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F-80 Shooting Star

Gran Ltd 1/72 F-80C Shooting Star Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2006 Manufacturer Gran Ltd
Subject Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7202 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build Cons Decals will need replacing
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $10.00

First Look

F-80 Shooting Star
F-80 Shooting Star
F-80 Shooting Star
F-80 Shooting Star

With the sudden appearance of not one, but several different jet-powered combat aircraft in the skies over WW2 Europe, the allies had a problem. More specifically, the Americans had a problem. The British had Sir Frank Whittle proving his theory of jet-powered flight was practical while the Germans were doing their own development. The US had some catch-up work to do. With the loan of several Whittle engines, Bell was given the task of developing the American's first jet-powered fighter. The resulting P-59 Airacomet had unimpressive performance at best.

Kelly Johnson had sniffed out the secret P-59 development and wanted a piece of the action. He proposed a single engine design that Lockheed could get off the ground in short order. When the Army Air Force realized that the P-59 was a dead-end, Johnson was given the green light for the P-80. The resulting aircraft became the first practical allied single-engine jet fighter to enter production, second only to the brief life of the He 162 Volksjager.

Entering service too late for combat, the P-80 was soon redesignated as F-80 after the Air Force became a separate service in 1947. The F-80 had transitioned into a fighter-bomber role as newer jet-powered fighters were coming online. At the outbreak of hostilities on the Korean peninsula, the F-80C was one of the first fighters available to respond, but due to the lack of allied runways on the over-run peninsula, F-80s had to operate out of Japan, leaving little loiter time over target. Once allied forces began to re-take portions of South Korea, the F-80 was in the middle of the action. In fact, in November 1950, Lt. Russell Brown shot down a MiG-15 with his F-80! The F-80 was replaced in combat by the Republic F-84 or the North American F-86 in 1953.

This kit is molded in white injection molded plastic and presented on three parts trees. An additional small clear tree with the canopy is also provided.

Construction of this kit starts is fairly simple and reminds me of the Airfix kit, though someone out there more knowledgeable on 1/72 kits might recognize the source of this tooling..

In any case, the kit is not bad as far as details go. The kit provides optional dropped flaps, positionable ventral speed brakes, underwing bombs, and two types of drop tanks for under the wingtips.

The kit parts have a hint of flash on some of the edges, so a few minutes of clean-up will solve this phenomenon.

The remainder of the kit assembly is straightforward, though with any kit, a little care and dry-fitting before gluing will yield better results.

Markings are provided for four examples:

  • F-80C, 49-748, 36 FBS/8 FBW, Suwon, Korea, 1952, 'Beer City Special'
  • F-80C, 49-774, 25 FIS/51 FIW, Suwon, Korea, 1951
  • F-80C, 49-876, 36 FBS/8 FBW, Suwon, Korea, 1952
  • F-80C, 49-806, 36 FBS/8 FBW, Suwon, Korea, 1952

While all four of these aircraft feature some nice nose art, the decals in my sample were a little rough in the print quality. This may be just my sheet.

This is a simple kit that any experienced modeler will enjoy building. The instructions are in Russian and English, so you should have no problems with this project.

This kit is recommended!

My sincere thanks to Wings n Treads (www.wingsntreads.com) for this review sample. Check out the other Gran Ltd kits as well as other cool products that they carry!

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