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Andrew H
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What-if Build: Ryan F2R-1 Dark SharkCzech Model 1/48

June 24, 2020 · in Aviation · · 20 ≡

Good day all... I'd like to share one hot off the bench, as I'm happy to be done with this unique a/c.

This build is OBB of a multimedia kit by . There are reviews for it online, and generally speaking, they represent my experiences with the kit. My only deviation from online reviews would be that I found most of the included True Details resin pieces to be soft on details, and I was generally not pleased with the finer details. All said and done, the resin required more reshaping of some of the "near-net" form contours than I expected, but generally the fit as expected, with some work. This was my first extensive experience with cast resin as well as with vacuum form canopies (which even though the kit provides two, I didn't need the second πŸ˜‰ ). I found the resin wheels provided with the kit to be malformed, and as such I removed the brake calipers from the hub and grafted them to a set of Hellcat wheels from the spares box. They are much larger diameter than the kit wheels, but I think it looks cooler, despite the fact that it now has less prop clearance.

The kit provides options to do markings for two aircraft, though in real life only one was ever built. Rather than build the XF2R-1, I chose to build the what if option which is that of the VF-41 Firebirds, and added a few embellishments, because.. why not? This is generally how the aircraft might have looked if it was to replace the FR-1 operationally, though that was far from likely...

The real aircraft was, of course, based off the operational (yet not too successful) FR-1, which was flown in the late 40's. Like the FR-1, the F2R was dual-powered, which meant that it had both a driven propeller up front, and a turbine in back. The biggest difference between the FR-1 and F2R however, was the replacement of the forward radial engine with an experimental turboprop. The plane had teething issues, and really did very little to correct the many issues that plagued the FR-1's operational history. Ryan was working on an XF2R-2 for the Army, which was to correct many issues (structural, landing gear weakness, etc) however, prior to this coming to fruition, the notion of dual-powered fighters rapidly fell out-of-favor with the . More info can be found on Wikipedia. πŸ˜‰

It's not a perfect build, but it looks cool between a Bearcat and a Panther on the shelf. πŸ™‚

I hope you like it! Ps: I may yet dull down the finish, but despite the somewhat orange peeled finish, I like the shine.

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. beautiful build - love the obscure subjects! I need one in 1/72...

  2. Looks great! I cringe at the thought of vacu form canopies.

    • Rob, it wasn't a bad first experience. The kit provided ones are very thick, as you can see by the front canopy edge, where I "chose" not to blend to fuselage (doh..) It acted much like an injection piece, rigid/resilient.


  3. It may have been just a short note in the history of naval aviation, but none the less interesting. I like the result - well done Andrew H, @pb_legend

    • I appreciate it Erik. If one wanted to build a small number of all the almost-a-planes in history, they'd have plenty to chose from over the last 120 years.

  4. Wow. Such a goofy looking plane. Great to see you built this kit. I tackled the Czech Model's version of the FR-1 Fireball years ago and was happy enough with the results that I always wanted to build the Shark but never did. Looks like the kit yellow decals worked well for you. Your Shark does indeed look cool next to that Cat! Well done.

    • Thanks Eric! The yellow worked well enough, but the white of the insignias was pretty transparent. I actually doubled up the stars, and had I know prior to laying down the first insignia, I would have placed the entire alternate white insignias under each of them. Since the red bars were already in-place though, I did what I could with the stars.
      I also have the FR-1, which I like the looks of more than this one, but it may yet be a long time before I build it.

  5. A weird looking plane but that just makes it beautiful.
    Your build is realy great.

    • Thanks! I was drawn in by the wing scoops and the turboprop front end (ala boxart) but as the build progressed I gradually started to questions its proportions. Hehe

  6. Nice result on what I know is a "difficult" kit. You definitely want to mask the clear area again and give the model an overall coat of "Satin", which will bring it down to a more realistic in-scale "gloss" look, as well as making the orange peel finish far less noticeable.

    • Thanks Tom, the kit's certainly not great, and could be worse. I'm glad it worked out the way it did. As for the finish, it just depends on the time of day whether it gets dulled down, similar to what I did with the shown Bearcat.

  7. Your Shark looks awesome! I have the same kit in my stash. I open the box occasionally, remember all the work that would be needed to build this kit, and then I put it back on the shelf. I'm glad to see that someone decided to build it and do such a great job on it.

    • George, many thanks! I can understand your sentiments toward the kit. This one went in and out of the box many times early on.. but once the wings were on and I was filling seams, it went pretty quick! I'd like to see another in the gallery, but do only as your sanity permits, and keep a Tamigawa kit close at hand for some relief afterwards. πŸ˜‰

  8. One odd yet cool looking aircraft. Know nothing about flying but it sounds to me operating two different propulsion systems must have given the pilot a bit extra to deal with. More factors, numbers, levers and switches than would like to care about. Think many gave out a sigh of relief when the idea was scrapped. Anyway, congratulations to a different kind of model for your collection. Think what if certainly is a good way to go if one does it with a bit of style, which you did.

    • Stellan, thank you! I can only imagine the complexities. The predecessor of the Dark Shark, the FR-1 is actually known to be the first aircraft to land on a carrier under solely jet power, when his radial engine quit, and he spooled up the turbine to take him in.. lucky for him he got the thing lit!

  9. Andrew, has to be one of the most "what were they thinking" aircraft ever designed, however you've done a wonderful job making it into a very nice looking and interesting model. I really like the paint scheme. Well done !

  10. That's a truly beautiful build of a very difficult kit, Andrew @pb_legend!

    What a cool looking plane!

    Makes me wanting to grab a same kit and build it.

    I also go thumbs up with the whatif scheme: looks great!

    A "benefit" of the whatif is that you can easily justify the Hellcat wheels: they were actually used with this whatif scheme, as they behaved better than the original ones!

    Looking forward to your FR-1 build, whenever you decide to build it!

  11. Thanks Spiros! Artistic license on the finer details is just one of the many benefits of building a fictional plane.. If I do build the FR-1, I'll consider making it into a WIP thread.

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