Republic F-84F Thunderstreak – Italeri/Kinetic 1/48
This kit was one of those rare kits that I bought on a whim, and successfully completed without ever "putting it up". It has been the focus of my efforts for the last 6 weeks or so, off and on. The kit itself is an Italeri boxing of the Kinetic kit, which itself lends much of its shape and engineering to the old Monogram kit (compare the instructions on Scalemates, you'll see!). This boxing is only worse off from the Kinetic kit in that it does not offer the bearing balls for weight, though there is plenty of room to improvise the 20g needed. The plus side to the Italeri kit is that the provided decals are very nice and offer a wide number of NATO air force selections. The key difference between the Monogram kit and the Kinetic kit are that the Kinetic kit has deep (too deep I'd argue) panel lines (while the Monogram had raised), and that the plastic finish is rough, and in-fact some surfaces still show remnants of machining marks. The surface finish must be dealt with if you're planning NMF, so be aware.
To begin, I decided early that this build would include nothing that didn't come in the box. The only slight exception to that is that I used the US insignias that came on an Aeromaster ANG sheet, due to the Italeri decals having what looked to be too-thin red stripes. I discount this except on the basis that this sheet was in the box when I purchased it second hand. All other decals looked good. The Italeri decals (which had no printer name on the sheet, Cartograf maybe?) were not too thick, but still very durable. Most importantly, they reacted very well to Micro-sol.
The build was pretty straightforward, and fit was excellent all over. There was a bit of flash here and there, but the majority of parts it was very easy to discern what should stay and what should be cut away. The cockpit has fairly decent detail, but I would have liked to have had a Eduard Zoom IP to drop in, as it really would have made the interior pop more. Unfortunately for me (and fortunately for future builders of this kit), Edaurd released a Zoom set for this kit the same time that I was painting the exterior...! Go figure...
On the exterior, there are a few choices to be made. First, the top of the nose can be displayed open to show the gun bay. I chose to keep it closed due to the various decals that would be on the gun bay door and its adjacent surfaces. Next, the spoilers are made to be displayed open, however, They fit into the fuselage perfectly, if you wanted to display them that way. Next the kit comes with four pylons, and corresponding drop tanks. I chose to mount only the inner two, though I did not fill the holes for the outer two, to leave the option of potentially adding alternate ordinance later. Lastly, though not really a provided option, one must commit to either having the canopy open (the way the kit is designed) or cutting up pieces in order to display the canopy closed. As you can see, I chose to close it. Only minor modification was needed. If you chose to leave it open, there is a fair bit of interior detail that can be seen, such as the inside canopy framing.
On the topic of paint, I started by first sanding down all surfaces with a med/fine sanding sponge. Much of the details are starkly recessed, which means a that a generous sanding did not hurt them any. On top of that, I used MrFinishing 1500 (black), which I also lightly sanded smooth with a fine grit. After that, I laid down a base of Vallejo. I would love to tell you it's Chrome, but I don't really know, because I'm pretty sure my 32mL bottles were mis-labelled at the factory. The "Dull Aluminum" looks like Chrome, and the "Chrome" looks like Dull Aluminum, so I go with that.. Any who, on top of that, I used a bunch of different Aluminum tones, to try to produce similar variations that I could see in photos. in some places, I lightly oversprayed the cured base, then waited 5-10 minutes and dabbed the surface with Tamiya or Frog tape. This left splotchy color, but I tried not to over do it, as I did not want to weather this airframe much. The blue wingtips and nose incorporate decals, however they were NOT sized well enough to cover the whole tip (especially on the wings). For this reason, I cut these decals down to just a few millimeters from the yellow strip, and painted the rest of each wing tip, with enough blue on the decal to still blend it in. I think this turned out ok. Overall, the paint was sealed with X-22 for decals, and X-35 overall. I'm not sure why the Semi-gloss is more gloss, than not, but I'm still happy with it. The anti-glare panel was actually a decal, but in the end, I still oversprayed it with thinned OD and matte varnish. Panel lines accented only with Tamiya Dark Grey panel line wash, too help keep them from standing out too much.
Overall, this was a fun build. It has given me an interest in Cold War planes and Century jets like never before, but I can't necessary say there is another in the pipeline at the moment. Anyway, on to the pics, showing an F-84F from the 81st FBW, 91st FBS, stationed out of Bentwater AFB in 1958. I hope you enjoy!