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Plankwing

1:48 Republic F-84F Thunderstreak by HobbyBoss - From the Box Report

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I have finished my "from the box" build of the HobbyBoss F-84F Thunderstreak kit #81726.

I am not reposting the box art and other graphics posted on another topic; see topic

http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=268825&st=0 for those graphics.

I am not repeating the "first look" Hairoldcut and I did, nor am I mentioning the issues with poor details; see topic

http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=267320&st=0&p=2552971entry2552971 for that review.

BACKGROUND:

I chose the scheme for FS-675 specifically because of the large #9 anti-glare+livery decal. I suspected that decal would be the most challenging for a from-the-box build. This review of the build will hit only the high spots and only photos of the finished build are posted "for tonight." More will come later.

GENERALLY:

By and large, the kit is free of flash, most parts fit without any need for filing/sanding. The exterior dimensions are closest of any of the 48th scale Thunderstreak kits, details are finely done and mostly accurate, surfaces are glossy with a few minor sink marks.

The decals are thin, perfectly in register, and, with exceptions noted below, settle in perfectly. Note that the decal instructions state "15 seconds" and that is true for the large sheet. The small addendum sheet requires 60 seconds. The instrument panel decal is one piece, but the F-84F instrument panels (as is the kit part) are not one surface. I cut the decal into two parts to match the panel surfaces and they settled in with solvent and look quite realistic.

The photo etch parts are good so far as what is furnished. Bending the speed brake parts to contour requires care to avoid kinks. The spoilers are very well done and fit the wings perfectly.

For paint, I did not do my traditional "gloss black" undercoat, but decided, because of the finely done surfaces, to experiment and go straight to Testors Metalizer. I did three rounds of three-dry/one-wet applications of buffing metalizers. The first was a half-and-half mix of Magnesium+Exhaust; the second was a half-and-half mix of Aluminum Plate+Stainless Steel; the third was straight Aluminum plate. I chose the second mix as an experiment to minimize panel contrast with the final Aluminum. I am pleased with the result and will do that with other natural metal builds in the future.

CAVEATS:

The decals play nicely if the target surface is prewet with water but not with decal set. I pretested with decals from the other scheme and found that prewetting with decal set results in just that, a set decal. If one wants any possibility of moving a decal, a good prewet with water is in order. Decals #7 and #8 are "wrong side" indicated. Decals #2 and #11 go on after decals #4 and #31. There is no decal for the refueling door; there should be so I used one from a Monogram kit. Decals #3 and #6 (tail) are undersized compared to the instruction illustration. The BUSHMASTER decals #74 looked wrong to me, I substituted the ones from a Monogram kit.

That big decal #9 is a stopper. It simply does not fit, no matter how one might chose to position it (or, in hind sight, even snip slits for overlaps). I gave it my best shot, after 20 minutes of finessing it, it disintegrated. I substituted decal #37 anti-glare from the other scheme. I was able to finesse it with several applications of decal solvent; I left it to settle in and it eventually shrank the wrinkles out. That left me with no decal for the chosen scheme, but, tada, Monogram came to the rescue. Their "silver" kit 5437 includes the same scheme so my only remaining option was to hope their decals would substitute. In fact, after three tries (yes, I used three Monogram decal sheets from my stash), I was able to cut each of them into two pieces overlap carefully to get them to fit. Decal #33 that goes on the spine is also a "gotcha" though I was eventually able to get it to conform with multiple applications of decal solvent.

The nose gear well and the intake splitter do not fit from-the-box. Added to the fact that they are not correct for details, they do not fit into the "notches" molded into the fuselage halves nor do they correctly "meld" as they are intended. I spent considerable time filing and sanding both parts as well as cutting away parts of the positioning "notches"; when this is done so they "settle in" they won't stay in position for buttoning up the fuselage halves. After multiple dry fits, I had to give in and cement them to the port fuselage half but could then never get the fuselage halves to align properly; either the intake was offset or the dorsal and ventral seams didn't line up. As the intake would be harder to correct, I chose to line it up then deal with filing/sanding the misaligned seams into submission.

MISSTEPS:

Note that there is no nose weight with the kit. Without nose weight, this is a tail sitter. The Genius who did this build duly noted the absence of a nose weight so went to the parts stash for a Tamiya Thunderjet kit weight. The Genius who did this build proceeded to button up the fuselage while the nose weight sat there in silence, never once objecting be being left out. As the Fortune-Cookie-for-Recovering-from-Errors-and-Omissions was at hand, and that I had not cemented the pilot seat into place, I deftly handled the Dremel to hog out the floor of the cockpit and super-glued some lead weights into the resulting void. I won't go into detail about the next foul-up, but I will admit I had to re-mask and repaint the forward fuselage. The carpet monster ate one of the sway braces so I substituted sway brace parts from my parts box.

SUMMARY:

As this was a review for a "from-the-box" build, I deliberately chose to stick, insofar as possible, strictly with kit items for the build. The one big decal plus the nose gear well/intake splitter sessions were by far the most annoying procedures for this build. I suggest, if anyone is tempted to do a "from-the-box" build of this kit, at the very least replace the nose gear well/intake splitter with an aftermarket part. And, do not be tempted to use the anti-glare decals; paint the panels and skip the decals! Also, the decals have a splotchy coating; I know not what it is, but it is most noticeable on the anti-glare decals.

I am very pleased with the way most of the kit went together without hassle or drama, pretty much what one hopes for in contemporary kits. But, would I build this "from-the-box" again? Not even. The exterior is a great starting point, but it begs for details. Hairoldcut is well along on putting together an upgrade set that will include: Nosegear well/intake splitter; full cockpit with choice of early/late/Euro pilot seats; ejector (tailpipe); corrected nose and main wheels; and possibly main gear wells. I would use Scale Aircraft Conversions 48143 landing gear set.

PHOTOS:

f-84f-45-re-52-6675-usaf-fs-675-20131120-001-bc-hb48bcfb-0f303-900.jpg

f-84f-45-re-52-6675-usaf-fs-675-20131120-004-bc-hb48bcfb-0f306-900.jpg

f-84f-45-re-52-6675-usaf-fs-675-20131120-007-bc-hb48bcfb-0f309-900.jpg

f-84f-45-re-52-6675-usaf-fs-675-20131120-011-bc-hb48bcfb-0f313-900.jpg

f-84f-45-re-52-6675-usaf-fs-675-20131120-014-bc-hb48bcfb-0f316-900.jpg

f-84f-45-re-52-6675-usaf-fs-675-20131120-017-bc-hb48bcfb-0f319-900.jpg

Here endeth the lesson.

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