Flying Ford: 1/48th Tamiya F4D-1 Skyray
Here we have an early United States Navy /Marines jet example produced by Tamiya in 1/48th scale. The Cold War jet race produced a lot of aircraft in this era that had relatively short careers, however there certainly were some interesting designs. Tamiya's Skyray was first released in 1998 and then again in 2011
Notable Kit Features:
Nicely detailed (early) cockpit (Pre Martin-Baker seat)
Engine face provided in the intake
Finely molded recessed panel lines and raised details
Movable rear elevators
Slats may be positioned up or down
Wings can be built in the folded position
Nice detail in the landing gear components
Stores include Tanks, Rocket pods, Sidewinders and NavPac
I was looking for a straight-forward build as a contrast to a couple of other kits I was building at the time. I didn't know a lot about this jet or have a good amount of reference material available at the time (sometimes ignorance is bliss). I was just attracted by the unique design and colourful markings of this kit and seeing as it was a Tamiya kit it should be pretty stress free (typically).
While certainly acceptable from most model builder's standpoints (myself included), the Tamiya kit doesn't quite have the nose shape of the aircraft correct. The kit nose appears to be too long, the fuselage a bit wide and the nose a bit fat. The actual aircraft is a bit sleeker looking along these lines as well as around the canopy. DMold Modelworks produced a correction set for this kit if you are interested.
Careful not to cut off the tabs on the wings if you are planning on building the wing-fold option (The in-flight wing parts seem to mate well if you opt for that instead.)
Add nose weight (Tamiya instructions do not note this however you do need 15-20g of forward weight)
Clean-up the mold ejection pin mark on the exhaust vent (part B5) ...and a few other areas as well
Wing join requires patience make sure everything fits properly before committing to glue, and watch you don't weld the rear elevators (by design, they should be movable)
Tail bumper appears to be normally retracted while on the ground (instructions have it deployed to avoid a tail dragger configuration)
The kit comes with the early ejection seat therefore you may have to check your markings to see if yours is a late version which would have the MB seat (if you care)
Also of note, is that although Tamiya did a two-piece canopy for the kit, they did not mold the actuator mechanism to display the cockpit open
The Tamiya paint instructions show the upper wings to be painted all gray (and a USAF gray at that!) This is incorrect, as in most cases as the horizontal control surfaces were painted white (but not the vertical tail control surface).
Kit Additions / Modifications:
I built this kit pretty much Out-of-the-Box with the exception of adding seatbelts
The paint on this aircraft should be done in the standard USN Gray FS16440 (Not USAF Gray as the instructions call for - Blasphemy! :) over white, with the horizontal control surfaces also painted white (for the included Marines schemes as well). I somehow missed the rear fuselage metallic portion around the exhaust as well as the grey tabs on the nose cone - there always seems to be some oversight (or muck-up) in building a kit, sometimes minor, sometimes major. (We will get it correct next time around!) Weathering was kept minimal on this example, as this squadron's aircraft were pretty pristine in any reference photos I found at the time.
The After-Build Report:
Despite that seemingly long list in the Heads-Up section this Tamiya kit is still recommended as it can produce a very nice-looking model and a stress-free build. If you are not too concerned about the shape being off a bit (as I wasn't) this is a good kit to have in your 50's collection. Tamiya's kit is also the best example of the F4D available in this scale (to my knowledge) so this is your starting point if you want to add DMold's correction and a few details of your own to get a real stunner of a kit build.
Completed build #199 - December 2016 using the 1/48th scale Tamiya #61055 kit.
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 supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers