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Spiros Pendedekas
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Hobbycraft 1/48 Vought F7U-3 “Cutlass”

April 13, 2020 · in Aviation · · 38 Comments

Hi everyone!

Here is my "", built 15 years ago.

The F7U Cutlass was a United States Navy carrier-based jet fighter and fighter-bomber of the early Cold War era. It was a tailless aircraft for which aerodynamic data from projects of the German Arado and Messerschmitt companies, obtained at the end of World War II through German scientists who worked on the projects, contributed; though Vought designers denied any link to the German research at the time. The F7U was the last aircraft designed by Rex Beisel, who was responsible for the first fighter ever designed specifically for the U.S. Navy, the Curtiss TS-1 of 1922.

Regarded as a radical departure from traditional aircraft design, the Cutlass suffered from numerous technical and handling problems throughout its short service career. The type was responsible for the deaths of four test pilots and 21 other U.S. Navy pilots. Over one quarter of all Cutlasses built were destroyed in accidents.

The kit is a somehow simple rendition of this beautiful aircraft. Basic shape seems good, with engraved panel lines. Cockpit is basic and somehow generic. Decals look useable, but did not seem opacque enough.

Anyways, it was built simply OOB. Fit was not bad, a little attention paid here and there, and some sanding and (always for me...) puttying. Painted grey over white. Decals behaved themselves but were not opacque enough and translution can be seen at some spots. A little black wash and I was done!

"GUTLESS" the Cutlass might have been, maybe because of its engines (this plane needed THRUST...anyway it's a long story...), but what an audaciously beautiful shape. Hope you like it.

Happy modeling!

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.

38 responses

  1. Ha ha ha ha your plane is funny lookin'...The model however, is quite nicely done.

  2. Nice and clean details!

  3. Despite the problems bringing it aboard ship (remember the Corsair had issues too and was initially rejected for shipboard use) and hydraulic issues (it was the first plane with a 3000 psi system, now standard) many pilots did enjoy flying it when it was working. I've build a couple of Hobbycrafts F7Us and while not perfect it builds up okay and is right now our only option in 1/48. (Although I've long read rumors of Kitty Hawk making one along with the F6U Pirate.)

    Fisher Models also had a stunning Cutlass in 1/32 resin, unfortunately his home and shop were destroyed in the California wildfires. Nice job on getting yours done Spiros. Now if only Al Casby can get his full size one completed we'll be treated to seeing one in the air again!

    • Thanks Josh! This design screamed for big reliable thust, something the poor F7U didn't have. I can positively suppose the rest teething problemas would have been solved should this beauty remained more in service.
      ...Fly-by-wire her? Her design was not necessarily unsuited for...
      Can you imagine her flying?
      All the best!

  4. You did a fine job with your "Gutless"... and it is nice to see one built. It's a rarity to see one on the contest tables. For your model to be 15 years old, it has held up very well. I'll bet it still looks as good as the day you finished it up. Very nice work my friend. I also learned something from reading your article. I didn't know that Rex Beisel was involved in the design of this one. I knew he was very involved with the F4U, and somewhere I have a photo of him standing on the wing of one, and going from memory, the photo was taken in the South Pacific... Very cool... Thanks.


    • Thanks Louis!
      Apart from my white flirting with yellow (just a bit), it has standed reasonably well.
      Glad my model's short story triggered your interest and your memories!
      All the best!

  5. This is such a cool aircraft - I may have to buy one now. You did a super job on yours!

  6. Nice work! One of those not so successful links in Naval Aviation.

  7. A fine looking model of a beautiful aircraft

  8. Great result, Spiros. It's definitely not one of the best kits, but you have come up with an excellent result.

    I actually got to see one fly - at Navy Day 1955 at NAS Buckley Field in Denver (Buckley ANG base ever since around 1958). Watching the Vought pilot make low passes at a 40-degree AOA was pretty impressive.

  9. Such a nice model of a fascinating aircraft! My congratulations Spiros! I really like your modeling work -and your photographs, which shows us the qualities of this very well done model

  10. You have made a very average kit look remarkably good.

  11. Nice work, Spiro on a not often built kit. I get a queasy feeling every time I approach the Cutlass at the naval air museum in Pensacola. That tall nose gear strut and the knowledge of how dangerous this plane was is pretty sobering.

    • Indeed it is scary. The Cutlass was a daring design, but wasn't back-ed up by strong and reliable engines and reliable auxilliary systems. The latter problem was on its way to be solved, the engine situation stagnated. The plane was doomed. What a pity!
      Thanks for liking, John!
      All the best!

  12. Very nice build of an unusual aircraft. I remember it only from the Buck-Danny comics... Well done!

  13. Nicely done Spiros. Like others have stated, not something you see in most collections. With regards to slow and high angle of attack, checkout this video. Fast forward to around the 5 minute mark. · on youtube
    • Thnks James! I love this video! Have to say my two sons (2.5 and 5) and me are HUGE fans of The Blue Angels. EVERY day we watch their video with the F-18's set to "Van Halen Dreams" and also "Pump up the Angels"! They used for a while the Cutlass too!
      All the best, my friend!

      • The Blues and the Red Arrows are my favorites, of course I love anything flying but I'm a bit partial to them. A few years ago, the best civilian team in my opinion was the Christian Eagles. This is from 1986, some great pilots...

        • In Tanagra AFB, where I was till recently stationed, we were hosting the Red Arrows every March for ONE MONTH training, three displays every day, one or two of them over the base (the third one usually above sea).

          Can you believe it? They were magnificent, we loved them and they felt at home in our base.

          Christian Eagles are amazing. I know it's very difficult to perform formation aerobatics with biplanes.

          I love all those aerobatic teams. They inspire me with their goal for excellence.

          All the best, my friend!

  14. That is a beautiful model and has aged well. Nicely done, Spiros! The name Rex Beisel has been showing up a lot in my reading lately, books on the period between WWI and WWII.

  15. Nicely done. Hobbycraft kits are pretty rudimentary, but you've built up a nice Cutlass here!

  16. That’s a very cool looking Cutlass. First time I’ve ever seen a build of this. Does look kinda scary to land. Great job!

    • It sure was a handful not only to land but to fly in general. I read that, among others, pilots had to improvise on their techniques or create new ones (eg stall recovery).
      Thanks for liking my bird, Eric!
      All the best!

  17. A very neat and clean build Spiros.

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