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1/48 Douglas F4D-1 Skyray

by  Tamiya
Product Description
This item is an injection-plastic jet aircraft model kit.   Click here for sizing chart.
Nobody ever expected Tamiya (or any major firm, for that matter) to release this plane!

Tamiya's Skyray looks great in the box, offering all the crucial details that one would expect from a kit from this company. Cockpit detail is good, but one could probably add more detail with a third-party set. Engine intake and exhaust, gear bays, and all the other nooks and crannies also have plenty of little bumps, pipes and rivets on them, but I cannot comment on their accuracy.

The kit offers several features: wings can be folded or extended, leading edge slats can be folded or extended, and the tail stabilizer (elevator-like fin) moves after assembly. Cockpit does not open, however. Kit includes two AIM-9s, a NAVPAC, a rocket launcher and two varieties of drop tanks (with and without refueling probe) that can be mounted to the underside.

Markings are includes for VF(AW)-3 (see box art), and the Marine squadrons VMF(AW)-114 and VMF(AW)-115. Note, the decals are printed in Japan unlike most Tamiya aircraft releases during 1996-97, and appear quite a bit better (though thicker) than the poor sheets included with the Corsair, Beaufighter and other releases during that period (there was a printing error in the decals on this kit, but a small correction sheet is included).

What follows is a review of the kit originally posted to the rec.models.scale newsgroup by Jose Herculano (thanks!). The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of HLJ.

Just got the bird from HobbyLink Japan - thanks, Scott! First a note of caution: this is a review by a detail nutcase for detail nutcases. If you're not a detail nutcase, please read no further - just build it, you'll like it.

Basics first: gray plastic, Hasegawa-like, very nice detail. Scales on the mark, looks like a Skyray. A winner.

Cockpit: a bit bare, no throttle, consoles are wider on the back, should be wider on the front - will love to see how the aftermarket companies are going to approach this one. If they do correct consoles, buy it, if not, just add a throttle to the kit and forget them. Seat is passable. The model includes a hunchback figure to sit there. Leave the hunchback out and no doubt you'll want to detail it a bit.

Windscreen and canopy are very fine - hey, that second "window" on top of the canopy is not a window at all. Just follow Tamiya's instructions and paint it. Canopy can be assembled open or close (Scott scared me to death on that one), although no actuating arm is provided. A bravo to Tamiya. Seems they could not find a reference to it, but they provided the basis for us.

Landing gear is OK. A bit of very small tubing in the wells and it is perfect. The front wheel is a beauty. Two halves with very fine wheel spokes - a see-thru masterpiece.

Fuselage is broken down nicely, well detailed, and fits mostly well. No filler required, just the odd bit of superglue. Slats are separate, which is very nice since they do drop by gravity when the bird is parked. Wing elevons are not separate, but can be cut out easily - and they are not normally down on parked birds.

Speedbrakes (smallish) are not separate, but are seen open about with the same frequency as the one on the F/A-18. Which means *very* seldom. When I heard the bird was going to have operating tail elevons I was skeptic they could pull it out. Well, they did. Very nice. Kudos for Tamiya.

Jet intake and exhaust are a bit disappointing, but correctable with some work. The afterburner lip is that of an 8B subversion of the engine. Be careful if your scheme demands an 8A, with the very distinctive "iris" afterburner petals. Tailhook and bumper wheel are positionable, and very well done. The beaver tail above the jet exhaust is too round. A file and 5 minutes careful work and it will be perfect.

Wings can be folded, but then the detail on the inside is passable. But OK. We just need some very small scratchbuilding or some etch. The hard basis is there.

Stores: 2 drop tanks, one with in-flight refueling probe. My pictures of the NORAD birds - including one of the bird in the box art - show no refueling probe, so take it out for this scheme. Two rocket pods (don't use them on the NORAD bird - pictures show rocket pods, but smaller ones), 2 B 'winders and a centerline navigation pod. All very nicely done.

Decals. Gotta love'em, gotta hate'em. As fine a printing as I've ever seen. The NORAD bird is a looker, plain delightful. So why the hate part? Well, I guess everybody has heard all about scale color. We all say yes, and most of us never use it. Put the blue in the NORAD bird's tail, spine and insignia, against an FSC595 fan deck and you'll get a heart attack. The blue should be a bit darker. But guess what, scale color-wise it is perfect. Tamiya, accidental, or wisely done? Just make sure to paint the Ford with scaled-down colors.

Bottom line: I bought 4 of them, and regret it not for a millisecond. Arigato gozaiemasu (or whatever they say), Mr. Tamiya. A delightful bird. What about a Cougar, please, please?

Assembly Guide
Aircraft Series
Date Released:
February 1998
Package Size/Weight:
35.0 x 20.0 x 6.5 cm / 370g


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