Trumpeter 1/72 F-100C Super Sabre

KIT #: 01648
PRICE: $29.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2009 tooling


America's first supersonic fighter (at least able to go supersonic in a straight line) was the F-100. North American at the time was one of the premier aircraft manufacturers, well known for innovative and sturdy aircraft that would get the job done with minimal fuss. Very much a child of its time, the F-100 was initially armed with four cannon, but later was outfitted to carry bombs and even later, both air to air and air to ground missiles. Such was the success of the type that it served with distinction in Vietnam until replaced by the F-105. It then soldiered on in the ANG until nearly 1980.

In addition to the USAF, the F-100 was flown by France, Denmark, and Turkey in Europe. It was also heavily utilized by the RoCAF on Taiwan, most of these planes being F-100As updated with the later fin and other equipment. Several were lost flying intelligence missions over communist China.


Trumpeter's 1/72 F-100s are basically scaled down versions of their larger 1/32 and 1/48 kits of this aircraft. Unfortunately, they did not fix the errors that were prevalent in the earlier kits. Why they did not when they knew of the fauts is beyond me, but there it is.

First off let me say the the general detailing of the kit is excellent. Even with its glitches it is vastly superior to the only other F-100C that has been on the market, that being the kit by PM. There are two bang seats provided, of which yhou only use one. The cockpit is quite nicely done and fits atop a full intake trunk. There are two different designs of speed brake well and brake, though only one is called out for this version. Interestingly, both the standard and later F-102 burner can are offered. Save the 102 can for the D kit as it doesn't seem to have it.

The kit also has separate flaps and wilerons though they are designed to be modeled in the neutral position. Separate slats are given and this is the first time this feature has been offered in this scale. Other features are both styles of refuelling probe as well as a straight or stowed pitot tube. Landing gear and nicely done and  you are provided with a separate windscreen and canopy as well as a boarding ladder. For things under wings you are provided with the larger 335 gallon drop tanks, the Y-shaped Sidewinder pylon and standard inner and outer pylons, though there are no other weapons to put on these.

Now for the glitches. The biggest is the flattened bottom to the intake. Even if Trumpeter only looked at the box art, they'd have seen this is wrong. There is, to my knowledge, no aftermarket fix it part for this, though you could cut this section from other 1/72 F-100s to fix it. Probably the best donor kit is the Hasegawa version, which should be fairly easy to find on the cheap. Another glitch is that the fin is too broad and should be thinner. There is no easy fix for this and again, no resin replacement. I should also mention that the tires are too tall. Wheels are find, but I'd get resin replacements. I should also mention that while ANG F-100Cs did have the cranked refueling probe and the F-102 burner nozzle, neither of these should be used on the two markings options provided in the kit.

Instructions are typical Trumpeter and should cause no issues. There are two very colorful markings options, neither of which are identified on the placement guide, only on the side of the box, also typical of Trumpeter. The box art plane is from the 450 FDW at Foster AFB, Texas in 1956 while the other is from the 435th TFS at George AFB in 1957. Those with good eyes will notice that the wing "USAF" is only included with the wing stripes for one of the options. If doing the box art plane, you'll have to cut these free or use aftermarket decals. 


Despite my misgivings about the intake, I located a set of resin wheels and decided to give it a go. I built up the interior and the intake, cementing the interior atop it. The kit provided two bang seats, but you only need one. Take the other and put it in with your ESCI kit. The instrument decals are quite colorful and help to add a lot to the interior. They are also too large so you'll need to keep that in mind when applying them. I left the seat out until later in the build.

I then built up the exhaust except for the burner can (you can add it at the end of the build). The wings were cemented together. Note that there are a myriad of ejector marks on the inside of the wing pieces, some with flash so ensure those are gone or the wings will not fit together well. Take a very sharp scalpel to remove the sprue from the slat attachment points. Note also that the fuselage halves have the sprue attachment areas on the gluing surface. For me, this guarantees the need for filler as I oversand the area removing these.

I should mention that any more, I prepaint a lot of areas of the kit before gluing, Seems to help, but I do wonder why the outside of the intake is supposed to be painted as you'll never see it. The interior/intake/nosegear well piece was then installed. It is a very positive fit. It also mates with the speed brake well of your choice (I picked the early version) and so that has to be attached along with the intake bit. The exhaust was glued in the area designated for it and to be sure, I added some nose weight, though none was called out. All of these pieces are a bit tight, but if you get it right, they will literally click into place. The piece in front of the instrument panel was installed and the fuselage halves glued together.

It was then that I decided to see what I could do about the intake. The issue with the kit's is that it is too flat on the bottom and the lower corners are too square. I first tried boiling water to see if I could reshape the corners to something more round. That did not work but did round the lower portion a bit. I think the corners are too thick. I then sanded the corners to something a bit rounder, and found that to do so, would make the plastic there very thin so I reinforced that area on the inside with super glue. I finally got a shape that looked better, but it took some doing and the inside of the intake needed smoothed out. The bottom of the intake still seems too flat so I'll have to see what I can do with the next kit.

Once done with that, I dealt with the fuselage seams, especially those areas where I'd oversanded to remove the sprue attachment points. The kit provides small retraction struts for the inner main gear doors that are tricky to install. Normally, these doors are open when on the ground, though you can find photos of the planes with them locked in the up position. Somehow I managed to lose the back wall piece for the gear well (typical).

I then glued on the wings. Fit is fairly good, but I do wish that there was a more positive way of attaching them as there is a lot of up and down wiggle room. This makes getting them aligned a bit difficult. Once those were on and solid, I sprayed all the gear wells with FS 34097 green and when dry, they were filled with Silly Putty.

I then installed the seat after shaving the lower portion a bit so it would fit into the tub. Then the clear bits were masked and glued on. Fit on these isn't the greatest, but it isn't all that bad. The rear tail bumper was glued on and I decided to attach the two inner wing pylons on each side. The inner pylons have separate anti-sway braces. While detail folks might like this, I found that for each I managed to attach, I lost one or two others. This sort of set up was obviously designed by Satan. Fortunately, since there is a TER (triple ejector rack) included that you have to build up(!), I had lots of spares. With that done, the kit was taken to the paint shop.


First step was to give everything a primer coat using Tamiya extra fine primer. When dry, I used some AS-12 aluminum from the spray can as it looks as much like painted aluminum as anything I've ever used. After an initial coat, the burned exhaust area was treated using several different shades of Alclad II.

I then started applying decals. I used Xtradecal 72-109 which has all F-100Cs. I soon ran into some issues. I chose the markings for the 333FDS worn during a bombing competition. The nose band is narrower at one end than it is at the other so doesn't meet properly. The tail band is not a perfect fit as it has a gap at the lower front. There is a small fuselage stripe on either side of the canopy that is too short. In brief, it appears that this sheet was not sized for the only decent 1/72 F-100C on the market, the Trumpeter kit. One plus with these is they got the red the right shade. I've seen a kit built with Superscale markings and the red is too bright. For the data markings, the kit decals need to be used. An unwelcome omission from both the kit and the aftermarket sheet are the turbine warning stripes that are so prominent on the rear fuselage of F-100s. I had to use Microscale stripes to duplicate this. When it came time to paint the parts of the tail decal that did not meet properly, I used Testors #1104 dark red in their small bottles. This appears to be a perfect match for the red in the decals.

While applying decals, I built up the landing gear. The outer gear doors on this kit are quite complex. I found that I had to drill out the attachment holes on the very smallest outer doors to get them to fit. There are also various struts to hook into the main gear leg and there are tiny ones for one of the outer gear doors. I also attached the wheels. For this one I used Aires 7304 which fit perfectly once I shortened the axle stubs a bit. They also take care of the 'too tall' main wheel tires provided with the kit.

In regards to weapons, there are none supplied with the kit. So for this one I went to one of Hasegawa's sets. #1 provided a pair of M117 bombs and for the outer racks I used some rocket pods from the same set. I drilled a hole in these and the racks to install a section of wire. This makes mounting a whole lot easier and provides a handle to use when painting them. Before attaching them, the outer pylons and wing tanks were installed. I lost one of the tank braces so had to make it out of plastic card. The exhaust was glued on followed by the horizontal stabs. I then removed the masking from the canopy and  uttered an oath as I saw some of the paint bled under it. The wire I'd inserted in the bombs and rocket pods was trimmed back and those were attached. Finally, I glued on the long pitot tube.

This one is a bit of a conundrum. It offers detail that is superior to what has come before it, but it comes at the price of shape glitches that seem to be so common with the Trumpeter/Hobby Boss crowd. Perhaps it is part of our higher expectations from manufacturers that makes these glitches so disappointing. It is not a slap together kit (at least not for me as I made a ton of errors while building it), and if you are willing to make some corrections, then you can have a nice model to place on your display shelf.

After completing this one, I found a dupe photo in my slide collection of this plane. It shows several aspects that I'd missed and were also missed on the decal sheet. First of all, the very upper portion of the rear fuselage was painted and not burned metal. Secondly, the tail marking is supposed to have a gap at the lower front, whereas I dutifully painted in the red parts. The third thing I noticed is that there is supposed to be something printed in white on the nose band. Finally, the font on the USAF and US AIR FORCE appears to be the factory applied rounded type and not the squared off version offered in the Xtradecal sheet.


Thanks to me for sharing this with you.

27 May 2016

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