Kit: No. 3202
Manufacturer: Fisher Model & Pattern, www.fishermodels.com
Comments: Resin 142 parts (58 photoetched, 1 vacuum-formed), decals Pros: Great subject, recessed panel lines, poseable control surfaces
Cons: Vague painting instructions, defective decals
Fisher Model & Pattern has released its second aircraft offering, the long awaited 1/32 scale Grumman F9F-8 Cougar. The hollow-cast fuselage and solid one-piece wing section take up the majority of the acreage in the box. The accompanying resin detail parts, photoetched fret, vacuum-formed canopy, and decal sheet that occupy separate poly bags are packed around the two large castings.
The instruction manual is a 12-page affair illustrating construction-in-progress with photos and construction notes. The final page is a stenciling guide. Also included is an illustration featuring the Cougar in the four different liveries provided by the markings.
The Cougar's assembly sequence begins with the cockpit and nose-wheel bay. The tub/bay casting required little cleanup but the sidewalls for both areas needed careful trimming and fitting. I slipped the tub/bay, along with a dozen pennies' worth of nose weight, into the forward fuselage. I left out the seat and its armored backplate until final assembly. The wing casting's underside was spotted with pinholes and small divots. After this part was satisfactorily finished and a hole was drilled to accept the tailhook, I bonded it to the fuselage, and the model started looking like a Cougar.
As I continued through the construction steps I removed the parting lines and pour-stub marks from most of the remaining parts including the drop tanks, bombs, missiles, and pylons. The Sidewinders had pinholes and bubbles in their fins, and the rails on their pylons were fragile.
The speed brakes can be built in the open position with a combination of resin and photoetched parts. I left mine closed because the instructions state (and my references verified) that most Cougars were seen with their brakes closed. I added the optional refueling probe to the nose. The gear struts clean up well, and the nosegear strut looks good when assembled. I masked the gear-strut stubs and their sockets to protect against paint buildup. In the end, everything fit fine.
I painted the model dark sea blue (FS 15042) with Model Master Metalizer steel leading edges. I thought the yellow- and-white VF-61 markings would look great. The instructions state that the decals require patience in their application. This is not an understatement. After being split horizontally as the manual recommends, the bands on either side of the tail required several applications of setting solution to adhere to the compound surfaces at the tailplane root. And, as warned, these markings needed some patching over the cuts. With patience and lots of setting solution the upper and lower wing-tip flashes will overlap each other and adhere. However the tailplane flashes didn't seem large enough to cover this area and had to be touched up with paint.
The nose markings were disappointing. There were two left-side decals on the sheet but no right-side marking. I applied the left-side's yellow-and-black decal for the gray scheme to the nose and painted gloss white over the black stripe. Again, it took many applications of setting solution for these decals to conform to the nose contours.
My Cougar took about 100 hours to build and finish. Most of that time was spent cleaning up parts and wrestling with decals. It sounds like a lot of time and work, but as resin kits go, this one is excellent. The parts are well detailed and with care can be built into a great model. I am looking forward to Fisher's next offering.
- David Raatz