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This is Life: 1/48th Hobbycraft F9F-2P Panther

The 2007 co-release of this new tool 1/48th Hobbycraft F9F-2P Panther (by Hobbycraft and Trumpeter) was a very welcome addition to Korean War era aircraft fans. This was the first recessed panel line Panther kit as well as the first decent F9F-2/3 Panther seen. This photo nose version was just another reason to celebrate.

1/48th Hobbycraft F9F-2P Panther

Notable Kit Features:

  • Well fitting parts assembly

  • Nicely detailed cockpit with photo-etch panel and film instruments

  • Fine recessed panel lines (and lots of recessed rivets)

  • Wing assembly provides intake trunks

  • Option of folded or flight-positioned wings

  • Positionable wing flaps

  • Reconnaissance and gun nose parts provided

  • Nice thin and clear two-piece canopy

  • An array of external weapons including bombs and HVARs are still included with this kit

1/48th Hobbycraft F9F-2P Panther

Build Inspiration:

The F9F Panther was one of the US Navy’s first successful carrier-based jet fighters and Grumman’s first jet fighter. The Panther was used by both the US Navy and US Marine Corps during the Korean War. Typically the F9F provided air cover for the propeller fighter-bombers (F4U Corsairs and AD Skyraiders) as well as providing Flak suppression and photo reconnaissance. For my recon version, I selected an aircraft from VC61 with the "Life" magazine logo on the nose as an appropriate subject.

F9F-2P in USS Bon Homme Richard's hangar Nov. 1952

Heads-Up Report:

  • Canopy shape issues reported (Although these seemed to be addressed in later releases)

  • Apparently the length of the kit is a bit long (if you care to measure it)

  • No backing of the intake ducts

  • Add sufficient nose weight

1/48th Hobbycraft F9F-2P Panther

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Added seatbelts

  • Added nose weight in the form off BBs glued into the nose

  • Blackend off the photo windows on the inside

  • Used styrene cardstock to blank off intakes at the rear of the ducts

1/48th Hobbycraft F9F-2P Panther


The paint scheme for this aircraft is fairly basic overall U.S. Navy blue (FS 15042). The most challenging part is masking off and painting the aluminum leading edges. The decals were very thin and settled down well.

1/48th Hobbycraft F9F-2P Panther

The After-Build Report:

Prior to this release the go-to Panther was the F9F-5 Monogram version, which was a decent kit from the 90s with raised panel lines. This 1/48th Hobbycraft F9F-2P Panther was a nice stress free build for me. that went together well without any issues that I recall. I recommend this kit to model builders of most skill sets as a good kit that will get you a nice display model. Beginners may want to opt for Monogram's / Revell's kit, as it is a simpler build without the wing-fold or separate flaps to get bogged down with.

Completed build #120 - December 2009 using the 1/48th scale Hobbycraft #1457 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 suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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