|KIT:||Pegasus 1/72 Grumman F3F-3|
|NOTES:||Short run kit, long out of production|
I’m not certain which company produced this kit. I’m fairly sure it was Merlin, though the higher quality may suggest Pegasus. In any event, it’s an example of the level that the “cottage industry” kit makers were attaining; just before, for various reasons, they folded. (Pegasus is the only one still alive and presumably well, cranking out WWI Subjects.) Not exactly Italeri or Hasemya, but capable of producing a decent replica AOOB (Almost Out Of The Box) with only minimal parts cleanup or swap. (Since it was a relatively painless build [at least Joel's article isn't sullied by much on that aspect of it], your editor figures it was a Pegasus kit and has labeled it as such. Ed)
This last of the Grumman biplane fighters was also the last of all biplane fighters ordered for any US service branch. By 1935 the handwriting was all over the wall (or bulkhead) regarding the superiority of monoplanes; but the US Navy wasn’t entirely convinced. Their new single-wingers were developmentally delayed (Wildcat & Buffalo) so they ordered for their new squadrons a stopgap supply of updated F3F bipes. The dash 3 differed visually from earlier models in the large cowling needed for the upgraded radial. According to all sources, none saw combat, but a handful were still being used as hacks well into the war years.
Built this one about 10 years ago so this is from memory. Parts were molded much better than other short runners had given us reason to expect. Still thick, but not waxy; though with formidable sprue gates that needed razor sawing. Wings and particularly tailplanes were properly petite. Fuselage sides needed flat planning. Cockpit walls and cowl interior had to be thinned. That was the extent of surgery. Even small parts were acceptable. I believe the interplane struts were the only pieces scrounged. Maybe gear parts too. Oh – and a seat and stick, of course. Wonder of wonders – even the canopy was OK.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
If this was a Merlin kit, that company didn’t provide decals – at least no useable ones. Everything probably came from spare decal sheets; with the fuselage band and chevron being painted, masked, and outlined with strips of white decal. Paint is Model Master enamel. Gloss coat is no doubt Future – or perhaps H2O poly U. Rigging and antennae are monofilament nylon thread. Still haven’t found silver wire thin enough.
If you can’t find this kit (probably wont) several 1/72 F3’s and F2’s are still floating around from the Czech molders.
P.S. Appending, a few detail shots taken of a Grumman on display at Kermit Weeks’s museum down in Florida. A neat place to visit, if you’re in the area, no so much for the completed displays, as for the tours through the restoration shops and warehouses stuffed with warbird “junk”.
P.P.S. “Ah nevuh said Ah’d take ya to Flo’da. Ah jes said Ah wuz gonna tampa’ wit’cha.”
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