Every now and again I sort of “stumble” into a build. I’m planning to build something else, and then I find a completely different kit in front of me, partially assembled. It’s a weird experience. Well, weird in a “hey, that’s different” sort of way. Not weird like “hey, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to have a thumb there” kind of way. (Just to clarify.)
I’d gone into my closet o’ too many kits, intending to get the Airfix 1/48 Boulton Paul Defiant off the shelf. While I had no intention of starting it immediately, I did want to take a look at it again to familiarize myself with the parts, the build sequence, and generally start formulating a plan for a soon planned build of it. I’d previously built the kit, so I had a few ideas of ways I might improve the process.
As I stared at the stacks of kits, I noticed the Hobbyboss 1/48 F8F-2 Bearcat. I’d forgotten I even had it. This too was another kit I’d built previously. I recalled how much I really enjoyed the build. So I grabbed the kit, set it on the model desk, and opened it up to “look at the parts”.
About an hour later, all of the major subassemblies were built and ready for paint. I’m not sure what happened in that hour. I don’t really recall it… bright lights were overhead, an optivisor was involved, some cutting instruments, and various glues. I think coffee was present. I’m not saying there was some form of alien involvement, because it all happened so quickly. All I can say for sure was it was all a haze.
But there was the evidence.
Oh well… sometimes you have to go with it.
The interior parts were given a coat of my homemade US Interior Green, which was mixed from Tamiya’s XF-4 Yellow Green (or Green Yellow, depending on your hemisphere and local regulations), and some XF-69 NATO Black. With that on, some sponge chipping was added using some form of lighter green that I can’t recall as I write this, and then some Ammo of Mig Chipping color paint. Various bits were painted black, and then some white dots added.
The instrument panel has a clear insert for the instrument dials, and the idea that Hobbyboss had in mind was to place the provided instrument decal behind the clear piece, and paint the face of the part black. I took the shortcut- glued it all together, painted it black, added the decal to the surface, and called it “good enough”.
As the kit does not come with any belts, I added some prepainted photoetch parts from Eduard that were actually designed for the Kittyhawk F2H Banshee. But they’re both Navy, both blue, so… I declared it workable.
Test fitting it all reminded me why I originally liked this kit- it just fits. The photo below of the dry assembly uses only a few pieces of tape to hold things together. Everything else is a dry fit of the major subassemblies. There will be a bit of sanding to remove the various seam lines, but the gaps are just about non-existent. I did have to sand down a few ejection imperfections here and there, but nothing too egregious. (Word points! Yeah!)
I decided to build the model with only the centerline fuel tank and the wing pylons, minus armament. So many reference photos show the Bearcat with only the bomb pylons and rocket stubs on the wings, void of any things that go boom. Building it this way accomplished several things. First, it filled in the pre-drilled holes for all of those parts. Second, it avoided the need to assemble and paint the bombs and rockets. And tertiarily, it was simpler. For the rocket “stubs”, I simply cut away the parts molded into the kit’s rockets. (If you use this method- take note: the forward and aft stubs are different heights.)
There’s a lot to like about this kit. The parts count is fairly low, so there’s not much fiddliness involved. It fits very nicely together, and has enough detail to please most modelers. Being Hobbyboss, it does have its shape issues, mostly with regards to the cowling. (According to the experts, of course. It looks fine tome.) In my previous build of the kit, I’d surveyed ten modelers with reasonably low IPMS membership numbers, and 9 out of 10 recognized it as a Bearcat when compared to a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli, a pair of scissors, and a bag of frozen peas. (The 10th guy got hung up on how the ravioli was not authentic, and the can was not shaped properly for optimum flavor preservation… sigh.) So if you do choose to build this kit, you should be able to recognize it for what it is. (A plastic toy…. 😀 )
If you’re looking for a simple, low drama build, or perhaps you would like to dip your toe into the world of aircraft modeling, I can highly recommend this kit.
With a long holiday weekend ahead, I hope to have it finished up next week!