|KIT:||Anigrand Craftworks 1/72 F7U-1 Cutlass|
|PRICE:||$44.00 from Nostalgic Plastic (free US shipping)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run resin kit with vac canopy|
In June 1945, U.S. Navy launched competition for a fighter able to fly at 600 mph high speed. Vought submitted the Model V-346 design which was based from German Arado’s tailless fighter documents. Vought’s engineers believed that deleting the tailplane would solve aerodynamic problem to increase maximum speed. In June 1946, Navy chose Vought’s design as the winner and ordered three prototypes, designated XF7U-1 Cutlass. The first prototype made its first flight in September 1948. Performance was excellent but embarrassed with engine problems as the early jet was not reliable at that time. With the outbreak of the Korean War, U.S. Navy urgently needed this super fighter to enter in service even all the three prototypes were crashed by accidents. Totally 14 production aircrafts were made but continued fatal accidents. In 1951, in hope to improve the F7U-1, Vought redesigned the aircraft to become the F7U-3. The remaining F7U-1s were grounded and assigned to training command in 1952.
History from the kit instructions.
I was frankly surprised that Anigrand would do a Cutlass. Fujimi has an excellent 1/72 scale kit, but it is of the later production versions, an aircraft that has quite a different fuselage than the original F7U-1. This kit allows you to do the early production or even the prototype aircraft.
Molded in their usual tan resin, there are the usual air bubbles and some flash that one has to deal with. On my example the air pockets were on both fuselage intakes, the top of the seat, one of the vertical stabs, one main gear door, an oleo scissors on a main gear leg and the gear housings. Not insurmountable and it would be nice if they weren't there at all, but they can be easily corrected by those with a bit of time and super glue. There are also some resin 'balls' in the gear wells that will require some work to remove.
The interior is typically sparse with a rather generic looking seat and control stick as the only parts. It would be nice if at least an instrument panel decal were included to help things out a bit. Unlike most prototype kits, this one has optional parts. There are two sets of inner wing sections, one relatively straight for the prototypes and one with a speed brake incorporated for the production version. This is true of the vertical stabilizers as well. A short pair for the prototypes and a longer version for the production aircraft. A set of ammo shields is included for the production aircraft. Due to the stance of the aircraft, it may well be wise to pack as much weight into the forward section of the model as you can. There is some room in the nose, but most will have to fit behind the cockpit.
Instructions are standard Anigrand with a history, photo, parts listing, and exploded view on one side of a sheet with the painting and markings guide on the other. There are three options, all in gloss sea blue with the aft fuselage in unpainted metal. The callout for the interior is Interior Green, but it may well be black. I suggest a bit more research before starting this area. You get double decals with this one as it was just prudent to do 'half sheets' and then provide two of them. The prototype has only national insignia, while the test aircraft has a bu/no block and the last three on the fin. The third option is for one of the two F7U-1s flown by the solo pilots of the Blue Angels for several years in the early/mid 1950s. If one wants to do the red-nosed prototype shown on the box art, then a nose probe will have to be added from spares.
Once again we have an interesting prototype and the ability to do a variety of markings. It will make a nice model with a bit of work and should make a most interesting comparison to the later F7U-3. As with most Anigrand kits, this one would make a nice introductory kit to those just getting into resin models.
My thanks to Nostalgic Plastic, the US importer, for the review kit.
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