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F11F Kit

FM 1/48 F11F-1 Tiger Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2005 Manufacturer Fonderie Miniature
Subject Grumman F11F-1 Tiger Scale 1/48
Kit Number 6045 Primary Media Styrene, Resin, White Metal, Photo Etch, Vac
Pros Nice details Cons Challenging fit and surface texture
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $75.95

First Look

F11F Kit
F11F Kit
F11F Kit
F11F Kit
F11F Kit

Grumman's F11F Tiger was a small carrier-based fighter powered by the Wright J65 afterburning turbojet. Entering service ahead of the LTV F8U Crusader, the F11F had the distinction of being the first supersonic carrier-based fighter.

Armed with four 20mm cannons and up to four Sidewinder missiles, the F11F operated on the front lines for a relatively short time before being assigned to second tier duties.

Even though the aircraft didn't remain in front-line service very long, the F11F became a major symbol of Naval Aviation as it became the centerpiece of the Blue Angels aerial demonstration team between 1957 and 1969. Those of us old enough will remember seeing their first Blue Angels show in the F11F before the team transitioned to the Phantom and later the Skyhawk.

Up until now, the only choices for a 1/48 scale F11F Tiger were the Lindberg (sort of ) scale short-nosed Tiger in styrene, or settling for one of the crude resin or vac kits that were on the market. Those problems are set aside for now as FM has released their long-awaited Tiger.

Molded in a light tan styrene, this kit is clearly a limited run project. The molds are low-pressure as the styrene exhibits a slight texture on the surface (that is easy to buff off), some of the scribed details are a bit soft, and there is a bit of flash here and there. For experienced modelers, these are non-issues but for the Tamiyagawa crowd, well, we won't go there.

This kit is definitely a poster child for the multi-media kit. In addition to four parts trees containing the styrene portion of the kit, this kit features some nicely cast resin parts, a fret of photo-etch, a bag of white-metal parts, and vacuformed canopies. Those of you looking for a detailed F11F have to wait no longer!

The resin parts are broken down into two sets. One set is cast in dark gray resin and consist of the cockpit tub and the three wheel wells. The other set is cast in tan resin and feature the ejection seat, instrument panel, tail pipe, A/B nozzle, wheels, and tail hook housing.

The photo-etch parts provide the instrument panel face, side walls, side consoles, ejection seat handles, shoulder harnesses, and wing fences.

The bag of white metal parts round out the kit with the main gear struts, tail hook, antennas, etc.

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  • F11F-1, 141740, AD/205, VF-21, 1957
  • F11F-1, 141745, NH/110, VA-156, 1958
  • F11F-1, Blue Angels, 1961 Season

This is an awesome kit that is going to build into a stunning model of this much-overlooked subject. While not for the Tamiyagawa kit assembler, this model brings the best of the multimedia elements together to create a detailed replica. If your skills aren't quite ready to tackle a multimedia kit, you might want to stash one away as this kit won't be available for very long.

This is definitely recommended for the modeler with good multimedia experience!

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!