by Tommy H. Thomason

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Sword 1/72nd F3D-2 Skyknight SW 72094

Sword ( has released its 1/72nd scale F3D Skyknight for a third time with a new set of decals.
Each of the decal options is of interest but one, VMF(N)-513's with a side number of 12 7/8, is extra special, being a superstition-inspired replacement for a side number 13 that came to grief.

Paul Boyer's Fine Scale Modeler review of a previous edition:

My notes:

The description of the very colorful VF-11 F3D states that it flew from FDR. I can't find any record of that. According to Paul Bless, my F3D go-to guy, there were only four F3D deployments, all by VC-4 detachments:

FDR (not Coral Sea) in 1952

Midway from December 1952 to May 1953

Lake Champlain in 1953 (its F3Ds were left behind with the Marines in Korea)

Antietam in 1953 (this was more of an exercise of the first angled deck rather than a deployment, per se, since the Air Group only consisted of Grumman F9F-5s and AFs in addition to the F3Ds).

Note that on all the F3D deployments except the one aboard Midway, the Skyknights retained VC-4's tail code of NA. Changing to C when aboard Midway was a very early example of a detachment adopting the tail code of the air group it was assigned to. (Decals for a VC-4 F3D with the NA tail code were provided in SW 72074.)

There were other F3D trips aboard of course. In addition to the original at-sea trials, VX-4 participated in Project Steam aboard Hancock; VF-14 qualified from Intrepid in October/November 1954 but did not deploy with it: and VF-14 F3Ds were used to ferry high-level defense department executives to Forrestal in February 1956.


  1. Mr. Thomason,
    Your post is very interesting, as usual.

    I would only add that, unfortunately, the F3D-2 kit from Sword has more problems and inaccuracies than just the Army's / Raytheon's instrumentation conduits.
    I have tried to highlight some of the issues in my review of their first F3D-2 kit (# 72074):

    1. Alex - Thanks very much for that reference. I'll pay more attention to your blog for items of interest relative to this one.