Testors F8F-2 Bearcat (Kit # 519, 1/48 Scale)
Reviewed by Rick Reinbott
Testors F8F-2, while a very old kit (I’ve read that it was originally issued by Hawk circa 1967), is a decent representation of the Bearcat and is very reasonably priced. The panel detail is a mixture of raised (fuselage) and recessed (wings & stabilizer). The overall detail is pretty basic, with the cockpit only containing a seat and instrument panel (decal for dials), open wheel wells (not boxed-in) with minor ribbing detail, and simplified main landing gear, with no retraction strut parts supplied. Ejector pin marks are present on the interior of gear covers, struts, ordnance, etc. Canopy and windscreen pieces are a bit thick. Ordnance stubs are molded on the wing undersides, however, the kit does not provide bomb sway-braces. Armament consists of two 500 lb. bombs and four 5-inch rockets (HVARs) with a centerline fuel tank (suitable for a recce pod for a F8F-1P field modification). Cannon barrels are molded onto the wing leading edge. The tail wheel, engine and propeller are nicely molded and, while the cowl shape is somewhat narrow in profile, the overall dimensions of the kit look good. A pilot figure is included.
Instructions are very well done and include a brief history, references, and useful tips for painting, decal application and weathering, in addition to exploded views of construction and a painting color key. An added bonus for modeling a French aircraft, since, as mentioned, the Testors kit depicts the tall-tailed F8F-2 variant, which was not used by the French, are notes for converting the model to an F8F-1/B version. Markings are provided for two aircraft, with one being a Naval Air Reserve plane based out of Glenview, IL in 1953 and the other a modified -2 used for racing, known as ‘G-58A Gulfhawk IV’, belonging to Major Al Williams. A good aftermarket sheet for a French aircraft, if you can find it, is Aeromaster Sheet “U.S. Aircraft in French Service”, # 48081 which contains markings for an F8F-1B of G/C 1/22 Saintonge based in Tonkin in 1953.
The Squadron/Signal's F8F Bearcat in Action is a useful reference for information and photos as well as more specific information (including drawings) for conversion.
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