Academy 1/72 F-89D Scorpion Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||July 2004||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Kit Number||1628||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice details, easy build||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$20.00|
Northrop developed the F-89 to satisfy an all-weather continental defense requirement for the fledgling Air Defense Command. Powered by a pair of J35 turbojets, the F-89 was designed to with an impressive (in those days) 1,300 mile range to intercept incoming bombers before they could get too close to US airspace.
The F-89D was an evolution of the F-89C, replacing its 20mm cannons with 104 2.75" Mighty Mouse rockets in the two wingtip pods (which also doubled as fuel tanks). In the nose was a new radar which would guide the F-89D to an optimum firing position for its rockets in all weather.
Due to the unique stance the aircraft had on the ground plus the swept-up appearance of the tail, the aircraft was aptly named 'Scorpion'. While the aircraft never fired a shot in anger, over 1,000 of Scorpions were produced. While many of its contemporaries had very short service lives in the early days of jet-powered fighters, the Scorpion entered service in 1950 and would remain on duty for over 17 years.
This kit was initially released by Hobbycraft a number of years ago and versions have been released by Academy since then. Reviews that have been written for these previous issues have all been favorable (from what I could find) though the kit has been out of production for a while.
Academy's release of this kit is quite welcome, and as you can see in the photos, the molds are as crisp as ever. Molded in light gray styrene, the F-89D kit features beautifully scribed panel lines and nice detailing throughout. There are flashed-over holes on the underside of the wings, but these are not used with this version of the Scorpion.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- F-89D, 61 FIS, Ernest Harmon AFB, Newfoundland, 1955
- F-89D, 321 FIS, Paine AFB, WA
This kit is a welcome re-issue that represents a unique asset of the early jet-powered Air Force. The bright colors of the shark-mouthed, Arctic-colored 61 FIS aircraft will make for a nice addition to your scale flightline.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!