While these kits have never been unavailable since their introduction in the late 1970s, Hasegawa's trusty Cougar and graceful Tiger are paired up in this "combo" issue with a bonus - an excellent, large decal sheet printed by Cartograf.
The kits, even after three decades of steady production, are well molded and still fit well. They were originally issued when Hasegawa was making the transition between raised and recessed panel lines, so while the Cougar's are recessed, the Tiger's are raised. Cockpit detail relies on decals for panels. Assembly held no surprises.
So, the bulk of this review lands on the fabulous Cartograf decal sheet - perfectly printed with accurate, opaque, and brilliant color, and razor-sharp registration. There are a pair of markings choices for each kit. Both Cougars are in the gloss sea blue scheme of the early 1950s; both Tigers are in the gull-gray-and-white scheme of the early '60s.
One of the Cougars is the yellow-trimmed VF-112, well documented but never "decaled" before. Same goes for the light-blue-trimmed VF-13 Cougar - my choice for this review. Curiously, the separate markings instruction sheet indicates the intake splitter plates should not be cut away (a kit option) for either jet; photos of the Cougars in question show no splitters. Though directions say to use the nose-mounted refueling probe on the VF-13 bird, photos show it wasn't there.
I wasn't confident that the two-part, white-outlined, light-blue nose decals were going to conform to the double compound curve of the Cougar nose. But patient prodding and prodigious pouring of Micro Sol produced a perfect placement. Only a few tiny wrinkles were left on the tip of the nose after they had dried; rolling a brush handle over them flattened them out.
For the Tiger, the popular shark-mouthed VF-21 is included, this time with the later "AM" tail codes. Also provided are the red-tailed VA-156 markings, done both in white-and-red and in white if you choose to use red paint on the fin. I chose the grimacing VF-21 markings. The toothy nose design fit well with a little overlap at the joint of the halves.
Both models were painted in Testors Model Master gloss enamels, with Bare-Metal Foil on the leading edges. I used Alclad highly polished aluminum on the Tiger's tail cone over a coat of Future.
Each model took about 20 hours. The Cougar has more time devoted to decaling, due to the extensive markings.
If your 1/72 scale collection is short a couple of Grumman cats, this pairing provides a fine feline supply. And even if you have plenty of Cougars and Tigers, get this combo just for the decals!
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