Tamiya 1/72 F-84G Thunderjet






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Though it was designed as an escort fighter, the F-84 was to eventually gain its fame in the mud moving area during the Korean war. Though the type did knock down a few Migs during the conflict, it was its ability to haul a respectable load and place it where it would do the most good that earned the Thunderjet its reputation.

Replacing the F-80s (which replaced the F-51s), the first F-84s in theatre were from a SAC escort fighter wing. In record time, the unit was able to make the transition to dropping ordinance in place of dropping enemy fighters. Eventually the F-84 nearly completely supplanted the older (but not by much) F-80 Shooting Stars, and in the last year of the war, were themselves starting to be replaced by fighter-bomber versions of the F-86F Sabre.

In addition to sterling work in Korea, the Thunderjet was exported and flown by a rather substantial number of foreign countries. Though many were in Europe, the Taiwanese were able to make good use of them against the communist Chinese, and some of those found their way into the Thai Air Force as well.

Back in the US, the now weary Thunderjets were pawned off on the Air National Guard for a short stint until those, too were replaced by the more capable and faster F-84F Thunderstreak or F-86 Sabres. Though there are a number in museums, sadly none have been restored to flying condition as warbirds.



As part of Tamiya's program of shrinking down 1/48 kits to 1/72, the F-84G was chosen in 1999. Part of the success in downsizing the kits has been the simplification of several parts of the kit. For instance, it may not have the droppable flaps of the larger kit or it may have fewer parts in the cockpit. Nonetheless, the kit retains all of the quality of its big brother.

One thing that I did notice is quite different is that this kit does not have the nose weight offered in the 1/48 variety. This means that you'll have to use your ingenuity to find a place to fit weight as the 84 is a tail sitter. Options are for an open or closed canopy and an open or closed gun compartment door. If building the kit with this door closed, you don't install the guns! You also have a pair of RATO units that were used quite often to get heavily loaded Thunderjets into the air during Korean summers. Two bombs and two drop tanks make up the rest of the stuff under the wings.

Instructions are superb, though all colors are referenced to Tamiya paints. Not a problem on this kit as no F-84Gs in US service were camouflaged. Decals are for two of the three options given in the 1/48 kit. The very flamboyant 'Four Queens' of the 58th FBS as shown on the box art or the more subdued, but still nice plane of the 508th SFW in the US in 1956. This SAC unit would probably not be carrying the RATO units nor the bombs as their mission was bomber escort.



What can you say. It is a Tamiya kit so excellence is expected. Its big brother was a super build and I expect no less from this one. If you don't like the decal options, there are plenty of aftermarket sheets around that will work. If you like the type, buy it. I notice that the price has dropped from previous years and that's a good thing.


Review kit courtesy of my kit collection

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