Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat
Italeri, 1/48 scale
S u m m a r y
||Italeri No. 2660 -
parts (106 in grey styrene, 5 clear styrene)
is available online from Hannants website and
||Only kit of this
aircraft in this scale; nicely done rendition of a Korean
war workhorse with good armament selection
Italeri's 1/48 scale F7F-3N Tigercat will
be available online from Squadron.com
I have always liked the Tigercat as one of Grumman's late war "hot rods"
that got a new life in Korea, albeit far from its original design as a
long-range heavy fleet interceptor. In its radar equipped "Dash 3N"
variant, it was excellent at what was dubbed "truck plinking" in the
Gulf War and disruption of Chinese Volunteer/Korean Peoples' Army supply
106 F7F-3N two-seat night fighters (Italeri had a problem with the
designator, but they're not alone in goofing these things up) were
produced between May 1945 and June 1946, basically very similar to the
earlier F7F-2N two-seaters but with a new longer nose and radar fit. The
radar replaced the four nose-mounted .50 caliber machines, but with four
20mm cannon in the wing roots it was still more than capable as a
fighter. While it was soon outmoded and began to be replaced with the
new jet-powered F3D Skyknight, the Tigercat was still in front-line
service when the Korean war broke out.
Having no basic need for night fighters at first, the Marines converted
them over to the night intruder mission where they excelled. They flew
missions until April 1953 and over the course of their combat career in
Korea they managed to shoot down two PO-2 "Bedcheck Charlie" night
bombers. Unfortunately, they also lost 27 F7F-3N aircraft with 37
crewmen either killed in action or missing in action.
A normal combat load for the aircraft was a full ammo load for the 20mm
guns, two 500 or 1000 lb bombs or napalm tanks, and eight 5" rockets;
total external ordnance was up to 3,220 pounds.
ESCI came out with a very nice series of 1/48 F7Fs a number of years
ago, and then the molds passed into the hands of AMT. When they gave up
the ghost, the molds then moved on to Italeri who has thankfully
re-released them. As I have the aforementioned fondness for the
Tigergcat and also Korean war aircraft, I finally found one at an IPMS
show still shrinkwrapped and snapped it up. I found out to my
disappointment that the kit came with vinyl tires. One had eaten into
the wings and another had totaled the decal sheet.
Happily Italeri has fixed both problems and now they include nicely done
two-piece styrene tires with this kit. They also have a totally new
decal sheet with four options vice two.
The kit itself is not bad, with fine recessed panel lines and fairly
nicely done wheel well interiors and engines. I always thought the
cowlings looked odd, but close-up photos on Cybermodeler show them to be
quite accurate. The struts and wheels are also well done.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger
The cockpit and radar operator's area are spartan at
best, and could use some TLC or even figures. Due to the awkward and
cramped radar operator's "seat" (he is located right over the main wing
spar and main fuel tank, and even the back of the canopy had to be
bulged for him to hunch over the radar!) it is unlikely anything other
than a purpose-built figure would fit in that area. Call me a child of
the 1950s, but I like figures in cockpits rather than tape or etched
The ordnance is reasonably well done and includes two 1000 lb bombs,
eight 56" rockets and a centerline drop tank. The bombs and tank come
with sway braces, always a nice touch in this scale. The model also
comes with a prototypical (!) 55 gallon drum with crate on it to balance
the aircraft. Apparently F7F-3Ns were tail heavy and if parked unfuelled
would "rock" back onto their tails, making it a pain to service them.
Ergo the ground crews would put something under the tail to hold them
The finishing options cover four aircraft: VMF(N)-534, NAS Miramar 1946
(blue with white markings, no bars, and no stencils); VMF(N)-542, Kimpo
air base, Korea September 1950 (blue with full markings except for BuAer
numbers); VMF(N)-513, Kangnung air base, Korea, winter 1951-52 (black
with white numbers and lettering); and VMF(N)-513, Pyongataek air base,
Korea 1952 (black with red numbers and lettering). While the last two
sport very few markings (it tended to give away the aircraft at night,
especially if caught by headlights or searchlights) the VMF(N)-542
aircraft most certainly would have had them and it is a shame the decals
do not provide them.
Overall, this is a nice kit and a good place to start.
A 6 F7F-3N Fuselage, nacelles
B 10 F7F wings, tires
C 23 F7F ignition harness, wheel doors, seat, one prop, one elevator
D 30 F7F rockets, nose strut, crankcases, one prop, one elevator
E 22 F7F engines, main struts, sway braces
F 15 F7F-2N/3N cowlings, bombs, interior details
G 5 Clear parts
Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.
Review Text Copyright © 2007 by Cookie Sewell
Images Copyright © 2007 by Brett Green
Page Created 25 June, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007
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