by Tommy H. Thomason

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

1/72nd F9F-2 Panther

For many years, the Grumman F9F-2 Panther was very well represented in 1/72nd scale by the Hasegawa kit. I noted a few minor external flaws in a review that I did for an IPMS Update once upon a time:
  • Overly long gun barrels
  • Nose gear - too great an angle between the nose gear strut and shimmy damper; strut needed to be more vertical relative to the fuselage
  • Tail bumper should be extended with the gear down
The cockpit area needed the most modification for an accurate model. The glare shield needed to be deleted. The original kit decal for instrument panel did not match the plastic part - it was close if the instrument panel was widened a bit at the top. The gunsight was very nice but a bit oversize and needed to cantilever back into the cockpit. The back and headrest of the ejection seat needed to be cut down. Finally, the internal structure of the canopy was misrepresented. First, it had to be cut down so it was parallel to the canopy rails. Second, it moved with the canopy, so if the model was to be displayed with the canopy open, it needed to be cut off the fuselage and added to the canopy along with the canopy actuator. If you went that far, then you might as well close out the back of the cockpit with correctly shaped armor plate.

Now Hobbyboss has produced an all-new 1/72 F9F-2 kit and after a quick look, I am impressed. There's quite a bit more detail, particularly in the cockpit, than in the Hasegawa kit. The length and wing span are spot on.  It comes very, very close to capturing the odd shape of the underside of the F9F-2 vertical fin, among other nuances that indicate close attention to replicating the real article.

There are a few small nits. In my opinion, the top of the vertical fin could be a bit wider and more rounded; the wing trailing edge shouldn't go straight out to the tip tank but curve forward slightly at the outboard end; and the gun gas vents in the nose (which were a field retrofit and not on Panthers early on in the Korean War), the tip tank lights, and the trim tab actuator fairing on the underside of the left wing should not be as prominent.

Trim tab actuator fairing and tip tank light:

Gun-gas vent (note that the nose wheel is swiveled 180 degrees):
For more on the gun-gas vent change, see

The suck-in door on the top of the fuselage ahead of the aft fuselage join should be straight across the bottom: the mid-length change in direction was a -5 requirement due to its longer engine. Another F9F-5 feature that shouldn't be there is the little vent on the transition of the fuselage to the vertical fin as well as the misrepresentation of the small suck-in door just ahead of it that again, was only on the F9F-5.

Note in the picture above that there are no doors or vents aft of the large rectangular fuselage door that is sucked in (it is spring-loaded to be flush when the engine is not running). If you look closely you'll see the curve in the trailing edge of the wing as it nears the tip tank and that there is no gun gas vent in the nose. Note that it still has a plug installed in the nose of each tip tank; these will be removed before launch.

The major gaff is the canopy. Gene K provided the following comparison with the Hasegawa F9F-2 and F9F-8 canopies on an Aircraft Resource Center forum:

The problem is that the break between the windshield and the sliding portion of the canopy should be perpendicular to the base of sliding portion, not vertical relative to the waterline of the fuselage. I'm hoping that a bit of filing, filling, and painting will result in a more accurate representation.

More of Gene K's photographs and his and other comments on the kit can be found

Obscureco produces resin F9F-2 ejection seats. I thought the headrest shouldn't have been angled forward but it turns out that this is an actual feature on the seat. Airwaves produces etched parts for the wing fold area.

For my notes on the conversion of an F9F-2 to an F9F-5, click here.


  1. Just a question about the later gun vents. Would the VF-721 aircraft pictured above be likely to have these?
    I intend to build a model of this aircraft (masking the tulip will be fun!)

    Thank you very much for your help in advance!

    Best regards, Jeroen

  2. Jeroen,

    I have another picture of a VF-721 F9F which is very likely from the same cruise. It does not have the gun vents.


  3. Thanks a lot, I still had a bit of sanding to do on the kit (most of it my fault, as the Hobbyboss kit fits very well!) so it would be safe to say the circumstantial evidence points to removing the vents. Thanks also for the complete post on the HB kit, which helps to remove the -5 features from the kit, too!

    Thanks again,


  4. I know I am late to this discussion but if anyone reads this, here is my question.
    I am attempting to detail the nose of a F9F-2 with the proper gun installation.
    I have only found a single photo reference of the configuration where the ammunition was fed from boxes behind the forward bulkhead. All the rest of the references I find seem to show the ammunition boxes mounted in the framing of the nose, just above the guns. However this also looks incorrect as I only see 2 ammo boxes, not 4.
    There are several references for the Cougar nose but having trouble knowing just how the mark-2 version was built.
    Anybody know of any reference, photo, drawing or text that might clear this up?

    1. The very first F9F-2s and -3s, a total of 10 in all, had all four ammo boxes located aft of the nose-wheel well. The remainder had only two ammo boxes located there, feeding the outboard guns, with the inboard guns being fed from the two ammo boxes mounted above the guns in the nose. The -6 Cougar used this same armament installation but -8 Cougar flight handbook shows all four ammo boxes located above the guns. The best single reference is Steve Ginter's F9F Panther Part One monograph, No. 59.

  5. Hi Sir, BEST wishes..
    I just like to ask if it is possible to use the Quick Boost replacement nose designed for the Hobby Boss 1/72 Panther in the Hasegawa kit.
    Thanks a lot !