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F-100C Kit

Trumpeter 1/48 F-100C Super Sabre Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2009 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject F-100C Super Sabre Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2838 Primary Media Styrene
Pros First production kit of this variant in any scale, nice new detail options, simplified construction Cons Minor issues carried over from the 1/32 Trumpeter kit design
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $59.95

First Look

F-100C Kit
F-100C Kit
F-100C Kit
F-100C Kit
F-100C Kit
F-100C Kit
F-100C Kit
F-100C Kit
F-100C Kit

Back at the beginning of the 1950s, the US Air Force was working through numerous technology issues that surrounded transonic flight. While the sound barrier was broken a few years earlier by the Bell X-1, that was done with a rocket-powered straight-winged test aircraft. There were still issues with transonic drag, available thrust from existing jet engines, control reversal, etc. Muroc (later Edwards AFB) was a busy place as engineers raced to solve each new problem.

Meanwhile, North American Aviation developed a new design based upon a sleeker F-86 Sabre equipped with a 45 degree swept wing. Powered by the new J57 engine, this design showed promise. After submitting an unsolicited proposal to the USAF, the new design was put into production as the F-100 and the start of the Air Force's now-famous 'Century Series'. The F-100 was the first production aircraft to exceed Mach 1 in level flight (the Navy soon followed with the F8U Crusader).

The F-100A was a supersonic day fighter, a high-speed sports model of the F-86 Sabre dogfighter. While the F-100A did enter operational service, more aerodynamic problems were discovered including inertia coupling and low-speed wing-tip stalling which would lead to a sudden pitch-up of the aircraft. Despite its problems, the F-100A was kept on operational rolls for a number of years, but it was quickly displaced by the F-100C.

The F-100C had similar stability issues as the F-100A, but it also incorporated additional pylons, air refueling capabilities, and the ability to carry and deliver nuclear weapons. Like the F-100A, the F-100C did not have trailing edge flaps for take-off and landing - these were incorporated with the F-100D. These aircraft did have the aerodynamically actuated leading edge slats that were also used on the F-86 Sabre. The F-100C did see combat with the Air National Guard, both Colorado and New Mexico took their aircraft over to Vietnam for a tour of close air support and tactical strike missions. In fact, New Mexico continued to operate the F-100C until receiving the A-7D Corsair II.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the very first-ever production kit of the F-100C Super Sabre in any scale. This 1/48 scale beauty was a bit of a surprise as it came from Trumpeter. Why a surprise? Well for a number of years now, another model company supposed to release the F-100C, F-100D, and F-100F in 1/48th scale. For whatever reason, they waited too long and whatever investment they made in the project is now all but wasted.

Meanwhile, Trumpeter released the F-100D in 1/32 scale and received mixed reviews. For the most part, the kit really is nice and only had a few detail issues, most notably an odd-shaped J57 engine compressor face and a flat surface for the underside of the intake. Most folks wouldn't even notice the nose nor would many folks try to peek down that long intake trunk. With the variety of aftermarket sets for the kit, clearly the model did sell well and I have several stashed away in my own collection.

With the release of the Trumpeter kit in 1/32 scale, the question remained - who would get to 1/48 scale first? While the company mentioned above showed promise, many bets were on HobbyBoss, who had already taken several Trumpeter 1/32 kits and released them in 1/48 scale. Little did we know that it would be Trumpeter itself to reach store shelves first.

So what's the big deal about a 1/48th scale F-100 kit? Lindberg and Monogram have had kits on the market for decades, right? Yes, the Monogram kit has been around a while and while still nice by today's standards, it features raised panel lines and the molding technology of the day caused much of that detail to disappear around the edges of the fuselage halves. As for the Lindberg kit, it is (sort of) a 1/48 scale F-100D with very raised rivet and panel line details as well as even older molding technology which translates into very few parts in the box.

To the details of this kit: the model is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees plus two trees of clear parts. According to the specs, there are 164 parts to make up this kit. Is this a scaled down version of Trumpeter's 1/32 kit? Some parts of the design were scale down, but there are interesting differences as well. So let's get to the features:

  • Fuselage is molded without fuselage break
  • Fuselage has correct tail for C-model (and late A)
  • Intake is flat on the bottom
  • Wing is correct for the C-model (can be backdated to an A)
  • Ejection seats are similar to the 1/32 kit w/seat cushions and D/F styled headrests - incorrect for the C
  • Boarding ladder
  • Separately molded ailerons, stabilator, and rudder
  • Positionable leading edge slats
  • Two styles of speed brakes and brake wells (only one used with this kit, the other is for the D-model)
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Straight and angled air refueling booms
  • Straight or stowed pitot booms
  • Full length air intake duct
  • Canopy looks great

As for the differences:

  • Includes standard and F-102 afterburner nozzles
  • First time we've seen the inverted Y-type Sidewinder missile rail pylons for the inboards
  • Standard inboard pylons also included
  • New TERS provided for the inboard pylons
  • Four AIM-9
  • Small and large external fuel tanks

This kit does have one other interesting difference over the 1/32 F-100D kit - there is no engine face at the end of the duct in this kit. I'm happy to see that they didn't scale down that odd bit out of the 1/32 kit.

There are some nice details and options in this box as well as some parts that aren't used in this build as these trees are shared with the F-100D and F-100F releases coming in the near future.

The kit provides two distinctive subjects:

For the bare metal modeler:

  • F-100C-25-NA, 54-1994, 174 TFS / 185 TFG / Iowa ANG

For the camo modeler:

  • F-100C-1-NA, 53-1737, 188 TFS / 150 TFG / New Mexico ANG, Tuy Hoa AB, RVN, 1970

By the way, if you see the box art up-close, don't panic - the artist got one detail all wrong. The box art shows rudder sections above and below the fuel dump mast/nav light fairing. This is not at all in the kit. Ignore the box art, go straight to the plastic.

At last, we have the F-100C as a complete kit. Whether you build bare metal or camouflaged aircraft, this F-100C kit has plenty of interesting subjects to choose from in the real world (look at the photos in the links below) and I'm sure we'll be seeing some of these from the aftermarket companies soon.

I am really looking forward to the F-100F and I do hope we'll eventually see the F-100C and F-100F in 1/32 scale as well!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!