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1/48th Trumpeter F9F-2 Panther

I just finished building the 1/48th -2 Grumman Panther. It's finished in the markings of VMF-311 as carried by that squadron during their participation in the Korean War. As a side note, the great baseball player Ted Williams flew Panthers with VMF-311 in Korea. The model was a smooth build but Trumpeter surely got carried away with so many rivets and their way oversized navigation lights on the wing tip tanks. Those certainly had to go. Some nose weight was needed to keep the Panther nose wheel on the ground. The model was finished with Model Master Dark Sea Blue (FS15042). I couldn't find a decal sheet for that Panther in VMF-311 markings so I sourced them from ye ole decal stash box. The final photo in the batch is of the plane I was modeling. Like many of you, I often build from a photo of a bird that interests me.

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

33 responses

  1. Awesome looking Panther,nice work.

  2. That is a good-looking Panther - well done.

  3. FYI, Ted Williams' wingman in Korea was the Mig Mad Major (or as he was known in VMF-311... Magnet-A*s for the number of times his Panther got hit) John Glenn.

  4. Well done Jim, and you're correct that's a lot of rivets on that bird.

  5. That kit makes me go running to the old Monogram kit every time. As another example of just how bad it is, it has the same dimensions as the Monogram kit, which is an F9F-5. If you were crazy enough to want to turn this doorstop into an actual F9F-2, you'd need to take out 12 inches (1/4 inch) right ahead of the intakes, and then in the middle of the fuselage above the wing.

    Despite all its problems, you have done this kit more honor than it's due with this nice result.

    • Thank you Tom and surely that Trumpeter kit is a rip-off of the fine Monogram kit. The dropped flaps however were a nice addition. I had several of the Monogram -5's in the collection already but since I didn't have a -2 I went ahead and built that Trumpeter bird despite it's known flaws.

  6. Excellent job, Jim!
    Yes, it's really great to "build from a photo"!

    • Thank you Spiros. Building from a picture often gives some added detail for the model but also can create a bit of a challenge when no decals for that plane are available. However conquering a challenge like that just enhances the joy of finishing the model like you want it.

  7. Jim,
    Love the Panther. You have done a beautiful job on this one

  8. Great work on this Panther, Jim @bentwing

  9. Looks great, Jim!

  10. Nice work, Jim. That MM Gloss Sea Blue was one of the colors I liked from that range. I used the last of mine on a Rieth/Kittyhawk Banshee that I built a couple of years ago.

  11. Nice job, it's a great looking Panther.

  12. That is a great Panther Jim! Aren't they just cool looking planes?!? Fine work indeed sir! 🤗

  13. Thanks Gary and I surely agree that the Panther is a fine looking plane.

  14. Hi, Jim, I appreciate that like many of Trumpeter’s kits this one has its shortcomings, but you’ve made an excellent job of this one, I particularly love this paint scheme.

  15. Nice work Jim...a shining GSB example of a proper Panther. It turned out well despite the mold work by the mad riveter at Trumpeter. And as you said, the dropped flaps kick it up a notch along with your choice of markings. Thumbs up sir.

  16. Thanks Clark and I got a laugh at your comment about the 'mad riveter' at Trumpeter. Looks like he's worked on a number of projects there. I liked those dropped flaps too and somewhere down the line I may build another Monogram F9F-5 and see if those Trumpeter flaps can be made to fit.

  17. Jim, @bentwing

    I'll echo the sentiments listed above. You have done a wonderful job with building and painting this one. The Panther is one of, (if not the most) favorite jets of mine from this era. By dropping the flaps, you have added a little more detail that sets this one apart from the typical Panther. Having an actual photo to work from is another bonus. I definitely pressed the "like" button.

    Thanks to the kind gesture of a fellow Imodeler, now I have a set of decals to build Ted Williams' plane. It will be done as a part of our Korean War group build. I'm also thinking about building up one of John Glenn's Panther jets. Once I complete a few more projects, I will likely be starting on these Panther jets.

    Did you happen to run into any trouble during the construction ? I'm seriously thinking about folding the wings. I don't think that most will notice the length discrepancy, unless it is parked right next to a "corrected" dash 2 or dash 3 bird.

    I finally finished my Toko-Ri "Brubaker" jet.

    Mine was the Monogram kit, and for some reason the parts were warped on the wings. I bought it used secondhand on EBay, so I don't have a clue how this could have happened. Who knows ? It could have been stored in someone's attic.

    I still need to post the article up for it.

    Thank you again for contributing to our Korean War group build.

    Stay safe.

  18. Hello Louis and thanks for the comments on the Panther build. Regarding trouble areas on the Trumpeter build, there were a couple of things that popped up. The first wrinkle I ran into was the mounting of the nose guns. Trumpeter gives you a small 'shelf' with pre-drilled holes that the four guns fit into. Then theoretically one just slides that assembly into the nose piece and the guns are spaced properly with the right amount of barrel protrusion. Only problem is that the guns won't properly go into their assigned holes and any pressure to force them into place simply breaks them off...ask me how I know ! So I simply snipped off the forward portions of the gun barrels and glued them in place. What an exercise in frustration. The other problem came with mounting the outer wing panels which by the way in the Trumpeter F9F-2 kit can be mounted extended or folded. I went for the extended wings. You get two sets of mounting bars (one for folded, one for extended). Those bars fit into groves that line up between the wing center section and the outer wing panels. Theoretically you simply slide the wing parts together and you have a neat fit. Well, I couldn't get the pins to seat properly leaving a substantial gap where it should have been a snug fit. Possibly that may have been my fault that I hadn't seated them properly but I just snipped the damned things off and went ahead and mounted the wings. After that minor plastic surgery, the wings fitted perfectly. Other than the two events with the nose guns and the wing panels it was a very smooth build with excellent parts fit that only required a couple of small applications of putty. There was no flash and all the parts on the sprue were clearly marked. Were I ever to build another one of these I think I'd do a bit more to negate the riveting but the dark sea blue did a pretty good job of visually minimizing it. The kit comes with some decent useable decals but both subjects were NAVY. That's OK if you wanted a NAVY bird but I wanted to do mine in USMC markings. Didn't mean to be so long winded here but since you asked, I wanted to answer your questions.

  19. @lgardner, Louis, thinking way back through the years, I remember now that the wings on my Monogram Panther were also somewhat warped. I recall heating them over a pan of boiling water and twisting them into shape. I had completely forgotten about that until I read your comment above. 🙂

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