ESCI 1/72 F-100D Super Sabre
|PRICE:||$5.00 from a vendor's table many years ago|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
"The North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre was a sleek, swept-back-wing fighter that gave the United States a supersonic Air Force. Although the first version was produced prior to 1950, various improved versions served as trainers and as active military craft at many U.S. and foreign bases.
Since May 1953, when the first prototype model, the YF-100, bettered the speed of sound on its first flight, the versatile fighter set numerous records for speed, endurance, range and maintenance.
Late production models of the F-100D and F-100F had the capability of being launched from remote areas in the manner of manned missiles. An F-100D Super Sabre became the first supersonic aircraft to be "boosted" airborne without use of a runway in successful Zero Length Launch (ZEL) tests at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in 1958.
In addition to its nuclear bomb armament and four 20 mm cannons, the Super Sabre could be equipped to fire rockets and missiles, including the heat-seeking GAR-8 Sidewinder.
While the later models of the F-100 had a speed in excess of 1,000 mph, two earlier models of the "A" and "C" established the world's first low level supersonic speed records. Colonel F.K. (Pete) Everest reached 755.149 mph in October 1953, and Colonel Horace Hanes topped 822 mph in August 1955.
To demonstrate the ability of its pilot and aircraft, the Air Force chose F-100 Super Sabres to perform throughout the world in aerial precision demonstration flights. The famed "Thunderbirds," a four-man aircraft team, were viewed by over 19 million people as the storied pilots performed intricate precision maneuvers at low altitude. In Europe the "Skyblazers" flew similar demonstrations.
The jet fighter was originally powered by a Pratt & Whitney J57-P-7 axial-flow engine. Later models of the F-100 were powered by a Pratt & Whitney J57-P-21A engine. Both were two-stage turbojet engines with afterburner, rated in the 10,000-pound thrust class.
The F-100 had a service ceiling above 50,000 feet and a range of more than 1,000 statute miles.
In addition to the thin, highly swept wing and tail, the F-100 design incorporated other features that reflect an answer to the problem of supersonic flight. Heat-resisting titanium was used extensively throughout the plane. A low-drag, ultra-streamlined fuselage and canopy with but one thin-lipped air intake duct helped make supersonic speed possible. The canopy line matched the rear fuselage in a smoothly curving line so that from the side, the Super Sabre appeared to be slightly arched. Other features included automatic leading-edge slats and a low-positioned one-piece horizontal stabilizer. The F-100 was the first USAF airplane to utilize the low tail.
The plane had an automatically regulated air conditioning and pressurizing system and automatic fuel system.
Particular attention was given to placement of all controls, equipment and instruments in the cockpit for ease of operation.
Most of you know that ESCI went out of business in the late 1980s and was purchased by AMT/ERTL, then Racing Champions and now Italeri. ESCI was very much doing aircraft kits and lots of other types as well. One of their better kits was the 1/72 F-100D kit that was produced in at least a half dozen different boxings. Even now, many consider it to be the best F-100D in this scale, even though there has been another kit released by Revell AG and I believe either Trumpeter or Hobby Boss has done one in this scale. This same kit was the basis for the AMT 1/72 F-100F, using all the same sprues except for the fuselage, canopy, and additional interior bits.
Molded in a tan plastic, the kit is very nicely molded with crisp engraved panel lines. There is no flash nor sink areas. However, ejector pin marks can be found on the inside of gear doors, on gear legs, missile bodies, pylons and a few other places. Some will be difficult to remove. The cockpit is relatively barren with but a control stick, seat and instrument panel. Instruments and side consoles are decals. A gun sight sits atop the instrument coaming.
The intake is quite shallow as is the exhaust, going back no farther than the nose and afterburner sections. Both type of afterburner can are provided as ANG planes used the less complex F-102 burner can. There are three pylons for each wing with the center one being used for the drop tank. Inner pylon is for the Bullpup or Sidewinder missiles. The Sidewinder missile rails are incorrect as it should look like an inverted Y but is like an inverted T instead. The outer racks have no weapons, so it is up to your spares box to find something. The kit also supplies only the curved refueling probe so if doing an early plane, you'll have to make the straight one. The kit's canopy is a single piece and will need to be cut to show any interior detail. However, since there is little, perhaps it should remain closed.
Instructions are quite well done with good drawings and color information in both generic and FS 595 colors where that is applicable. Markings are for four aircraft. One is a silver painted plane from the 481 TFS in Vietnam named 'Pretty Penny' as shown on the box art. An Arkansas ANG 184 TFS aircraft in SEA camo is next. In a similar scheme is a French EC 4/11 aircraft with a huge sharkmouth. Finally, in overall green drab is a Danish 730 Esk aircraft. The ESCI decals are nicely printed though the French roundels are a tad off register. My experience with ESCI decals have been mixed with some working fine and others breaking apart when they hit the water. They do not respond well to setting solutions and are quite matte.
First thing I did was ignore the kit recommendations on the interior (they suggest light blue) and used dark gull grey for this job. I then applied the decals to the instrument panel and side consoles. After fitting the control stick, the interior was installed into one fuselage half. I then added probably more weight than what was needed and closed the halves. Meanwhile the wing halves were joined after opening up the holes for the center pylon, which will carry the fuel tanks. I have seen many photos of this plane with no inner and outer pylons so that will be how this one will be built. Both the wings and fuselage seams were filled and sanded down.
Back at the fuselage, the lower gun panel piece was installed. It is a VERY tight fit and perhaps should be installed when assembling the fuselage halves. The nose piece was next. I then installed the wings. Fit is also quite tight and the rear join never did properly line up. From the way it seems, the next time I'll install the lower wing section to the fuselage first then add the upper wing halves for it seems the upper wings were causing the mis-alignment. Nothing filler and sandpaper cannot fix, but I'd rather have not had this issue.
With the wings in place, I masked and temporarily attached the canopy. I say temporarily as I've been looking for a metal replacement seat that I know I have but cannot find. I then headed for the paint shop.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
This particular aircraft would be an overall painted aluminum. I had been told that Tamiya TS-17 Gloss Aluminum in a spray can does the best painted aluminum surface so decided to give it a try. Like all spray cans, I first sat the can in hot water for about ten minutes to warm the paint. I then sprayed the airframe and sprues with this color. I have to say that I'm not jazzed about the lack of control in terms of the amount of paint that comes out of the can, but I do say that the paint looks to be painted aluminum so perhaps I'll try it again later. I blithely ignored instructions to paint the gear and speed brake wells with Interior Green, leaving them in painted aluminum.
At this time, I attached the landing gear, gear doors, speed brake, tail hook and refueling probe. As I'd done some sanding/scraping on these items to remove mold seams, I decided to spray on more of the Tamiya Aluminum. Meanwhile, the wheels were painted using Floqui's Weathered Black. Once dry, they were installed on the axles.
I then went to work on the rear fuselage. This area was often heavily burnt from the heat of the engine and so with a combination of metallics and pastels, I tried to make it look as if the paint had burned off this area. Not so sure how successful I was, but it is convincing enough for me.
Seemed like a good time to consider markings. I have several old Superscale sheets with wing commander's planes, but I wanted something a bit more subdued for this one. Wolfpak decals has a nice sheet (72-030) that contains a pair of aluminum painted F-100s based in the UK with the 20th and the 48th TFW. I picked the one from the 20th TFW as it had a nice badge on the fin.
The decals went on without any issues. I did have to use a few markings from the kit sheet as there were no wing walk markings in with the Wolfpak sheet.
There really is not all that much left. I did some painting of the formation lights and cut a decal to use for the nose radome section and the upper fuselage. I also installed the pitot and the wing fences. The drop tanks were next along with their support pylons. Eventually I located the Aeroclub F-100 seat that I had in my stash, painted it up and installed it. A few more decals were needed for the drop tanks. I noticed from the profile on the sheet that the flashes on the wing tanks were reverse of the ones on the fin and had the red as the upper color instead of the blue. It also appears the tanks in the profile are fatter and shorter. With all the markings in place, I sprayed on some Metallizer Sealer to help protect the decals. This is quite thin and does not dull the aluminum as much as other methods. I then pulled off the canopy and installed the metal Aeroclub F-100 seat I eventually located. The canopy was glued back on, though it really doesn't fit all that great, especially on the right side. Masking removed, detail stuff done and that was it.
This is the second single seat 1/72 ESCI F-100D I've done and if you include the AMT two seat version, it makes three. The kit is quite a nice build and while perhaps eclipsed by newer versions, is well worth seeking out when you run across it as shows and other venues.
Historical section courtesy of www.boeing.com
Thanks to me for the kit and Wolfpak Decals for the markings.
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