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  Fujimi 1/72: Vought F7U-3 Cutlass

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Posts : 273
Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : California

PostSubject: Fujimi 1/72: Vought F7U-3 Cutlass    Sun Feb 26 2017, 00:25

I bought this kit off Ebay a while back and was surprised by what I found inside the box. The seller threw in a couple of extra bags of 1/72 Cutlass parts, most removed from their sprus, so that the build was more like a jigsaw puzzle than a model airplane. Nothing was missing, but it made finding the part you wanted a bit more challenging.

The Vought F7U-3 Cutlass

The Cutlass program was a result of the US Navy's desire, in 1945, for a carrier launched jet fighter and fighter bomber. Vought engineers, influenced by captured German designs for tailless jet fighter aircraft, came up with the design for the Cutlass. The first flight of the aircraft, which used Westinghouse J-46 Turbojets for power, was in Sept. 1948. The engines were notoriously under-powered and prone to failure, yet the aircraft went into production with the first Naval Squadrons getting the aircraft in 1951.

Pilots found the Cutlass to be a demanding aircraft to fly and control - especially during landings on carriers. They became yet another plane with a reputation as a "widow-maker" owing to its high operator accident and fatality rate. The Captain's of many US Carriers ordered them off their ships due to the accidents and fatalities they were causing.

Along with the aforementioned troubles plaguing the Cutlass, it also had very short range (no legs), constantly leaking hydraulic systems that were prone to failure, and high-angle of attack during landings. It's a shame that something that looked this cool would preform so badly. All Cutlass aircraft were retired from service by 1959.

The Kit

The Fujimi kit is nicely done with excellent plastic and nicely engraved panel lines. The cockpit has good detailing and all parts fit well together. You get decals for four different aircraft (mine is from VC-3 which was based at Moffett Field near San Francisco, CA). Overall a nice kit to work on. But there are a few things to be aware of:

1. Paint callouts are close, but online research had use of other colors. There really doesn't seem to be a good online resource for detailed pics / photos to help build one of these aircraft. The cockpit of the Cutlass at the Naval History Air Museum is incorrect with parts from other aircraft to fill holes in the control panel - so that was out even though there were some great pics there. I think every kit built will have some slight difference that can be argued one way or another.

2. The instructions have you drill out eight holes under the wings. But after doing so I found only two sets of the four are actually used for anything (the external fuel tanks). So I had to putty-in the other four.

3. The rear gear doors are in one piece and are shown in the closed position with the gear extended. However, all the pics I saw (after the fact) show that the gear doors are open when the plane is on the ground with the gear extended. Looks like you need to cut them yourself and glue them in correctly (nothing is said about this in the instructions).

4. The decals are thick and gluey. I had a disaster in that the upper-right wing should have a number and code on it (75 NP), It did, but after it dried I saw that a dark sludge of glue was all over the wing and decal (this didn't happen on the others). I tried to clean it but things went from bad to worse and I destroyed the whole wing. I had to repaint and refinish it - without any decals.

Overall I am happy with how it turned out (happier if that decal didn't become a problem) and it looks striking on the shelf with my other early USN jets. I would recommend this kit to others with the aforementioned caveats.

I hope you enjoy the pics:

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Posts : 279
Join date : 2017-03-05

PostSubject: Re: Fujimi 1/72: Vought F7U-3 Cutlass    Sun Mar 05 2017, 10:45

Beautiful build.

 Mike Grant | Calgary AB
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