F8F-1B Bearcat, VNAF 1st FS 1963
When I bought this kit, I was really dissapointed. Really poor in everything.
I was almost convinced to put it into trash bin. But then I saw some works of one guy, who built really old fashioned and really really poor kits so nicely that I started changing my mind.
I must say it was lucky decision to built the kit finally and to use no aftermarket (because the result was still uncertain). I just wanted to test my skills and improve them.
When my wife said I must finish this kit, because she likes the aircraft, challenge was accepted.
The most interesting thing is that Viet Nam army made some field modification of this Bearcat to photo reconaissance variant, which was originaly produced as F1F-2P… But they just cut of some plates and installed cameras in. I made it according to F1F-2P variant, so it is not absolutely accurate in shape and location.
Another disappointing moment came when I had the aircraft painted and almost finished and I found nice site with a lot of pictures and noticed some vents on top of fuselage before windshield – too late to make them 🙁
The complete build is here:
I will describe it just briefly.
I had to re-work seat in the cockpit, also to add most of instruments and some walls installation and controls.
I scratchbuilt complete wheel bays + some fuselage installations, including wing intakes.
Engine was highly improved with added screws, pipes and cabling. (aftermarket is really worth of buying, this thing needs to be replaced definitely!)
Main landing gears are re-worked to more accurate to real ones.
Tail wheel is completely scratchbuilt – I put the one from kit into trash bin, it was useless.
Wing fold mechanism is completely scratchbuilt, but aftermarket should exist – not sure if it fits or if they still produce, but I have seen it.
Cowling shape is a bit corrected – thanks, Tom!, and cowling vents are added.
Exhaust cover plates are new, parody from the box was the first thing I threw out.
All rivets are made by RB rivetting tool.
Painting: MRP White Aluminum on most of surface, ALCLADII Dark Aluminium on some places, for scratching I used AK chipping (hairspray technique), and all matt colors are Tamiya acrylics.
Weathering on wings is made by oil (I just made some touches with brush and then blur them a bit with cotton stick).
So – my recommendation – this kit is poor, but if I consider the price and the age, it gave me 2 months of fun and occasion to improve my skills.
I just regret lack of sources – I have no book at all about this type, so Internet was still on.
Next time I would take Trumpeter kit… I would still need some really “NAVY” machine in my collection. 🙂
And my last words are “Thank you guys for supporting me during the build”. 🙂
10 additional images. Click to enlarge.