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F3H Kit

Grand Phoenix 1/48 F3H-2N Demon Kit First Look

By Fotios Rouch

Date of Review September 2004 Manufacturer Grand Phoenix
Subject McDonnell F3H-2N Demon Scale 1/48
Kit Number 0006 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Beautiful cockpit, nice detailing Cons Styrene surface texture
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

F3H Kit
F3H Kit
F3H Kit
F3H Kit
F3H Kit
F3H Kit
F3H Kit
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F3H Kit

The McDonnell F3H Demon was the first all weather US Navy carrier-based interceptor aircraft capable of carrying both Sparrows and Sidewinders. First came the FH-1 Phantom by McDonnell then their Banshee in all its flavors and then the successor to the Banshee was the Demon. Great time to be in the defense business for McDonnell! The Demon served from 1956 until 1964. After the Demon of course came the Phantom II which continued the McDonnell domination of this side of Navy business.

Development work on the Demon began in 1949. The Demon was going to have only one engine, departing from the twin engine concept of the Phantom I and the Banshee. It was going to be a Westinghouse J40 engine rated at over 11,000 lb of thrust. The engine disappointed the program office, by being unreliable by producing only half of the advertised power and for being responsible for eight major accidents with the first production aircraft. The J40 engine was later replaced by the Alison J71 engine and was fitted in the F3H-2 Demons. The J71 was more reliable but not powerful enough. The first J71 Demon flew in October 1954. The early McDonnell ejector seats also were known to fail and they were later replaced with Martin Baker Mk.5 models.

In 1956 the Navy ordered 239 F3H-2s. 522 Demons were built up to the end of production in November 1959. The Demon never saw any real action other than flying over Lebanon and Quemoy in 1958.

The Grand Phoenix model was announced last year at the Telford show. It came as big surprise to me to see such a bold move on Aeromaster's part. The FJ-4B had put me off a bit so I was a bit cautious with this one. I was very surprised when I received my kit.

First surprise was the amount of resin included in two separate bags. Second surprise was to see the many options and clever engineering incorporated that will allow all the variants to be built. Third surprise was the clarity of the injected canopy. I really liked the photoetch fret that includes the over wing speed brakes and the thin wing fences.

The canopy masks are a nice touch. The decal print job looks to be of high quality. The low impact subjects selected by GP give me the hint that separate more colorful sheets might be produced by Aeromaster. Only recently Paul Cotcher was "feeling the pulse" for a limited release set of decals by his outfit. Can you believe that? For the last ten years there was only one resin and one vac kit of the Demon and now we have a plastic kit and many decals sets on their way!

Back to the kit now. The plastic is of good quality, although I wish the surface was a little shinier. Probably no more than 15 minutes worth of polishing with a polishing cloth are required here. The resin in my kit was very nicely molded with few problems. Some parts were broken off of their resin plugs in transit and some parts were bent a bit also due to packing and transit.

The surface detail looks great on all the parts. The petite engraved panel lines are very consistent and they look good with no brakes or blockages.

Back in November I posted on Hyperscale forum an open letter so to speak for GP to read regarding their upcoming Demon. I am not sure if they read it and I don't really care. What I care about is that they addressed every single area pointed out in my posting. So I would be amiss if I did not make some positive comments here. I am pleased that both styles of gun ports are included. Later Demons had the upper ports plugged.

I like that both beaver tails are included (short beaver tail on serial numbers 143403 and later) with a molded in tail tip light.

It is certain that the missile Demon is coming next.

I like the cockpit a lot. Very accurate too. Congrats of not taking shortcut and including the McDonnell design seat that was present on the Demons prior to serial number 146709. Please do include the Martin Baker Mk.5 for the later variants starting 146709 and on ward. Things I did not care for were the resin tires with their "flat" look. Come on guys on a navy jet?! I guess I will pretend that the plane was on a land tour....

What is most important of course is to see how it all goes together and how it looks when done. I will be carefully looking into how GP addressed the anhedral of they main wings. This is critical because this will dictate how close to the ground the plane's belly will be and if the belly tanks will have the proper distance from the ground level.

I am looking forward to this build-up in the near future.

Worth the price? So far and only looking at the box contents. Yes. You get lots of goodies for the price. If you think that maybe 4000 units were made (totally my guess) and that they will be split in two boxing then I would say that the price is just right. If this one goes together well then I am buying one or two more. Nobody said that modeling your favorite subject was going to be cheap!