|PRICE:||66 yuan RMB at Xinshi|
The Panther is a well known plane. A simple design, it
turned out tobe quite effective at ground attack flying from carriers off Korea
in the 1950-53 war there. Neil Armstrong, recently departed, flew 78 missions in
his Panther, ejecting on one of them after having six feet of his right wing
sliced off after hitting a cable at 500 ft. (His official biographer assesses
the different versions of this event in "First Man" and concludes, after
discussion with Armstrong himself, that this is what happened).
Less well-known is the fact that Argentina flew Panthers from 1958 until 1969. Argentina hoped to use it on the aircraft carrier ARA Independencia. But the carrier's catapults weren't powerful enough to fling the Panthers off the deck (at least, not at flying speed), so the 24 jets were ground based for the rest of their careers.
Some Panthers flew in a 1965 disagreement between Argentina and Chile over where their border was, but didn't see combat. Four Panthers were blown up on the ground during a stoush between the Air Force and the Navy during the coup attempt of April 1963.
And that was pretty much that. The Panthers, and two Cougars the Argentine Navy also procured, had to be given up because spares were impossible to obtain. Skyhawks replaced them, and a little known chapter in the Panther story finally ended.
I built a
Matchbox Panther as a kid and thought it was pretty good (even though, for some
unknown reason, I painted it dark grey instead of blue - it's not like I
couldn't read, I was into my teens, so what's up with that?). But this kit is
obviously miles ahead of that: nicely moulded, great cockpit with instrument
panels front, left and right, and a collection of bombs and rockets. Our Editor
here on MM.
I will leave it at that and direct you to that link for further discussion.
pretty decent cockpit in this kit so you need to start up front. I painted mine
an approximation of interior green and black after looking at different pictures
on the internet. There is a decal for the front panel and raised detail on the
sides onto which I dry brushed some colour.
Putting the fuselage together gave me all kind of grief. I couldn't get it to go together cleanly no matter how hard I squeezed and pushed. I can only assume the cockpit was at the wrong angle (though it doesn't look that way) or it just didn't quite fit. As a result I had some filling and sanding to do around the nose seam.
The wings go on ok and with only a very slight gap on the left one.The internal intake parts were a bit fiddly too. Wingtip tanks and tailplanes attached cleanly and smoothly.
Somewhere along the line I lost one of the wheel bay doors, which I only noticed when looking at the photos!
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The classic look for a Panther is dark blue with big stars-and-bars. You can do such a plane, with fetching yellow tailfin, from this kit if you use the VF-123 decals. I preferred the more unusual option of a Panther from the Argentine Navy. It's actually pretty boring to look at - light gull grey over white and no real colour beyond a flash on the side of the tanks and a big blue and white flag on the nose. But it's pretty unusual and grey planes are pretty rare on my shelf.
Overall another pretty decent kit from HobbyBoss. I
like how this, and the Indian Navy Hawker Seahawk I did around the same time,
comes with some obscure markings as well as the more famous ones.
(Good pictures of Panthers in Argentine service)
Colour photo of gate guard aircraft:
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