By Jose Herculano
I am sitting in front of the bird. It is molded in the usual Tamiya dark gray plastic, and features very fine surface detail. It is test assembled, the major parts being help together by some strips of 8mm Tamiya masking tape. My feet are bare. It is hot today, and somehow my socks have been blown off about the time I began to mess with this babe.
Some very quick comments:
KMC, TD, CE: don’t bother. The only resin I’d eventually buy for this model would be some fletcher tip tanks for later birds. And not too expensive, otherwise I’ll just buy a HC T-33 to steal them. Eduard: I am game for some finer details (pedals, oleo arms, panel). AM, CE: bring on the decals by the ton. Fellow modelers: buy a dozen.
The jet intakes and exhaust are very realistic. The way in which the intake is built leaves a nasty seam on the middle of the front gear bay, hard to sand. What I’ll do there: get the finest etch I can find, cut to size, and just glue over: instant seam fixing.
The top of the nose can be assembled open, to show the guns inside. The guns are nicely molded, and with some etch the gun bay will be very realistic.
Cockpit is very nice. The panel is well molded, with raised dial contours. A decal is provided. If you drybrush the panel, use a punch and die set to punch out individual instruments from the decal, and then apply, the need for an etch panel goes away.
Side consoles are accurate and well molded. Real nuts can chop off the throttle and make a finer one. The ejection seat is nice. Really. Just in need of some etch belts to replace the provided decal. The seat is a 5 part job.
And Tamiya did not fail where Hasegawa did with the F-86: the area behind the cockpit is accurately designed and presented. My hat (if I wore one) is off saluting.
Under the cockpit is to be mounted a BB (!) With a plastic bracing. Yes, to keep the nose wheel down. The speed brake well is a beauty, as is the “perforated” speed brake. Just drill the holes.
The wheels are very accurate, very well made, very nice looking.
Now the minor comment. There has been a school of thought that said that the best way to represent panel lines is to make some panel lines slightly raised in relation to others. Tamiya seems to buy this in part (hence the F-4J “battle damage” patches). I myself do not. One small panel on top of the wing and one on the bottom are slightly raised. The top one looks good. The bottom one does not. But some fine sanding will bring it to perfection.
All landing gear parts are very nice, the wheels very much so.
Clear parts are very nice, and when assembling the canopy in the open position, all the needed parts are there to be seen.
The model comes with 2 fuel tanks or 2500lb bombs for the wing pylons, 2 RATO bottles for the rear fuselage, and a boarding ladder. The decal sheet is comprehensive, and offers colorful choices. Decals are well printed, show good colors, but are over-thick, as usual. May end up going fine with some setting solution. They do include stencils.
Does it look like an F-84G? Very, very much so. The complex fuselage curves – belly, waist, top – are unbelievably well represented. I am pretty sure I’ll never see that pair of socks again.
So what is left for ProModeler? Give us an accurate E. Or just an early style canopy compatible with the Tamiya.
A man in love, Jose Herculano