Revell 1/72 F-105D Thunderchief

KIT #

4363

PRICE:

$7.50 (back when it was issued in 1988)

DECALS:

One aircraft

REVIEW &
PHOTOS :

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Model backdated.

HISTORY & KIT

Please follow this link to read about the kit and a short history of the type.

CONSTRUCTION

Believe it or not, I have never built this kit or the larger Monogram 1/48 Thud. Not sure why, as I have built several of the Hasegawa 1/72 versions, but there it is. The motivation for this kit was the Albatros decal sheet on the F-105. There was no way that I wasn't going to build one of the aircraft on that sheet. The big question was; which one?

After much musing, I decided to go for the original nose art 'Pussy Galore'; one of the early Thuds in overall aluminum paint. This meant having to backdate the Revell kit as it portrays an aircraft after many modifications had been done to it in order to increase survivability in 'Nam. Fortunately, the Albatros sheet has a list of what needs to be done. The first thing is to remove some reinforcement plates from the airframe and to fill in some holes. Early thuds didn't have the rear engine cooling scoops nor the gun gas slots (which are grossly too large on this kit anyway). These were the first parts to be modified as you can see by the images below. The shot on the left shows the gun gas vents and the other the cooling scoops and reinforcement plates. One side has been started in these images.

While playing with the fuselage, the cockpit was painted dark gull grey with black instrument panel and side consoles. These were then dry brushed and a bit of color added to it so it wouldn't look so boring. I also built up the drop tanks. It was extremely rare to see the gas guzzling F-105 without them. Fit of these parts was not bad, but needed some filler and fussing, especially the tank fins.

The next step was the installation of the various bits in the fuselage prior to gluing the two halves together. This meant the cockpit, gun, wing spar and afterburner can was glued in place. I also added some nose weight as I wasn't sure if it would need it or not and figured better safe than sorry. Once that was in and dry, the fuselage halves were glued together and set aside.

At this time the wings were also glued together and set aside until later. Back at the fuselage, there were a number of modifications still left to do. The biggie was to remove the upper spine ducting. This was accomplished by using a lot of sandpaper and final smoothing. The ECM antennas on the fin tip also need to be removed as these were later additions and not germane to the early Thud.

After those were done and smoothed out, the engine cooling intake at the base of the fin was enlarged (this area was partially blocked off when the two cooling scoops were added). Then the strike camera housing was cut off the nose section as it was a later modification. The nose cone was glued in place and this assembly set aside to dry. Later, some more filling and sanding was done to get things as smooth as possible.

The wings also needed to have some work done on them. Combat stresses had causes some minor cracking, especially around the wheel wells so reinforcement plates were added on. These have to be sanded off for an early bird. You can see the rather large area for this reinforcement on the underside by what I had to remove. The kit also includes some ECM antennas that are not seen on the 105D. They are, however, used on the 105G Wild Weasel, and as you may know, Revell-Monogram do a 1/72 F-105G. Anyway, they need to be removed. In case you hadn't noticed, the OD plastic was a real pain to photograph!

All of that should keep you quite busy for a while. I know that it did me. Once pretty well along with rescribing and general cleanup, I started to attach the wings. I put them on one at a time and found quite a gap at the top. Once the glue had dried, this area had the usual filler applied to it. Then it was time to go and make sure that all of the modifications were properly filled and smoothed. I put the radome on at this time. Fit was fair but needed filler. There are a number of intake/exhaust scoops on the nose of the kit. I could not find any of these in any pictures of early 105s. If there, they were not that prominent so they were sanded off. The usual back and forth to fill in any of the smaller gaps resulted in a pretty clean airframe.

The next thing was to finish up the cockpit. This involved painting the seat and glare panel as well as gluing on the windscreen. The windscreen and canopy were then masked off. The windscreen was glued in place and then the canopy was then held down with white glue. The fit of the canopy section is terrible. It doesn't seem to want to fit in either the open or closed position. Not looking forward to the final construction steps am I. It was time to hit the paint shop for the first application of paint.

PAINTING

The best paint I have found to look like painted aluminum is Testors Non-buffing Aluminum Metallizer. In order to get it to stick well, the kit was first primered with gloss white paint, after painting the canopy area interior green.  Once that was on, the Metallizer was applied. I had a bunch of trash in my Metallizer that left spots all over the place. After a sanding down and reapplication of gloss white in those places that needed it, the Metallizer was reshot. Not quite so bad this time. It was obvious that this kit wouldn't be a contest jobber!

Once the Metallizer had dried, the upper surface was masked off and Aeromaster Olive Drab was painted  around the cockpit area. Then the nose was masked and painted black. I then went back to the bench to attach the nose probe. Since these things get broken off so easily, I find it a good idea to hold off attaching them as long as possible. At the same time, the MER was glued to the bottom of the fuselage as was the fuel dump vent. The nose was then repainted and any spots not fully covered by Metallizer were also done. 

CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES

Now that I had a painted aircraft, it was time to add on the landing gear. The main gear needed quite a bit of mold line cleanup and once done was glued into the wheel wells. Touchup painting of the gear wells was done at this time. There is a retraction strut that is then glued in place. The fit of this strut is poor and the attachment points are not well delineated at all. The nose gear is another deal entirely. This needs the nose wheel trapped between the two forks. These forks halves are separate and need glued in place. There is also a small radome for the landing aids and a scissor for the nose wheel steering that need glued in at this time. The radome had a LOT of flash and doesn't fit well. I also discovered that the forks of the nose gear do not have long enough axles to properly hold the nose wheel in place. Get out the glue! I also discovered that the fuel dump tube had been glued on backwards so snapped it off and after cleanup, glued it in properly.

DECALS

With the kit on its wheels, it was time for the decals. I found the decals themselves to be very good indeed, however, I found the instruction sheet to be a bit lacking. Specifically on placement of the data decals. These were shown on a drawing only as a number and not as the decal themselves. I also found a number of decals on the sheet that were not mentioned at all on the instructions. Specifically the red warning rectangles. There is also no underwing decal placement so I'm not sure if the USAF decal is in the right place or not. In addition, it seemed to me that the national insignia and USAF decal might be a bit undersized compared to the drawings. 

Using the instructions from an old Microscale 105 sheet, I got many of the data decals on, but I'm not sure if they are really in the right place. There were also warning decals shown on the Microscale sheet that Albatros didn't include. Albatros really needs to improve that aspect of the instruction sheet. The decals worked very well with a bit of Solvaset and I am quite pleased with the result.

EVEN MORE CONSTRUCTION

WIth the decals on and dry, it was time to finish up things. First the bombs, which had been painted OD, had the yellow nose rings shakily painted on. The two with fuse extenders were glued on the right and left side on the front of the MER. The others were glued on the other spots. For the wing racks (which were not glued on until AFTER the underwing decals were applied, I chose not to use the mk 82 slicks. I used two M117s from the Hasegawa weapons set. These are shaped a bit differently from the kit M117s. They were painted OD and had yellow nose rings painted on. 

Then the main wheels were glued in place. Gear doors were next and fit quite well with no trauma. The doors were not painted with primer on the inside and are silver or natural metal. If I screwed up, someone will be sure to tell me! The drop tanks were then glued in place after enlarging the wing holes to get them to fit (outer racks needed this too). You need to pay attention that the racks hang vertically when the plane is on its wheels. The wing has a slight anheadral that can throw you off.

The tail petals/speed brakes were then glued in place. I'm sure that they are a bit too dark for some people's tastes but they look fine to me. The tailplanes fit quite snugly so were not glued in place. With power off the plane, they tend to droop a bit at the back so you can position them as such. The outer wing bombs were glued in place after removing the pins from the outer racks and the nubbins from the bombs themselves. They are held on by superglue so are probably easily knocked off from rough handling. Be careful. 

The final step was to remove the masking from the clear bits. The canopy itself had a lot of leakage due to the poor fit so I had to scrape a lot of Metallizer from the inside with a toothpick The inside of the canopy frame was painted flat black to help cover up some of the overspray and some touchup was needed on the interior too. After sanding down the little center piece on the back of the canopy, it was snapped into place in an open position and the kit was finished.

CONCLUSIONS

What to say about it. For one thing, I am glad I'm finished with it. This was one of those kits where nothing seemed to go as planned. This happens every few kits to me and it probably isn't the fault of the kit but of my bad planning or something. The areas rescribed are awful, the filler shrank after the paint job leaving some depressions despite all efforts to prevent it, the paint job itself isn't good and full of little lumps and bumps, and I wasn't thrilled with the decal job I did. Because of all the glitches, it was hurried to completion just to get it done.

Sounds like a disaster, but these things do happen and while some blame can be put on the kit for iffy fit, I'll put most of the fault with the builder. What I ended up with was a 6 foot model. That is a model that looks good from 6 feet away! Will I build another? Well, not right away and not one that needs so many modifications. I still have a T-stick II conversion set that needs to be done. 

I can recommend this kit to those with more skill and patience than I!  

REFERENCES

F-105 in Action, #17, Lou Drendel, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1973

Review kit courtesy of the fine editor at Modeling Madness!

May, 2001

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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