Kitty Hawk 1/48 F-101B Voodoo

KIT #: KH80114
PRICE: $80.00 SRP
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes photo etch parts.

 

HISTORY

 

 In the late 1940s, the Air Force had started a research project into future interceptor aircraft that eventually settled on an advanced specification known as the 1954 interceptor. Contracts for this specification eventually resulted in the selection of the F-102 Delta Dagger, but by 1952 it was becoming clear that none of the parts of the specification other than the airframe would be ready by 1954; the engines, weapons and fire control systems were all going to take too long to get into service. An effort was then started to quickly produce an interim supersonic design to replace the various subsonic interceptors then in service, and the F-101 airframe was selected as a starting point.

Although McDonnell proposed the designation F-109 for the new aircraft (which was to be a substantial departure from the basic Voodoo), the USAF assigned the designation F-101B. It was first deployed into service on 5 January 1959, with the 60th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. The production ended in March 1961. The Voodoo featured a modified cockpit to carry a crew of two, with a larger and more rounded forward fuselage to hold the Hughes MG-13 fire control radar of the F-102. It had a data link to the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, allowing ground controllers to steer the aircraft towards its targets by making adjustments through the plane's autopilot. The F-101B had more powerful Pratt & Whitney J57-P-55 engines, making it the only Voodoo not using the −13 engines. The new engines featured a substantially longer afterburner than J57-P-13s. To avoid a major redesign, the extended afterburners were simply allowed to extend out of the fuselage by almost 8 ft (2.4 m). The more powerful engines and aerodynamic refinements allowed an increased speed of Mach 1.85.

The F-101B was stripped of the four M39 cannons and carried four AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missiles instead, arranged two apiece on a rotating pallet in the fuselage weapons bay. The initial load was two GAR-1 (AIM-4A) semi-active radar homing and two GAR-2 (AIM-4B) infrared-guided weapons with one of each carried on each side of the rotating pallet. After the first two missiles were fired, the door turned over to expose the second pair. Standard practice was to fire the weapons in SARH/IR pairs to increase the likelihood of a hit. Late-production models had provision for two 1.7-kiloton MB-1/AIR-2 Genie nuclear rockets on one side of the pallet with IR-guided GAR-2A (AIM-4C) on the other side. "Project Kitty Car" upgraded most earlier F-101Bs to this standard beginning in 1961.

From 196366, F-101Bs were upgraded under the Interceptor Improvement Program (IIP; also known as "Project Bold Journey"), with a fire control system enhancement against hostile ECM and an infrared sighting and tracking (IRST) system in the nose in place of the in-flight refuelingprobe.

The F-101B was made in greater numbers than the F-101A and C, with a total of 479 being delivered by the end of production in 1961. Most of these were delivered to the Air Defense Command (ADC) beginning in January 1959. The only foreign customer for the F-101B was Canada.

The F-101B was withdrawn from ADC service from 1969 to 1972, with many surviving USAF aircraft transferred to the Air National Guard (replacing F-102s), serving until 1982. The last Voodoo in US service (F-101B-105-MC, AF Ser. No. 58-300) was finally retired by the 2nd Fighter Weapons Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Florida on 21 September 1982.

THE KIT

This is a follow-on to their previous F-101A/C kit of a few years back and as such is one that will be welcomed by many modelers. Other than the tail section and wings along with the landing gear, there are a lot of new sprues in this kit to enable you to properly build the two seat F-101B. Some may wonder why this was released as the Monogram kit was fine. It still is fine, but this kit provides a level of detail that many modelers want to have.

Interestingly, the kit starts you off building up the center fuselage. This consists of a full intake section and the afterburners. Once the rear keel between the exhaust is added, then the upper fuselage section and burner cans are added. There are p.e. bits to fit into the burner cans. KH then has you build up the wings complete with the landing gear. Ailerons are separate and the flaps can be posed lowered. The splitter plate has seven p.e. standoffs to apply.

Once that is done, the wings and fin can be attached to the fuselage. On the fuselage are air scoop inserts and you have the option to have the speed brakes open or closed. This is when the rudder and horizontal stab are installed as is the tail hook.  

It is only halfway through the build that the cockpit is assembled. The kit has four piece bang seats with p.e. harness. P.e is also used for the instrument panels and side consoles. You have decals you can place over these if you wish.  Kitty Hawk provides a nose full of avionics, which is also the forward bulkhead of the cockpit. This and the cockpit are then attached to the nose gear well. Again, instructions show the nose gear assembly being built up prior to closing the nose halves.

The weapons bay is then constructed with Falcons on one side and a Genie on the other. This bay is then attached to the cockpit assembly and the forward fuselage haves assembled. Following this, various strakes and inserts are installed along with a radar antenna. The upper nose can have either the refueling door or the infrared seeker. Four of the five options will use the seeker. It is only now that the nose is mated to the rest of the fuselage.

You are provided the RF-101B camera add on if you wish to do the one option provided. This simply attaches to the bottom of the nose and you don't use the seeker on this one. For the interceptor, a simple plate attaches to the lower nose. Avionics bay doors can be posed open as can the canopy. The only 'things under wings' are fuselage mounted fuel tanks.  

Instructions are well drawn and provide notes on the different options available. Any colors required during the build are also provided. There are five markings options. The RF-101B is in SEA camouflage with no unit markings. The Canadian plane with 409 squadron is in Canadian Voodoo Grey, a color sadly removed from paint lines a few years ago. The instructions recommend FS 16440 light gull grey, but that is really not the right shade. The box art plane is with the 60th FIS in 1970. It is listed as FS 16440 also, but that is incorrect as most USAF F-101Bs were in overall ADC grey (FS 14673). The 136 FIS, New York ANG plane from 1968 is also in this shade. The fifth option is shown as overall silver with the 437th FIS in 1968. I'm going to be doubtful of this color callout as well until I see a photo of the aircraft in question. The decal sheet is very nicely printed and quite colorful. I think the ANG badge might be a little too light a blue, but that is a small detail. Those wondering why no buzz numbers have to look at the dates of these planes. By the mid-late 1960s those had often been removed. If you wish to add them, there are decal letter sheets in this font that you could use to piece them together.

CONCLUSIONS

This is a most welcome and anticipated addition to the Kitty Hawk line. The level of detail is such that this is not going to be a fast build. It will take patience and some experience to get the best out of it, so it is not recommended for beginners. However, if you are a model of average abilities and take your time, you will be rewarded with a superb model. There have been aftermarket decals designed for the Monogram kit that will undoubtedly work on this one if you don't like the options provided. However, Kitty Hawk has given you a great selection.
REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_F-101_Voodoo

June 2018

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