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F-84E

Revell 1/48 F-84E Thunderjet Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2007 Manufacturer Revell
Subject F-84E Thunderjet Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5494 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, nice detail, several options in the box Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

F-84E
F-84E
F-84E
F-84E
F-84E
F-84E

The F-84 Thunderjet was the design submitted in 1944 by Republic for a turbojet-powered fighter. This design was already underway by the time the government put forth the requirement as Republic had been looking for a follow-on to their P-47 Thunderbolt. It was the first production US fighter to be powered by an axial flow engine (same design used by the Germans). The F-80 was designed around the centrifugal flow engine (same designed developed by the British and also used in the MiG-15).

The prototype first flew in 1946, but a variety of structural problems coupled with the low thrust available from the early axial flow turbojet engines nearly led to the cancellation of the program. The USAF found the early F-84s to be so unsatisfactory that these aircraft were withdrawn from service. The F-84D was coming off the production lines by this time and this aircraft addressed most of the problems of the earlier versions, but the new tip tanks caused wing failures at high G-loads. The fix to this problem was the addition of fins on the rear of the tanks.

The F-84E was the first fully capable version of the F-84 series to enter service and soon saw combat over Korea. The early Allison J35 engines only had 100 operating hours between overhauls, and while peacetime flight schedules would accommodate this limitation, the tempo of combat sorties quickly wore out the engines, spare parts, and even the manufacturer's capacity to build replacements. The F-84E was withdrawn from USAF service in 1956 and from the Air National Guard in 1959.

It was a bit of a surprise to see this 1/48 scale kit from Monogram not long after the release of Tamiya's beautiful 1/48 F-84G kit. Evidently Monogram learned of Tamiya's plans early enough to recover gracefully as they designed their model with forward fuselage inserts - blanks for the F-84E and with blow-in doors for the F-84G. This is the only kit offered of the F-84E on the market (though it wouldn't be difficult to backdate the G-model either.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. This kit has been released in the Monogram boxing, a Pro-Modeler boxing, and a Revell/Germany boxing in addition to this Revell one. The tooling is later generation, so it does feature scribed details.

Assembly is almost a snap (glue required) but I don't recall any real fit problems. The wings mate to the wing using interlocking main spars that ensure that the wing and fuselage match-up nicely.

The kit features a nicely detailed cockpit, gear wells, and speed brake well. The kit offers weighted wheels, which was a relatively new option in aircraft kits at the time.

Options include:

  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Underwing external fuel tanks or bombs
  • Underwing rockets
  • RATO bottles
  • Positionable canopy
  • Choice of early (unframed) or late (framed) canopy
  • Optional standing pilot figure

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • F-84E-1-RE, 49-2097, 31 FG/TAC, Turner Field GA, 1949
  • F-84E-25-RE, 51-0478, 9 FBS/49 FBW, K-2 Korea, 1952

This decals are nicely done, though the clear edges are starting to yellow. The sheet also has an extensive array of maintenance stencils for the airframe and three pages of instructions to show you where they all go.

This is a nice model and was less expensive than its Tamiya counterpart. This kit is out of production currently but is still available at very reasonable prices.

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