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 Czech Model 1:48 - Ryan XF2R-1 "Dark Shark"

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PostSubject: Czech Model 1:48 - Ryan XF2R-1 "Dark Shark"   Sat Feb 25 2017, 01:21

Here's a 1:48 scale kit I was looking forward to trying out. It was of good size and had resin "upgraded" parts (this would be my first experience with resin). It would also be my first kit from Czech Model. And, most importantly, it was of an unusual aircraft - the Ryan XF2R-1 "Dark Shark."

Aircraft

The Ryan XF2R-1, commonly called the "Dark Shark," was an airplane born in the transition period between props and jets for US military aircraft. Its forerunner was the Ryan FR-1 "Fireball" which was designed in 1943. It had a radial engine powering a prop in the front of the aircraft while a jet engine propelled it from the back. Sixty-six FR-1s were produced and ready to be sent into combat but WWII had come to an end. The Fireball was the first US Navy aircraft to have tricycle landing gear and became the first jet aircraft to land on a carrier (ok, an emergency landing using just the jet engine). The last Fireball was withdrawn from service in 1947.

Because the reliability of true jet engined aircraft was still in doubt, the US Air Force (still the USAAC at this time) and Navy were still interested in dual-engined aircraft. Ryan continued development of the FR-1 and replaced the radial engine with a turboprop and added a more powerful jet engine. This became the XF2R-1. Only one prototype was built before the project was cancelled in late 1947 as more reliable jet aircraft became available. Reports indicate the XF2R-1 was a good aircraft to fly and did well in carrier tests.

For more information:
http://aviationtrivia.blogspot.com/2010/11/ryan-fr-1-fireball-and-f2r-dark-shark.html

http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=829

The Kit

This Czech Model kit was made in 2005 as a limited-run kit. It consists a injection molded parts, resin parts from "True Details," and a vacuum-formed canopy. The instructions were nicely done, but some sections were not clear on where or how some parts were to be assembled.

Assembly

I started with the resin parts which would be my first experience with this medium. All of the parts required cutting and or shaping which was a real pain in the backside. After reading (and hearing) all the horror stories about resin modeling I was a bit intimidated. I managed, but I will say my first efforts were ham-handed. Cutting round wheels from solid forms was not fun (I didn't do very well at it).

After getting the resin parts for the cockpit ready for assembly I encountered my next hurdle. I used a good brand of "regular" C/A glue and found it did a miserable job at gluing the resin parts. In fact it failed entirely. I did some additional research online and found I needed a better (industrial you might say) grade of glue. I bought some at the hobby store and it made a world of difference.

The next problem I had was in fitting the resin cockpit into the plastic fuselage. This is where I had to do LOTS of scraping, cutting, filing and more fitting to get the resin parts to fit properly. This would be the case throughout the assembly of this model when it came to attaching the resin parts to the plastic. As usual with the Czech models, that I have done so far, there are no guide pins so I had to use lots of clamps, bands, and paper clips to hold things together until the glue set.

Aside from the resin to plastic problems, I felt the kit went together well. I must mention that NONE of the parts on the sprues are numbered even though the instructions refer to them by such. The plastic was of very good quality and easy to work with. Minimal cleaning was required. The model is also quite tail-heavy and, even though I added an ounce or so of weight in the nose, required that I placed a metal rod in the belly to keep it on its wheels.

The vacuum-form canopy was also something new for me. I didn't have any problems with them but two were sent in the kit so you have a spare if need be. I did have a non-kit related problem with the canopies as the Ebay seller I bought the kit from sent it in an absurd manner which crushed both canopies. I was able to work them back into shape but they both have stress marks/creases on the top. The use of the Pledge floor care really helped them out though.


Painting & Decals

With the exception of the cockpit, which I painted before assembly, I painted everything after the model had been assembled. I don't usually do this, but the uncertainty of how some of the resin parts would work-out made me take this course of action.

The prototype was called the "Dark Shark" for a good reason and I think it was for the dark gloss sea blue paint scheme. Almost everything outside the cockpit and prop are this color. This is the scheme I painted and decaled.

The kit also includes decals and painting examples for a "fantasy" scheme had the plane actually gone into service with the USN VF-41 Firebirds.

The decals were thin, but strong, and were applied easily after application of the Pledge. After drying, the decals were sealed with another application of Pledge.

Conclusions

I think the Czech Model kit is well made but could use some help in a few areas in regard to the instructions and illustrations. I was really pleased with how the resin parts looked in the cockpit assembly (sorry the pics don't so them well) but feel they were not all that great, in this model at least, that regular injection molded plastic would not have been as good or BETTER. Some of the resin parts were absolutely worthless IMO and need not have been used (the flap "rods" for example as well as the jet exhausts) as they needlessly wasted time for prep and assembly without adding to the look of the model.

I feel this would be an awesome all-plastic kit with only a resin cockpit upgrade. Would I buy another Czech Model kit? That's a tough call as the resin parts are the only thing keeping me from provided a firm yes. So I will need to give a qualified maybe.

But if resin parts are not an issue for you, then I think you would be happy buying one from this manufacturer.

I hope this review wasn't overly long and/or ponderous. I'm trying to figure out a good format for such things that give information without being dense. Let me know if you have suggestions for the future. I hope you find the pics interesting.














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