Emhar 1/72 F3H Demon




$10.00 MSRP when new


two options


Scott Van Aken




The McDonnell F3H Demon was a US Navy carrier-based jet fighter aircraft. The successor to the F2H Banshee, after initial problems, it served from 1956 until 1964. Development work began in 1949, the aircraft was designed around only a single Westinghouse Electric Corporation J-40 engine, which was to have over 11,000 lb of thrust - three times that of the engines in the Banshee. It was the first swept-wing design produced by McDonnell and among the first US aircraft to have missile armament.

The prototype first flew in 1951 and first test flights of the operational design were in January 1953. The engine was a major disappointment, producing only half of the expected power it was temperamental and unreliable, of 35 F3H-1 aircraft that were flown with the J-40 engine eight were involved in major accidents. The J-40 engined aircraft were grounded and a new engine was sought. (In fact, brand new J-40 powered Demons were barged or trucked directly to training schools and never flown, starting an investigation into fraud by members of Congress. Things never change.) The best alternative was destined for the F-100 Super Sabre and subsequent F3Hs were fitted with the Allison J-71 engine (also used in the B-66/A3D) and designated the F3H-2. While more reliable this new engine had to be 'shoe-horned' into the airframe and with less power than needed did little for the aircraft's performance.

The first Demon with a J-71 flew in October 1954. Another problem was with the ejector seats, initial versions could fail to operate and had to be replaced with Martin Baker models. Despite the problems in 1956 the Navy ordered 239 F3H-2s and the first were deployed in March 1956. 522 Demons were built up to the end of production in November 1959. It was the Navy's first all-weather interceptor with radar and the Raytheon Sparrow or Sidewinder AAM and remained the Navy's front-line fighter until 1962 when it was succeeded by the F-4 Phantom II. Although developed during the Korean War it did not see action, although it flew over Lebanon and Quemoy in 1958.


Emhar has had a less than sparkling reputation amongst modelers. It seems as if they have fallen a bit short of what was expected of them, and that is a shame. Emhar has had the good sense to provide some very much needed kits in 1/72 that include the F-94C and FJ-4 Fury. While not exactly Hasegawa, they are not bad kits and with a bit of that good old modeling talent can be made into very nice shelf models.

The kit is molded in a Matchbox looking manner with square sprues that are so typical of Matchbox kits. The detailing is engraved, and is a little bit overdone for the scale. Painting will tone them down.  As you know, I'm a bit obsessive about sink marks, ejector pin marks and flash. There is none of the latter, few of the middle thing and the sink marks are only on thick bits such as gear doors. The clear bits are a bit thick and somewhat distorted, but quite adequate. If you want thin and clear, buy a Falcon canopy set.

Cockpit is basic and consists of a tub, generic bang seat, instrument panel and control stick. There is no detail on the instrument panel or side consoles nor is there a decal for these. A bit of an omission if you ask me. There is no gear or speed brake well detail. The wing and fuselage speed brakes are separate in case you want to display them open, a rarity on the ground. Landing gear are fairly well done. A separate tail hook is also provided. Stores included two Sparrow, two Sidewinder and two drop tanks with pylons for them. You'll need nose weight to prevent this from being a tail sitter.

Instructions are the usual pictorial construction steps on one side of the  paper. Some color info is given during these steps. Nothing fancy, but sufficient. The decals are well printed and a bit thick, reminding me of Modeldecals. Markings are provided for two light gull grey over white Demons. One of VF-31 in 1960 as shown on the box art. The other is from VF-64 in 1958. There are several aftermarket sheets for this kit and while not a snap to find, one should seek them out for optional markings.


You want an F3H in 1/72 then there is this kit and the Rareplanes vacuformed kit. The Rareplanes kit is probably more accurate, but this one will be easier to build!

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