Hobby Boss 1/32 F-84E Thunderjet

KIT #: 83207
PRICE: $86.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


The Thunderjet had a distinguished record during the Korean War. Although the F-84B and F-84C could not be deployed because their J35 engines had a service life of only 40 hours, the F-84D and F-84E entered combat with 27th Fighter Escort Group on 7 December 1950. The aircraft were initially tasked with escorting the B-29 Superfortress bombers. The first Thunderjet air-to-air victory was scored on 21 January 1951 at the cost of two F-84s.The F-84 was a generation behind the swept-wing Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 and outmatched, especially when the MiGs were flown by Soviet pilots, and the MiG counter-air mission was soon given to the F-86 Sabre. Like its famous predecessor, the P-47, the F-84 switched to the low-level interdiction role at which it excelled.

The F-84 flew a total of 86,408 missions, dropping 55,586 tons (50,427 metric tons) of bombs and 6,129 tons (5,560 metric tons) of napalm. The USAF claimed F-84s were responsible for 60% of all ground targets destroyed in the war. Notable F-84 operations included the 1952 attack on the Sui-ho Dam. During the war, the F-84 became the first USAF fighter to utilize aerial refueling. In aerial combat, F-84 pilots were credited with eight MiG-15 kills against a Soviet-claimed loss of 64 aircraft. The total losses were 335 F-84D, E and G models.


It was very nice to see this one arrive at the door the other day. I've not much of penchant for 1/32 kits as do some other folks, but I really enjoyed the F-80C produced by Czech Model and since this one is also a Korean War veteran, it has piqued my construction juices quite a bit.

So let us take a look at what Hobby Boss has provided. Well first of all, the box is jammed full of sprues. One of those situations where one has to think about where it all goes when putting it all back in the box. It continues something I really like about Hobby Boss kits. These folks not only wrap up things that might get damaged in shipment with foam wrap, but they pack no more than two sprues per bag (and usually only if they are duplicates of the same sprue) and they have a section off to the side of the box for added protection. In this case, the clear bits, rubber tires and the metal landing gear bits. Yup, metal bits in this one and items that are quite appropriate for a 1/32 kit. There is even what appears to be a large nose weight included in the metal parts, something I appreciate.

Now the F-84 is not a complex jet. At least not like the ones today and so the fiddly bits can be kept to a minimum. I like that there are no photo etch parts so I don't have to obsess over getting those installed. Well, I would have liked a set of belts for the seat, but I'm sure there are or will be plenty of those available. One is struck by the sheer number of weapons that are part and parcel of the kit. Seven different bomb types are included of which I'm sure some are supposed to be napalm and at least one other an incendiary. You also get four rockets per wing, mounted in the stacked configuration. Thankfully Hobby Boss allows the modeler to open up the holes for the rocket rails though the ones for the inner pylons are open already. Other things to attach are JATO units, Tiny Tim missiles, and a pair of drop tanks.  While under the plane, I should note that the speed brake is the perforated type and there are what appear to be four fuel dump nozzles near the end of the tail pipe.

In the front, you get a very nicely done bang seat (actually, you get two and I have to assume one is early and one late) and a well detailed cockpit in which to put it. In addition to raised detail on the side consoles and instrument panel, an instrument panel decal is included, which I'm sure most will use. The kit has you paint the interior with 'field green' and the wells with 'interior green'. I'm thinking yellow chromate for the wells. You also get a full nose gun bay as the bay cover is separate (though I did not see any hinge mechanism). The large weight I mentioned will attach to the underside of the gun bay. The nose gear well sections and the intake wall section will then fit to the underside of the gun bays. The kit does not have a full engine but does have a full tail pipe which is attached to a large compressor face (as if we'd be able to see it via the intake).

There is a fiddly bit, which is a blanking plate for the wing leading edge refueling port. The kit does have wing tip tanks (and optional plain tips), but does not include the wing tip refueling probes. Separate ailerons and flaps molded in the lowered position are also included, though it seems lowered flaps were not the norm while the plane was at rest. In fact, looking through 18 pages of Google images showed not one period photo of the F-84 that had the flaps lowered. I only saw this on the myriad models that were in there. Cut off the taps and glue them up. Finally, I should note that the canopy is the later reinforced one.

For markings, we have two choices, both from the 49th FBW. Red and white stripes are from the 9th FBS in 1951 (box art plane), while yellow and black stripes are from the 8th FBS. In both cases you are provided the intake ring and nose gear door decals in squadron colors. Hobby Boss provides three decal sheets for this. One is a generic one with data markings and insignia. Then there are two other sheets, each one with the markings for the two options. Decals are superbly done and should provide no issues. Not sure which I'll be using, but at the rate of my building, perhaps there will be some aftermarket. Nice thing about unpainted metal with OD anti-glare sections is that one can wait until very late to make a markings choice. Should mention that the reinforcement straps in the canopy are a white or off-white.

I'd be surprised if two things do not happen. One is if this kit doesn't sell well. It is not outrageously priced and is a kit with a lot of markings possibilities. I'd also be surprised if there are not 1/48 and 1/72 versions released in the next few years, even with the very nice ones from Revell and Academy respectively. I've already started painting on this one so stay tuned.



June 2011

Thanks to Squadron Products for this one. Get yours at your local shop or retailer.

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