Emhar 1/72 FJ-4B Fury

Kit Number: 1001

Price: $7.95

Decals:  Two Aircraft VA-116, VA-192

Date of review: 8 October 1997 (new images added Feb 2015)

Reviewer:  Scott Van Aken

Bit of history, first.  The FJ line of aircraft was from a desire of the Navy to have an aircraft that performed as well as those in the current USAF inventory.  The straight-winged FJ-1 was actually the predecessor of the F-86 Sabre, but was not exactly a barn-burner.  It did give the USN the experience it needed with pure jet aircraft, experience it needed in operating Banshees and Panthers in the Korean war.  What it wasn't was swept winged and fast.  Korea showed the success of the F-86, and the next Navy version, the FJ-2, was basically an F-86E with cannon instead of machine guns, stronger gear, folding wings and an arrestor hook.

The FJ-3 was a bit more of the same, but even more specialized for sea borne duty.  The FJ-4, was an almost completely different aircraft.  Taller tail, larger engine, different wings and fuselage.  It, like the FJ-2, kept the FJ designation purely for funding.  No money for new planes, but it was there to improve older ones. The FJ-4 had a relatively distinguised service with the Navy and Marine Corps, mostly in attack squadrons.  Emhar's kit of the FJ-4 is the FJ-4B, an aircraft that was fitted with the ability to fire four AIM-9A Sidewinders.  It was one of the Navy's first missile carriers.

On to the kit.  When opening the box, you are first struck by the feeling that you have seen kits like this before.  You probably have, as it looks like Frog reincarnated.  There are lots of raised panel lines, soft detail, sink marks and minimal precision to the parts.  Most of the two-sided parts were misaligned.  The missiles so much so that I had to toss them. Before totally trashing Emhar, I must say that this was their first attempt and the kit is ever so much better than the Merlin offering in this scale.

All of the parts must be cleaned up and carefully dry fitted during construction.  I used putty on almost all the joints as parts fit was not the best.  The interior, is quite bare and not even as much as a decal is given for the instrument panel. I needed a lot of weight in the nose to keep it from being a tail-sitter. Both intake and exhaust are only about a 1/4 inch deep, but the effect is good.  Probably the worst fitting part is the canopy.  It is too wide for the fuselage and the windscreen missed fitting by about 1/8 inch all around.  Fortunately, it is  pretty distorted so one cannot see the paucity of detail in the cockpit.

The landing gear is properly spindly, however the wheels look too thin and are almost toy-like.  The underwing pylons are also too thin for the large slots in the underwing. I do not know of a detail set for this kit, but it would be very useful indeed.

The kit was painted in standard gull grey over white, and I used Testor's Model Master paints.  Once the paint was dry, I used Bare Metal Foil on the leading edges of the wings and tail. The kit decals look very nice, but are way too transparent.  Those few I used became at least a shade lighter once put on the kit.  Xtradecal has a fine sheet for the FJ-4 and I used the markings for FAGU, the Fleet Air Gunner Unit with its red and white checkered tail and black and white nose stripes.  The decals fit rather well, although the nose decal did give me some trouble and needed retouching.

By now, you should realize that this kit is not state of the art, however there are so many great schemes for it that it should be in everyone's collection. Recommended only if you must have a 1/72 FJ-4.

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