F7U-3M Cutlass, 1/48th
This is the old Kitech (Hobbycraft) F7U-3M Cutlass in 1/48th scale. I’m sure a lot of you recognise this kit as being pretty crude, devoid of much detail, and just about everything else that modellers these days desire in a model. That’s true except for one thing: this is the only injected plastic model of the F7U-3 in 1/48th scale that was ever made. So, if you want one, you have to build this one. Of course there is Lindberg’s excuse for a 1/48th Cutlass, but that depicts and early production model, not the operational one. Also, if you have the bucks, Paul Fisher makes the finest F7U-3, in 32nd scale, that builds into a stunner.
This Kitech kit is apparently a knockoff of the Hobbycraft Cutlass, so has all the quirks that a knockoff gives. That said, the original Hobbycraft Cutlass was no picnic to build, if you wanted a presentable model. I wanted to build a F7U-3 for a long time, but the choices of kits really gave me pause; I finally bit the bullet and started the Kitech knockoff (couldn’t find the Hobbycraft kit. I know that Hobbycraft relesed their “elite” version, but couldn’t find that one either).
The build required a lot of effort, especially having to correct a lot of the deficiencies in the kit. Perhaps the hardest correction was the gun ports that sit on top of the intakes; the kit gunports were not spaced properly, and were all oddly-shaped. I wound up filling in the gunports, then redrilling new ones.
I also wanted to have the flaps and slats drooped, as seen on parked Cutlasses. The flaps were easy, but the slats on the leading edge required some scratchbuilding, using Evergreen sheet plastic, and Plastruct u-channel beams for the extension runners.
I scratched the interior (sorry, no pix), and even scratched one of the ejection seats that was unique to the Cutlass.
The F7U-3M was finished with Model Master Light Gull Grey over white. I know that some F7U-3’s wore a silver finish, but this one was grey/white. I used kit decals, which were surprizingly good. The markings depict a Cutlass assigned to VX-4.
Overall, this was a challenging build, and I’m glad it’s done and sitting on the shelf. We deserve a new-tool Vought F7U-3 Cutlass, that’s for sure.
5 additional images. Click to enlarge.