After building KittyHawk’s F2H-2 Banshee, I decided it would be fitting to build Grumman’s Korean War blue jet, the Panther.
The kit, consisting of 124 parts, is very typical of Trumpeter’s molding. Very sharp castings in general, with sharp panel lines and rivet detail. The clear parts are very nice.
The cockpit is good, not great. The instrument panel is represented with a photoetch etch face and a clear insert to represent the instrument dials, and the side consoles consist of some basic raised detail. The seat, looks good, though it lacks belts.
I opted to use Eduard’s colored interior set to dress things up a bit. The instrument panel and seat belts were a definite improvement, though I wasn’t really enamored with the flat look of the side consoles. I decided to stick with the kit raised detail for that area, though looking back, I wish I’d gone with the photoetch parts. Though lacking raised relief, they would have looked a bit sharper. Live and learn.
The wheel wells were very detailed, and responded well to weathering methods to dirty them up a bit.
With the interior bits completed, the fuselage was closed up, and it fit very well with a little preparation. Several of the alignment pin holes had minor flash around them- almost invisible, actually. Sanding down the mating edges of both fuselage halves ever so lightly made for a near perfect fit. Most of the seams simply needed sanding, though a few hairline cracks where I probably over-sanded needed a touch of Mr. Surfacer.
I opted to leave the gun bay out. The instructions make it appear that the barrels will slide in through the rear of the nose cone, but text fitting showed the openings would need significant enlargement. I decided to simply fill the nose area with weight, and insert the forward parts of the gun barrels late in the assembly. This not only simplified the build early on, but it also avoided breaking the barrels off while the model was in progress.
Parts are provided to allow for the wings to be assembled folded, but I decided to have them fully deployed. Small alignment parts are provided to assist with joining the outer wings to the inner, and unlike the minor drama experienced with the Banshee, these lined up just fine with little effort.
With the tailplanes added, the model was ready for paint.
The airframe was first given a coat of Badger’s Stynylrez gray primer. Over that, a coat of Vallejo’s Sea Blue was applied, and then masking was applied to spray the leading edges of the flying surfaces with a mix of 1 part Tamiya XF-19 Sky Gray, and two parts XF-16 Aluminum to represent the Coroguard coating.
Some minor fading was then added with both an airbrush and artists oil applied by brush. With a gloss coat applied, the decals were added.
While the decals are very thin, and work well, the white was a bit translucent. If I had it to do again, I’d probably look for some aftermarket decals that were a bit more opaque.
The red nose decal did not have a perfect fit, but making a few slices with a #11 blade allowed it to settle down under several coats of Solvaset, and then the gaps could be corrected with Vallejo red paint applied with a fine brush.
The final bits were applied- landing gear, wheels, doors, and armament, and with the canopy unmasked, this Panther was declared launch ready.
I have to say I really enjoyed this kit. It has no real vices, even for an out of the box build. The few issues are minor, and easily addressed, and I could recommend this kit even for a novice modeler. You’ll be rewarded with a great looking model of this Korean War US Navy workhorse. Err…. workcat, to be precise.