Silver Streak: 1/48th Heller F-84F Thunderstreak
This old seventies era 1/48th Heller F-84F Thunderstreak is a pretty basic kit, lacking details and having raised panel lines. Back in its day it was one of the very few available models of this type, however (not surprisingly) this kit has been eclipsed (but not without some trials).
Notable Kit Features:
Basic kit with few parts (but then this was the late 70's)
Decent shape outline
Limited cockpit and ejection seat detail
Raised panel lines
I picked up this kit as well as a RF-84F kit at my local hobby shop in my early days of model making. This was back in the days where the Internet didn't exist and getting a review on a kit was mainly found in model maker magazines ...and then good luck finding your intended subject. This kit was on sale at the time, so it seemed a good kit to buy on a budget. Compared to the Monogram kits I was use to, this plastic was definitely lacking in details. (I never developed into much of a Heller aircraft fan, after a few disappointing experiences similar to this - although they did produce many types of French aircraft which may have been neglected by other manufacturers.)
Limited detail in cockpit and ejection seat
Raised panel lines
Very shallow wheel wells without detail
Poor landing gear
One-piece (thick) canopy (Display closed only)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
I built the kit out of the box but used a different set of markings from the spares box (although I seem to recall not having the squadron patch).
Here was another early attempt at getting a Natural Metal Finish (NMF) on a model kit and one that fell short but was part of a learning process. Several different paints and techniques would be tried out over the years, searching for that scale realism in metals and it is still a work in progress.
The After-Build Report:
There is not much to recommend about this 1979 1/48th scale F-84F Heller kit (not surprisingly). Since then the 1/48th Monogram kit was released in the 80's, which has reported excellent cockpit and ejection seat detail (as usual), optional open canopy but with raised panel lines, and some shape / dimension inaccuracies (mostly around the rear fuselage). The 1/48th Kinetic F-84F kit was released in 2007 with engraved panel lines, however shape / dimensional inaccuracies also haunted this kit. More recently the Hobby Boss 1/48th F-84F Thunderstreak kit came out in 2013. Better in outline and dimension, and with an optional position canopy, it was an improvement on the other kits, however it suffers from shallow wheel wells, lack of intake detail and has only basic detail in the cockpit. Given this state of affairs on the F-84F front, I haven't rushed out to buy a replacement for this old kit just yet - So many models so little time (and space).
Completed build #18 - May 1985 using the 1/48th scale Heller #554 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