Hobbycraft 1/48 Grumman F8F Bearcat Blue Angels “Beetle Bomb”
Here are some photos of my version of the “Beetle Bomb” Blue Angels 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 Bearcat was able to become airborne in 135 feet after the pilot released the brakes ! Definitely a hot rod Cat...
This is the 1/48 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 F8F-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.
13 additional images. Click to enlarge.