I noticed there hasn’t been a Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star yet and this old kit has been staring me in the face or the last few months, ever since I found a decent set of replacement 1/72 decals at one of the Hobby Stores that sells ‘used’ kits.
The kit is the OLD Airfix F-80C Kit # 02043-3 which appears to have been originally released back in 1973. The box art from my kit suggests a release date of 1975. I have no idea how long I’ve actually had this kit.
Cross-referencing other F-80 kit instructions and other internet searches indicate the markings are for a F-80C with the 25th Fighter Squadron, 51st Fighter Group stationed in Korea in the Autumn of 1951.
‘Wiki’ info stated that :
‘during the retreat of U.N. forces from North Korea into the South in December 1950, the 25th flew more than 21 sorties each day that month to save the 2nd Infantry Division, which had been cut off by the enemy near Kunuri, from being overrun. Air cover was officially credited with preventing disastrous losses to the division.’
So with this build I get to tackle some bad fitting components and try out a complete NM Finish.
One thing I did not know about the F-80 was that initial design began at Bell as a single seat variation of the Bell P-59 Airacomet prior to design work being handed over to Lockheed. Another tidbit I did not realized was that the original XP-80 prototype was originally powered by an imported de Havilland H-1B Goblin engine flying for the first time in January 1944. Due to production issues, design modifications (resulting in a slightly larger aircraft with redesigned air intake ducting) were required to adapt the final General Electric J33 series engine.
2 attached images. Click to enlarge.