Pursuit of War - 1/48th Monogram F-80C Shooting Star
Updated: Mar 11, 2022
Here we have yet another old Monogram kit that despite all its issues, still has a place with model makers as the choice is so limited, if you want a Shooting Star. The kit dates back to 1977 so keep your expectations there and it is a reasonable model.
Notable Kit Features:
Still the most accurate P-80 / F-80 in 1/48th scale
Decent cockpit with raised details
Kit may be built with engine exposed (Rear fuselage dolly provided)
Flaps may be positioned up or down
Good wheel well detail
Optional open gun bay (Left side)
External store options include two different styles of under-wing tip tanks, bombs and early napalm canisters
I have a book featuring some of the Korean War era fighters and one aircraft was an F-80 with nose art "Beer City Special". I had this build on the "Dream Team" list, if I could ever get the pieces together. Years later I came across a set of decals featuring a sister aircraft to this one and figured this was as close as I would ever get. F-80 Shooting Star FT-547 flown by the USAF 8th Fighter Bomber Group, 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron based out of Suwon Air Base, South Korea in 1952. The aircraft had "Evil Eye Fleagle" nose art on one side and "Miss Barbara Ann" on the other. Set to go :)
As luck would have it, after I purchased Aeromaster 48-630: Shooting Stars over Korea pt II which featured "Evil Eye Fleagle", Aeromaster released Part III... which would feature "Beer City Special" ...of Course!
You can definitely find reviews on this kit that claim it to be practically unbuildable, and while it does have its issues this kit is still (unfortunately and maybe arguably) the best starting point from an accuracy perspective.
Instrument panel is buried in the pit and should be moved back toward the pilot
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 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)
Inaccurate area under main canopy
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, glue the 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)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Made seat belts from painted masking tape strips
Added much weight in the nose to forgo the rear prop-stick option
Used Aeromaster 48-630: Shooting Stars over Korea pt II instead of kit decals (which typically were not great)
This was an early attempt at a NMF with varied panel lines. It was a learning experience and suffered from lack of references to establish which panels should be varied and too thick a coat of paint. All points noted for future NMF builds to get an improved result.
The After-Build Report:
Understanding that this kit is ancient and will require some work to get a decent example of a F-80 built will set your expectations proper. Unfortunately the highly anticipated newer release 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) Hobby Boss also seems to miss in several overall dimensional aspects. So, that is basically why the Monogram kit can sill be recommended if you want a F-80. At least it should be an inexpensive attempt at a build.
Completed build #83 - August 2005 using the 1/48th scale Monogram F-80 #5428 kit.
I may have to give this kit another go and build a Squadron line-up diorama if I come across the Beer City decals. :)
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