Tuesday, January 27, 2009

new model: F8F Bearcat

My new model is the Academy's 1/48 Grumman F8F Bearcat. I've decided I prefer radial engine aircraft. The possibility to add detail is more available than an inline engine (like a Mustang) or a jet engine. The Bearcat was the last fighter made in WW2 and entered service just as Japan surrendered. It saw no action with the USN, but has the distinction of being the first aircraft used by the Blue Angels.

The model isn't bad, but is lacking in detail in some places. I'm no super-detailer, but since the out-of-the-box detail of the Tamiya, I find it hard not to want to add detail. I'm not the stickler that says things like "the prop spinner on the Tamiya Spitfire is more of a proper shape than the Hasegawa but still not accurate", but I have to make things look at least naturalistic.

The places I'm going to do some detailing:

The cockpit
This needs some major detailing, so I'm making my first foray into using photo etch parts.

You non-modelers check out the size of the details. A bit overkill, perhaps? I mean look at pieces 16 and 26, for crying out loud ;)

The bay under the fuselage between the wheel wells
This is a big, empty hole. It must be filled.

The wheel wells and landing gear
I said I wasn't a stickler, but sometimes I exaggerate. I'm going to come pretty close to accurizing the landing gear. I'll try to make the wheel wells look pretty natural, but there's like a dozen hydraulic lines I'm so not putting in.

The Engine
I like doing this part. I'm going to expand (a very little bit) beyond the basic addition of ignition lines. This will be all scratch built as I'm not buying a $15 aftermarket engine. The model only cost $25 and I'm not spending almost as much on an engine.

The oil cooler flaps
Well, I think they're oil cooler flaps. Just at the top of the fuselage at the end of the engine cowling there should be two flaps. They are on every picture I've seen on a parked Bearcat, but they aren't on this model. This part frightens me the most. I have to cut holes in the fuselage and if I mess this up, I've ruined the model. We'll see if I do it. There will be NO turning back if I start.

Here's the kit

Here's the real thing

I've already started on the scratchbuilding and I've finished the fuselage bay, but that's the next post. Wish me skill

listening to while posting: "Breakdown" Jack Johnson (on Pandora.com)

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