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F7U-1 Cutlass

Collect Aire 1/48 F7U-1 Cutlass Build Review

By Fotios Rouch

Date of Review August 2018 Manufacturer Collect Aire
Subject F7U-1 Cutlass Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4859 Primary Media Resin, Vac, White Metal
Pros Best kit of this subject in this scale Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) Out of production

Build Review

This is the Collect-Aire Chance Vought F7U-1. The Ginter Publication Number 94 by Tommy Thomason is a nice reference for this variant. Most of the references on the web are for the F7U-3 so a little digging around will be necessary. I got involved with assisting the kit designer (Dimitri Malkov, owner of DMold) with references sometime in 2000-01 time frame. Back then the internet was useful but lots of literature research was necessary as well, especially for such an old subject. I was glad to receive my copy of this unique subject and I have no idea why I bought only one kit of this subject. I usually have two or three copies of nice Collect-Aire subjects. So, I reluctantly decided to build my only copy.

The master was very nicely done as usual. The resin execution is not the best with some pin holes and incomplete corners due to bubbles in the molding process and some unevenly mixed resin. Yet this molding job was much better than what I had previously seen from this outfit. Work always starts with washing the parts to get the de-molding agent off. Paint will not stick otherwise.

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The process started with building the cockpit and joining the fuselage halves. The cockpit is not very rich, but cockpits were simple back then and information on how this cockpit looked was difficult to come by. Before joining the fuselage halves, I painted the intakes blue and added the inside splitter plates. The front wheel well was painted zinc chromate yellow.

F7U-1 Cutlass

I joined the fuselage halves over the period of a few hours. I started with the front and slowly moved backwards a segment at a time, while squeezing and adjusting to get the fuselage halves to conform as they were a bit uneven. The end result was OK but a little putty would necessary.

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I fixed the big resin holes on the sharp corners by inserting sprue rod and super gluing and then sanding to shape. The small surface pinholes were covered with putty and Mr Surfacer.

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Finally, Mr. Surface was applied as a final coat and all the surface lines were retouched with a scribbling tool.

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The resin on this kit needs continuous attention. Resin bubbles and pinholes are everywhere. This was the dark ages of resin and not because there were no better methods, but this was the best that the Slovakian resin casting house could achieve.

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After all the clean up the wings were joint with the fuselage and the two tails went on. The fit was generally good but putty was required to finish up the joints.

F7U-1 Cutlass

The main wheel well housings were done in white metal to recreate the cavity in the tail booms.

F7U-1 Cutlass

Once all was finally finished, a final primer coat went on and the model was ready for the paint shop.

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For painting I used Testors ModelMaster Dark Sea Blue (gloss) and various shades of metallics from Alclad II and Vallejo. I then masked the blue and did the slat gloves in matt black.

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Then the slats went on.

F7U-1 Cutlass

The landing gear fit really snug and automatically positioned itself in the correct forward angle for the main landing gear and backwards angle for the forward landing gear.

F7U-1 Cutlass

I dressed the ejection seat with lead restraining harnesses. I still need to add a few more details like pitot tubes.

So finally, the Cutlass is done. The vac parts were OK, and they certainly needed a few deeps in Future. The decals went down OK despite how old they were. I added the probe one the left tail boom with sprue and wire.

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I hope you like it.  This is the only early Cutlass in this scale and probably there will not be another one.