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Hobbycraft 1/48 F8F Bearcat ***FINISHED***


Stikpusher
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A few weeks back I had decided that I wanted to build a F8F Bearcat, as I can't remember ever building one in any scale before. Not the old Hawk or Monogram kits, nor any of the new tool releases, which I have a few of in my stash. Seeing how I've never built an RVN/VNAF aircraft either, I decided to go with this one that I've had in my stash for several years. Especially after recently building the Hobbycraft La-5FN. I like the cross of simplicity, and detail offered in this kit

So I’m kicking off my build today, using this Hobbycraft kit.

 

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 It’s one of their later moldings and is pretty nicely detailed, inside and out. Here is a photo of the real aircraft in the early 60’s

 

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and the kit sprues… not too high of a parts count, so this might be a fairly rapid build

 

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And of course, assembly starts out in the cockpit

 

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I’ll get some paint on there in the next few days…

Edited by Stikpusher
Completion of build
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Thanks Gil. This should be a fun project. Aside from some improvements in the cockpit, I’ll be going with what’s in the box here.

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2 hours ago, Mark Deliduka said:

Wow, I never knew Vietnam had any of these. This looks great and will be fun to follow.

Yeah, apparently they had enough left over hand me downs from the French to equip one under strength fighter squadron. They were eventually grounded as then replaced with A-1 Skyraiders in the early 60’s. I have read of some of the Farm Gate pilots getting one operational and using it as a squadron “hack” for fun flights during that time period. 

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Started slinging paint on the Bearcat today. First up I used Tamiya Rubber Black in the cockpit and wheel wells. It works for a good faded black.

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since USN cockpits in the post war era were painted in flat black from the level above the side consoles and IP, and Interior Green below that, I’m just gonna mask off the black areas tomorrow, then paint the green after giving the paint overnight to dry and cure before masking.

In the wheel well areas, I used Tamiya Yellow Green as Zinc Chromate Yellow over the Rubber Black

8-B3-D4-A08-0-C53-488-E-A8-BB-391215-DA3

more to come tomorrow…

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Minimal progress today, I’m trying to wrap up a few other projects that are nearing their respective finish lines. But I did have a good airbrush session for all three builds. For this one, I used Humbrol Acrylic Interior Green in the lower portion of the cockpit tub. Thinned with plain old water the stuff came our smoother than with the previous thinners that I had tried.

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Now I have to do all the detail painting and weathering in there, so it will be awhile before I have more progress photos…

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  • 3 months later...

And now back to work on this project…

I resumed work in the cockpit, using a 3-D print decal seat harness, modifying a F6F-5 IP decal for use on this one, and some final detail painting plus dry brushing

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and I started painting the engine

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More in a day or two…

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Nice, Carlos.  I used to paint with Humbrol paints as a kid.  Are the Humbrol paints still being made?  I would love to purchase some.  I really like the effect that your Tamiya yellow green has when applied over the rubber black in the wheel wells.  I have a Spitfire model similar to this model in that it has a low part count and seems to simply say, "Build me, please."  With Mark's insight on the silly putty as a mask I think I can handle the Spitfire's camo paint scheme.  But, I digress... this looks like a fun build. 🙂  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Ed. Yes, Humbrol paints are still in production. They are my go to paints for enamels since the late 80’s. And yes, this is a fun build so far.

Progress today! Got the wings and fuselage assembled! Woohoo! 

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Just need to do the seam clean up, glue these assemblies together, and it will start looking like an aero plane…

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Between yesterday and today I did most of the seam clean up on the separated wings and fuselage, then glued them together. I also added the vertical stabilizer, engine, wing cannon drum bulges and cockpit rollover brace.

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Afterwards I have been doing some sanding to improve the fit of the cowling to the fuselage. It was a bit off, but with some work, now fits pretty well. I just placed it on for the photo, as I still need to paint the interior color.

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I have a bit of seam filling to do before the next update…

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More progress to report! 

I finally glued the horizontal stabilizers in place… also shows a good view of the fuselage spine seam clean up.

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that was done after seam clean up on the vertical stabilizer. The kit provides separate tails for a -1 or -2 (as well as cowling and exhausts), but the seam was quite pronounced, along with a slight step. Since I’m doing a bare metal scheme, I had to make sure that the plastic was sanded and buffed super smooth….

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Then of course I had to test fit the cowling again for the latest profile shot….

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Man this cat is looking like a bear from this angle! 

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Thanks Mark. These final Grumman prop ‘cats are really starting to brown on me. 

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Carlos, nice looking build there.  I cannot wait to see your paint scheme and decals.  Looking good so far!  And, I had no idea that those planes were used early in Vietnam.  Good bit of info, there--Thanks!🙂

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Ed & Gil, thanks! I’m looking forward to getting this one wrapped up.

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A little more progress to report…

First up, I drilled out the exhaust stacks and installed them in place

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Then I installed the bomb racks and rocket stub launchers. I also added some sway braces to the pylons. And lastly I glued together the ordnance that I’m going to mount- four 5” HVARs and the centerline drop tank

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I also polished up the canopy & windscreen and gave those items their dip in Future. Those are drying now, so no photos until they’re masked off and glued in place prior to painting. Hopefully that will be tomorrow….

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More progress! Woohoo!

First up, I added some acetate for the reflector gunsight lens

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Then I masked up the canopy and windscreen and glued them into place

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Tomorrow I’ll work on the seams around the windscreen, and after that I can start initial painting!
 

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Nice!  I am looking forward to seeing the paint. 🙂 I do have a question, though.  With what kind of tool did you drill your exhaust stacks?  I have machine guns on an armor build I am working on and would like to know...those machine guns need to be drilled to look at least a little more authentic. 🙂  

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Ed, I started a pilot hole in each exhaust stack using a needle. Then I enlarged the pilot holes a bit using a brand new #11 Xacto  blade. Then finally I used a micro drill bit to enlarge the opening a bit more and for more depth. 
I know what you mean about drilling out gun barrels. I have to do that on my AA Crusader in the next session. On this build I'm gonna swap out the kit gun barrels for some Albion tubing cut to the proper length. That’s another option.

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Thanks for that information, Carlos.  Unfortunately I am going to simply paint my machine guns on my current build with flat black to simulate their open ends.  I need to purchase micro drill bits at like Harbor Freight for cheep, but I do not really have the funds yet...maybe in the future... 🙂  

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Ed, I didn’t know that Harbor Freight carried micro bits. I bought mine at a model railroad hobby shop that I used to live near that had a great selection of tools. I’ll have to swing by Harbor Freight, as they are closer to my new home than any hobby type shops.

 

Today I airbrushed on the anti glare area using good old Testors enamel Flat Black. I’ll let that dry overnite, then tomorrow mask off and get down a base coat for the NMF areas. 

0-B175-BC9-8-D07-4302-BEA7-DAEFF2-B151-F

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  • 3 weeks later...

So since my last update I’ve been slowly working on the Bearcat. First up I had to paint the wing walk and exhaust areas flat black, as I forgot to do so when I painted the anti glare area on the nose. 

Next I airbrushed on an overall coat of a satin light gray as a base for the NMF

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Then I airbrushed on a coat of Humbrol non buffing metal cote Aluminum

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It turned out a bit rougher than I though it would, but should look the part for faded weathered aluminum in the end. Next I airbrushed on a coat of Future for decals

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Then today I applied the decals. They are fairly simple- national insignia, squadron insignia, and plane in group ID letter

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The decals need another dose of decal set to snuggle into the panel lines, then another light Future coat before I can do a wash in the panel lines…
 

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  • 1 month later...

So I’m trying to get this project wrapped up shortly, and have been working on it for the past few days.
First up I added and cleaned up a panel line wash

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and then this evening I made up some replacement gun barrels using brass tubing

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More updates to come soon…

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