Hobbycraft 1/72 F-89C Scorpion

KIT #: 1373
PRICE: $10.25 from the Navy Exchange when new
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1992 release

The Northrop F-89 Scorpion is an American all-weather, twin-engined interceptor aircraft built during the 1950s, the first jet-powered aircraft designed for that role from the outset to enter service. Though its straight wings limited its performance, it was among the first United States Air Force (USAF) jet fighters equipped with guided missiles and notably the first combat aircraft armed with air-to-air nuclear weapons (the unguided Genie rocket).

The early gun armed F-89A/B/C aircraft were rife with engine issues. Add to it structural issues with the wings that required all extant airframes to undergo a major refit. These issues were somewhat ameliorated in the missile armed F-89D. The introduction of the D and later versions meant that the earlier gun armed planes were all fairly quickly foisted off on the ANG.

Released in 1992 along with other variants, the kit is nicely tooled with engraved panel lines and has a decent amount of detail for the scale. I found ejector pin marks on the inside of gear doors but that was about it. Cockpit is fair with raised detail on side consoles and instrument panel. Seats are four pieces each and look fairly well done. The exhaust fit into the fuselage halves prior to gluing them and one will need 3/4 oz of nose weight, though there is plenty of room for it.

Since the early jets didn't carry drop tanks or missiles under the wings, no need to open any holes. As is the case with many jet kits with separated engines in the fuselage, there is a center fuselage insert to put in place. Landing gear are well done, though to my eyes the detail is a bit soft. Drawings are provided to help with alignment. The horizontal stab is one piece and the upper fin fits atop it. Windscreen and canopy are separate and the canopy can be posed open.

Instructions are nicely drawn with detail illustrations where needed. Two markings options are provided. One is the box art plane from the 57 FIS while the other is a Montana ANG aircraft. Both are overall unpainted metal. While the decals look good on the sheet, my experience with early Hobbycraft decals such as these has shown they generally don't stick, so try a marking you won't be using first. Aftermarket decals for this version don't seem to exist so you'll have to figure how to make the kit ones work.


Hobbycraft eventually released all the variants of the F-89 and the later ones were released by Academy. Though the Revell F-89D/J is probably the best in this scale, the Hobbycraft kit is still the one to get for the gun-armed versions.



May 2023 

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