FM 1/48 F-84F Thunderstreak Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||December 2005||Manufacturer||Fonderie Miniature|
|Kit Number||6407||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, White Metal, Photo Etch, Vac|
|Pros||Very nice details in this multimedia kit||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$65.95|
The F-84F Thunderstreak was an evolutionary step in the development of Republic's famous fighter-bomber family. The earlier F-84 Thunderjet series were all straight-winged aircraft that saw extensive combat service during Korea as well as holding the line along the Iron Curtain.
Originally intended to be a swept-wing F-84E , production of the F-84F was delayed, to re-engine the aircraft from the J35 to the higher-thrust J65 Sapphire engine. The performance improvements using the swept wings was notable, and the F-84F was the second fighter-bomber to receive air refueling and the capability to carry the atomic bomb. The distinction of first went to the F-84G which entered service ahead of the F-84F during the redesigns needed to accommodate the J65 as well as work out some kinks.
The F-84F would see over 2,700 examples built with nearly half of them equipping NATO air forces. Republic's design didn't stop here. The need for a reconnaissance aircraft led Republic engineers to move the intake from the nose into the wing roots to allow for a large camera bay up front. This new arrangement was so successful that it allowed Republic to beat out North American on the next generation of high-performance fighter-bomber - the F-105 Thunderchief.
When I had first heard about this kit, I couldn't imagine someone was doing an all-new tool F-84F. They weren't. FM started with the Heller kit (molded in gray) and added two new fuselage halves (molded in tan). Next they added a wealth of multimedia parts to turn this kit into the ultimate Thunderstreak!
The Heller kit isn't bad at all. It is presented on three parts trees and appears to be rather nice. The new tan fuselage halves have some improved detailing, especially around the air bypass doors near the wing roots and the interiors of the speed brake wells. Most notably, the new fuselage halves appear to correct a length problem with the Heller kit, trimming a number of scale inches off the aircraft length between the cockpit and tail section.
So how does the new fuselage halves compare to the tried and true Monogram F-84F? If you want a shocker, just hold the two fuselages together. The shape of the Monogram F-84F is very noticably different than the FM kit. Which one is correct? The FM kit looks 'right' to me, but unfortunately, Bert Kinzey hasn't gotten around to the F-84F in Detail and Scale title (yet).
If we were just talking plastic here, most folks would call whichever kit they had "good enough" but the story doesn't end here. This is a full-blown multimedia kit and is intended for the more seasoned modeler. In addition to the styrene, this kit includes a nice array of resin, photo-etched and white metal parts.
The resin parts include a very nice cockpit tub, ejection seat, intake splitter/nosewheel well, main gear wheels, and more.
The white metal parts provide some very nicely cast landing gear struts, gear doors, instrument panel, nosewheel, ejection seat details, and canopy lift mechanism.
The photo-etched fret provides the exterior and interior surfaces of the speed brakes, instrument panel faces, and side console details.
Markings are provided on a HUGE decal sheet and provide markings for five different aircraft:
- F-84F, 52-8883, EC 1/1, 1-NS, French Air Force
- F-84F, 52-8926, EC 3/1, 1-PX, French Air Force, 1957
- F-84F, 52-8928, EC 1/3, 3-HG, French Air Force, 1957
- F-84F, 52-6368, 131 TFW, MO ANG, Berlin Crisis, 1961
- F-84F, 51-1759, 401 FBW, USAF, 1961
One additional small sheet contains a duplicate set of the checkerboard patterns for the 401 FBW markings worn on the vertical and horizontal stabilizers.
I have never had the opportunity to see the Heller F-84F (though I do have their nice RF-84F kit) to compare it to the Monogram offering. I had no idea that the two differed so much. One thing is for certain, this kit will build up into a beautiful rendition of the F-84F with all of the details contained in this kit.
This is definitely recommended for the modeler with good multimedia experience!
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!