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Dan DeSilva
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1/48 FM F9F-8 Cougar converted to F9F-8P

March 31, 2022 · in Aviation · · 19 · 1.3K

I bought a FM (Fonderie Miniature) years ago in my pursuit of building one of each of the Blue Angels display aircraft in 1/48. In time I learned that it was essentially a Monogram 1/48 Panther kit that had been modified (wings/tail) into an "F6F-8" Cougar, and then used to tool some molds. There are interesting decal choices in the kit, some resin and photoetch, white metal landing gear and vac canopies. It is the only 1/48 cougar kit with anything approaching intake trunking, in the form of white vacuum formed parts! As mentioned in my Collect-Aire Cougar post, I bought a 1/48 -8 Cougar kit, and once I saw the quality of the Photo Cougar parts included, I decided to graft the nose onto my FM kit. That nose! Amazing to think that the aerodynamics of the Cougar was largely unaffected by the huge protuberance of the camera nose!

The first order of business in building the FM Cougar is to lengthen the fuselage to match the scale length of an F9F-8 fuselage. some cuts on panel lines, and some inserts of plastic card didn't take too long, but I made sure to keep each fuselage level as I glued the parts back together, to prevent twisting of the fuselage, so it would all line up later.

While the fuselage halves set up, I worked on the wings including the main wheel bay and getting the vacuum formed intake trunks settled into the wing subassembly.

The FM cockpit is a copy of the Monogram Panther cockpit for the most part, but I used the Kittyhawk etch instrument panel- KH provide the 8 and 8P panels in their kit.

Once the FM fuselage was together, I had to cut the nose cone off to prepare for the KH 8P nose to be attached. I also had to add a disc in place to allow the photo nose to mount securely to the FM fuselage.

The Kittyhawk 8P camera bay parts are a kit on their own. I really enjoyed putting it all together. The bay on the real aircraft allowed for different camera configurations- the KH kit configuration was one of a number of possibilities.

I was not sure if I wanted to leave the camera bay doors open or not, so masked off the camera bay openings while I continued in construction and painting- a bit scary especially when painting! I had to mask off the small round camera window at the front of the nose- it wasn't documented well on the part or the instructions.

I decided on the very orange scheme (I used Testors Enamels: Chevrolet Engine Red) provided with the Kittyhawk kit- I never found photos of the actual airframe, so I trusted that they got most of it right- they didn't get the early GSB single seat fighter markings right (as mentioned in my Collect-Aire Cougar build article) but I had a number of photos of other 8P cougars in the orange and white scheme, so adjusted certain parts of the kit scheme to emulate certain parts of those in the references. My only disappointment was the lack of opacity in the white of the national markings- the surrounds and the white parts of the insignia- I will post for spares at some point, so I can overlay a second set over the ones presently on the kit. I found that Kittyhawk decals really grab well on to a layer of future floor wax- so it should work fine!

I am really glad I decided to kitbash the leftover camera nose parts from the KH kit with the FM kit!

Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

19 responses

  1. Looks fabulous! Love the colors you finished her in

    • Thanks David! I am still bothered that I could not find a photo of the actual airframe featured on the kit decal sheet, but I had to just push on and get it done!

  2. A lot of work there. Great result.

  3. Excellent work done on this Cougar, Dan @danfrombermuda
    Great result on all the extras you did.

  4. Excellent job, Dan!

  5. Another good looking Cougar, Dan. Nice work on the upgrades.

  6. Dan: We will have to start calling you the " Cougar King" for the great F9F models that you have been doing. Congratulations!

    • Thanks Marvin, I really hope that my Blue Angels builds will turn out well- they won't need to be kitbashes, although I think I need to cast my own intake trunking...

  7. Great results from a lot of work!

  8. Outstanding built Dan. Kitbashing is fun if you have the wherewithal and ingenuity.

    • I am trying to build something OOB, as I have been gravitating towards kitbashes I set aside to be done "someday"! I have some other kits I hope to photograph and post next week...

  9. that is a striking-looking Cougar - lots of elbow grease applied to a fantastic result.

  10. Kit bashed into a really great looking Cougar.

  11. Your hard work on this paid off, it looks very nice. I wish Monogram had produced a Cougar kit to compliment their nice Panther.

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