Hobby Boss 1/72 F9F-2P Panther Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2012||Manufacturer||Hobby Boss|
|Kit Number||87249||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$22.99|
The F9F Panther was Grumman's first design to employ the relatively new jet engine into a carrier-based fighter. Since this design was far from Grumman's first carrier fighter (the FF, which dated back almost 20 years earlier), Grumman had a great deal of experience with the dynamics of carrier operations. Powered by the Rolls Royce Nene, produced under license by Pratt & Whitney as the J42, the F9F-2 would become the US Navy's second carrier-based fighter (McDonnell was first with the FH-1 Phantom).
Like Lockheed's F-80 Shooting Star, the Grumman F9F Panther would be designed around a single engine which would provide less drag and fuel consumption. In action, the F9F would draw first air-to-air blood with the downing of a North Korean Yak-9. While the operational lifespan of many early jet fighters was relatively short due to the rapid advances in engine and aerodynamic technologies, the straight-wing Panther would serve as the carrier's strike arm until replaced by its swept-wing brother, the F9F Cougar.
Nearly six years ago, Trumpeter and Hobbycraft Canada released the first of several F9F Panther variants in 1/48 scale. Developed jointly, these kits were a joy to build (look here) and featured some nice detailing straight out of the box. As you know, Trumpeter and Hobby Boss are two brand names under the same company, so when a kit is tooled up in a given scale from one brand name, you'll likely see that same design work appear in a different scale under the other bramd. Such is the case with the Panther.
If you compare the sprue shots from the 1/48 scale kit to these sprues, you'll note that the parts breakdown was altered and simplified. Where the 1/48 scale kit had separately molded nose cones, this kit has the nose integral with the fuselage halves. Where the 1/48 scale kit had integral wing tip tanks molded to the tips of the wings, this kit made the tanks separate. When the kit is all digital design, you can tweak the layout to meet whatever goals and/or corrections from the previous scale release prior to cutting the tooling.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. The kit's layout is simple but looks sharp. This particular release is the photo-Panther which has the distinctive port-side and twin ventral camera ports.
The cockpit is laid out nicely and has nice detailing. The cockpit and nosewheel bay go inside the fuselage halves along with the tailpipe. The wings are added along with the tip tanks and tail feathers. Add the windscreen and canopy plus the landing gear and you're ready for the paint rack. The kit also provides a nice selection of bombs ad rocket armament.
Decals are provided for two examples:
- F9F-2P, 123461, VC-61, PP/72, USS Essex, 1951
- F9F-2P, 123595, VC-61, PP/155, USS Bon Homme Richard, 1951 'Life' (the decals have Modex 155 on the nose and 154 on the wings - Life was 155, Look was 154, Pic was 153)
Hobby Boss has done a nice job with this kit. It will be a simple build and provide a nice model for your scale flight deck.
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!