Aeromaster 1/72 F-84G Thunderjet




$23.98 MSRP


Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Heller kit with LOTS of goodies


Hopefully by now, we will have realized that the F-84 was the most important fighter-bomber of the first two years of the Korean War. Though designed as a long range escort fighter, its ability to carry a load was not lost on Air Force planners. The first F-84 unit to see action in Korea was actually one of those escort fighter wings. Without any dedicated training, the men of the 27th FEW wrote the book on jet ground attack, and did so in such a professional manner, that very few aircraft were lost. Not only that, but they managed to wreak a great deal of havoc on the communist supply lines and soldiers. Though the F-84 was starting to be replaced by the F-86F by the beginning of 1953, there were still T-jets in country; dropping ordnance until the final day of the conflict.


Back in the mid 1990's, Aeromaster was feeling pretty good about itself. Their decals were really doing well, so a decision was made to expand into kits. And not just any kits, but ones that would have everything that any modeler would need to produce a real beauty. This meant quality decals, resin parts, vac canopy and etched metal bits as well. Not being a kit maker, Aeromaster basically took other kits that were out there and added all of this extra stuff to them.

To my knowledge, four kits were chosen for this first foray. Two in 1/72, a Mirage 2000C and F-84G from Heller, and two in 1/48, a Mig-17 and Mig-21 from OEZ. These are the only kits I've seen and they were all dated 1996. It was not the success that was hoped. The Heller Mirage is not the best fitting kit around and neither is the OEZ Mig-21. In my opinion, it was a combination of two things that caused problems. One was that Academy released a much better 1/48 Mig-21 series, while in 1/72, both Academy and Tamiya also did new F-84s. Not that the Heller kit is bad, which it is not, just that the Academy and Tamiya ones are better. The second was the price. Taking the Heller F-84 as an example, this kit cost $24 while the modeler could pick up a standard Heller kit without all the extra stuff for $5. Somehow, the perception of a good deal wasn't present, though in actuality, if one bought all that stuff for the F-84 separately, it would have probably ended up being more expensive.

Anyway, the project failed, and now it is quite possible to get these kits for a fraction of their original retail price. As you can see from the various images, you really do get a lot of good stuff. Vac canopy from Falcon, decal sheet from Aeromaster, etched brass from Eduard and resin from Hi-Tech. The etched brass includes new wheel well inserts, speed brakes (two types) and flaps among the big parts. The resin is a new cockpit and control surfaces.

The decals are basically a full size Aeromaster sheet with markings for three aircraft: First is the box art plane 'Night Take-off', the commander's aircraft from the 58th FBW. Next is an 8 FBS/49 FBW plane with the yellow and black fin/stab/wing tank stripes. Finally, a yellow-trimmed 430 FBS Thunderjet. All are from the Korean War era.



Aeromaster started with a good kit and included lots of goodies for it. If you are not put off by raised panel lines, then this is a very worth-while kit to find. It is even more desirable if you can find it at a swap meet, as I did.

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