Hasegawa 1/72 RF-101C Voodoo 'Sun Run' Kit Build Review
By Chuck Holte
|Date of Review||May 2017||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||RF-101C Voodoo 'Sun Run'||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||01953||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy assembly, accurate, relatively inexpensive||Cons||Some surface detail is overdone, decals|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||OOP|
The McDonnell Douglas RF-101C is an unarmed, single-seat, reconnaissance variant of the famous Voodoo fighter and recce family. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney J-57 engines, it could cruise at 550 mph and dash to over 1,000 mph. The initial F-101 flight was in 1954. In 1957, the Air Force selected six RF-101C aircraft from the McD production line in St Louis, MO to attempt several US cross-country speed records under "Operation Sun Run." Crews were drawn from the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 9th Air Force, Shaw AFB SC. Of the six aircraft, four were primary and two were air spares. Two of the primary aircraft would fly nonstop from Los Angeles to New York and return to Los Angeles. The remaining two primary aircraft would fly LA-NY legs only. Twenty-nine air refuellings were required for Sun Run, all provided by SAC crews in their shiny new KC-135A tankers. Operation Sun Run missions were flown as briefed on 27 Nov 1957.
The subject of this review, 56-165, Sun Run 3, set the outbound LA to NY record at 3hrs7min43seconds, and 56-163, Sun Run 1 set the round trip LA-NY-LA record at 6hrs36min32seconds. Where are they now? Aircraft 56-165 was shot down over North Vietnam on 5 Dec 66 with the loss of the pilot. Aircraft 56-163 survives on display at Shaw AFB SC. Aircraft 56-166, painted in SEA camo, is on display at the National Museum of the USAF at Wright Patterson AFB OH. Aircraft 56-164 was written off at Shaw in Oct 1960. More about the aircraft and Operation Sun Run can be found at the following NMUSAF links: RF-101 Voodoo & Operation Sun Run.
This is another of the older Hasegawa kits reissued a few years ago as a two-kit limited edition featuring painting instructions and decal options for any of the Operation Sun Run aircraft. I chose to model #56-165, SR3 as it was a record setter, colorful with the red trim, and I had photos. Basic fit is OK and shape and dimensions track well for a Kodak Voodoo. The cockpit is sparse by today's standards, but acceptable with a little help from an Airwaves brass PE set. Construction was normal with attention to flash and seams. Raised panel lines don't bother me, but raised boiler plate rivets do, so I tried to eliminate them as much as possible.
After applying a Tamiya rattle-can gloss black undercoat, I planned to use masking the various Alclad II aluminums to show panel lines and break up the monotone bare metal finish. Well, with a lot of masking and airbrushing, it worked initially, but after handling the model to add landing gear and other details, I lost most of the panel demarcation effects. Oh well. Next I masked and airbrushed the red trim, in this case Model Master Chrysler Engine Red enamel.
Decals were next. The large sticker sheet provides full markings for any two of the SR aircraft, with some spares left over. The decals are beautifully printed and handled decently during application. I found them fragile once applied with very little "adhesive" to keep them on smooth surfaces, and a tendency to "flake off" once applied and dried, even with an overcoat of Future. The good news: no silvering. After "robbing" decals from the second aircraft, I was able to finally get everything on SR3 that it needed to repair the damaged stickers. From there, an airbrushed shot of Dullcoat to kill the shine, and I called it done.
I enjoyed building the old Hasegawa RF-101 as a mid-50s record breaker. The styrene re-pop was an easy build, although I was a bit disappointed in the beautiful decal sheet that didn't want to stick. Still recommended, but beware the stickers.