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F-101A/C Voodoo

Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 F-101A/C Voodoo Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2014 Manufacturer Kitty Hawk Models
Subject F-101A/C Voodoo Scale 1/48
Kit Number 80115 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros First injection-molded kit of this subject Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

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The McDonnell Voodoo was initialy designed as a long-range bomber escort shortly after World War II based upon the experience of the P-51 support of the Eighth Air Force bombing missions. The early prototypes were designated as XF-88 and powered by two XJ-34 turbojets. Designed before Chuck Yeager's flight through the sound barrier, the XF-88 was subsequently upgraded with early afterburners. While the XF-88 won the flight evaluations for the program, changing requirements led to the program's cancellation in 1950.

Renewed interest in the concept came a year later and the F-88 was redesigned to accept two J57 engines (the same engine as the F-100 Super Sabre and F-8 Crusader) and redesignated as F-101 Voodoo. Leadership of the program shifted from SAC to TAC and the F-101A entered service in 1957 though it was still experiencing some teething problems. The F-101C soon followed with increased structural strength to meet its original 7.33G maneuver requirement as well as accommodate additional internal fuel.

As a fighter and fighter/bomber, the F-101A/C has a very short operational life, while the reconnaissance versions RF-101A/C would have extensive operational service. These were so successful that a number of F-101Cs were converted into RF-101H where they served through 1972.

Welcome to the very first kit of the fighter or fighter/bomber Voodoo, the F-101A/C. The only other kit of a single seat Voodoo is Hasegawa's 1/72 RF-101C. Just released by Kitty Hawk Models, this project was one of the first in a new collaboration between Kitty Hawk and Bert Kinzey of Detail & Scale. What's more, it is clear that the designers heeded the feedback from experts online when CAD drawings were periodically released for comment. What we have here is a very beautiful model indeed.

Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on seven parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts. At first blush, this looks line one of their best kits to date. Let's take a closer look. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed ejection seat with photo-etched crew restraints
  • Detailed cockpit with choice of decal or photo-etched instrument panel and side console details
  • Radar dish under radome
  • Nicely detailed intake ducts with J57 compressor faces
  • Detailed afterburner chambers
  • Positionable air refueling probe
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable landing flaps
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable stabilator
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable landing gear
  • 2 x external fuel tanks

Markings are provided for four subjects:

  • F-101C, 56-0007, 81 TFW, RAF Bentwaters, 1960
  • F-101A, 54-1472, 92 TFS/81 TFW, 1960
  • F-101A, 54-1446, 91 TFS/81 TFW, 1960
  • F-101C, 56-0035, 92 TFS/81 TFW, 1962

The decals have one major problem - since these are all bare metal schemes, they all wear the USAF Buzz Numbers typical of the pre-camouflage era. A buzz number provides a two-letter code identifying the aircraft type and the last three digits of its tail number. The F-101 was assigned the two-letter code 'FB' (the F-100 used 'FW') and these decals are using 'FR' which was assigned to the short-lived Bell XF-83. We'll be needing different decals to do the buzz numbers gents.

The kit provides a pair of AIR-2 Genie nuclear-tipped rockets, a pair of Falcon IR missiles and a pair of Super Falcon IR missiles, all hinting at the two-seat F-101B/F Voodoos to come. The instructions show markings are provided for an AIR-2 on the F-101C, but my documentation shows that the AIR-2 was only used on the interceptor Voodoo while this version carried an unpowered 'shape' delivered using the LABS computer (toss-bomb delivery). If you want a nuke on your Voodoo, you'll need to provide your own shape and centerline pylon. Speaking of extra parts, the clears have an unused part - recce windows. Stand by for the RF-101C!

This kit fills another gap in the history flightline as we've never had the fighter Voodoo before and this kit is beauty. While this kit is heading out to Fotios Rouch for build, I may have to find one of my own! It is that nice. I can hardly wait for an RF-101A/C since we've never had one produced in 1/48 scale (Monogram produced the RF-101B two-seater in 1/48 and this could be converted to an RF-101A/C using the C&H Aero conversion or into an RF-101G/H using the DB Productions conversion).

For a look at this kit built-up, look here.

My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!

References:

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