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F3D

Czech Model 1/48 F3D-2 (F-10B) Skyknight Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2004 Manufacturer Czech Model
Subject F3D-2 (F-10B) Skyknight Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4814 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Improved injection molding, nicely cast resin parts, great decal sheet Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

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In late 1944, the Navy was concerned about the development of potential high speed bombers in Japan using imported German jet engines. This concern turned into a requirement for a new high speed carrier-based interceptor that could achieve 500 mph at 40,000 feet and detect threats at 125 miles. Since early radars were quite large and heavy, a special airframe would be required to heft that load into the sky.

Douglas was awarded the contract for their F3D Skyknight, which featured a number of innovations which included cabin pressurization, temperature and humidity control, and even early IFF. These innovations translated into additional weight which precluded the additional weight of ejection seats. Instead, emergency egress out of the aircraft was through an ingenious tunnel at the rear of the cockpit that exited out under the aircraft. Similar escape systems have been engineered into subsequent aircraft like the KC-135 and the Shuttle-carrying 747.

The F3D-2 improved on the design by using larger, more powerful J34-WE-36 engines of 3400 lbs thrust over the F3D-1's J34-WE-34 engines of 3250 lbs thrust. Another innovation was the addition of the first radar-guided missiles, the Sparrow I. A number of Skyknights were modified into the F3D-2M missile-armed versions. The standard Skyknight was still armed with four 20mm cannons.

While the F3D came along too late for World War II (and the jet-powered bomber threat didn't have time to materialize), the aircraft saw extensive service in Korea and not only excelled as a night fighter, it was also an effective bomber escort for the Air Force B-29s. One unit, VMF(N)-513 was credited with three Po-2 biplanes, two Yak-15 jet fighters and six MiG-15s.

With the spacious interior bays, the F3D was pressed into other duties such as photo reconnaissance and electronic warfare. In 1963, the F3D was redesignated as the F-10. After twenty years of service, the last Skyknight was retired in 1970.

This is the first time the Skyknight has become a styrene-based kit in 1/48 scale! Czech Model continues to improve the quality of its injection molding with each release and this kit is definitely looking great!

Molded in medium gray styrene, the F3D-2 kit comes on four parts trees to provide the basic airframe details and includes a number of nicely cast resin parts to provide the cockpit, wheel wells and other details. The canopy is injection-molded styrene and comes in three parts to capture the unique profile of the canopy.

Despite the significant improvements in molding in this kit, it is still classified as a limited production model and with the use of resin parts and no locator pins/slots for the wing-fuselage joints, some good modeling experience will be needed to get a nice result.

Intake ducts with engine faces and exhaust ducts also with turbine details ensure that you won't look down any part of the model and see hollow plastic or blank plates. The landing gear is also robust and nicely detailed. While the instructions don't mention ballast, I would probably opt for a few ounces in the bulbous nose to ensure that this kit doesn't have tail-heavy tendencies.

While the F3D-2 was capable of carrying up to 4000 pounds of bombs on its two underwing pylons, the kit provides the more common configuration of two external fuel tanks.

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  • F3D-2 (F-10B), BuNo 124620, VMF(N)-513, WF/15, Korea, 1952
  • F3D-2 (F-10B), BuNo 127038, VF-14, T/404, USS Intrepid, 1954
  • F3D-2Q (EF-10B), BuNo 125849, VMCJ-1, RM/5, Vietnam, 1967

This is a very nice-looking kit and should build up into an even nicer example of this overlooked Navy and Marine workhorse. You can find this kit at your local hobby retailer or directly from Squadron Mail Order (www.squadron.com).

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!

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