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Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat

by Lee Rouse


Grumman F8F-1


Hobbycraft's F8F-1 Bearcat is available online from Squadron.com




This is my 1/48 scale Hobbycraft F8F-1 Bearcat in markings for a Royal Thai Air Force aircraft during the early 1960ís.





Several aftermarket sets were used. The stock cockpit was replaced with a resin cockpit from Cutting Edge. The cockpit is beautifully cast and I would highly recommend it for anyone building the Bearcat.

I did not replace the cowling with the Cutting Edge resin one, as I was feeling rather stingy and decided I could live without it.



Other refinements included installing brass screen in each of the leading edge air scoops, and detailing the engine with spark plug wiring and ignition harness from various sizes of copper wire. 



Painting and Decals


After assembly, sanding and filling seams, the plastic was prepared for painting with several handbrushed coats of Future floor wax. This produced a very shiny surface, and helped fill in any micro-crevices which will pop out like a red flag under a natural metal finish. I used several paints for metalizing, the main one being Krylon chrome spray which was drained from the spray can, and then thinned with medium temperature automotive enamel reducer. Selective panels were masked off and darkened with Alclad II dark aluminum, Testors metalizer steel, or Tamiya smoke. I did not put a clear coat (handbrushed Future floor wax) on top of the paint, although I have done so with other models. It depends on how ďnewĒ you want the finished product to look. 

The decals are from an old Aeromaster set, F8F Bearcat collection (48030).

This project almost didnít happen because I was unable to find the decal sheet. Aeromaster produced the marking for this aircraft in one of their early sets, which unfortunately has been out of circulation for quite a while. After several fruitless searches on Internet websites for the set, as well as phone calls to several hobby stores, I posted a request on HyperScale. Within a couple of days I got a response from Bob Whaites. We had quite a time figuring out how to work out payment, and Allen, out of the goodness of his heart, sent the decals to me anyway, assuring me that we would work something out eventually (We did. I was able to locate another Aeromaster set he was looking for and we ended up making a swap).



The decals went on quite well, except for the tail decals which consist of one large decal for each side of the tail. Because of their size they required very careful attention to prevent tearing when moving them around. The decal instructions recommend applying the decals, then attaching the horizontal stabilizers. I followed this advice and things worked out well. 





The Hobbycraft kit is a number of years old, and suffers from fit problems in several areas. Still, itís leaps and bounds ahead of itís closest competition, the long out of production Testors kit, which if memory serves me correctly, was a rebox of the old Hawk kit.



Slideshow - Additional Images

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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2001 by Lee Rouse
Page Created 05 August, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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