Anigrand Craftworks 1/72 XF-88 Voodoo

KIT #: AA-2058
PRICE: $49 .00 from Nostalgic Plastic
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin kit with vacuformed plastic canopy

HISTORY

In 1945,  the USAAF recognized that all the early jet fighters lacked sufficient range to escort bombers to the target. So proposals for a penetration fighter were requested. In 1947, McDonnell submitted its larger-sized F2H proposal, and was chosen for two prototypes, designated XF-88 Voodoo. The other designs entered in the competition were the Lockheed XF-90 and the North American YF-93A. In 1948, the XF-88 made its first flight. Handling was acceptable but the speed was disappointing. So the second prototype was modified with two afterburning turbojets, and was redesignated XF-88A. The XF-88A reached higher speeds, but still not fast enough. In June 1950, after a fly-off with the XF-90 and YF-93,  the USAF chose the XF-88A as the winner of the contest. However, no production order was justified at the time because of the outbreak of the Korean War. At the war’s conclusion,  the USAF still required a modern escort fighter. McDonnell was asked to develop an advanced design based on the XF-88. Two prototypes were ordered that became the F-101 with the same name of Voodoo. One XF-88 was modified with a turbo-prop in the nose to become the XF-88B. Neither prototype survives today.

THE KIT

Molded in Anigrand's now common buff resin with well defined engraved panel lines and the usual air bubble holes and flash, the kit provides all that you need to make an excellent model for your shelf as it comes. If you are into doing some extra work in the detailing department, a real show winner can be made.

These garage kits always provide a bit of a challenge to the modeler, but when you reach the level where you are building kits like this, you have to have the skills needed to correct what you find. It is the nature of the beast that you'll find no two kits exactly alike. Some will require a bit more work than others. This particular one suffers a bit more than the norm from molding glitches. For instance, the strut mounting holes have gone all the way through the wing. There are quite a few air bubbles on the tip of the right wing, the left fuselage half has a section that is very thin and the nose gear well and interior have a lot of additional gunk in it that will have to be chipped out. All of this can be easily repaired using either super glue or epoxy filler and then carefully sanded smooth.

The cockpit consists of a seat, instrument panel and control stick. No instrument detail is provided. The wheel wells have some detail in them made from strip plastic and just in there for looks as the real well detail bears no resemblance at all. But it doesn't really matter to most modelers and those seeing it on display certainly won't know. Gear doors are somewhat thick and need to be cut, for the most part, prior to use. On this kit, the main wheel is molded to the nose gear. Wheels are also quite generic and look very much like the ones used on a dozen other Anigrand kits. No indication of how much weight is needed in the nose, but I'd put in as much as possible to be sure of no tail sitting. A single somewhat cloudy vac canopy is provided with somewhat indistinct frame lines.

I should point out that there are times when one gets a good mold and times when the molding needs more work. This it is one of the latter. Nothing huge, just a bit more clean up than the norm. As an example, one of the wing intakes was filled solid so will need to be filed clean. One fuselage half has a lot of crud in it that will need chipped out and smoothed in areas that will be visible (like the cockpit and wheel well). A few more than usual air bubbles to contend with as well. Again, nothing major, just needs more prep work.

Instructions are unchanged from kit #1 with a history and photo and exploded view and parts list on one side. The other is a painting and decal guide with a nice three view. I should point out that the nose anti-glare panel shown is for the second prototype. The first prototype has a more straight line to it. Markings are provided for both prototype aircraft and differ only in serial number. The sheet for the YF-93A is provided where you can glean the insignia. Apparently the aircraft never carried the USAF or US Air Force markings. The initial rollout of the first prototype did carry the 'McDonnell XF-88' logo and would have been nice to have.

I should also point out that the first prototype never had guns or fairings and it wore a nose tip probe for its entire existence.

CONSTRUCTION

This starts with the usual clean up. My example had quite a bit of crud in the wheel wells/cockpit and one of the engine intakes was nearly completely filled in. The resulted in much additional grinding with a low speed motor drill and some creative gouging with dental tools and files. I found that the center of it was still uncured and gooey. Made clean-up a bit more difficult, but with the help of coarse grit sandpaper and files I was able to get things looking pretty good.  As much as I'd have rather not had to deal with this, it is a fact with short run garage kits that you can get one like this from time to time. I also sanded flat the fuselage mating surfaces as there is a ridge which has to be removed for a decent fit. I also had the usual air holes in the tips of wings and stabilizers. The small ones can be filled with super glue or applications of Mr. Surfacer. Big ones are most easily filled with epoxy filler.

I then started filling the nose with lead weight. There is more than enough room for all you need to keep it off its tail when done. The cockpit was painted a dark grey with black console tops. An instrument panel is supplied (no surface detail) and should be installed prior to gluing together the fuselage halves or you'll not get it in. Then the halves were glued and the usual filler sequence commenced.

Attaching the wings requires quite a bit of test fitting and sanding to get the wings to properly match up and have the correct dihedral. I also found that the area where the intakes joined the little alignment nubs on the fuselage required considerable filling and filing both inside and out to get an acceptable fit. Even then, I'm not totally happy with the join. The tail planes are a butt join and present no real problems.

For whatever reason, the main gear attachment holes go all the way through the wing. This is probably because the wells are a bit too deep to allow sufficient resin. It isn't a major problem, just requires some trimming. Specifically, you have to trim the retraction strut and provide about a 45 degree angle to the join surface. I then attached the main gear let to the hole, making it as flush to the upper wing surface as I could. When dry, any additional holes were filled. The nose gear and retraction strut need to be trimmed shorter as well for it is too long.

I then attached the nose gear doors and the inner gear doors. These inner doors are shown as closed in the instructions and the drawings and all the photos I've seen. I have to wonder why Anigrand even bothered molding them separately as it just adds a bit more work to the overall build. Once glued in place I sanded them down flush.

The seat was painted and after putting in a few spacers to raise it up (as the top of the headrest is even with the sill without them), it was glued in with the control column. The canopy was masked using small strips of tape around the edges then filling in the rest with larger pieces. I then cut the canopy from its backing and after several trimming sessions attached it using white glue. I also attached the wing tip and nose pitot tubes at this time. More sanding is needed on the wing tip as the tubes are a bit too fat.

COLORS & MARKINGS

This aircraft was like most other US prototypes of the time in that it was overall unpainted metal. I used a base coat of Floquil Old Silver and then put on some Alcad II Aiframe Aluminum lightly applied over it to add a bit more shine.  The nose and fin cap are in a light/medium grey and I used FS 36475 for this. The anti-glare panel was painted black along with the wing walk ways.

Back at the bench, I added on the wing tip probes that I had forgotten about, did some sanding and also added on the lower pitot housing. There is a tail bumper or something like that, but it is quite large and just didn't look right so I left it off. The Anigrand decals are OK, but a tad thick for most likings. As this kit has the guns on it, I used the anti-glare masking shape as shown in the instructions and the serial number for  the second plane. Though a tad on the thick side, the decals gave no trouble when used with Solvaset. The upper wing insignia needs to have a section removed from it that equals the thickness of the wing fence. If you don't, it will look quite odd.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

Actually, aside from some final touch-up, there is little that needs done. I'd forgotten to attach the exhaust so those were glued in place and the area around them masked off and sprayed with Alclad II Jet Exhaust. The main wheels were glued in place along with the outer gear doors. That was pretty well it. I didn't put a clear coat on it, though you could if you wished.

CONCLUSIONS

It is difficult not to sound like a broken record on these kits. Anigrand provides the basis for a nice model and it is up to the builder to overcome the inevitable molding glitches on the way to finishing it. Were this injection molded styrene, it would be very much like a Matchbox kit with large panel lines and basic appointments. But it is resin so requires a bit more in the way of modeling work to get to a similar level.

I'm a major booster of Anigrand and so, despite the additional work needed to make things nice, I'm going to recommend these to those who revel in prototypes and are looking for a very cool 'whiffer'. They really are not all that difficult once you have built one or two and ones like this make for an excellent first resin kit.

June 2006
#1422 in a series

My thanks to Nostalgic Plastic for the review kit.

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