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Academy 1/72 scale F-89D Scorpion

Kit: No. 12403
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Academy, imported by Model Rectifier Corp., 80 Newfield Ave., P.O. Box 6312, Edison, NJ 08837, 732-225-2100, www.modelrectifier.com
Price: $20
Comments: Injection-molded, 64 parts, decals
Pros: Good detail, good fit, nice marking choices, smooth plastic
Cons: Thick wing trailing edges, tricky nose-gear installation, translucent decals
While Northrop's Scorpion interceptor never won an aeronautical beauty contest, it was an effective deterrent. It's 104 unguided air-to-air rockets housed in massive wing-tip pods could destroy an enemy bomber formation with a "shotgun" volley.

The Academy F-89 kit is not really new, but a reboxing of the former Hobbycraft Canada kit. It features fine recessed panel lines, a good cockpit interior, excellent landing gear, and well-printed decal markings for two Scorpions.

The interior goes together well, but the seats have no positive locating devices. I simply applied drops of thick super glue on the floor and hoped I got them in right. The fuselage halves and separate nose parts fit fine.

The wing trailing edges are too thick, so sanding the inside surfaces of each wing half is recommended. Watch out for the big wing-tip pods; make sure you have the rear fin on the opposite side of the mounting tab. The wrong pod halves can fit together, and you can end up with the fins on the inboard side of the pods (ask me how I know). There isn't much bonding surface for the front ends of the pods due to the separate rocket-exhaust discs.

The bottom tray of the fuselage with its nose-gear bay is a tricky fit. So is the installation of the nose-gear strut. For the retraction link to reach its intended location, the strut has to swing back in the trapeze crutch a little. Use slow-setting glue so you can adjust the fit. The small gear doors have no locating devices.

I had no trouble fitting the canopy in the closed position. I painted Tamiya red over flat white for the Arctic red panels, then masked for the SnJ Spray Metal finish. The decals are well printed, but silvered a bit even on the natural-metal areas. Applying the four-piece toothy snarl to the underside of the nose was tricky, and according to photos in Wings of Fame Vol. 7, the mouth is too big. The national insignias on the wings are printed with silver surrounds to isolate them from the Arctic red panels, but I had to place the "USAF" and buzz numbers onto silver decal sheet to create their surrounds. The red can be seen through the translucent insignias.

My finished model looks ridiculous - and just like a Scorpion. Just 22 hours were needed to finish it. It's a bit easier to build than the similar Revell kit (reviewed in the July 1992 FSM), and the plastic is smoother, too, ideal for natural-metal finishes.

- Paul Boyer

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