by Tommy H. Thomason

Monday, June 30, 2014

Grumman F9F-8T/TF-9J

Chinese plastic kit manufacturer Kitty Hawk has just released a 1/48th scale kit of the Grumman F9F-8T/TF-9J. (For my earlier notes on this airplane, see

This is very welcome since it is one of a handful of U.S. Navy airplanes that have gone unrepresented as an injection molded kit. A built model looks pretty good:
It's clear that the length of the nose-gear strut on this model is representative of the TF-9J on display at the Pima Air&Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona rather than a flyable airplane. (It may have been fixed in the kits as produced.) The "sit" should be more like this:

There are few other detail discrepancies notable in the model built. See for some notes and illustrations. Darren Roberts is providing a excellent and informative progressive build review here: and a summary of the build here: Before you buy it and for sure before you build one, you should take a look at his posts.

Another very helpful and illustrated build review: Note that the builder did not encounter the problem with gluing the plastic that the kit is made from but did note a couple of detail errors. (Others have noted the "Marines" marking on the upper right wing is incorrect; it should be the aircraft number and the tail code.)

One configuration option provided in the kit is the ejection seat. The first two-seat Cougars were delivered with Grumman ejection seats. These were soon replaced with Martin-Baker seats. See The Grumman seats were used in the model above, but Martin-Baker seats had been standard long before the Marines began to use the TF-9J as a Fast FAC (Forward Air Control) as the model is marked.

As usual, the single best reference on a Navy airplane is available from Steve Ginter. See

Darren Tamanaha put some excellent detail pictures of the Pima TF-9J HERE. Note that the shock struts are bottomed instead of being inflated as it was for a flyable airplane.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

More Modeling Notes on the 1/72nd Airfix A-4B Kit

The Douglas Skyhawk is one of my favorite airplanes. I even wrote a book about it, Scooter!. When Airfix released a new 1/72nd scale kit of it two year ago, I devoted several posts to it. See

For an excellent built article of it by "Speedman" on Britmodeler, click HERE. This is a picture from that build:

Airfix had used the A4D-2 displayed on Intrepid as a basis for the kit, including the decals. Speedman decided to replicate that display, even to the point of adding red aileron-control-surface locks.

Neil Lowe posted a question about the Airfix kit on my post on A4D-1 vortex generators (HERE). He noted that there was a detail on the top of the fuselage between the canopy and the red anticollision beacon that is suggestive of the vent that is only present on the J52-powered A4D. I hadn't noticed it before. He also asked about the access panels in this area.

As far as I know, there is no vent in this area on the J65-powered A4Ds (I haven't seen any pictures of the top of the Intrepid A4D but I doubt that it has the vent). This is a picture of an early A4D-1 that depicts this area and the two access panels.

So for J65-powered A4Ds in general, this detail should be removed from Airfix kit. Whether or not you add the access panels is up to you.