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 REVIEW: Altaya US Navy F4D1 Skyray, VF-162 "The Hunters", NAS Cecil Field, 1960

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Posts : 129
Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: REVIEW: Altaya US Navy F4D1 Skyray, VF-162 "The Hunters", NAS Cecil Field, 1960   Sun Jul 23 2017, 19:22

Altaya Magazine Series #39
US Navy Douglas F4D1 Skyray #134836
VF-162 "The Hunters"
NAS Cecil Field, Florida 1960
1/72 Scale

Below: Actual aircraft 134836 in formation with 134795.

Below:  Aircraft as currently displayed at the New England Air Museum.

The Douglas F4D Skyray (later redesignated F-6 Skyray) was an American carrier-based supersonic Fighter/Interceptor built by Douglas. Although it was in service for a relatively short time and never entered combat, it was notable for being the first carrier-launched aircraft to hold the world's absolute speed record, at 752.943 mph, and was the first United States Navy and United States Marine Corps fighter that could exceed Mach 1 in level flight.

Skyrays did not reach the fleet until 1956, eventually equiping 11 squadrons for the Navy and 7 squadrons for the Marines. By February, 1964 the F4D was phased out of frontline service in favor of the Vought F8U Crusader. In 1962, under the Defense Department’s new designation system, the F4D-1 Skyray was renumbered as the F-6A Skyray. The Test Pilot School at Patuxent River continued to use examples until November 25, 1969 when the last flyable Skyray (134806) was ferried to NAS Pensacola, Florida where it is on exhibit at the National Naval Aviation Museum.

The subject for this model is Douglas F4D-1 Skyray ,BuAer #134836, that is on display at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Of the 421 Skyrays built, 2 prototypes & 419 production, this aircraft is the 106th aircraft built. The paint scheme is representative of an aircraft of VF-162 “The Hunters”.  The squadron was commisioned at NAS Cecil Field, Florida on September 1, 1960 the first aircraft did not arrive until a month later on October 10th. Naval Fighters #13 Douglas F4D Skyrays states “At this time VF-162 Skyrays carried CVG-16’s modex ‘AH’, a ‘200’ series nose number, and an elaborate marking scheme consisting of black upper elevon and rudder surfaces with gold stars.

The Altaya 1/72 Scale model of the Skyray is surprising in quality given the price (in the low $20.00 range). Not much diecast metal content here as the model is mainly plastic. The packaging is sub par however. Mine arrived with the stand support bouncing around the package and caused a few superficial scratches on the paint. Also once the package is opened it can never be sealed up again.

Overall the shape is accurate and the paint quality is acceptable if not up to the usual diecast standard (quite thin in places). There are also a few quality control issues (My version came with a bent Sidewinder missile which come pre-mounted under the wing and there are a few glue marks on the airframe as well). The Canopy can be removed with some prying and a Hobby Master Pilot fits just fine. The model may be displayed gear up or gear down and a simple display stand is included.

Since the Skyray is unlikely to be done by a major diecast company anytime soon I would say that this makes it a must buy for anyone who collects U.S. Naval aircraft.

Overall a good value but quality issues in my opinion mean that these "Magazine Diecast Models" will not be a threat to Mainstream Diecast Manufacturers anytime soon.


P.S. Here is the link to the French Magazine (Journaux) that sponsors these models:

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REVIEW: Altaya US Navy F4D1 Skyray, VF-162 "The Hunters", NAS Cecil Field, 1960
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