Grumman F8F-1B Bearcat
| F407 || 1975-1977 || H(R || 30000 || 1xUSN&1xFrenchNavy |
FROG model aircraft 1932-1976, R. Lines, L. Hellstrom
"Frog F8F-1B Bearcat
LAST IN THE line of famous Grumman piston-engined fighters of the cat family, the Bearcat has until now only been available in 1:72 scale from Monogram. But Frog have doubled the available choice to the modeller with their version of this stubby American fighter.
Following the proven design philosophy of the Hellcat and Wildcat the Bearcat first flew in 1944 but was just too late in reaching the squadrons to see action in World War 2. With a top speed of over 420 mph from its 2,100 hp Pratt and Witney engine, the Bearcat gave legion service to the US Navy and Marine Corps as well as the French Air Force.
Moulded in dark blue plastic, the Frog kit is accurate in outline but lacks some finesse as far as surface detail is concerned. Although panel and control surfaces are unobtrusively etched, the line marking the wing fold is very vague and in some places almost disappears completely.
The part resembling the Pratt and Witney radial engine needs a lot of work carried out on it, as the cylinders are no more than square finless blocks, but the close cowling does hide most of this Frog short-cut.
The bubble canopy comes in two parts so the model can be displayed with this open in which case work has to be carried out to the cockpit interior.
Wheels have good hub detail but the tail wheel assembly looks very heavy and needs a great deal of tidying up.
The wing cannons would be more at home an an AFV but it is a simple matter to replace them with stretched sprue, similarly the underwing rockets and bombs are best replaced or at least cleaned-up to match the rest of the kit mouldings.
Markings for a Bearcat of VF-72 of the US Navy and one used by the French Air Force in Vietnam in 1952 are included on the decal sheet which comes up to the standard one has now come to accept as normal from Frog.
At 55p this is a good model that will complete Grumman's table top air force for all those who have been collecting 'Cats'. Our review sample was kindly supplied by Jones Bros of 56 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London W.4.
1976-06 Airfix magazine"
"... and its prop-driven predecessor
Predating the Tomcat by more than two-and-a-half decades, the Bearcat did, in some respects,
provide as noteworthy an advance in shipboard fighter equipment in its day as does its current descendant.
Of course, the Bearcat arrived on the scene at a time when the fan-up-front was already being considered as passe for the fighter.
Nevertheless, from the commencement of its service phase-in in May 1945, it served with first-line
US Navy units for more than four years, its withdrawal commencing mid-1949; it saw its share of action with the
Armee de l'Air and it did stints with both the Thai and Vietnamese air forces.
The Grumman F8F Bearcat, which now appears in a new 1/72nd scale kit from Frog, has been modelled,
and very successfully, by Monogram, and anyone having the earlier kit may be happy enough with it, although, on balance,
we feel that this new effort is preferable. Comprising 39 component parts moulded suitably enough — always assuming that
you do not have a penchant for the natural metal-finished examples flown by the Thais and Vietnamese — in the usual Frog
dark blue-grey plastic with fine raised panel lines, the result is effective. We have a personal preference for engraved
detail as the raised type tends to get obliterated when joints are smoothed down. There is a modicum of flash on the mouldings,
but they are generally clean and the trailing edges of the flying surfaces are acceptably fine.
The cockpit interior could make good use of a lot more detail and we must admit to some misgivings
over the massive locating lugs inside the wheel wells for the main undercarriage members — perhaps a little judicious
trimming would not be entirely out of place. The undercarriage itself is a little on the chunky side but not excessively
so, and the wheels are nicely formed. External stores comprise a centreline drop tank, two bombs and four rockets. The engine
is a one-piece moulding but looks well enough, being set well back inside the cowling, while the two-piece canopy is extremely
clear and sits well on the fuselage.
The variant depicted is the F8F-1B and the excellent decal sheet offers markings for an aircraft of
the US Navy's VF-72 in 1950, based at NAS Quonset Point, and for a Bearcat of GC 1/21 Artois of the Armee de l'Air in Indo-China
in 1952. Our sample kit was provided, incidentally, by G.W. Jones Bros & Company of 62 Turnham Green Terrace, London W4, who
are retailing it in the UK at 55p (plus 20p postage)."
1976-06 Air International
F8F BEARCAT FROM FROG
TWO aircraft that saw service right at the end of World War 2 are the subjects chosen by Frog for their latest releases. They are the US Navy's F8F-1B Bearcat and the Luftwaffe's Arado Ar 234B. Both make interesting models though as with most of the more popular types in recent years they have been produced by other manufacturers in either the same or very near variants.
Out of the two we favoured the Bearcat as this makes up well and has a number of good features about it. The Arado is not such a good model as we found this to be rather over-scale in certain places even though two versions of the aircraft have been included in the kit and for value it can be described as one of the best yet.
The Bearcat was made first, and in doing so there were few problems. It is a kit that could be readily recommended to the beginner. Cockpit detail is sparse and although the instrument panel is there it required some additional work on this and the seat to bring it up to accepted standards so that the canopy might be left in the open position when the model was finished.
The engine and propeller are well detailed on the other hand and the surface panel lines are not too marked and overscale. Frog have been thoughtful in that they have provided both a US Navy and French Air Force version in the kit and as these differ slightly in having a different arrangement in front of the cockpit the extra parts have been supplied. The French machine has what we presume to be a small radiator on top of the fuselage line in this position and the modeller has to make up his mind fairly early on if he decides to produce this version. The alternative parts have to be applied when the fuselage is constructed and before the joint lines are rubbed down.
The wings are split along the line of the flaps and ailerons thus making the trailing edge reasonably sharp. The bottom half of the wing also provides the underside of the fuselage and the joint between this and the remainder, plus the upper wing to fuselage joint need Body putty applied to overcome the small gaps that are left after construction.
Although the rest of the kit is finely detailed we found this not to be the case in the undercarriage. By comparing it to the Monogram kit of the Bearcat and also by a study of photographic reference material we feel that the upper half of each leg is too thick for accuracy. The wheels themselves are well detailed and scale size but the remainder looks rather clumsy. An attempt to scratch build the legs could be made but this is not a job for a modeller with a small amount of experience.
The F8F-1B Bearcat was heavily armed and so is the model. Four 20mm cannon protrude from the wines and a long ranee fuel tank, two bombs and four air-to-ground rockets are mounted underneath.
The decals with the kit are clean, have a lot of detail and adhere well. The US Navy aircraft featured is one from VF-72 which served at NAS Quonset Point and also on the USS Leyte in 1950. The French aircraft comes from GC1/21 'Artois' operated by the French Air Force from Bac-Mai (Hanoi) Vietnam in 1952.
The retail price of the Frog Bearcat is 55p. We thought it to be a good model marred only by the heaviness of the undercarriage.
Aviation News Vol 4 Num 24 30 April-13 May 1976