BATTLE-AXE 1/48th F-84G KIT #48BA01

Retail price: $79.00

Although I ordered the Collect-Aire F-84E/G kit some six weeks earlier, meanwhile, Battle-Axe released this F-84G kit, and I purchased one, at retail, from my local hobby store the day before the Collect-Aire kit arrived in the mail. Therefore, I had opportunity to compare both kits fresh out of the box with no bias toward either.

KIT REVIEW

The Battle-Axe kit is mixed-media. The main parts are injection molded of gray plastic, with light amber resin parts including a cockpit/nose gear well/intake splitter cast in one piece, two vac-formed canopies, photo etched details, cast metal landing gear, and one decal sheet. A first inspection reveals what appears to be good news and bad news. The good news is the decals are generally good, as are the photo etched parts. The apparent good news is the resin castings are as good as they get, and the decals are generally quite good. The bad news is, the injection molded parts are representative of limited run cottage industry low pressure injection moldings, with thick runners, soft edges, and grossly oversize engraved panel lines. Please understand my comment; I have nothing against limited run kits, but I expect better from a kit at this price. But there is more bad news; the resin cast cockpit is not accurate for the F-84G, the metal landing gear is poorly cast and the instrument panel, and nose gear and nose wheel, are obviously copied from the Monogram F-84F. There are a few good -- and usable -- parts. The photo etched parts, especially the speed brakes, along with the nose gear well, are perfect for use on the Tamiya kit to "upgrade" detail. That begs the question: Is it worth $79.00 (or even a "sale" price) to obtain two or three excellent parts just to detail an already good Tamiya kit? The main wheels are quite good, certainly much better than those furnished with the Collect-Aire kit, but the Tamiya parts are more accurate. The two canopies, both formed with bracing, have grossly heavy bracing and are flawed by rippled surfaces. The initial impression is better than the following inspection. With the exception of the auxiliary tanks, the dimensions are not accurate (for example, the fuselage is the correct length for XP-84 through F-84D), the intake is too long and too sharp, the panel lines are wrong, the turtle deck/rear canopy interface lacks the subtle blended curve, the profile and planform are not correct, and the main gear wells and doors are incorrectly shaped. And, there are considerable parts fit problems; for example, upper and lower wing panels which do not match, and wing root to fuselage interface that does not match. In summary, there is not much good news with this kit. Too bad the kit is not as good as the box art.

As with the Collect-Aire kit, I started to build this kit. I attempted to correct the fuselage length and did correct the "too long and too sharp" intake lip. The resulting changes to the fuselage is shown in a photo below. However, the more I built, the more frustrated I became. Parts were not accurate, and the fit was, at best, poor. Because of the kit-bash and "sows-ear" projects I have built, several of my fellow modelers call me the Masochist Modeler. Despite that tendency, I was not masochistic enough to finish this kit. I used the slotted speed brake to backdate a Tamiya to an F-84D. I initially started modifications to use the cut-apart cockpit and nose gear well in the Collect-Aire kit. Then a fellow club member gave me the pre-release information about the ProModeler F-84E, and I decided to wait for that kit. Meanwhile, the release date for that kit was set back, and the Tamiya kit was released. I purchased three -- and two more since, and subsequently, my Battle-Axe and Collect-Aire F-84 kits do and shall remain unfinished.


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Box art, Battle-Axe 1/48th scale F-84G Thunderjet, kit #48BA01.

Decal Sheet, Battle-Axe 1/48th scale F-84G Thunderjet, kit #48BA01.

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Both halves of the inside fuselage. Both have been lengthened (after correcting the intake lip) to the correct length for 1/48th scale.

Both halves of the outside fuselage. The intake lip was shortened and "blunted" to the correct length, inside diameter, and lip shape.

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KIT RATING
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The Battle-Axe F-84G is an expensive kit. It is not possible to build the kit as an accurate F-84 of any model without, well, to put it bluntly, throwing it out and using an accurate F-84 kit like the Tamiya. As with the Hawk and Collect-Aire kits, it can be built to resemble an F-84, but don't expect it to be what it can never be.


Contents Copyright 1997-1999 Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved


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