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F-84F Squadron/Encore 48006

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I bought two of the "new" Squadron/Encore F-84F reprise of the HobbyBoss F-84F 48th scale kit. I bought them because they "enhanced" the kit with some resin additions and a new decal sheet. The box are showed the Belgian F-84F air demo "052" in the scheme for years 1964-1964. I have already built the HB kit "Straight from the Box" for my build review that appeared in SAMI March 2014. Though the HB kit is the best available F-84F kit in 48th scale, that is a "just barely" true statement as the ancient Monogram kit is behind only because of raised detail and a "too slim" aft fuselage. The Kinetic, and Italeri reprise thereof, are simply awful; the Heller, and Fonderie reprise thereof, are barely better than toys.

Subsequently to that FTB build, I built the Belgian air demo "052" in the scheme for years 1965-1966 with the HB kit, AMS Resin HB set, my own PE set for the spoilers and wing fences, and scratch built the smoke generator. Thus I elected to buy the SE reprise HB for the Belgian "O52" air demo decals to build as a companion to my other "052" build.

So, what is new other than the resin bang seat and the decals? HB deja vue all over again; they made no corrections to the many errors in that kit. It would have been easy enough to replace the worst part of that kit, the intake/nose gear well with a resin replacement. They already did the replacement bang seat, why not replace the even worse part? And, the incorrect air refueling door on the starboard wing and the panel lines above the wings on the fuselage sides that were only present on the Thunderflash are engraved on the kit. That means they are raised on the mold. How hard could it have been to just remove those and polish them out? Doing just those three corrections could have made a vast improvement to this kit. So, money and lazy strike again. But wait, there's more.

Decals. In short, there are three schemes provided on the decal sheet. Two of them appear to be fine, but not really relevant to why I bought the kits, the Belgian air demo scheme. I have a photo of "052" at an air demo in Wetherfield, 1964; the wing and tail bands are red and white. The box art shows the wing and tail bands in red and white. The Squadron Signal No 1225 back cover has the same art as the box art, albeit with one change to a detail under the aft canopy; the wing and tail bands are red and white. So, I inspect the decals for that scheme ... uh ... they are not red! They are ORANGE! What is with that?! As the guys on Top Gear often said, "How hard can it be?"

I complained to Squadron, "Please replace the decals or provide an RMA to return the kits for a refund." They admitted "the defective kits" and sent an RMA with, "We have no plans to replace the decals." Why is it so many of these kit vendors can't seem to understand that it doesn't cost any more to do it right the first time? In fact, it costs more to do it wrong then have to deal with RMAs and refunds and postage ...

So, if you wanted to do a model of the Belgian "052" in that scheme, the decals are wrong! Caveat emptor.

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I've noticed that several of these new Squadron limited kits have had issues. Last year they issued a reboxed AMT P-40E. The only issue was that the decals were for a P-40E but the fuselage was a P-40F. So basically you ended up with some nice resin and decals but nothing to use them on.

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Very insightful post. Thank-you! It seems that after all these years and multiple attempts, still no one can deliver an accurate 1/48 F-84F. Why? Different companies keep grinding out the F-4, Spitfire, Mustang etc, and they get better and better. What happened to the ole '84?? Just really wondering.



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