Tamiya 1/48 F4D-1 Skyray

KIT #: 60741
PRICE: 900 yen when new
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Released in 1998


The Douglas F4D Skyray (later redesignated F-6 Skyray) was an American carrier-based supersonic fighter/interceptor built by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Although it was in service for a relatively short time and never entered combat, it was notable for being the first carrier-launched aircraft to hold the world's absolute speed record, at 752.943 mph, and was the first United States Navy and United States Marine Corps fighter that could exceed Mach 1 in level flight. It was the last fighter produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company before it merged with McDonnell Aircraft and became McDonnell Douglas. The F5D Skylancer was an advanced development of the F4D Skyray that did not go into service. 420 aircraft were built and eventually operated with nearly two dozen USN and USMC squadrons. Typical of most Naval aircraft of the 1950s, its active service was relatively short, such was the pace of aircraft development during the time. 


The kit is provided on two of Tamiya's standard light grey plastic sprues with separate clear sprue that provides the windscreen and canopy. The forward section of the plane is split vertically and into this goes the cockpit tub, which is glued atop the nose gear well. A three piece ejection seat is provided with an instrument panel and control stick. You can either paint the main panel or apply the decal provided. Five grams of weight is required for the nose.

The rest of the air frame is split horizontally with a full fuselage/ wing piece for both upper and lower sections. The main gear wells have one frame that will have to be installed, the rest being molded in place. You are provided an intake compressor piece so there is no see-through effect. Once the wings are glued together, a burner can fits in the back. Each side intake is a single piece that includes the splitter plate.

The main landing gear pieces are in three sections, one of which is the tire/wheel. The nose gear has a separate fork half that is attached once the nose wheel/tire is in place. In the back there is a tail bumper which is normally lowered on the ground. You could build the plane with gear up, but the kit is not designed as such. A two piece fin/rudder fits into a slot in the upper fuselage. For things under wings, you could really load the plane up. There are large drop tanks and outboard of those are rocket pods with aerodynamic fairings in place. Inboard of the tanks are a pair of Sidewinder missile rails and for the centerline, what is shown as a NAVPAC. This latter item is a Navigation Package as there was scant room in the Skyray for any sort of long range navigation equipment (such as a TACAN).

Instructions are standard Tamiya with only their brand of paint. There are three markings options. One is the box art plane from VF-3, while the other two are USMC planes from VMF-114 and VMF-115. The large decal sheet provides both the nose anti-glare panels and wing walkways in both black and light grey. These are the old style Tamiya decals and will probably need very hot water to apply. They will also not take kindly to decal setting solution. There are aftermarket sheets if you wish something different.


As neat as the Skyray is, it was not well served in 1/72 scale. Airfix had one that was not that bad, but the release of this kit pretty well relegated that one to the sales pile.



June 2018

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