Hasegawa 1/72 F11F-1 'Early Version'






Any Blue Angels bird


Scott Van Aken


resin nose


For a brief history and a peek at what comes in the box, follow this link.


 Basically, this isgoing to be a quicker than normal build. The main reason is the ease of paintingand the number of parts that are NOT going to be used. Basically, you can assignall the pylons, drop tanks and missiles to the spares box or the trash. You canalso toss the ejector bulges that go behind the guns as the early Tiger didn'tcarry these.

The first steps are to fill the holes in the underside of thewings. I used the superglue and accelerator method, which works quite well forflat surfaces like this. Just make sure that you start sanding about 5-10minutes after applying the accelerator or the superglue may become too hard.While we have the wings, the leading edge extensions need to be removed as well.These were added on when the nose was lengthened. A short session with a razorsaw and sandpaper is all that is needed.

Next step is to build the interior. I left mine stock, paintingthe inside dark grey with black console tops. The kit decals were then appliedand the assembly glued into theinterior when the paint and decals had dries. Next the fuselage was gluedtogether. Now it was time to add the resin nose. Some of you may want to removethe kit nose before gluing together the fuselage and that is fine. I just choseto do it this way. There is a panel line that runs just even with the front ofthe windscreen that is the guide. This was first scribed a few times to makesure that I wouldn't mess things up too badly.

Taking my handy razor saw, the old nose was then cut off and thenew resin one glued in place using copious amounts of superglue. As you can see,the shorter nose definitely looks different.  If you feel that nose weightis needed (which I didn't), putting it under the cockpit before gluing onthe nose would be a good idea. With the nose on, the seams were sanded down, a touch of filler used and thesanded off panel lines restored by scribing with a knife and not sandingdown the ridges left by the process. The intake splitter plates, the tailhookinsert and the tail cone were also glued on at this time. The splitter plate andintake interior was then painted gloss white. The wheel wells and gear doorswere not painted white as you might think. These areas were painted Blue AngelBlue as well as the wheel hubs. As I said, it is an easy kit to paint! Thinkingon all this, I decided not to trust the kit instructions and so grabbed F11Fin Detail and Scale. As I had though, the intakes do not appear to be whiteso those were repainted BA Blue. As for the wheel wells, the did appear to be adark color with the main gear white, however this last set of observations wastaken from pictures of the later long nose variant. I'm still looking for moreinfo on the short-nosed Blue Angel Tiger.

This new nose may be a bit of a problem for some builders. Thatis because the detail on the nose is recessed whereas the kit has fine raisedpanel line detail. There are three options. You can rescribe the entire kit (waytoo much work for this kid), fill the nose lines with stretched sprue, or youcan leave things as they are. I chose option 3. Frankly, with such a dark paintjob as is BA Blue, it won't jump out at you so should look OK.


After a bit moreresearch in Ginter's book on the F11F (read at a store!), it was obvious thatthe intakes were not white, but blue like most of the rest of the plane. Thisseemed like a good time to do some painting, even though more assembly wasneeded. I bought some Testors Blue Angel Blue in the Model Master line. Itlooked too dark for my liking, so I mixed in some white and sprayed a test areaon the tail. Hmm. Too light. Mixed in some more blue and gave it another shot.This one wasn't as dark as the plastic, but was darker than the first try, apleasing mixture so I left it like that and painted a large part of theairframe. Now I know that the Color Police are going to have a warrant out formy arrest on this one, but I'm taking the fifth (glug, glug) on this one. I doknow that BA blue is terribly dark, even darker than the kit plastic, but itjust doesn't look right to me on a 1/72 scale kit!


With that paint dry, the kit returned to the bench. At this timethe wings were glued in place as were the intakes. The intakes had the gun portsdrilled out, even though there are no guns in it. Fit of the intakes is fair,but does need filler. Some was needed on the wing join and a few other spots asshown by the paint that was applied. Once all of that was done, the cockpit areawas freshened up and the windscreen/canopy glued on and masked.

Before painting on the next batch of BA Blue, I figured I'd seewhat the decals were like. Didn't relish the idea of them not working and havingto paint them on, but thought that if nothing else, I might end up having topaint the tips of the wings and tail. Taking one of the tail tip decals, Iplaced it in water and after a minute slid it on the tail. Fit was good, thoughthe decals do have some rather extensive carrier film. They are also not ascrisp as aftermarket decals, undoubtedly because they are double printed withwhite backings. Well, to no surprise, it did not conform too well, so with someanticipation of a disaster, I applied some Microscale setting solution. Nothing.OK, on to something stronger. In this case Solvaset. It was applied and left towork. Nothing. Now this was unusual. I still had one card to play and that wasChamp. An application of that did finally cause the decal to succumb, though itneeded some help when it came to folding over the fin tip. 

The rest of thekit was sprayed and when dry, brought back to the work room to gaze longingly atthe beautifully orange peeled paint! Actually, it isn't that bad, but notcontest quality (gee, I say that about ALL my models).

Being a Blue Angels plane, the leading edges and the exhaustcone were always highly polished as befits a plane of this stature. My twochoices were to paint these areas with a metallizer of some sort or to use BareMetal Foil. I chose the foil method as it doesn't require any masking and ispretty easy to do. This isn't exactly a short term deal and it took a couple ofdays here and there to get it all done. The most difficult is the intake leadingedge and I may have to redo one of them. After this was done, the landing gearwas installed and the wheels painted and glued in place. Now it was standing onall its gear and starting to look like it would finally make it! I shouldmention at this time that the main landing gear is a rather complicated set upand getting everything to fit properly wasn't an easy job. It is best to glueall three of the various struts on at the same time to make sure you can get itall to line up properly. The gear doors were left off until after decaling wasdone.


Based on the success I had with the fin tip decal, I figuredthat the whole operation would go pretty smoothly. I knew that Champ's settingsolution would work without terminal wrinkles and so started applying the decalsfrom the back to front. I do it in stages so that I always have a dry part ofthe plane to hold onto. Decaling at one time was a one, perhaps two-dayoperation. Not any more. You mess up the decals and all previous work isovershadowed by the glitch. I was quite happy at how well the Champ worked onthe decals and had no real problems until the final decal (isn't it always likethat?).

The last decal to be applied was the large one thatcovered the area aft of the cockpit, down the cockpit sides and onto the nose.Frankly, as much as Hasegawa tried, it wasn't the exact shape it needed to be toconform properly. In my attempts to get things aligned as they should, I managedto mess up the left nose section. What it did was to break into several smallchunks as I tried to move it into position. Though damage control was partiallysuccessful, it is obvious when you look at it that I had troubles. Noaftermarket for this baby as the later Tigers had a different scheme!


Once the decals had all been applied and were dry, the entireplane was wiped down with clean water to remove any setting solution. If thisstuff is left to dry, it can turn the carrier film an odd brown over time. Ihave several kits that show this phenomenon and it does detract from the model.Once it had dried, I thought about spraying on some Future over it to seal thedecals in and to add some gloss.  However, I have not had the best of luckspraying the current Future formula so decided to get out the wide brush andbrushed on a coat. No worries!

WhatI did was to glue on all the remaining pieces. Not much left, actually. Only thegear doors, fuel vent, and tail hook. The exhaust insides were painted with burnt iron (thisarea is not polished!). The wing tip lights were painted using Tamiya clear redand green.


This kit was as much fun to build as the other two F11Fs that I have doneover the years. And that includes the one done in 1998with the photo-etched cockpit. The addition of the resin nose is quite nice anddoes allow a bit of a different model that what one normally sees. As Imentioned earlier, there is a scheme on Superscale sheet 72-255 that may apply to the early Tigers asVA-156 did operate the type. Unless you are really hung up on having engravedpanel lines, this kit is highly recommended, especially if you are doing aseries of Blue Angel planes.


F11F Tiger in Detail and Scale, by Bert Kinsey

F11F Tiger, by Steve Ginter

July 2001

Review kit courtesy of MarcoPolo Importers. Thanks for your support.

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