Tamiya 1/48 F4D-1 Skyray

KIT #: 61055
PRICE: Currently $43.00 SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


Douglas F4D Skyray (later redesignated F-6 Skyray) was an American carrier-based supersonic fighter/interceptor built by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Although it was in service for a relatively short time and never entered combat, it was notable for being the first carrier-launched aircraft to hold the world's absolute speed record, at 752.943 mph, and was the first United States Navy and United States Marine Corps fighter that could exceed Mach 1 in level flight. It was the last fighter produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company before it merged with McDonnell Aircraft and became McDonnell Douglas. The F5D Skylancer was an advanced development of the F4D Skyray that did not go into service. 420 aircraft were built and eventually operated with nearly two dozen USN and USMC squadrons. Typical of most Naval aircraft of the 1950s, its active service was relatively short, such was the pace of aircraft development during the time.

Aside from Lindberg's prototype Skyray kit of the 1950s, this has been the only other 1/48 F4D-1 to be produced. Fortunately, Tamiya does excellent work on its kits and this 1998 offering will unlikely be eclipsed. One thing that has changed is that the kit is considerably more expensive now than when your editor purchased his in the late 1990s. There are a few build articles in the archives, but no preview so I though it was time to provide it.

The main parts of the kit are divided into upper and lower wing/fuselage sections with a separage vertically divided nose. Into this nose goes a nicely done cockpit tub that sits atop the nose gear well. The cockpit consists of the usual instrument panel, control stick and rudder pedals with a separate anti-glare panel. The seat is a five piece construct. A pilot figure is supplied. No nose weight is indicated.

The wing build is somewhat complex. First holes need to be opened if carrying all the various pylons. At the back of the fuselage are a set of connected trimmers that can be posed in various positions. The kit provides an option for folding wings so the wing tips are separate pieces. There are sections of airframe that you can see in the fold joins. An engine compressor section is attached to the inner main gear well pieces and this section also includes the intake blanking plate. There are separate slats that can be posed extended. Intakes are a single piece that helps to lock the nose section in place.

In the back is a three piece exhaust section that slides into the back of the fuselage so you can leave this off until after painting. All the landing gear are suitable complex with various retraction rods and struts. All the wheels are two halves and these can be installed after painting as well. In the back of the fuselage is a tail bumper and an a-frame tailhook. The fin/rudder is in left and right halves and slots into the upper rear fuselage. The instructions offer a complete guide when it comes to modeling the wings folded or extended. There are different parts to use in either case and some modifications needed for extended wings. A separate windscreen and canopy are provided.

For things under the wings/fuselage you have a pair of large fuel tanks, Sidewinder missiles and pylons as well as what is called a NAVPAC for under the fuselage centerline. Outboard are rocket pods which can be displayed with their aerodynamic nose and tail caps if you so wish.

Instructions are quite good and only offer Tamiya paint numbers for color references. All three markings options are in light gull grey and white. The box art plane is from VF(AW)-3 based at NAS North Island with the blue areas with gold stars. These are all supplied as decals. The other two are USMC planes. One is VMF(AW)-114 and the other is VMF(AW)-115. There are aftermarket decals if you wish to do other schemes. The decals are nicely printed and while a tad thick, should cause few issues in placement. Both black and grey wing walk panels and nose anti-glare panels are provided.

Those who have built this kit have all commented on how trouble-free the experience was for them. Since it is a Tamiya kit, I would expect that as you are paying for some of the best kit engineering around.



August 2015

Review kit courtesy your editor.

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