Trumpeter 1/48 F9F-2 Panther Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2007||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Kit Number||2832||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Simple build, positionable wing fold, flaps, lots of armament||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$39.95|
Some time ago, we heard that Trumpeter was planning a release of the Grumman F9F-2 Panther in 1/48 scale. We also heard that Hobbycraft Canada was also releasing an F9F-2. There was some conjecture that Trumpeter was doing a competing release, but as the dust settles, we have since learned that the Trumpeter and Hobbycraft Panthers are one in the same tooling - a collaborative effort.
Part of the delay had been to try to get the best tooling possible - they wanted to get this one right. It looks like the effort paid off.
You may recall that we received a test shot of this kit from Hobbycraft Canada which we reviewed here in comparison to the Monogram F9F-5 and then later built up (look here). When we had completed the build, we found that the kit still had some issues with the windscreen. I am happy to report that the first thing I looked at when opening this Trumpeter kit was that windscreen and canopy. Trumpeter has fixed the windscreen and canopy!
So what do we have here? The Panther kit is presented on three parts trees molded in light gray styrene. A fourth tree contains the windscreen, canopy, and other clear parts. In this release, Trumpeter has avoided the decal instrument panel approach that Hobbycraft was taking and has instead provided a photo-etch panel with printed acetate instrument faces, but this comes at a higher retail price.
As I mentioned in the previous Hobbycraft previews and the build review of the test shot, I read some concerns expressed on some of the message boards:
First over the intakes being too small. The lower edge of the of the intake should be more parallel with the underside of that section of wing as is the top edge. That would carry the opening of the intake out a little further. As I said then, you have two choices:
- Take 30 seconds with a file and adjust the shape of the intake yourself
- Cut away the intakes back about 1/4 inch and graft on the intakes from the Monogram kit
According to Corky Meyer, the F9F-2s were retrofitted with the same intake/wing fence arrangement as the F9F-5 as it reduced the approach speed of the modified aircraft by 13 mph - a good thing when landing on the carrier! Check your references to see which intake arrangement was on the F9F-2 you're modeling.
The other area of interest was the windscreen and canopy. While we saw some interesting shapes from the build-ups of the early test shots posted on the net, and even some lingering issues with my build-up of the kit, this release appears to have rectified the problems. Look at that windscreen and canopy bow now!
The nose of the F9F-2 is molded separately and as you can see in the first parts tree, the gun nose and photo nose variants are there.
The kit has a nice array of external weapons options including a nice selection of bombs and HVAR rockets.
The kit features the option of folded or flight-positioned wings, positionable wing flaps, and positionable canopy. The intakes do feature separately molded intake trunks.
I noted in one of Corky's reviews of another F9F-2 kit that it had an F9F-5 cockpit tub as the F9F-2 had 'stepped' side consoles whereas the F9F-5's consoles were flat. This kit features the proper 'stepped' consoles.
If you haven't read any of the Ginter Books' series on the Panther/Cougar, you might ask who Corwin 'Corky' Meyer is to have an opinion on the Panther. If anyone is qualified to speak on the aircraft it would indeed be the man who first flew the aircraft and continued to flight test the various updates to the airframe as Grumman's chief test pilot.
In this release, Trumpeter has provided markings for three aircraft:
- F9F-2, 123439, VF-112, V/202, USS Philippine Sea, USN
- F9F-2, 124709, VF-112, V/209, USS Philippine Sea, USN
- F9F-2, 103672, VF-781, D/114, USS Oriskany, USN, MiG Killer (NOT!)
I was a bit surprised to see the bureau number for the MiG killer as it actually belongs to a TBM-4 Avenger. I think they meant 123672 here. That's an easy splice of the decals if you want to build that aircraft option.
I can speak from experience that this kit is an easy build, and I did mine from a test shot without instructions! You can do the same thing if you wish, but the usual well-illustrated instruction book is included in this kit.
For a look at how the model goes together, look here.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!