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FJ-3 Fury

Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 FJ-3 Fury Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2021 Manufacturer Kitty Hawk Models
Subject FJ-3 Fury Scale 1/48
Kit Number 80156 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Wow Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $69.99

First Look

FJ-3 Fury
FJ-3 Fury
FJ-3 Fury
FJ-3 Fury

Not long after World War II, North American Aviation (NAA) jumped into the turbine-powered fighter world with the Model 135 developed for the U.S. Navy. At the time, the U.S. Air Force was fielding their own turbine-powered fighter with Lockheed's P-80 Shooting Star. NAA had a head-start on Grumman and their F9F Panther series, but the Model 135 which the Navy designated as the FJ-1 Fury was found to be underwhelming in performance. In parallel, NAA was developing a variant of the FJ-1 to the USAAF as the XP-86 Sabre. The Navy and USAAF both found their initial designs inadequate and NAA was given access to captured Messerschmitt Me 262 engineering data which introduced swept wing and aerodynamically activated leading edge slats (among other things). The resulting F-86A for the USAF and the FJ-2 for the Navy featured improved performance for both aircraft. While the FJ-2 was still ahead of its Grumman competitor at the time, the Navy still required additional changes which included a raised cockpit, revised horizontal stabilizer and landing gear, and even then, the aircraft was still not ready for carrier operations. The Navy gave the FJ-2 to the U.S. Marines and looked to the FJ-3 to address the type's carrier requirements.

The FJ-3 had a revised cockpit/canopy arrangement to raise the pilot and improve visibility. The J47 engine of the FJ-2 was replaced with the J65 (a license-built British Sapphire) engine, distinquishable by the larger intake. Initial production aircraft retained the FJ-2 wing, but this was replaced with a 6-3 wing, similar to the F-86F. Of the 538 FJ-3s built, nearly 200 of them were modified to carry the AIM-9B Sidewinder and these were designated as FJ-3M. All of the serviceable FJ-3s were updated with air refueling probes in 1956. Production of the Fury transitioned to the FJ-4 in 1954 and featured additional improvements.

Here's a kit that many have anxiously awaited from Kitty Hawk, the FJ-3 Fury. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts, and one small fret of photo-etched parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit and ejection seat with photo-etched restraints
  • Positionable canopy
  • Detailed port and starboard gun bays
  • Positionable gun bay access panels
  • Four fuselage-mounted ammo cans can be posed separately or installed
  • Air refueling probe
  • Wings can be posed flight-ready or folded
  • Positionable trailing edge flaps
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable tail hook
  • Detailed engine visible down intake and up exhaust duct

The kit is designed with a separate forward fuselage and tail section with the split at the maintenance break, just like the full-scale example. The kit provides a complete engine shape with the details focused on the front and turbine sections of the engine. While you can pose the tail section removed from the airframe, the engine doesn't have the details around the outside of the compressor and turbine sections nor accessory packs, there is no cart to hold the tail section, but there are structural frames provided at the rear of the main fuselage and at the front of the tail section. If you want to pose the tail removed and the engine out, you'll need to add some scratch-built details to round out that display

External store options include:

  • 2 x external fuel tanks
  • 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder

Markings are included for five options:

  • FJ-3M, 136041, VF-173, AD/204
  • FJ-3M, 136155, VF-24, M/100, CAG
  • FJ-3M, 135867, VU-3, UF/14
  • FJ-3M, 135943, VF-91, NG/114
  • FJ-3, 135976, VF-15, H/408
  • FJ-3, 135862, VF-21, I/215

This is a nice-looking kit and I hope Kitty Hawk will continue the Fury series with the FJ-4/FJ-4B.

My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!