Hobby Boss 1/48 FJ-4B Fury




$28 MSRP


2 options: Navy CAG A/C from VA-214; USMC VMF-323


Blair Stewart





The North American FJ-2/-3/-4 Fury was a series of swept-wing carrier-capable fighters for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Based on the United States Air Force's F-86 Sabre, the FJ-series Fury aircraft featured folding wings and, eventually, a longer nose landing strut designed to both increase angle of attack upon launch and to absorb the shock of hard landings on an aircraft carrier deck. Although sharing a U.S. Navy designation with its distant predecessor, the straight-winged FJ-1 Fury, the FJ Fury evolved into a wholly different aircraft.

The final versions of the Fury were the FJ-4 and FJ-4B, which some argue was the best of the entire F-86/FJ Fury series. While the FJ-4 initially appears to an observer as a modified F-86, it has many differences and only the family ancestry is apparent. The most significant difference was the thinner wing with a much broader chord at the root. Internal fuel tanks within the larger wing increased the FJ-4’s internal fuel capacity by 50%. In addition, the earlier Furies and Sabres used leading edge slats that were actuated aerodynamically. The FJ-4 incorporated a drooping wing leading edge, which provided additional lift during landing and improved low speed handling. The tail surfaces were also almost completely new, and the tail was taller than previous versions. The horizontal tail surfaces had no dihedral and had a smaller span and a larger chord than previous Furies and Sabres. In addition, internal fuel capacity was increased, necessitating a distinctive, taller "razorback" rear deck, and the landing gear was widened.  Later FJ-4s were equipped with an in-flight refueling probe that was permanently mounted underneath the left wing.

The FJ-4’s performance included a max speed of 680 mph and a service ceiling of 46,800 feet. Its range was 2,020 mi with 2-200 gal drop tanks and a combat load of 2 AIM-9 missiles. Internal armament consisted of 4-20mm cannons mounted in the nose.

The FJ-4’s first flight was on October 28, 1954. It was powered by a 7,650 lb. thrust Wright J-65-W-4 engine, the same engine in the FJ-3. Delivery of FJ-4s began in February 1955, and except for one squadron that trained Navy FJ-4B pilots, FJ-4s were used exclusively by the Marine Corps.

The FJ-4B was a fighter-bomber version, capable of carrying an increased under-wing weapons load of 3,000 lbs., including nuclear weapons on a single station. A total of 152 FJ-4s and 222 FJ-4Bs were produced. The FJ-4B had a set of flight spoilers just ahead of the trailing-edge flaps. These were used at low altitudes and high mach numbers to improve overall control. The FJ-4B also had an extra pair of speed brakes underneath the fuselage near the tail. The B model was equipped to deliver the Martin ASM-N-7 Bullpup air-to-surface missile. The Bullpup carried a 250 lb. high explosive warhead and flew at about Mach 1.7 out to a range of about 4 miles.

The FJ-4B’s final operational cruise was aboard the USS Hancock in 1962. After that, the surviving aircraft were transferred to reserve units. The final FJ-4B was withdrawn from the Naval Air Reserves in the mid 1960s.


This is my first Hobby Boss kit, so I was anxious to see how the kit compared with other manufacturers’ products. While the kit does not have an overly extensive number of parts, those that it does have are crisply and cleanly molded. There are a few optional parts, so as usual, one needs to decide up front what parts will be used.

The decals, while beautifully done, are inaccurate, according to Will Riepl in his March 2008 Internet Modeler Review. Will says the Navy CAG aircraft markings have several flaws. First, the tail stripes, which are depicted as black, yellow and red, should be red, yellow and orange. He further adds that the ND tail code is shown at an angle to the other trim, when it should be parallel to the white stripes. The CATG-4 text is also the wrong shape, and the nose numbers are less than half the size they need to be. Lastly, the intake warning decal says “Danger In Take” instead of “Danger Intake.” The decals for the USMC have some color inaccuracies, too.  Not wanting to purchase aftermarket decals for this kit, I opted to model the Navy aircraft as I felt it was more colorful (even in its inaccuracies).  (I guess the Eagle Strike sheet is wrong too. Ed)


Following the assembly instructions, I started with the cockpit, which is not overly detailed, but looks reasonable.  The ejection seat could use a harness and lap belt, but I opted to stick with the OOB build. Once I assembled the cockpit and painted it, I glued it to the top of the intake. I mounted the intake and cockpit to the right fuselage side, and then placed a good bit of weight around the intake so that the model would sit on its nose gear. I then glued the left fuselage to the right, and here is where I encountered my first problem.

The intake was not centered in the nose, and I had to fiddle with it to get it straight. The solution was to shim it with plastic sprue pieces on one side to center it in the nose. Once I did this, I glued part A24, the intake nose, onto the intake tube. This also did not quite match up, so I applied generous amounts of putty to fill the gaps. After careful wet sanding, I was able to contour the surfaces into the nose in an acceptable manner.

The next assembly was the wings and main gear wells. Since I was going to hang ordnance on the wings, I made sure I opened up the mounting holes in the lower wings before gluing the top wing halves to the lower uni-wing half. I then glued the horizontal stabilizers to the fuselage and the rudder to the tail. I also glued the three piece nozzle and tail cone into the aft fuselage.

Since I was choosing for the gull gray over white undersurfaces paint scheme, and, according to my references, just about everything on the underside of these aircraft was painted white, I decided to glue all under-wing parts, including the landing gear, to the model rather than wait until after I had applied the main color scheme. I assembled the landing gear and then attached these and the gear well doors to the model. As usual, Murphy raised his ugly head: during the painting, I managed to snap off the nose gear strut (now I remember why I don’t attach landing gear and other parts to a model until AFTER I finish the main paint scheme). Out came the trusty pin vise, and after drilling a small hole in each section of the broken strut, I super-glued a length of paper clip wire into both holes to secure the strut. After this experience, I was very careful not to break anything else.

The kit provides the option of open or closed speed brakes, but I opted for the closed position, as this seems to be the normal attitude of these doors when the aircraft is on the ground. I also opted for the stowed tail hook assembly, which I glued into its recessed position on the aft fuselage.

The final assemblies were the under-wing ordnance pieces. I decided to arm my Fury with Bullpup missiles and Sidewinders. Unfortunately, the Bullpup guidance pod, which was usually carried on one of the inside pylons, is not included in the kit, so my decision to hang Bullpups on my model was not the most accurate one I could make. But, again, like the decals, I thought the model would look cooler with these air-to-ground missiles hanging from the wing pylons, especially since this was one of the features that distinguished the FJ-4B from the FJ-4. Finally, I opted to complete my model’s loadout with the two kit-provided drop tanks. One drawback here is that the kit does not provide any stenciling or marking decals for the ordnance.

At this point, I noticed another minor flaw in the kit. The landing gear is represented as being in complete compression, which gives the model a somewhat lower stance than it should have when compared to the real thing. This, of course, can be corrected by the experienced modeler, but I opted to leave it be (too many kits to build and not enough time to do so).


In preparation for painting, I masked the canopy with 3M magic tape, and glued it to the fuselage with white glue. I shot the bottom of the model with Testors flat white. Once dry, I masked a rough demarcation line along the fuselage sides, masked the undersides of the wings and horizontal tail, and then sprayed the upper surfaces Model Master gull gray. I also painted the upper surfaces of the drop tanks with Gull Gray and the lower surfaces flat white.

Once the paint was dry, I gave the entire model a coat of Testors Gloscote in preparation for the decals. I popped the canopy off the fuselage, since I wanted to display the model with the canopy open. During the process, I managed to crack the canopy. Oh well: live and learn (again, I could have vacu-formed a new canopy, but I decided to press on without fixing this).

I next applied the decals. With generous amounts of Solvaset, these went on very well, including the tail decal, which has to fit over several difficult contours. I was a little concerned about the intake decals, but they lined up fairly well and, with ample Solvaset, they laid down perfectly. I then hand-painted the gloss red inside of the intake, and the warning outlines around the landing gear door edges. I decided to leave the model with a high gloss finish, as this appeared to be normal for newer aircraft with this scheme on-board carriers.  


This is a nice, reasonably priced Hobby Boss kit, and, in spite of a few fit problems, was a pleasure to assemble and paint.  The model looks great when completed. I highly recommend it to those needing a Fury in their collection of naval aircraft.


“FJ Fury,”
Wikipedia, 2009.

“North American FJ-4 Fury,” Website, Jan 2008.
Kinzey, Bert, “FJ Fury in Detail and Scale,” Squadron/Signal Publications, 2003.

Blair Stewart

April 2009

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