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1:48 HobbyBoss F8F-1 Bearcat “Beetle Bomb” Blue Angels

Here’s my grimy looking Blue Angels’ F8F-1 “Beetle Bomb” Bearcat circa late 1949 as it might have looked after a hard weekend working an airshow. Note the attached photo of the actual plane.

By early 1948 the Blue Angels were flying four blue F8F-1 Bearcats along with a 5th painted yellow, named “Beetle Bomb”, that was used as a stand in Japanese Zero for airshow dogfights. By mid 1949 the Angels transitioned to Grumman F9F Panther jets and “Beetle Bomb” (the second bearcat so named which is the one in the photo) was assigned to perform solo aerobatics in between shows. Unfortunately it crashed during a training session at Pensacola in April 1950 killing the pilot.

This is the 1:48th HobbyBoss initial F8F-1 Bearcat new tool released in 2012 that includes the necessary decals to make this plane. The real “Beetle Bomb” was stripped of all armament and had the early Bearcat wings with no machine gun bulges topside. Having built the much maligned HobbyCraft Bearcat using an Obscureco corrected cowling, I can say the HobbyBoss line of Bearcats are the most accurate looking F8F’s out there in this scale.

I built “Beetle Bug” (Why do I keep wanting to call it “Beetle Juice”?) in 2015 straight out of the box except for added PE seatbelts and BarracudaCast wheels. I don’t recall any problems and enjoyed the simple quick build. Paint used is Pollyscale Reefer Yellow acrylic and some Alclad II aluminum on the leading edges. In my stash I also have a HB F8F-2 kit plus the older Academy/HobbyCraft release with a bunch of Cutting Edge resin “correction” stuff ready to go. Guess you could say, I like Bearcats.

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

26 responses to 1:48 HobbyBoss F8F-1 Bearcat “Beetle Bomb” Blue Angels

  1. Very nice!
    I like aerobatic planes 🙂

  2. Superb weathering – fantastic model!

  3. Real nice! Great work.

  4. Nice build. Also, appreciate the origin story on the a Blue Angels.

  5. Yeah…..what they said ! 🙂

  6. Super nice Eric! I particularly like the weathering.

  7. Very handsome build, and an unusual scheme. Well done.

  8. Great looking Bearcat, Eric! An interesting, well-liked aircraft. Your version is extra interesting since it’s one of only 2 like it.


  9. Really nice looking build. Yellow can be a difficult color to use on planes, and you have pulled it off very well. Great job!

    • Thanks. Yellow is indeed a pain. Secret is a good primer base of either flat white or very pale yellow. Polyscale Reefer Yellow or Railbox Yellow acrylics are my go to yellows. Trick is to go easy on how many coats you give it.

  10. These Hobby Boss kits really are the best Bearcats out there. One thing: they have NO CLUE what a fabric-covered surface looks like. I filled in all the “swimming pools” and sanded it smooth, then just lightly scored some rib tape. Otherwise, the only thing these kits need are Eduard seat belts.

    Yours is really nice and from the photo, very realistically recreated. Good work!

    • Thanks TC. You’re right, those fabric covered surfaces on the main wing flap are indeed pretty atrocious. I just didn’t feel like fixing them. At least HobbyBoss didn’t overly pepper these Bearcats with a zillion rivets unlike their big brother, Trumpeter.

  11. A yellow Blue Angel? Well I never stop learning. It looks good and very close to that reference photo. The old piston engines were filthy things even when operated by an elite and public unit. You got that exactly right. Well done.

  12. Really sharp looking Bearcat!

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