Building Darryl Greenamyer’s American Jet
Darryl Greenamyer donated this aircraft to the Smithsonian Museum in 1977. I first laid eyes on it at the Silver Hills storage facility and I have wanted to build it as a model ever since. Today you can see this historical aircraft up close and personal at the museum at Dulles airport in Washington D.C..
This aircraft, a Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat, was known for most of it’s racing life as Conquest 1, best known for breaking a 30 year old speed record for piston-engine aircraft set by a German Messerschmitt Me-209. You can see the story of this accomplishment at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu6degk7rh8 . Conquest I, weighs 6,000 pounds, has eight feet clipped off its wings, the oversize prop of a Douglas Skyraider and a massive 3,200-hp engine. What most people do not know is Darryl also won the National Air Races 6 times with this plane.
This Bearcat was more modified than other racers in the early days of Reno, which allowed Greenamyer not to stress the engine to achieve his wins. Eventually, the other racers found ways to modify their planes as well and became more competitive. Throughout it’s racing days the Bearcat wore several schemes eventually finishing it’s career in the distinctive overall yellow with the hawk graphics.
Back in the early nineties a new model company called High Planes Models from Australia appeared on the model scene producing limited run kits of racing aircraft, mostly in 72nd scale, but a few were done in 48th scale. Needless to say this got my attention right away and in no time at all my money was on the way. When my first kit arrived I admit I was a bit disappointed in the quality. Surprisingly, with a little effort, the kit cleaned up nicely and in the end I was happy with the results. My first kit was the Conquest 1 and now I am doing the last of the schemes for this Bearcat.
The first thing I noticed when starting this kit was that the cowl was really a mess. I looked on line for a replacement cowl without success, but I did have a Hawk kit of the Bearcat, and to my amazement, the cowl was a very good fit….problem solved. I decided to forego the cockpit interior because the small bubble canopy did not allow you to see anything, so why make the effort?
I had a little problem trying to hit the right shade of yellow and ended up repainting it twice and finely settled on Tamiya Yellow. The decals went on without any problems. I did a custom color mix for the prop color and used Alclad Chrome for the spinner.
6 additional images. Click to enlarge.