Trumpeter 1/48 F-100C Super Sabre

KIT #: 2838
PRICE: $59.95 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: AMS Cockpit for F-100C, Aires F-100 Tailpipe, Aires F-100 Wheel Wells, Master Details F-100 Pitot Tube, AMS Corrected Tail for F-100C, AMS Corrected Intake, SAC landing Gear for Trumpeter F-100, Cutting Edge Decal Sheet for George Lavenís F-100C and RM F-100D Wheels used.

HISTORY

The ďHunĒ was the United States first supersonic fighter.  Like most ďfirstsĒ it had serious teething problems that limited its effectiveness and operational life.

 

The F-100C was the first model of the F-100 designed to fit the fighter bomber role as envisioned by TAC.  Due to the lack of certain avionics and issues with the tail (which had to be enlarged again in the more successful D model) the C was phased out into reserve units by the mid 1960s.

 

For more a more detailed history of the F-100C and F-100 series, see previews build articles in the Review Archives.

 

Colonel George Laven was one of the first pilots to get a kill in the P-38 Lightning and incidentally was the last man to become an ace with the P-38 as he shot down an Emily Flying Boat near the end of WW2.  He is actually more well known for the colorful planes he flew as the ďWing KingĒ of the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing.  All the planes he flew were covered with brightly colored candy stripes.  The most famous of these was the F-100C Super Sabre 54-2076 (the last four numbers in its serial were identical to a P-38 that Laven flew in 1942-43) in which he alone flew as he logged some 2000 hours in this particular jet.  54-2076 later went to a training unit at George AFB then to the New Mexico ANG and then finally sold to Turkey.  In 1983, George Laven visited ďhisĒ jet which was still being used at the time.  Colonel George Laven died in 1995.

 


THE KIT

Trumpeterís announcement of a new mold 1/48 F-100 was eagerly anticipated by Hun Fans.  Many folks suspected that it would be a mimeographed version of the 1/32 model and to no oneís surprise it was.  When it was released in late 2009, many of the same issues that haunted the 1/32 version are found in the 1/48 version including the misshapen intake.

 

See Lee Kolonsaís excellent review of the 1/32 Hun for all the issues (similar to the 1/48 version.) 

 

The areas I needed to deal with were:

1)   Intake is the wrong shape and too narrow in profile

2)   The tail is too big for a F-100C

3)   Wheel Well detail is rather weak (compared to the RM F-100D)

4)   Cockpit detail is weak

5)   Landing gear is the wrong length and wheels are too big

6)   The area behind the cockpit is too simplistic

 

I would have been one of the many who would have been happy if Trumpeterís 1/48 Hun was a copy of Monogramís older F-100D kit with engraved panel lines.  Normally I donít care about raised panel lines except in this case as I like the Hun in itís 1950s bare metal markings which is much easier to do with engraved panel lines than raised panel lines.

 

It turns out that this build as I saw it needed quite a bit of aftermarket (AMS F-100C tail, AMS intake, AMS cockpit parts, SAC landing gear, Aires exhaust and Aires wheel wells) and parts from a previous botched RM F-100D.  I had originally planned this to be a ďcontestĒ model.

CONSTRUCTION

Thanks to the number of aftermarket parts, I realized I had to make some mods to the fuselage.

 

First thing I did was remove the oversized tail by scoring just above the tail panel lines and then using cutting along the narrow spine and then removed the tail along the scored line by gently bending it.  I left a bit extra of plastic so I could adjust to fit through sanding.  The sanding and adjustment took a couple of hours to do with fit, sand, refit, sand, rerefit, sand, and so on.

 

One task Iíve learned to hate is sanding filling exhaust tubes.  The cramped space and there is no way to replace lost detail make the task an utter pain.  I bought an Aires resin replacement exhaust tube to replace the multi-piece plastic exhaust.  It was very easy to assemble as it took several passes with a knife to remove the parts from the the stubs and some gentle wet sanding to smooth down surfaces.  The parts were painted a combination of Tamiya Metallic Grey XF-56 and flat black.  The exhaust was assembled quickly as the most difficult task was placing a couple of dabs of CA glue in the interior to place the PE afterburner grid (?) into the nozzle.  The resin exhaust did not fit into the existing plastic support so I had to remove it and next I found out the length where the exhaust had to stick out and marked it off with indelible ink.  I cut some sprue to provide some support and help in alignment of the exhaust.  It was glued in place with CA glue.

 

Next I tackled the fuselage landing gear wheel well.  Normally I would not care because theyíre a pain in the rear end to work on and I do not display my planes upside down.  However, the Hunís wheel wells are rather visible, have a near impossible to fix (for me) seam and the detail of the Trumpeter Hun are really weak which is why I purchased Airesí wheel wells for the Hun.  After some careful thought, I decided against using the wing wheel wells because I liked my sanity more.  I carefully hacked out the center wheel well for each fuselage half then I took some 220 grit sand paper and thinned the walls to make sure I got a tight fit.  It took several passes with the 220 grit sand paper to thin the side walls down enough that the wheel well would fit (barely) in the fuselage.  In my haste to jam this hunk of resin in, I unknowingly committed a very boneheaded move by reversing the direction of the rear wheel well.  I did not catch this very stupid mistake this till I was about to put on the first coat of Tamiya Old Silver Leaf where it was way way too late to do anything about it.

 

I worked on the nose wheel well which is part of the intake assembly.  I hacked out the plastic and sanded down the remaining bits with 220 grit sandpaper (wet sanding.)  The plastic was thin when I was done with it.   I trimmed the plastic flange/support because the resin piece was a bit larger than the original.  I also had to sand the underside of the resin wheel well a little bit.  The front section of the Trumpeter air brake well needed to trimmed as well so that the wheel well could fit snugly without issue.

 

The nose of the Trumpeter F-100 is the wrong shape and it is too narrow in profile.  AMS has a nose replacement for the Trumpeter.  I was told by Hun Experten Ben Brown to hack off the nose approximately 2mm before the intake panel line not at the panel line.  I then removed that and a further 8mm back of the actual intake as well.  I had to sand down both the rear of the AMS intake and the front of the remaining intake to get a smooth fit.  The cockpit tub was painted Dark Gull Grey, flat black, red, yellow and dry brushed silver before it was glued onto the intake before the fuselage was sealed up.  I had a gap between the resin intake and the remaining fuselage, but that was expected.

 

Finally, I was able to glue the fuselage with the resin intake and wheel wells together, but thanks to the resin rear landing gear well it was not the best fit as there were several very obvious gaps (approx 1mm) that would need sanding and filling.

 

I first filled the large gaps with Vallejo putty.  When it was dry, I added gap filling CA glue.  Lots of fill, sand, eyeball, polish repeat.

 

The replacement AMS resin tail of correct height was attached using CA glue.  It turns out that despite my best efforts, the tail did not fit as expected.  All the big gaps were filled in Vallejo Putty and then covered with CA glue.  Lots of wet sanding, refilling and resanding were done.  I had to redo all the detail that was lost which added more time.

 

Next up were the wings.  Unfortunately, the resin rear wheel well caused the F-100Cís fuselage to bulge slightly and added gaps to the rear section of the wing fuselage join.  I added 5 thou thick shims till the rear of the F-100C wings till it lined up then added CA glue to fill in the steps and finally sanded them smooth with various grades of sandpaper.  Once done, the wings were glued to the fuselage.

 

The final area that needed fixing was the stabs.  Trumpeter used slots to mount the stabs which is fine if the stabs were locked into neutral position on the Hun, but they are not as they drop when the hydraulic pressure is gone.  I used some Tamiya Extra thin glue to secure 10 thou plastic card into the fuselage mounting slots, trimmed and then filled the area with CA glue.  When it was cured I sanded the area down then took a 1/8Ē drill bit to drill out mounting holes for the stabs.  The original plan was to trim down the stab mounting tabs to 1/8Ē and then glue into place but that didnít work when the trimmed tabs broke during test fitting.  I went to Plan B which used cut lengths of 1/8Ē aluminum tubing.  Surprisingly Plan B worked.  The stabs were mounted to the fuselage after painting and the decals added.

 

The model was wiped down with a wet towel in preparation for painting.

COLORS & MARKINGS

Near metal finish... three words to strike fear into the heart of any modeler.  Added to this, George Lavenís F-100C was kept in near pristine condition so polishing powder was necessary.

 

I normally donít prime my models, but I did this time.  Oh boy did I.  Five or six primer coats were needed as I had to fix areas I did not sand well enough especially around the resin tail and the underside of the nose where the resin intake met styrene.  I used CA glue to fill in the indentation between the resin intake and remaining plastic where I slightly over sanded away the plastic.

 

The first coat of Old Silver went on and exposed all the issues I thought I had sanded away on the underside of the nose.  The obvious indent was still there plus those lumps caused when you let the CA glue harden too much and doesnít sand as well as the plastic.  I got wise this time, skipped the CA glue and filled the dent/covered the lumps with Mr Surfacer 500, but it bubbled and I ended up having to use a 2nd coat of thinner Tamiya Surface Primer to fill in all the bubbles.  I had to repeat this several times till it looked all right.  Very frustrating to say the least.

 

Once done I sprayed on primer, redid all the lost detail (for the 5th or 6th time!) and sprayed on another coat of Tamiya Old Silver.  The well sanded Hun was polished with 3200, 3600, 6000, 8000 and 12000 grit cloths.  After the amazing success I had with a recent Tamiya P-51B/C gave me the idea that I knew what I was doing and that I was skilled enough to avoid all the headaches I had with NMF builds.  Yeah right.  My overinflated ego popped and I was back to familiar territory; cursing and whining ďis there an easier way to build NMF planes?Ē  One final coat of Old Leaf Silver was sprayed on and polished with 3600, 6000, 8000 and 12000 grit cloths.

 

Once the paint was polished to my satisfaction, I took some Hawkeye/SNJ Polishing Powder dipped on Q-Tips and rubbed the Q-Tips on the model.  It took an hour to get it looking all gleaming.  I took a wet rag to wipe off all the excess powder from the model.

 

The tail and middle panels of both wings were masked off with Tamiya Tape.  I sprayed AS-12 Aircraft Aluminum straight from the spray can on the wings to represent the anodized middle panels.  I let the paint dry for a few minutes before I removed the tape masking the wings to prevent a hard edge from forming.  I goofed as I used some polishing powder when the paint wasnít fully cured.  I ended up with streaks and all my hard work went for naught.  It was at this point when I pretty much gave up and the model sat in the box collecting dust for over a year.

 

Three panels were masked off and painted with XF-56 Metallic Grey using period photos as a guide.  The engine area was painted with thin coats of Tamiya Platinum Gold and then I sprayed on several thin faint lines XF-56 Metallic Grey to represent scoring on the engine section as I wanted to portray the Hun as it was almost brand new so I didnít go crazy like I would if it were a Hun in Vietnam or a Hun late in its career.

 

Lastly, I primed and painted the resin intake cover as during construction I realized that there was no way I could deal with the gaps inside the intake.  It was a decision I was happy to make.

 

I purchased a rare set of Cutting Edge decals for Colonel Lavenís famous F-100C a couple of years ago on eBay because I got real lucky as no one at the time wanted this popular marking scheme.  It was in pretty good shape with the exception of a crease in one decal.  It is originally sized for the Monogram kit so I knew there was going to be some work.

 

One thing I did not like right off the bat was the fact that the decals had to be cut by the modeler for both the wing tips (all 1/48 Sabre kits do NOT have the leading edge slats and wing as ONE piece) and the fuselage stripe. It took a lot of measuring and cutting thanks to the complex size and curves and even then I didnít get that right (operator error.)

 

The other was finding out the white of the US insignia that rests on top of the candy stripes was not opaque--the candy stripe showed right through.  I was fortunate to have a couple of Sabre Sets kicking around and had to double up on the US insignia.

 

Quite frankly I was not happy with all the work on the decals.  If I ever have to do a similar scheme (however unlikely) again, I will mask and paint it.  Iím quite serious about it and this coming from someone who likes to do the least amount of work to get something done.

 

The stencils came from the same Super Sabre set I stole the US insignia from.

 

Once the decals were dry, I wiped the plane down with a wet rag to remove the excess decal solution.  I ended up ruining part of a decal and had to replace it with strips of extra color that were supplied in the CE decal sheet.

 

Weathering and Final Coat

Aside from the engine area, I did no weathering of plane and I did not spray on a gloss coat to seal in all the decals.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

The details for the wheel wells were added and painted.  I wish I could tell you it was less of a pain in the rear, but it was not.  Lots of tiny resin parts and tweezers meant that I spent a good amount of time on my hands and knees looking for parts that flew out of my tweezers.

 

I ended up using the SAC landing gear with the Monogram Wheels as I found that the Trumpeter wheels were all messed up size and shape wise.  The major issue I had with this combo is that the main wheels didnít fit very well on the SAC landing gear (because it was designed for the Trumpeter wheels) so the wheels donít line up with the landing gear.  I did use bare metal foil for the oleos.

 

Next I added the painted pylons and fuel tanks.  The decals for the fuel tanks were sized for the RM fuel tanks and they did not go on that well.  These were the worst part of the decals for me.  I am not happy with how they look, but lacking an alternative so I was stuck with it.

 

I cut off the thick plastic pitot tube and used the Master metal replacement.  The parts were primed and painted then the decal was added.  Other than the stencils, the pitot tube decal was the least frustrating decal I used.

 

The excellent AMS resin ejection seat and cockpit details were painted and then glued in place.  Finally the canopy parts and the previously painted intake cover were glued in with white glue.


CONCLUSIONS

Iím really disappointed with the Trumpeter Hun.  It could have been better than the older and somewhat flawed RM F-100 kit, but all the mistakes that went into the kit just dampened my enthusiasm for it.  I really want to like the Trumpeter Hun, but there is just too much work to correct which makes NMF an even bigger headache than it normally is.

 

I have no complaints about the AMS parts as they went in as advertised while Iím annoyed by the Aires wheel wells as they fought me at every step.

 

Overall, I am not happy how my F-100C turned out (in relation to my original goal of a contest model) as this model could have a lot better considering how much work and extra parts that went into it due to a combination of my own mistakes and problems with the kit.  Certain aspects worked out better than I expected (the scorch marks on the engine section and resin tailpipe) but most did not.  Iím resigned to the fact that any 1/48 F-100 Super Sabre model will require maximum effort and patience to finish.  It looks nice on the shelf though and taught me a valuable lesson in that Iím going to have to rethink any ideas of a ďcontestĒ model.

 

A paraphrased Marlon Brando quote from On the Waterfront sums this kit up for me:

ďI coulda been a contender. I coulda been something, instead of a pain in the rear, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Trumpeter.Ē

REFERENCES

Info from the Cutting Edge Model Sheet and Osprey ďP-38 Aces of Pacific And CBI Theaters.Ē 

Dan Lee

August 2012

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