Hobby Boss 1/32 F-84E Thunderjet
|PRICE:||7,840 yen (approx $99) at www.hlj.com|
The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was the second
The F-84E was the first of the Thunderjet series to achieve the performance expected in the design, and the first sub-type to achieve large-scale production. This airplane was longer than the F-84D and earlier versions, which provided a fineness ratio to the fuselage that resulted in a top speed just over 600mph. The aircraft was also capable of carrying a substantial ordnance load in the fighter-bomber role, and had the range to be an effective bomber escort. The F-84E originally went into production in 1949 to be used by Strategic Air Command in the fighter-escort role, and equipped the 27th Fighter Escort Wing, led by the legendary Colonel Don Blakeslee, and the 31st Fighter Escort Wing, led by the less well-known but equally effective Colonel "Mac" McColpin, the only American to have commanded all three Eagle Squadrons in the RAF.
The Air Force was reluctant to send the "first string"
to the Korean War, since most of the top command saw Korea as a sideshow that
might turn out to be Act One of World War
This attitude was slightly modified when the Soviet MiG-15 showed up over the Yalu in early November. While the F-80s of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing seemed able to hold off the new fighter, it was obvious that this was only due to superior pilot training, since the first-generation F-80 was obviously completely outclassed by the second-generation MiG. The Sabres of the 4th Fighter Interception wing and the Thunderjets of the 27th Fighter Escort Wing were alerted to move to Korea in late November and arrived in the theater in early December 1950, as UN forces reeled down the Korean Peninsula following the intervention of the Red Chinese army in the conflict.
Don Blakeslee led the first F-84E mission over
The 49th Fighter-Bomber Group - which had operated the F-80C since Day One of the Korean War, was re-equipped with F-84Es in the late Spring of 1951, just before the 27th FEW was to return to the U.S. The 49th's Thunderjets were among the most colorful of the period, with the red-and-white, black-and-white and black-and-yellow rudder stripes that differentiated the 7th, 8th and 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons that made up the group.
The F-84E would also set a standard for future Air Force fighters
by becoming the first capable of air-to-air refueling when probes for the
British "probe-and-drogue" system were fitted to the airplane's tip tanks; two
different long-range missions to the Yalu were flown out of Japan to prove the
system after the F-84Es had been flown across the Pacific non-stop from Hawaii
Robert L. Scott Jr. Tours
In the fall of 1951, Colonel Robert L. Scott, Jr., had
commanded the 36th Fighter-Bomber
Wing at Furstenfeldbruck AFB in the American occupation zone of West Germany for
a year, following his creation of the Jet Fighter School at Williams AFB in
The wing, based furthest east in
Scott sold USAFE on the fact that no Air Force aircraft
had operated in Africa south of Wheelus AFB in Libya since the Second World War,
and that a survey of the flight facilities available in the "dark continent"
would provide information of use to Air Force planning.
The mission took place in November 1951, and involved
Scott and a wingman flying down to Wheelus AFB outside
Yours truly had the great privilege of meeting General Scott - one of my heroes as both a pilot and a writer - at the 1984 American Fighter Aces Association convention, where he gave me the best compliment I've ever received as a writer, telling me that an article I had written about Chuck Yeager that had been published earlier that year in "Retired Officer" magazine was "the best, most knowledgeable article about a fighter pilot I've ever read." I truly treasure those words.
I'll refer you to Scott Van Aken's preview I will say that the surface detail on this kit is some of the most petite detail I have ever seen on any kit, and the result is very realistic, comparing it with the two F-84 fuselages that are out at Planes of Fame.
The color call-outs in the kit instructions are wrong. The wheel wells and gear door interiors should be Yellow Zinc Chromate. I added some Tamiya Flat Yellow to the Tamiya Zinc Chromate bottle and got what I was looking for. After it dried, I applied a thin coat of Tamiya "Smoke" to pop out detail and give the impression of oil and grease smears one would find on the operational airplane. Additionally, the cockpit should be Interior Green for the floor control stick, rudder pedals, ejection seat and fore and aft bulkheads, with the side consoles, the cockpit wall above the consoles, the instrument panel, the gunsight, and the rear area under the canopy all Flat Black.
My big squawk about the kit as it arrives in the box is the decals. The "USAF" and the "buzz number" are wrong; both should be insignia blue rather than black. Not only that, but the national insignia are oversize. The good news is that Zotz Decals has two F-84 sheets available. Unfortunately, only one aircraft of all is an F-84E, with the rest being F-84G variants, but the F-84E choice is the famous F-84E flown by Col. Robert L. Scott Jr. Zotz also provides complete stencil markings, which are far superior to those on the kit decal sheet.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The Zotz decals went on without problem, though I did find I needed a final application of Solvaset after Micro-Sol had been applied and dried off, in order to get the decals to fully settle into the very petite surface detail.
I didn't like the look of the metal landing gear, so I used the injection plastic parts. The model is not so heavy that these will ever give way. I attached the landing gear and then the drop tanks. Given this was a Wing Commander's airplane, I kept it as clean as photos show it was in real life.
An excellent model of a great airplane, and definitely recommended.
Decals courtesy of
Zotz Decals: order yours at
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