Hobby Boss 1/48 FJ-4 Fury

KIT #: 80312
PRICE: $33.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver


 I once listened to a very senior retired Marine aviator state unequivocally that the best fighter he ever flew in his entire career - which spanned from World War II to past Vietnam - was the North American FJ-4 "Fury."  He went so far as to say that "if they'd have put an afterburner in it, I could've waxed any Crusader in the sky."

 The FJ-4 Fury was the last of a line of naval fighters developed by North American Aviation from their F-86 Sabre land-based fighter.  In 1952, the Navy knew it was totally outclassed over Korea by the MiG-15, and turned to North American to make a version of the only Western fighter at the time that could successfully take on the MiG-15, the Sabre.  The FJ-2 Fury equipped Marine units and did not see much if any carrier service, while the FJ-3 became one of the backbones of Navy fighter aviation in the mid-1950s.

 The FJ-3 had its slats removed and replaced with the "6-3" wing leading edge during 1955, with no adverse performance in deck handling, and a considerable increase in air combat performance at altitude.  As early as 1953, North American had brought the NA-208 to the Navy as "the ultimate Fury." This was a complete redesign of the Fury, that left the resulting FJ-4 with almost nothing in common with the FJ-3 or the F-86 other than a general planform.

The FJ-4 was powered by the same J-65 development of the English Sapphire jet engine as the FJ-3, with a completely redesigned fuselage that was shorter and deeper than the previous models, with a wing that was increased in size 40 percent, doing away completely with the leading edge slats.  While the FJ-4 was heavier than the earlier airplanes, with a resultant loss of climb rate and ceiling, that wing gave it the maneuverability referred to by the retired Marine above, to "wax the tail of anything in the sky." 

The FJ-4 was equipped with four under wing pylons for external fuel and sidewinder missiles.  In 1957, the Fury was the first Navy attack aircraft to fire the Bullpup air-to-ground radar- guided missile.  The FJ-4B was also cleared to carry a nuclear weapon. The FJ-4 equipped nine Navy and three Marine squadrons between 1955-60.


The Hobby Boss FJ-4 was released in 2008.  As noted in other reviews, it is a simple design as a kit with a minimum of parts, all cleanly molded.  The FJ-4 kit manages to give markings for one FJ-4 and one FJ-4B, and the parts one would use for either are all in the kit.  There are better decals that were released by Eagle Strike, but these are no longer in production.

 After building the nearly-unbuildable Grand Phoenix kit, I was looking for a simple FJ-4, and this kit is it.  It is about 3/16 inch longer than the Grand Phoenix kit, which makes it accurate in length.


Assembly was far easier than the GP kit, since everything fits.  It all fits better if you want to do it with the gear doors and dive brakes open, and is "fiddly" if you want to close things up, as I did.  If I was doing it again, I would close up the main gear doors before assembling the wing, so I could glue the doors closed from inside, which is far easier than doing it from the outside, as I did.

If you choose to do the FJ-4, you need to fill and sand off the dive brakes on the lower fuselage behind the regular dive brakes.  You also want to use the nose gear door that does not have the raised portion.

The cockpit is very simple.  There is a very good AMS Resins cockpit set, which is still available.  I chose to close up the canopy, which I think gives a better overal look, since the open canopy ruins the lines of the airplane. I attached the landing gear before painting, and was pleased to note that the main gear legs are correct (which they aren't in the GP kit).


 I pre-shaded with dark grey along panel lines, then painted the lower surfaces and the upper movable surfaces with Tamiya Flat White.  I painted the upper surfaces with Gunze-Sangyo Light Gull Grey.  I hand painted the aluminum leading edges (which are actually painted with Coroguard) with Auto Auir Aluminum, done with a brush.  I then gave the model a coat of Future.

The decals go on easily, but the stripe on the central fuselage is a little short.  I ended up matching the blue and filling in the narrow area at the join of fuselage and wing.  

 I gave the model an overall coat of Xtracrylix Satin varnish, then applied Flat varnish to the Light Gull Grey.  I attached the wheels and unmasked the canopy.


A far far better model than the Grand Phoenix kit.  If you have an unbuilt Grand Phoenix kit, you can use the resin cockpit in this kit to good effect.  The decals in that kit are also superior.  So far as I know, the kit is now out of production, but I note that you can still find it in stock.  Recommended for fans of Fifties jets and Naval Air in general.

Tom Cleaver

May 2014

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