I want to thank Louis Gardner for starting this group build and inviting me to come along with my cat entry. Since I was a little late to the party I picked a kit that I thought would be simple and fast. So presented for your view today is the ancient Testors/Hawk Bearcat, which would be Grumman’s last single engine fighter built for the U.S.Navy. Developed too late to see combat in WWII for US forces, the French actually used her in Indochina in a ground attack role. The concept behind the Bearcat was simple, take a big radial engine, the P&W R-2800-30W. Use what worked with the Hellcat ,discard a lot of weight, a ton to be exact, and you now have a highly agile airplane with a spectacular clime rate. So lets build this oldie but a goodie.
This is a very basic kit with not a lot of parts. Consequently, it doesn’t have a lot of detail, so what to do? Why buy or make some detail as any self respecting modeler would do. Since the cockpit is really spartan I picked up an after market one from Lone Star Models
. It was designed to fit the Hobby Boss kit but Mike West assured me it would work with the Testors as well. It does, however, it takes a little work, lots of test fitting and of course some elbow grease with sanding sticks. And admonishing remarks from my better half to watch my language.
Next the Nav and landing lights are represented with panel lines so those had to go. I cut them out and replace them with pieces of clear sprue then sanded them to shape followed by polishing them using various grades of sandpaper.
The wing air intakes were merely holes, so something had to be done there as well.
Found some items in the spares that looked like filters so they were added to give depth and represent the air filters.
Seemed to have worked so we closed up the wings and attached them to the fuselage which fit really well and required no putty.
Now the tail hook was represented with what I would call a bulge or bump of molded plastic in the rear. So I sanded her off, constructed a home made arresting hook and then added the rear light as well.
Off to the paint shop where she was sprayed with Tamiya AS-8 from a rattle can and a coat of Future was applied before attaching the decals. The decals are from the kit and represent VF-61 from the U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1949. They are rather thick but went down well and didn’t require ant setting solution. The only other additions were the bombs, again from the spares box as the kits bombs had no anti-sway bars on them. I purposely left off the rockets as they seemed to be out of scale and poorly made. Last but not least I use tires from BarracudeCast as I thought they really looked great. The antenna are a combination of nylon thread and copper wire. I was going to put a coat of semi-gloss finish one her but really liked the shiny look so another coat of Future was applied.
Altogether it was fun but some what of a challenge with the cockpit, but it does look like a F8F-2, and it rounds out my Grumman collection of piston engine fighters. So I’m satisfied, and thanks for looking.
15 additional images. Click to enlarge.