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Andrew H
45 articles

What-If Build: Grumman F5F-2 – 1/48 Minicraft

August 29, 2020 · in Aviation · · 24 · 2K
This article is part of a series:
  1. What-if Build: Ryan F2R-1 Dark Shark - Czech Model 1/48
  2. What-if Build: North American FJ-1 (P-51) - Revell 1/48
  3. What-If Build: Grumman F5F-2 – 1/48 Minicraft
  4. What-If: Northrop F/A-20C Tigershark - Freedom Model Kits 1/48

Fresh off the workbench is 's gem-of-a-kit, that is, their Long-Nose XF5F... schemed-out in a 1943 Tri-tone Blue. This is my third whiffer and I can say I'm happy with the slightly esoteric and (for me anyway) appealing results.

The kit itself is fairly simple, but with a very "Minicraft-ishly" spartan cockpit. With that (and the sparsely open wheel wells) push aside, the kit itself was a delight to build. Fit was excellent and the parts were all cleanly molded. Though the fuselage required some putty at a few seams, the upper and lower wing (each piece the full span) required no putty what-so-ever!

To the cockpit, the main modifications were: the addition of a gunsight lens, seaback thinned appropriately, and harness bar and harness added (replicated F4F). The only other place were I felt that there was some need for added detail was the rear cockpit, or turtle-deck area. This area is highly visible, however the kit had no previsions for this area... Thus I did some fanciful scratchbuilding loosely based off what I could see was in the area on the real XF5F aircraft.

The only other modification to the base kit was that I added some rivet random detailing on the upper side of the plane.

Primary paints were Vallejo colors, however some MM colors were interjected here and there. Decals from the spare bin. Red outline insignias were specifically used because I like the way they contrast with the Tri-tone scheme. The Number 5 was chosen because, well... F5F. Umber and Black Oil wash was used over a matt finish, giving an overly grimmy look, but again, I like the artist results this produces.

My biggest regret of this build? Forgetting to Future the canopy...

I hope you enjoy this scheme and my build!

Reader reactions:
17  Awesome

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

24 responses

  1. "Liked." A lot. Very nice work on this whiffer.

  2. Cool looking Whiffer Andrew, I really like tri-color scheme.

  3. What a cool looking machine

  4. Nicely done! Looks great in that scheme. Nice comparison to the Wildcat.

  5. So ugly one would think it is from Blackburn. However, the tricolour camou and red insignias are also a favourite with me. Keep the whiffers coming.

  6. Nice build, overall great looking bird.
    Well done, Andrew.

  7. Great job! The tri-color paint scheme, red border insignia and gunsight really sell it as a warbird.

  8. Sweet build. The tri colour scheme was a great choice.

  9. Almost a materialized "whatif", Andrew. You did a great job on it.

  10. Love it! The Tri-color paint scheme is one of my favorites, and you did a very nice job with it!

  11. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Very nice work Andrew. The paint work is remarkably done and the scheme seems to be just fitting for it.

  12. A liberating build...with out the constraints of having to consult the history books and photo's allows one to be the artist and not the historian. Great to see a modeler be creative and run wild.

    Two thumbs Andrew.

    • Stephen, thanks! It's liberating and relaxing to just build to your hearts content from time to time. I'd recommend it to any builder in a slump.

  13. Indeed a gem of a kit. Looks terrific!

  14. Great looking plane, Andrew (@pb_legend). You are right that it is a gem. I have built this model twice, both in the short-nose version. My last one was in the paint scheme of the Black Hawk comic book plane. Your hypothetical paint scheme is perfect.

    • Thanks George, I stumbled across your builds in the past, and enjoyed seeing them built up, even though I find the short nose version more... unique (not in a good way i hope you understand). 😉 Cool non-the-less! Thanks for stopping in.

  15. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. I highly recommend this kit if it interests you!

  16. You're build came out really beautifully, though that is one ugly aircraft!

  17. Great job on this build, it really came it nice!

  18. That is so cool @pb_legend! It's so imaginative and extremely well done. Just imagine, it's sort of the ancestor of the Tigercat; who knew that rather ungainly F5F had such nice genes in her DNA?!? 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words Gary, @garybrantley! Look up the XP-50 if you've never seen one, it was an army version of the XF5F with tricycle landing gear, and the heritage to the F7F is very apparent!

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