Sword 1/72 FJ-3M Fury Kit Build Review
|Date of Review||July 2020||Manufacturer||Sword|
|Kit Number||72109||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Accurate shape; finely engraved panel lines||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$29.95|
"VF-84, initially known as the Vagabonds, was established on July 1, 1955, at NAS Oceana flying the FJ-3 Fury. After deactivation of VF-61 in 1959, VF-84's commanding officer, formerly with VF-61, requested to change his squadron's name and insignia to that of the Jolly Rogers. His request was approved on April 1, 1960. The squadron embarked on the USS Forestall (CVA-59) with CVG-1 in 1957." (Ref 1) This model depicts an aircraft of that deployment.
The limited-run nature of this kit made it a challenging build. The chief difficulty on this short run kit is the lack of locating pins to attach the parts, align the fuselage halves and wing assembly and get the intake trunk on the center line. For the under wing stores and landing gear, there are just nubs on the parts and very slight depressions at the attachment locations. Throughout the build I made attachment pins using straight pins and drilled a locating hole at the depression. This worked pretty well.
Assembly, pretty much followed the directions, here are a few highlights:
After painting all the cockpit parts dark gull gray, I took flat white paint and thinned for airbrushing. Using a toothpick, I placed a drop of white paint on each of the gauges on the console. The thinned paint flowed to the raised edges and stopped yielding a perfect circle. After that dried, I did the same thing with thinned black paint. The black didn't quite cover the white with one application. The white peeking through gives the impression of gauge markings.
The rest of the cockpit was painted and dry brushed to highlight the details. The seat was detailed with left over Eduard photo-etch parts from previous projects. (Note how thick the attachment point is one the control column.) FYI, I mistakenly thought a raised plastic circle on the cockpit part was from an ejector pin and dutifully scraped it off. WRONG! It was to raise the seat to be even with the cockpit deck: hence, the white plastic shim.
I replaced the tail pipe kit parts with brass tubing cut to length. I didn't want to deal with interior seams like the intake has. In addition I flatted some lead fishing weights and glued the on top of the intake forward of the cockpit. Instructions don't say anything about adding weight, but why take chances.
The kit barrier fences on the wing are under sized and difficult to preserve when filling in the edge seam. I decide to sand them off and scratch build better representations. The kit left wing fence part was broken on the parts tree in my kit, so I decided to scratch build them, too. The task was to place and measure the barrier fence locations. I measured them using a drawing from reference 1 then sawed the slots.
The wing is thickest at the root and tapers down to the wing tip; this precluded just making a handful of pieces and gluing them in place. After some thought and trial and error false starts, I cut a strip of plastic into several squares. I placed a square in the slot then wrapped a length of fine wire around the wing edge. Using a .03 mm pencil, I traced the fence on the plastic square, cut it out, glued it place and smoothed the edge with a file.
For the wing fence, I used the unbroken kit part as a template and cut out two fences from sheet plastic and cut two slots for them on the wings.
Assembly and painting from here was pretty straight forward.
The kit decals kept folding over themselves and some of the decals would curl up at edges. I used several decal solutions; Microsol seem to work best. On the stars & bars, I had to use a fine paint brush to apply "Future" around edges then wicked the excess away with corner off a paper towel. As the Future dried, it pulled the edges down and dried hard. I printed the “O" decals on a laser printer to depict VF-84's first FJ-3M deployment. As you can see, the fuselage stripe decals didn't quite fit. No matter where I placed them the gap at the top wouldn’t quite close or the bottom of the decals extended beyond the front of the wing. This location produced the smallest gap at the top of the fuselage. I extended the black piping with decal stripes then filled in the gap with Model Master insignia yellow paint.
Once again, there are no location pins or slots for the landing gear assembly and attachment to the wheel wells. I was afraid I'd drill through the wing top and the intake bottom. So, the landing gear are, simply, glued in place making them pretty fragile. I broke the kit front wheel fork trying to put the front gear together. So, I robbed the wheel fork from a Fujimi A-4 kit & used it. That was much beefier but too short resulting a too squat appearance. Consequently, the nose sets a little too low.
There it is! Building a limited run kit requires some model building experience and forethought on how to assemble the delicate details, but the results yield an accurate, detailed replica of this classic ‘50s Naval fighter!
- 1. "The North American Fury" by Richard J. Curuana, Scale Aviation Modeler International, Vol 9, No.7,July 2003, SAM Publications, Bedford UK.
- 2. TAILHOOK TOPICS: FJ-2/3 Fury Redux, by Tommy H. Thomason, http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2011/04/fj23-fury-redux.html
- 3. Seaforces online: VF-84 ‘Vagabonds/Jolly Rogers"
- 4. "Workbench Reviews: Sword FJ-3 Fury" by Paul Boyer, Fine Scale Modeler, March 2018, Kalmbach Publishing Co, Waukesha, Wi, USA.
- 5. FJ Fury in Action; Aircraft Number 103, by Jim Menko, Squadron Signal Publications, Carrollton, TX, 1990.