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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

F7F-3N "Tigercat" - AMT/ERTL 1:48

A little history first
In 1941 the U.S. Navy was interested for a twin-engined fighter operating from aircraft carriers. Grumman Company won the contract and the Tigercat F7F program was born.The plane would enter service in 1944, but it became obvious that it was too big to operate from carrier decks. The Navy lost its interest and the planes were delivered to the Marines. The planes arrived very late at the Pacific, so they didn’t see any action. They saw action in the Corean War as attack aircrafts or night fighters. They were withdrawn from service in 1954.
The -3N version was equipped with a radar, radome and a second cockpit for the radar operator. The 50cal. machine guns at the nose were removed and were replaced with 4 20mm cannon at the wing roots.

The F7F was one of the best twin piston - engined fighters but in the fifties the Navy was interested more for jet planes because they were the future.
Today, seven of these magnificent warbirds are still airworthy at the States. The F7F was originally named the ‘Tomcat’ but that name was rejected by the Navy as it was considered not political correct for that particular period!
Grumman used that name later for the F-14 fighter.

About the kit
This is the old AMT/ERTL 1/48 F7F-3N which has been reissued by Italeri. The kit is moulded in high quality plastic. The panel lines are scribed very well, the cockpit is rather simple. The wheel interiors and the engines are nicely done.The kit has new styrene tires (the old AMT kit had vinyl tires which were very hard to paint), useful options (rockets, bombs, drop tank). The quality of the clear parts and the four marking options is very good.
There are only too disadvantages, although the overall shape is very good. The radome is inaccurate and the propeller cuffs are moulded on the wrong edges and if these really bother you, you can buy the replacements sets from Cutting Edge.
There is also a 55gallon drum with a crate on, in order to balance the plane. The funny thing about F7F- 3Ns was that they had heavy tails, so when they were unfuelled they sat back on their tails. Therefore, the ground crews had to put something under their tails to hold them up!

Construction at last      
            The main componets (cockpit, landing gear bays) were painted with gunze H-58 interior green FS-34151.With matt black I painted the side panels and the controls. I used oil washes (Raw Umber and Black) and drybrushed every raised detail. For the seat belts I used an old Airwave set. For the radial engines I added some ignition wiring.
            I also added a lot of extra weight inside the radome hopping that the plane would sit properly.If the kit refused to sit down properly, do not worry, watch the photo below.

            For the blue color I used Gunze Navy Blue H-54 but before that I sprayed the primer and I pre-shaded with black color along the panel lines, followed by thin coats of the main colour. The weathering was made by adding a few drops of white into the main colour. After a gloss coat I added the decals. The exhausts were drilled and were painted with Gunze Drak Iron. The exhaust stains were made by using Gunze H-311. The chipping was made with a silver pencil. Finally, I sprayed a semi-gloss coat from Marabou.




            The photos show an airplane from VMF(N)-542. The place is Air Base (K-14), Korea and the year is 1950.

Highly recommended!

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