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CollectAire 1/48 TF-9J 'Twogar' Kit First Look

By Fotios Rouch

Date of Review May 2004 Manufacturer CollectAire
Subject TF-9J Cougar Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4843 Primary Media Resin, White Metal, Vacuform
Pros Beautiful casting w/Neomega parts Cons
Skill Level Expert MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


The F9F-8T was the two-seat trainer version of the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar. Development on the two-seat Cougar started in 1953 to meet the Navy requirement for a trainer to that would serve in the fleet together with the single-seat Cougars. At that time, the unarmed Lockheed T2V-1 SeaStar was serving as a carrier-capable two-seat trainer. The two-seat Cougar, or "Twogar" was the first Grumman swept-wing fighter to see active service on board an aircraft carrier.

The "Twogar" was developed from the standard F9F-8 by strengthening and stretching the fuselage by 34 inches. There was a refueling probe added to the nose increasing the total length of the airframe to almost 48 feet 9 inches.

The F9F-8T entered service in 1957, equipping 5 squadrons. The designation change to TF-9J came to play in 1962.

Now, for some cool stuff. The TF-9J (VT-4) was used in 1966-67 as an airborne command asset to direct air to ground strikes in South Vietnam. A fast F(orward) A(air) C(ontroller) as it has been called by some. The last VT-4 TF-9J retired in February 1974.

This is the second Cougar model in 48th scale by Collect-Aire. It has a totally redesigned fuselage and a brand new wing. Very few parts have been reused from the older but equally good kit. It is of note to remark here that this is the first and hopefully not the last cooperation between Collect-Aire and Neomega.

The cockpit tub, the ejection seats and the instrument panels are done by Neomega. The resin part were test fitted and look very good indeed. The instrument panels that came in the kit had some serious problems, but thanks to their outstanding customer service, CollectAire replaced the defective parts straight away.

Included are two reasonably clear copies for the vacuformed canopies. The instructions are ok as far as construction steps go.

A wealth of decals are included with detailed instructions for stencil placement. Take a look at these links for more pictures of the decals and the schemes.

Markings are provided for six aircraft:

  • TF-9J, BuNo 147384, MAG-11, YU-2, MCAS Yuma AZ, Danang 1966
  • F9F-8T, BuNo 142457, VMF-222, LE-2
  • TF-9J, BuNo 147404, Blue Angel 7
  • TF-9J, BuNo 146395, VT-25, 3J-000
  • TF-9J, BuNo 147421, VT-25, 3J-527
  • F9F-8T, 3-A-151, 1st Sqn, Argentine Navy

I will build my first copy as an orange/white trainer. I am also thinking of buying a second one to do the shark mouthed Vietnam FAC plane as well.