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Academy 1/72 F-89D Scorpion Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2004 Manufacturer Academy
Subject F-89D Scorpion Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1628 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details, easy build Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $20.00

First Look


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!