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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Falling Star: 1/48th Monogram F-80 Shooting Star

The 1/48th Monogram F-80 Shooting Star was released back in 1977. While the kit still has some nice features, it is now dated and also has a number of fit issues to be dealt with.

1/48th Monogram F-80 Shooting Star

Notable Kit Features:

  • Decent cockpit with raised details

  • Kit may be built with engine exposed (rear fuselage dolly provided)

  • Flaps may be positioned up or down

  • Separate airbrakes

  • Good wheel well detail

  • Optional open gun bay (left side only)

  • External store options include two different styles of under-wing tip tanks,(but not the larger Misawa style ones) bombs and early napalm canisters

  • Good pilot figure included

  • Still the most accurately shaped P/F-80 in 1/48th scale?

94th FS / 416 FG P-80 Shooting Star named "Rhapsody in Rivets"

Build Inspiration:

This kit was originally built in 1984 and then I stripped it down and repainted it in 1992. I had purchased Microscale decals for a 94th FS / 416 FG P-80 named "Rhapsody in Rivets" at a local shop and decided to redo my F-80. I am assuming the aircraft name was a reference to the 1941 Warner Brothers / Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng. I don't think I noticed at the time that this aircraft was actually an "A" model. (The Monogram kit is a "C".) The 416th flew the first trans-continental fighter jet missions in 1946, Each of the squadrons aircraft also carried the pilot's WWII "Victory Board" on the tail of the aircraft. "Rhapsody in Rivets" was the commanding Officer's aircraft and carried the four squadron coloured bands around the tail.

1/48th Monogram F-80 Shooting Star

Heads-Up Report:

  • Instrument panel is buried in the pit and should be moved back toward the pilot

  • Ejection seat missing seatbelts

  • Crude gunsight representation

  • Ejector pin marks are common

  • Some sink marks present in my kit example

  • Thick parts (E.g. Gear doors, flaps, guns - not uncommon for this era)

  • Inaccurate raised panel lines (Sand them off so you don't see many of the panel lines on this bird at any distance - or try your hand at re-scribing (just don't use the given lines as a guide)

  • Parts fit in areas is poor (E.g. Nose gun door, front to rear fuselage join has a major step and antennas in this area will be wiped out in sanding and require replacement)

  • Main canopy glass fits on a frame (Would have been better molded as one piece)

  • Engine lacks much detail and is not particularly accurate

  • Rear fuselage interior lacks any detail (To build the plane w/o the engine exposed, I suggest gluing the full left and right halves together first)

  • Kit does not feature the Misawa tanks that were featured on many later F-80s (Possibly steal them from a T-Bird?)

1/48th Monogram F-80 Shooting Star

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Made seat belts from painted masking tape strips

  • Added much weight in the nose to forgo the rear prop-up stick option

  • Used Third-party decals instead of kit decals

  • As this is an "A" version it should have the landing light in the upper nose as well as the tear-drip end removed from the rear of the canopy (My bad for not paying attention :)

1/48th Monogram F-80 Shooting Star


The paint job on this aircraft is a simple and rare non-Natural Metal Finish (NMF) one. These early P-80A aircraft were overall Pearl Gray. The fin, nose and tank tips were painted yellow. The exhaust was dark metal. Decals were applied after a gloss finish was established. Dark washes were used on the control surfaces to enhance them. The final coat was a semi-gloss to seal in the decals and retain something of a shine to the finish.

1/48th Monogram F-80 Shooting Star

The After-Build Report:

Here is yet another old Monogram kit that despite all its issues, still has a place with model makers, mainly because the build options for a 1/48th Shooting Star are so limited. Understanding that this kit is will require some work to get a decent example of a F-80 built, will set your expectations properly. You can definitely find reviews on this kit that claim it to be practically unbuildable, and while it does have its issues this kit may still (arguably) be the best starting point for a 1/48th F-80 Shooting Star, from a shape accuracy perspective. So, that and it's inexpensive cost end up why this Monogram kit can sill be recommended if you want a 1/48th F-80.

Unfortunately the highly anticipated newer release F-80 from Hobby Boss has several shape issues which are difficult to correct (E.g. the intakes - while Monograms aren't spot on, Hobby Boss completely misses the shape) Hobby Boss also seems to miss in several overall dimensional aspects but does have nice recessed panel lines and better fit. So you have a choice on which errors you want to build with. While neither are great they will both look the part when completed, if you don't look too close.

Completed build #10 - June 1984 using the 1/48th scale Monogram F-80 #5428 kit. (Repainted in December of 1992 to become "Rhapsody in Rivets".)

Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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