Attack Squadron – F8F-1 Bearcat

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Scale: 1/72
Model No. – 72018
Series – Pro Set
Full Resin and Phot Etch
MSRP: 180,00 zł POL / $58.00 US

A little background

The F8F-1 Bearcat is a single-seated fighter aircraft delivered to the military in early 1945; however, by the time the planes were ready for combat the war would be over. This plane is equipped with a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp radial piston engine. The idea was brought forth from the fighter pilots of the F4F over Midway in the Second World War and senior management at Grumman. The idea was to create an aircraft as light as it possibly could be and with a higher rate of climb that the F4F and newer F6F.

The Same Double Wasp radial piston engine that was used in the F6F was incorporated into the new XF8F-1, the prototype for the F8F-1. With a lighter and smaller frame, the new F8F’s quickly surpassed the performances of the F6F and F7F models. The “Razorback” design seen on previous models was done away with along with redesigning the canopy to allow for better visibility for the pilots. With the use of flush riveting and spot welding and the added benefit of 100% retractable undercarriage, the rear wheel included, streamlined the aircraft to the vast improvements of performance.

With top speeds in excess of 420mph and the greater rate of climb they were looking for, these new F8F-1 Bearcats even outperformed some of the early jet powers counterparts. Missing out on the action in WWII, the F8F was pressed into service in South East Asia and used as the primary aircraft in France’s plight in Indochina with many going ito use in the South Vietnamese military in 1955.

Somewhere around 1266 F8F Bearcats were constructed and used. The Bearcat would be the last radial engine powered plane to be introduced by the US Navy.

Attack Squadron’s F8F-1 Bearcat


The F8F-1 Bearcat kit from Attack Squadron is a full multi-media 1/72 model kit. Sold in a sturdy flip top box and all parts secured with bubble wrap and Ziploc type baggies, this kit is a full resin and photo etch kit. The contents are as follows:

Contents

68 – Grey colored cast resin parts
2 – Clear cast resin parts
1 – 3D printed part
2 – Vacuum formed clear parts
1 – Photo etch sheet (36 parts)
1 – Decal sheet
1 – 8-page Instruction booklet

 
Upon opening this kit, we find the parts securely protected with in individually packed Ziploc type baggies and all wrapped within a sheet of bubble wrap. There are five bags of grey cast resin parts. This makes up the bulk of this kit. Taking a close look at the individual parts, I noticed the casting to be of the highest quality. There are no visible air bubbles and all of the parts a cast clean and very crisp. The detailing, even in 1/72, is excellent. Recessed panel lines and rivets seem to be all present as seen on the original F8F-1.

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As with most multi-media resin kits, the parts are still attached to their casting blocks and there is residual flash on some of the smaller more delicate parts that will be needed to be removed; however, this is minute and removes easily, often with the touch of a finger. The casing block on some of the parts, such as the nose cowling where a large block was used to cast the part and attached to the outside end but appears to be a quick thin blade sawing and a quick sanding making light of the work is all that will be needed.

The engine is a fine representation of the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp radial piston engine. There are only three detailed resin parts that are needed to be added to the engine for construction along with a nicely photo etched ring with the engines’ wiring to complete the work. It is almost a shame to put the cowling on this do to the detailing seen on the engine. The inside of the cowling themselves is detail as well.

This models’ body is made up from several parts including the two forward cowlings, a full cockpit section rather than halves and one hollow tail section encompassing a ¼ tail-fin into the cast. All joints line up with corresponding surface panel lines making for limited seam line filling and sanding.

The cockpit is made up from several parts including photo etch. The seat and controls are nicely detailed and after construction should slide right into the molded section of the fuselage.

Both main sections to the wings are cast in one piece each. All of the panel lines and access panel lines that are present on the real aircraft have been represented on these wings. Through the use of 3D modelling, master copies are made for the casting process greatly improve the overall details to this model. The one thing not incorporated into the wing design was the folding wing option seen on the real aircraft.

The integrated wheel wells are highly detailed showing the internal ribbing and vent line ducting. There is the absence of hydraulics and wiring in the wells but this should be an easy task even in the 1/72 scale with some little bits of wire and solder pieces.

All of the flaps, ailerons, stabilizers, elevators, vertical stabilizer and rudder are all cast individually and can be positioned in various set points to your liking. Each of these parts are cast with the same quality as seen with the fuselage parts; detailed crisply.


The landing gear and wheels are nicely represented with this kit. The landing gear themselves are the parts I discussed previously where there is a small amount of flash that will be needed to removed but this is wafer thin and should come off easily. The retractable rear wheel does appear to be missing a small stabilizing bar but this is easily rendered through the use on one small gauge piece of wire.

As part of the kit, Attack Squadron has incorporated a complete compliment of the external weapons that were found on the F8F Bearcat. There are four, 5 inch HVAR rockets with separate stabilizing fins, two 500 pound bombs and a nicely detailed drop tank.

The two clear resin parts included in this kit are for the wing tip lighting if the builder chooses. A small notch will need to be made in the wind if so desired and colored with clear paints to represent the appropriate lighting.

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As a part of this kit, there is one 3D printed part; the propeller mounting. 3D printing was the obvious choice when creating this part as the details that can only be created cleanly through 3D technology.

The canopy for this model is a vacuum formed part. This part will need to be removed from the forming sheet but the detail to the canopy is nicely rendered and crystal clear.

The supplied decal sheet allows the builder one of three options for depicting this aircraft:

Grumman F8F-1 – A100, Bu No 95244, JM DeVane, Commander CVAG-15, USS Tarawa CV-40, California Coast 1948

Grumman F8F-1 – 106/P, Groupe de Chasse 2/9 “Auvergne” French Indochina 1952

Grumman F8F-1 – 5174/M, Groupe de Chasse 1/22 “Saintonage” Dien Bien Phu, French Indochina 1954

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The 8-page instruction booklet is broken down into 13 step plus the three depiction schematics. These instructions are presented in a black and white exploded view format and are easy to follow. In regard to the theme depiction options within the instructions, the profile of the aircraft is lighter to show the decals in a more prominent way; however it does make things a little difficult to see the exact placement without the right lighting.

Conclusion

I have to say I am impressed with the F8F-1 Bearcat kit from Attack Squadron. The casting is exceptional and the parts are detail refreshingly crisp. There are the few little quirks I mentioned in the review above in respect to the casing blocks and lightness to the decal placement in the instructions but all of these items are actually trivial as they can easily be overcome with a little patience and forethought.

I am happy to see the maker did not “blind” us with parts to the point of monotony. There seems to be a more than manageable parts count, superior quality and several added goodies as in the photo etching, 3D printed part and vacuum formed canopy. If you are into building historical aircraft subject or specifically F8F’s, this is a kit worth looking into. The price tag seems to be a great deal for a kit of this quality.

Highly Recommended!

References:

Prime Portal – http://www.primeportal.net/home.htm
Cybermodeler – http://www.cybermodeler.com/aircraft/f8f/f8f_walk.shtml
WIKI – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F8F_Bearcat
Military Factory – http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=90

I wish to thank Attack Squadron for this review sample.

Attack-Squadron

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