CzechModel 1/32 F-80C Shooting Star

KIT #: 3202
PRICE:  $79.95 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes resin and photo etched parts


America's first truly operational jet fighter, Shooting Stars first saw combat service in the Korean War, employing both the F-80C variant and RF-80 photo-recon variants. The first jet-versus-jet aircraft battle took place on 8 November 1950 in which Lieutenant Russell J. Brown, flying an F-80, claimed a MiG-15 shot down. Despite the initial claim of success, the straight-wing F-80s were inferior in performance to the MiGs and were soon replaced in the air superiority role by the swept-wing F-86 Sabre. When sufficient Sabres were in operation, the Shooting Star was assigned to ground attack missions, advanced flight training duties and air defense in Japan. By the end of hostilities the only F-80s still flying in Korea were photo-recon variants.

Post war, the type did fly in several ANG units, though were soon replaced by the more capable Sabres. F-80s were also sold to several South American countries including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. Of course, the type was developed in to the T-33 jet trainer, an aircraft that was not only slightly faster, but served in some military air arms right up until the 21st century.


Czech Model is a brand of Squadron and is molded in the Czech Republic. Probably by MPM, but it really doesn't matter. This is a full multi-media short run injected kit with a nice color photo etch fret for the instrument panel and a few other small items. It also includes a bag of resin parts that includes the cockpit seat, two optional sets of wheels, one with radial tread and one with cross-hatched tread and each of those with different wheel designs, and some other small parts. The seat is particularly nice as you can see.

The rest of the kit includes six sprues, of which one is clear. Concentrating on that part, you have a separate windscreen and canopy so you can display the canopy open. There other bits are for various formation lights. On a very few parts the attachment points carried over into the back side of the parts so you'll need to be aware of that.

 Unlike many of the earlier Czech Model kits, which suffered from very thick plastic and dodgy fit, this one is superbly molded and looks to be the best of the technology. I've test fit several parts and found the fit to be excellent. Detail work is very nicely done with crisp engraved panel lines and none of the 'mad riveter' look we have seen from some Chinese molded kits. The kit includes intake trunking as well as optional tip tanks. The one piece lower wing will help with alignment and Czech Model was nice enough to not have the tank and bomb rack attachment holes pre-drilled in case you want to build yours without the tanks. Not a common sight, but it did happen. Some may wonder why no compressor face at the end of the intake trunking, but as it has been pointed out to me by several of you (thanks), this was a centrifugal flow engine and so didn't have one! Frankly, the bend is sharp enough so that you'd not see anything anyway.

Instructions are superb. They are in color on quality glossy paper and have very well drawn 3D construction illustrations. Color information is supplied as there are detailed info drawings to be sure you get things in the proper place. Optional parts are also noted with the comment that one needs to check reference photos to see which options applied. This is mentioned in the wing tip light assembly and since two different styles of nose and main wheel are given, the builder will have to determine what goes where. Frankly, that information as to what applies to which markings option should be noted, especially if there  are photos of the planes for the decals. The modeler will need to drill a hole for the pitot that goes under the nose.

Speaking of decals the sheet that comes with this kit is huge. It fills the bottom of the box and I could not fit it all on the platen of my scanner, so chose to highlight the unique markings. Czech Model includes the upper nose anti-glare panel as a decal so no worries about masking and painting this difficult shape. You are provided a complete data markings suite as well. Markings are for three planes. One is the box art aircraft from the 51st FIW in March of 1951. This one has the smaller tip tanks with blue nose and tail sections. This will need to be painted as will the tank tips on the next option. The builder will also need to paint the nose of this aircraft in blue to match the decal. Next is the 8th FBG wing commander's plane. This and the other set of markings have the larger Misawa tip tanks. The third set of markings is for 'Li'l Dottie' assigned to the 80th FBS with yellow markings. The intake and splitter plate on this aircraft appear to have been in yellow as well so some painting will be required for this. All three options are very colorful and the decal sheet is superbly printed by Cartograf in Italy, which seems to have all the kit decal business it can handle!


I have to say that I approve of the direction that Czech Model is taking with their kits. This second release of theirs is absolutely first rate and I'm sure these kits will sell very well indeed. Even at 1/32 the F-80 is not such a huge plane that it will overwhelm your display shelf. I'm pleased to see this one being released as are many others, and perhaps this will lead to a T-33! I've got this one on the bench already so stay tuned for a full build review.


March 2009

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today from your favorite hobby shop.

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