|KIT:||Anigrand Craftworks 1/72 XF-84H 'Thunderscreech'|
|PRICE:||$49.00 from Nostalic Plastic|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin kit with vacuformed canopy|
The XF-84H, a joint Air Force-Navy project based on the Republic F-84F, was originally designed to combine the speed of jet aircraft with the long range, low fuel consumption and low landing speed of propeller-driven aircraft. The XF-84H used an Allison XF-40-A-1 turboprop engine in a modified F-84 fuselage. Additional changes included a T-type tail and a triangular fin on the top of the fuselage to reduce the high torque produced by the propeller.
Between 22 July 1955 and 9 October 1956, two XF-84H prototypes (S/N 51-17059 and 51-17060) made twelve test flights. Eleven of the twelve flights ended in emergency landings. Sounds produced by the aircraft's turboprop engine caused nausea and headaches among ground crews, earning the XF-84H the unofficial nickname "Thunderscreech." Though the XF-84H was the fastest single-engine propeller driven aircraft ever built, it never approached supersonic speed. Due to poor performance and high maintenance requirements, the XF-84H never became operational.
The sole surviving airframe on display at the USAF Museum, (S/N 51-17059), was the first of the two prototypes produced by Republic. It flew eight of the twelve test flights. The museum obtained the aircraft from Kern County, California, in February 1999, where it had been on a plinth at the Bakersfield Airport (see photo).
Upon opening the box, you'll find a multi-sectioned plastic bag with the various bits inside. These are cordoned off to keep the smaller pieces separate from the large and heavier ones. It is a great way to keep bits from breaking during shipment. Molded in the usual tan resin, there was the usual detritus of resin pour stubs on all the parts. One of these stubs had broken away, taking with it a section of the part on the lower main landing gear door. Not the easiest to fix. I also found a few air pockets on the blade hubs and the cockpit anti-glare panel. The seat was very thin on the left side and will need fixed or replaced. I also noted on my sample that there was some sort of warpage on the fuselage halves. It was impossible to get the nose gear well or cockpit floor to match up. There was also a long gap behind the nose gear door. I'm not sure what caused this and while it probably won't affect the construction of the kit, the inside bits will be the dickens to fill. Narrowing the fuselage is not an option as otherwise the prop spinner will be too wide. Finally, there was a large blob of resin on the top of the right wing that I'll have to sand down.
From the looks of things, the Italeri F-84F was a basis for several of the common parts (actually, there are not that many; only landing gear and cockpit/canopy). It may not be a bad idea to use what you can from the kit as the plastic parts will be stronger and not have any air pockets or filled in detail that one so frequently finds with resin kits. It will be easier to mask the Italeri canopy as well. My kit came with an extra prop blade, so I'll be able to choose the best three of the bunch. The blades will easily sit down into indentations in the prop hub so that will make things very much easier.
Instructions are par for the course with one side of the sheet containing a history, photo, parts list and exploded view. The other side has a color and markings guide. Decals (not shown) are for one aircraft and with it comes the YF-93 sheet for the insignia.
You know that you gotta have it. It is just a super cool looking aircraft. Yes, it will take some additional effort to clean things up and take care of the glitches. But to be honest, it is well worth it to have a model of this unique aircraft.
My thanks to Nostalgic Plastic/Anigrand USA for the review sample. Shipping is free in the US and these kits are selling quite well.
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