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Louis Gardner
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Hobbycraft 1/48 Grumman F8F Bearcat Blue Angels “Beetle Bomb”

November 20, 2016 · in Aviation · · 16 · 3.6K

Here are some photos of my version of the "Beetle Bomb" plane. The original "Beetle Bomb" was a North American SNJ that was painted to resemble a Japanese Zero.

Beetle Bomb was incorporated into the Blue Angels airshow act according to Lieutenant Commander Roy "Butch" Voris (the founder of the team), as "keeping something in front of the crowds at all times. My objective was to beat the Army Air Corps. If we did that, we'd get all the other side issues. I felt that if we weren't the best, it would be my naval career."

The Blue Angels' first public demonstration also netted the team its first trophy, which sits on display at the team's current home at NAS Pensacola. Courtesy of Wikipedia

The original Blue Angels were F6F Hellcats. Building one of these is on my "Bucket list"... An interesting note is that the was able to become airborne in 135 feet after the pilot released the brakes ! Definitely a hot rod Cat...

This is the Hobby craft kit. The fit was good overall. I didn't need any filler anywhere. The canopy is a little thick, but it's presentable. I used Bare metal Foil to simulate the highly polished leading edges of the wings, fin and stabilizer. It was finished using "Model Master" enamels. I gave the plane a light overall coat of white first. Once that dried, I sprayed on the "Blue Angels Yellow".

The decals came from the Hobby Boss -1 kit.

I decided not to weather this plane or spray on the exhaust and oil stains. I wanted it to look as it would have just before a show. You can see how easily visible the exhaust staining is seen in the original photos... The yellow is a good contrasting color for exhaust and oil.

The only problem I had is that the propeller doesn't sit just right in the engine crankcase. It's a little loose and will not stay against the gear case.

Reader reactions:
5  Awesome

13 additional images. Click to enlarge.

16 responses

  1. I think yours looks better WITHOUT that unsightly exhaust staining. lol

  2. Good job, Louis.

  3. A very nice Bearcat, Louis !
    And Congrats for your Wildcat Award !

  4. Louis, there's a story that one of the test pilots at Pax River in them days took one off, rolled it, and landed straight ahead. Try that with your F-18.
    That is a pretty scheme, and the photos of the originals are marvelous.

    • Thank you Bernard. I had heard about that story. The astronaut Neil Armstrong claimed it was his favorite type to fly also. He said it always brought a grin to his face... I can only imagine. There are also stories of some planes shedding the outer wing panels if too many G's were pulled. This apparently was a design feature to save the plane from self destructing. Later they got rid of that feature as the outer 4 feet of the wing tip would come off. if memory serves me. Crazy stuff !

  5. Nice looking unusual scheme!

    • Thank you Greg. Once I saw pictures of the real plane I knew that eventually I would have to build one. then Hobby Boss came out with their kit and it had the decals I needed.

  6. Nice #Beetle Bomb#

  7. This is great, Louis! I'm a big fan of demo teams, & the Blue Angels in particular. I also enjoyed the real photos you included ... not that the model pics weren't real - LoL! Outstanding!

  8. @lgardner, I did a Google search for "Beetle Bomb" and your's showed up pronto Louis. 🙂 And what a beauty she is sir! Good show Louis and some every nice work here! Your yellow finish looks flawless. I've certainly liked this one. 🙂

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