Hawk 1/48 F9F-3DK Panther




$1.30 (in 1965)


One aircraft from VU (later VC) -8


Scott Van Aken




The F9F Panther was one of a long line of naval fighters to comefrom the Grumman 'Iron Works' that began with the FF-1 of the 1930s. It was alsoone of a line of 'cats' that started with the F4F Wildcat and ended with theF-14 Tomcat.

The Panther was the second large-production turbinepowered aircraft used by the Navy, preceded only by the F2H Banshee. Lessonslearned from the earlier short production run aircraft like the FH-1 and FJ-1were incorporated into the Panther. Like the predecessors, the Panther was astraight winged aircraft. The need for a low stall speed for recovery onstraight decked aircraft carriers kept Navy planners conservative in theirchoice of aircraft. This same conservative attitude kept the US Navy operatingbiplanes, after the US Army had changed to monoplanes before WWII.

ThePanter really proved itself as a very capable fighter bomber. It did have somesuccess in air combat during the early years of the Korean war, but its abilityto carry a decent ordnance load was where the Panther really made itsmark. 

As newer versions of the Panther became available tothe fleet, some of the older versions were fitted out as drones or dronecontrollers. The many utility squadrons in the Navy utilized the Panther at sometime during their existence and these colorfully painted aircraft were a commonsight during the mid to late 1950s.


This Hawk kit isdated 1965. Now I know that a number of readers have never had any first handexperience with kits of this age and will undoubtedly be surprised at howminimal the kit is in terms of parts and detailing. It seems like every malegoes through a stage where hobbies basically disappear and their attention isturned to females and automobiles. This was my excuse for not having bought anymodels around this time! By the time I had returned to model building, theAurora and Comet kits of my youth were gone and replaced by Revell, Monogram andearly Hasegawa! I never bought the Hawk F9F or Banshee or F-84 kits.

This particular kit came into my possession via a swap meetwhere I bought a box full of kits from a fellow. Most of them were complete, butseveral like this one were missing a key part or two. Thanks to Jmarc's partsyard, I was able to get the canopy that was missing from this kit so it is nowrelatively complete. The only other thing missing are two 'NAVY' decals from thedecal sheet, but those are easily replaced from various aftermarket sheets.

As you can see from the image, this one is molded in a nice,yellow plastic. The detail on the rest of the kit is a bit odd. The wings arecovered with rivets and have the location of the insignia stamped into theplastic. The tailplane is devoid of any detail except the elevator hinge line.The fuselage has raised detail and no rivets. 

The only cockpit detail is a plank for the pilot figure to situpon! The landing gear are molded onto the gear doors for the main gear. Thereis NO wheel well at all for the main or nose wheels. There are separate geardoors for the nose gear. The wings and tailplane are a solid piece of plasticwith the tailplane sliding into a slot in the tail. The wing tip tanks slideonto the end of the wings.

The kitinstructions are typical of kits of the time. They are photographs of the 6building steps, though with only 19 pieces, it almost seems like instructionsare superflous!! Two of the six steps are for decal placement and paint colors.The decals themselves are sufficient for the day, though my example is horriblyyellowed and missing two of the decals as you can see in the example to theright. I would hesitate to think that they are even usable at all after 35years!

Looking back on this kit is like looking back into one'schildhood. Those were the days when kits had to be able to be finished and'flying' in about an hour or so. Paint was often never used and the decals weregenerally just slapped into position somewhere on the model.

If nothing else, then I can give this kit my recommendations tothose who want to relive their youth, have something interesting to have in thecollection, or to give to your kids so they can have it up and running inminimal time!!

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet! 

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by asite that has over 900 visits a day, please contactme or see other details in the Note toContributors.