Tamiya 1/48 F-84G 'Thunderbirds'
|PRICE:||2700 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Plated parts. 2000 release|
The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) proposal for a "day fighter", the F-84 first flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948 U.S. Air Force review declared it unable to execute any aspect of its intended mission and considered canceling the program. The aircraft was not considered fully operational until the 1949 F-84D model and the design matured only with the definitive F-84G introduced in 1951. In 1954, the straight-wing Thunderjet was joined by the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak fighter and RF-84F Thunderflash photo reconnaissance aircraft.
The Thunderjet became the USAF's primary strike aircraft during the Korean War, flying 86,408 sorties and destroying 60% of all ground targets in the war as well as eight Soviet-built MiG fighters. Over half of the 7,524 F-84s produced served with NATO nations, and it was the first aircraft to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. The USAF Strategic Air Command had F-84 Thunderjets in service from 1948 through 1957.
This is basically Tamiya's standard F-84G Thunderjet but with two of the sprues plated in what is very close to a shiny aluminum finish. Those who tackle this kit as it is will need to be sure to scrape all the mating surfaces in order to remove the plating. There is a third grey plastic sprue for the tanks, JATO units, interior and other non-exterior bits. Note that this kit is not supposed to carry the drop tanks, but be 'clean' for the air display. The standard clear sprue is provided.
As with the standard kit, one starts by assembling the seat, instrument panel, exhaust and the nose gear/intake piece. Then these parts and the pilot are installed along with a large metal bearing for a weight. These items are then installed in the fuselage halves along with the speedbrake well and the halves closed. Next are the wings with the built-in drop tank pylons. Tip tanks and the small inner gear doors are next. With this done the wings and tailplanes are attached. Note that the fin and tailplanes are to be painted white.
Next up are the flaps which can be displayed raised or lowered. The same goes for the speedbrake. Nose gear doors are next followed by all the main landing gear bits and the outer gear doors. Nose gear is then assembled and the gear is glued in place. The instructions show a clear rod to hold up the rear of the model, but this should be redundant due to the nose weight. Last items are the upper nose piece, gunsight, and all the canopy bits and pieces. You are also provided a boarding ladder and if you opened holes for it early in the build process, this will fit in place. Decals are for one of 1951 or 1953 show season planes. These differ by pilot name, serial, and the font of the 'United States Air Force' on the forward fuselage. Not surprisingly the builder will need to paint the red on the forward of the tip tanks as well as the nose. The blue for the back of the tip tanks also needs to be painted.
Instructions are well done with the usual Tamiya paint references. The fairly large decal sheet is nicely done and should cause no issues on application.
Those who wish to do a standard F-84G with bombs can build the kit as such, but it is less expensive to buy the standard boxing for this. Doing the Thunderbirds version will take more than the usual amount of work thanks to dealing with seams on plated parts and the additional painting to be done. Fortunately, Tamiya makes paint colors that match their decals so by using those listed, there won't be issues with mismatched shades. If you go for the box scheme, the result will be a very eyecatching model.
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