Tamiya 1/48 F4D-1 Skyray Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||July 2005||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Kit Number||61055||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build||Cons||Canopy cannot be positioned open|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34.00|
Douglas designed a carrier-based, all-weather interceptor based on the delta-wing approach used by Convair for the Air Force's family of interceptors. The aircraft first flew in late January 1951. The aircraft entered service in 1954, powered by the same J57 afterburning turbojet that would propel the F-100 Super Sabre and F8U Crusader through the sound barrier.
The aircraft was purpose-built around an intercept radar in the nose, four 20mm cannons and two Sidewinder missiles. It was so effective that one Navy squadron was assigned to NORAD for all-weather intercept missions in the US.
The aircraft was refered to as "Ford" (pronounciation of 'F4D', just as the S2F Tracker was 'Stoof'). In 1962, the F4D was redesignated as F-6A as part of the Department of Defense's aircraft designator standardization. While the aircraft never saw combat, it served US Navy and Marine Corps squadrons until retired in 1964.
A number of years ago, Tamiya released their 1/48 Douglas F4D-1 Skyray kit. It remains today one of my favorite builds. You can go here to see what this kit looks like built.
Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on four parts trees, plus a small tree of clear parts containing the two-piece windscreen and canopy. Detailing is all finely scribed throughout.
The project starts with the cockpit (naturally) and the kit comes with a nice cockpit out of the box. The odd thing is that once the cockpit is assembled, you won't see much of it as there is no provision for positioning the canopy open. The completed cockpit is installed inside the nose halves.
Another nice feature of this kit is the engine face visible inside the intakes. You won't be seeing daylight from inside the airframe. The lower fuselage captures the engine face and its bulkhead, which also serves to box in the main wheel wells.
The rather unique elevators on this aircraft are movable. The leading edge slats can be positioned extended or closed.
Another option you will need to decide upon are the folding wings. The kit's wings can positioned folded or down and locked.
The landing gear is very nicely detailed on the mains, nosegear, tail bumper and tailhook. Very nicely done!
External stores in the kit are limited to Sidewinders on the inboard pylons, external fuel tanks on the mid pylons, rocket pods on the outboards, and the Navpac on the centerline.
Markings are included for three examples:
- F4D-1, BuNo 139164, VF(AW)-3, PA/17
- F4D-1, BuNo 134895, VMF(AW)-115, VE/16
- F4D-1, BuNo 139068, VFM(AW)-114, EK/3
Even if you're a Chevy person, this is one Ford you'll want on your flightline. The kit is a fun build and will definitely add a unique chapter to your naval aviation collection.