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George R Blair Jr
76 articles

Minicraft XF5F-1 Skyrocket

November 25, 2019 · in Aviation · · 9 · 2.4K

I haven't posted anything for a while because I haven't built any models for a while because I was involved in building some buildings and scenery on my N Scale layout. Sorry, poor excuse. After I got to a stopping place, I really had the urge to build something with wings. I was cruising my garage stash and found a that had been lurking on the shelves for a lot of years.

I had also recently gotten interested in an old comic book series called the Black Hawks. This is a very old series from the 1940s, but the interesting confluence here is that the Black Hawks flew the Skyrocket.

They flew the short nose version and the kit I had was the long nose version, but upon opening the box I discovered the parts for both versions. Yeah! I also found I had previously bought the canopy masks and the photoetch for the plane, all of which were probably as old as the model (20+ years). Yeah, again!

Another happy coincidence was that I discovered a company called Fundekals had a set of decals for the Black Hawk Skyrocket that would allow you to build any of the color schemes used in the comics. I ordered them and had them in just a few days. Thanks, Fundekals. Yeah, for the third time.

I had previously built the Skyrocket with a hypothetical paint scheme, and I remembered it being a fun build.

So, as I launch into this build, bear in mind that I am a casual modeler not really interested in a bunch of detail. Having said that, I decided to try to go a little above my usual non-standards on this build. I found a few old photos of the cockpit, but they were from a couple of different versions of the XF5F. I wanted to mash some of the features from both cockpits into this model.

I broke my Dremel out & scraped off all of the detail from the inside of both fuselage halves, which was smoothed with some sandpaper in preparation for the new details and the photoetch. I added a little detail using some sprue, added the photoetch, and then sprayed some interior green all over.

I had never attempted to build a photoetch seat before, but I dove in and I think it came out OK.

The instrument panel went together well, although the small levers were a challenge for my shaky hands.

Well, everything seems to be going alright, so far.

It is just a matter of slapping some plastic together and then some paint. I will update when I get close to the end.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. :o)

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

9 responses

  1. Nice work, and hey post some pics of the RR work. Certainly counts!

  2. I loved the Blackhawk comics. I'll be looking forward to seeing you do this.

  3. I forgot to add something new that I tried when I was painting the photoetch. I just finished an art class that used a type of paint called gouache (pronounced "gwash" if you have never heard of it). It is a very thick water-based paint with a consistency similar to artist's oil paints. The property that I wanted to investigate is the fact that once it is dry it will still activate by adding water. So I brushed some white gouache over the photoetch panels, let them dry, then went over them with a slightly wet brush. The paint came off easily, leaving white in the recesses of the photoetch. I plan to explore this process some more. I added a comment on the photo that shows the end result of this process.

  4. Nice post George and a really interesting subject. Will be following to see how your expericence with gouache turns out.

  5. Following. I have this same kit started and will likely build it into a what if tri-color scheme. In fact I was just browsing around the web looking for inspiration yesterday, believe it or not. I was surprised there were no f5fs on imodeler. You beat me to the punch. Best of luck, the pit is looking great! One thing that I remember from my build thus far was how well the wing halves fit. Shocked the heck out of me!

  6. I am looking forward to the rest of this build. I don't think the Blackhawk comics ever made it to Australia so I must do some research.

  7. I got a little bit more done while working around Thanksgiving at my daughter's house, Christmas shopping, and so on. I thought this might be a fun build to try some new ideas, some have worked out well and some not so much.

    I had built this kit before, but it was the short-nose version. This kit is the long-nose version, but it had the parts to build both. The problem was that there are basically two sets of everything: two pairs of engine nacelles, two pairs of rudders, and so on. Unfortunately, the instructions were only for the long-nose version. Things were getting very confusing trying separate out which parts went where and to which version. So, I went online and found a set of instructions that included both versions (thanks

    One of the few things that was duplicated for both versions was the canopy. The short-nose, early version had sighting tube that protruded through the front canopy, while the later long-nose version did not. What this meant was that the early canopy had a hole in the windscreen for the tube, and the later one didn't. This kit, being the later version, had no hole in the canopy. I check my references (one of my comic book sources) and found that the plane in the comics is an early version with the short-nose, but without a sighting tube in the windscreen. Very fortuitous!

    I had built this kit before and remember it as fitting together well. The plane is basically a set of wings with a fuselage pod and two engine pods attached. The paint scheme for this plane consists of blue engines and fuselage, with the wings and elevators being red. I wondered if I might save a ton of masking and paint the various sub-assemblies separately and then simply glue them together. I decided to go the conventional route, which turned out to be a good choice. The fuselage had several large sinkholes on the left side of the fuselage that corresponded to the details that had been molded on the cockpit wall, which I had removed to use the Eduard photoetch. No big problem. The fuselage fit onto the wing perfectly without any need for filler.

    The problem came when I assembled the engine nacelles. Twenty years of storage in my garage had not done the parts any favors and the parts were twisted, creating large gaps when assembled. A couple of feet of masking tape later, and the parts were glued together...hopefully straight. When I take the tape off, I figure there will be a lot of filler and sanding to clean-up the joints.

    The last thing I have done is to scratchbuild a gun sight for the cockpit. The model had no provision for a gun sight (except for the early sighting tube which wouldn't work here), but I figured a comic book fighter airplane would need one. The only thing that made this construction difficult was its small size.

    Things should move quickly now, so I should have more to show soon. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a good one. If you don't, I hope you have a great week.


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