about it was the rubber tires. I think that the AMT kit is the only 1/48th offering out there that I'm aware of. Monogram released it years ago in a nice 1/72nd scale kit that's probably still available on Ebay or Amazon.

  8. A beautiful rendition of a great Grumman Propcat. This is undoubtedly my favourite Grumman aircraft. Also busy building this kit. Had it in my stash for years. The tyres ate away the rudder on mine. Had to get the Italeri repop of the AMT classic. The nose shape is wrong on this kit and a resin substitute was available a couple of years ago. I unfortunately did not get one. Some plasticard and surgery to the nose can rectify the shape issue. In real life with empty wing tanks the Tigercat was a real tail-sitter. I have seen a couple of photos of them, during the Korean War, actually propped up on oil drums and crates. The prop blades are also wrong since they should be square-tipped. However, I have come across photos of the prop tips being modified to square tips in the field. Eduard released some goodies for the engine and cockpit some time ago. Well done Jim on a great looking Tigercat. I wonder if the Bed-check Charlie pilots, flying their Polikarpov Biplanes, new what hit them when they got shot down by this sleek instrument of death?

    • Hello Morne...Thank you for your comments on my F7F-3N build. Sorry to hear of the problem with the melted rudder in your kit and thanks for pointing out the squared-off prop tips, I hadn't noticed that until you mentioned it. As for the Bed-Check Charlie bi-plane pilots, I suspect you're correct about them being caught by total surprise.

  9. Very nice Tigercat! Great bulid!

  10. Great attention to detail, especially the paint finish, it looks flawless.

    • Thanks Mike and I have another one in the stash. Thanks to comments and info from my fellow modelers, the next one I build will incorporate the helpful suggestions given.

  11. Excellent build. I love the subtle look of the glare panel, but wasn't sure what you meant by GSB - was that for "Gloss Sea Blue?" If so, then you just applied the flat over that area on the glare panel. I couldn't tell from the pics - did you also put some on the engine nacelles to make a section of them anti-glare as well?

    I think this is one kit I've always wanted to build but haven't yet added to my stash - I going to rectify that soon!

    • Hello Greg...Thank you for your comments. As for the GSB, it is indeed glossy sea blue. In the Testors MM enamel line, they call it Dark Sea Blue FS15042, their number is 1717. After the paint was applied and was dry, I masked the fuselage area and airbrushed Testors flat clear to achieve the matte effect. I did not apply that treatment to the nacelles as I had only one photo that showed that area and I saw no anti-glare treatment there.

  12. You've produced a very handsome model, Jim, and your posting has attracted a lot interesting and constructive comments, that's why I like iModeler!

    • Thank you George and I too am pleased to be associated with imodeler and the fine group of folks here. Exchanging building information and various modeling techniques is most desirable and quite helpful. I've been building for over 50 years yet often find new things on imodeler that will help me with the 'next' build. Then too, this site allows us to pass along information that may be of help to other builders who are just starting out.

  13. fine job Jim...i'm envious

  14. One of my favorite birds from the Grumman Iron Works! She is beautiful Jim; what a great job. I have a different version of the plane in my kit stash, thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Beautiful work, Jim. I hope I can manage to do half as well as you whenever I build the two Tigercats I have in the stash.

  16. Hi Jim . . . I have not seen one of your postings on Hyperscale recently, but now see that you've taken your talents elsewhere! I have one of the AMT kits, along with some aftermarket, including the custom nose weight by TD Casting (Terry Dean). I have not mocked up the kit but assumed that nose weight solved the tail-sitting problem. For your build, did you just glue in some lead shot?

    I'm sure you know this, but the factory painted Tigercat spinners, struts and wheels the same color as the rest of the aircraft. I actually prefer the contrast on your model (as commonly seen on restored civilian aircraft) but it was rare on military aircraft.

    • Hello David...Thanks for your comments and you are absolutely correct regarding the color of the landing gear and prop boss being the same (GSB) color as the rest of the real aircraft. I plead guilty to the use of a bit of 'artistic liberty' to dress it up a little. As for the nose weight, I used what I thought was an adequate amount of lead cut from a wheel weight to stuff in the nose. That usually works for me but I missed it in this case. I have used weights from Terry Dean before on other builds and he does some fine work but for whatever reason, I didn't use his fine product on this build. Should I ever build another Tigercat, I'll surely keep those things in mind.

  17. Nice work Jim--love those GSB birds.

  18. Great build. I’ve got one to build. I’m also looking for a 1/72 scale F7F-3n my father was in VMFn 531 during Korean War and is now in a nursing home. I want to build him one but 1/48 scale is to big for the space he has.If anyone has any ideas let me know.

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