Hasegawa 1/72 XF5U-1


51563 (SP63)




One aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Vought aircraft was interested in STOL (short take-off and landing) aircraft in the late 1930s. Research showed that a combined wing/fuselage type of aircraft would probably be the best way to go for such an aircraft. Vought developed the V-173 to test out its design. The aircraft was quite successful being able to land and take off in a very short distance. Control was excellent throughout the flight regime as the large prop blades blew air over the control surfaces at all times. This combined with the airfoil-shaped fuselage gave the kind of flight characteristics desired. In fact the aircraft was impossible to stall or spin.

The Navy became interested and place an order for a fighter version of the V-173 which was called the F5U. Work began on the aircraft and a prototype was built by the end of 1944. Though ready for flight tests, the Navy decided that there was no future for a prop driven fighter of this capability in the new jet age Navy and the program was terminated prior to any flight. Naturally, Vought was distraught, but there was no choice. The aircraft was broken up and turned into scrap soon thereafter. Interestingly, when a wrecking ball was used to punch a hole in the airframe, it initially bounced off! To my knowledge, other than photographs, no relic of the XF5U has survived.



Though the box says Hasegawa, the sprues say Hobby Spot. It is obvious when looking at the kit that this isn't a Hasegawa product. For one thing, there are no alignment pins on the fuselage. There are also some pretty large sink marks on the fuselage section that will not be all that much fun to fill (see image). The price tag of nearly $30.00 should also be a clue that this is a short run kit, though one of generally high quality, despite the presence of flash on the parts. In fact, the kit is now into its second run, and for a short run kit of this price, that is pretty remarkable in and of itself.

The general overall detail of the kit is fairly good despite the sink marks and flash. Panel lines are engraved and well done. The kit has a full cockpit with sidewall detail. A decal is provided for the instrument panel. There is no engine detail, but you do get cooling fans and bullets. Should you desire, you can build the kit with the gear up though there is no display stand provided. Landing gear wells are complete with detail and the gear are properly detailed and petite. Prop blades are separate so you'll have to properly align them when building the kit. The two clear parts for the canopy and what I guess is the nose radar are provided. The canopy is a one-piece affair so you cannot display the canopy open unless you cut it.

Instructions are exactly what you'd expect from Hasegawa with paints given from the Gunze line. Decals are for really one plane though two serial numbers are given. The markings are really fictitious as it never flew. This is a plane that those who like the 'what if' type of model or you can build it as the initial prototype which never flew. In that case it is overall gloss sea blue. The decals look quite useable though the white is really a sort of ivory color typical of Hasegawa decals.



This is one of those kits that is a tough call. The price of the thing is quite high for what you get. However, if you look at it as a short run kit, it isn't out of line with what is often charged and the detail is superior to most of those. Either way, you'll end up with a most interesting aircraft. I know that when I build mine, it will carry squadron markings!!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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