Tamiya 1/72 F4D-1 Skyray
|Three aircraft; see review|
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was much design workgoing on utilizing the delta wing. Some very promising research in this area wasdone by Alexander Lippisch in Germany during the war and much of this data fellinto Allied hands at the end of that war. The delta wing has the benefitof being efficient and allowing the carrying of a lot of fuel in the wingsthemselves. This was a big benefit to designers who had to deal with fuelthirsty turbojets. The wing also allowed for efficient 'air braking' when cominginto land and the ability of the aircraft to fly at high angles of attach. Thedownside is that delta winged aircraft is that while they are maneuverable, theyquickly shed speed during those maneuvers.
Because of the compact design of most delta winged aircraft, theUS Navy was interested and Douglas presented what looked like a winning package.A small aircraft that climbed very quickly and was able to carry sufficient fueland ordnance. It even benefited from having folding wings! The downside was thatthe aircraft was only supersonic in dives and with speed being a big deal in the1950's, this meant that the Skyray was not destined for a long service life.However, with the strides made in aviation during the 50's not many types lastedmore than a decade from first flight to the boneyard. Those who flew theaircraft admired its flying qualities, but it was just too short ranged and wasquickly superceded by more modern types.
This was one of the first of Tamiya's 1/48 kits to be pantographeddown into the wee scale. Obviously, it has sold well as Tamiya is nowundertaking a program of doing this for all their 1/48 kits. Frankly, it is agood idea, as the only other F4D-1 that was available was the really ancientAirfix offering. The main difference between this kit and the 1/48 version isthat several parts have been simplified and combined. For instance, this onedoes cannot be built with wings folded.
As you can see from the image above, onceyou take the fuselage out of the sprues, there isn't that much left! You do geta full load of fuel tanks, Sidewinders and rocket pods along with their variouspylons, so you can really load it down should you wish. Fortunately, Tamiyadoesn't open the holes for these pylons for you as do some other kit makers,giving you the option of doing a clean bird.
Detailing is as superb as any other newTamiya kit. The instructions are equally excellent and easy to understand. Allcolor callouts are in Tamiya paints. There are three decal options available forthis kit, all in gull grey over white. The first is the very colorful VF(AW)-3at NAS North Island in the very nice blue trim with gold stars (though those onthe sheet are actually yellow). The other two are USMC aircraft fromVMF-114 and VMF-115. Both are more subdued than the first version, butequally as fetching. There are also a number of aftermarket sheets for thisplane.
From my experience with other Tamiya kits,this one will bring pleasure to both new and more experienced builders.
Many thanks to my suffering credit card forsupplying the preview kit.
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