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Czech Model 1/48 scale F3D-2 Skyknight

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | MILITARY
Kit: No. 4814
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Czech Model, available from Squadron Mail Order, 972-242-8663, www.squadron.com
Price: $49.95
Comments: Injection molded, 99 parts (17 resin), decals
Pros: Colorful paint and marking options, excellent decals, recessed panel lines, detailed cockpit and gear wells
Cons: Thick, heavy moldings, prominent mold seam lines, no seat belts or instrument faces, no open-canopy option, vague assembly instructions
Modelers have waited a long time for an injection-molded 1/48 scale F3D-2 Skyknight. Czech Model's new kit of the U.S. Navy/Marines jet-powered night fighter has highly polished plastic parts that suffer from a few molding flaws. The recessed panel lines are a bit heavy. The clear canopy parts, fuselage, wing, and drop tanks are all thickly molded. The landing-gear struts are molded off-center with prominent seams, but the delicate resin parts are well done. The gun sight (R17) was missing from my review kit.

Assembly begins with the resin cockpit parts. The location for the instrument panel (R4) and hood (R9) was unclear, and the instrument panel was too wide for a good fit. Seat belts are not included.

I glued the fuselage halves together before installing the completed cockpit and nose-gear well. The cockpit fit perfectly after I removed most of the resin under its floor. The nose-gear well slid in without a problem.

I dressed the mating edges of the intake and exhaust-pipe halves. When installed, their seams are not visible. However, there is no surface area to attach the intake tubes, and their exact location is unclear.

The most difficult job was installing the engine nacelles (parts 3 and 4). The mounting surfaces are too thick for the recesses in the fuselage, and the ends, both fore and aft, do not curve sufficiently for a proper fit. I reduced the thickness of the mating surfaces by 50 percent before I joined them to the fuselage.

Assembly of the wings and stabilizer posed no problems. But most of the castresin wheel well must be thinned before the wing panels are joined.
Each landing-gear strut has five pieces. My nose-gear strut broke the first time I set the model on the gear, and the main wheels splay out under the weight.

I painted my Skynight with Floquil engine black. The decals were thin and responded to several applications of Micro Sol. I hid the decal film with Testor Model Master clear gloss before applying a final coat of AeroMaster clear flat. The canopy was installed after I removed the bottom 1/16" of its frame and bathed it in Future floor polish.

I added the final details including the pitot tube, arresting hook, antenna blades, tanks and pylons, wheels and doors. Two ounces of lead weigh down the nose.

The fuselage is a little short, and the wingspan is a bit long, but the finished model is close to scale. The model looks good compared to my photos.

I spent about 30 hours on my Skyknight, mostly trying to make the engine nacelles fit and applying all the decals. It takes a lot of work to build this kit into a fine model, but it can be done if you work on one part at a time.

- Allan F. Jones

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