TAMIYA 1/48th F-84G KIT #61060

Review by Bruce Craig

Retail price: $30.00


The Tamiya F-84G, released in late summer of 1998, is the third 1/48th scale kit of the Thunderjet to be released in the 1990s. Previous 1/48th scale Thunderjet kits are the Hawk (mid 1950s), Collect-Aire (about 1996), Battle-Axe (1997). I was told, but have been unable to confirm, that there was a cottage industry 1/48th scale Thunderjet made in Eastern Europe sometime in the late 1980s. If you have information about this, please inform me by email. So far, as of June 1999, I have purchased five Tamiya kits and built three. Addendum: As of Sept. 2000, I have built two more of the Tamiya Thunderjets, both backdated to D-model specs, and used as the two F-84D aircraft on my Tip Tow model.

Addendum -- French Release of this Kit

In August 2000, Fabian Santini in France provided me with the French release of this kit.
Click here to go to the page about that kit.

KIT REVIEW

The Tamiya F-84G Thunderjet is a "typical" kit in that it is injection molded, and with decal sheets. There are no vac, resin, or photo etched parts included. The plastic parts are nearly perfect; other than parting line cleanup, I found, in each of the three kits, only one part with any flash. Parts are funished to make a reasonably detailed nose gun bay installation, and the bay door may be posed open or closed. Flaps may be shown retracted or extended; the two piece windscreen and canopy may be modeled open or closed. Auxiliary wing tanks and auxiliary pylon tanks are furnished, as are optional wing tips for modeling without the auxilliary tip tanks. Two 500lb bombs and the JATO units are supplied; however only the perforated "swiss cheese" speed brake is furnished. One source states the perforated speed brake was used only on the late G-model Thunderjets, while another shows drawings indicating the perforated brake was used on "F-84 early" and the slotted brake on the "F-84G late." Inspection of photos shows the perforated brake on G- models, and the slotted brake on E- and earlier models. Decals are furnished for three USAF aircraft, and they make the data stencils for several access panels on the fuselage sides as one decal, which conveniently reduces the problems associated with working with many small decals. Other model sources state these date stencils are incorrect; I have neither confirmed nor denied this. Dry fitting showed that nearly all parts fit properly, and I had only specific minor problems with assembly, each of which was easily corrected. These "problems" are: the canopy bracing, which starts at the center rear, extends one "brace" too far forward and one "brace" too far to the rear; the fuselage is five scale inches too short (in the panel in front of the wing); the intake cone is not faired properly internally; the instrument panel is for and E-model, and the small nose gear part which traps the nose wheel needs minor trimming to align the nose wheel properly. The canopy error and the nose wheel alignment are the most noticeable. With careful sanding and polishing, the extra braces on the canopy may be removed; see photo below. The instructions for painting the canopy braces are not useful; see photo and caption below for the correct way to represent the braces. The "short" fuselage is not noticeable, and the effort to correct it means the "fix" is not worth considering. The inside of the intake cone may be cleaned up with a hobby knife. The nose wheel alignment may also be repaired with a hobby knife, and, if not corrected, the nose wheel tends to cock to one side. Even so, the kit, in my opinion, is so good, that it is not necessary to "fix" any of the "problems" to complete a great model. The decals are as good as any I have experienced, with only the auxiliary tank decals requiring careful slitting to conform to the three dimensional tanks.

As mentioned above, I have built three of the Tamiya kits. I built all three in parallel as a "production line" project. One was built straight from the box as FS-460, 8th FBS, Taegu, Korea, 1952. Another was backdated to F-84E as FS-135 3600 CTCW, Luke AFB, 1955. Backdating a G- to an E- is fairly simple (with one exception), and requires deleting several minor panel lines on the fuselage, and deleting the air refueling doors on the left wing. The exception is that the tailpipe on the E-model extended past the base of the rudder; I did not correct the tailpipe length on my E- or D-models. FS-135 as modeled had Fletcher auxiliary tanks as used on the T-33A. I used the T-33A tanks from a Testors kit. Decals were made on ATP Clear Decal AD6000 sheets using PageMaker 6.0 on PC output to an ALPS MD-2010 CYMK printer. The resulting decals are translucent, so I first airbrushed the decal sheet with white enamel to give them more brilliance and opacity. The third model was backdated to a D as FS-428-A 49th FBW, Taegu, Korea, 1951. Backdating the G to a D or earlier model Thunderjet requires considerably more work because the D fuselage was 15" shorter, the canopy frame was 12" shorter, the cockpit and canopy were 8" shorter, than the E/G series, and the tailpipe extends past the base of the rudder.

As the Tamiya model is already 5 scale inches too short, I removed only 10" in scale from the fuselage just ahead of the wing roots, and about 3" in scale from three places in the cockpit and turtle deck to make everything fit. I removed 8" in scale from the canopy, glued the two parts together, and made an RTV silicon mold from which I cast a clear acrylic canopy. The remaining 2" in scale was removed by tapering the back of the canopy frame. I posed the canopy open to show the revised cockpit now dressed with the early style ejection seat taken from the Collect-Aire kit. Other changes included eliminating a number of panel lines, rescribing all panels from nose cone to wing leading edge, removing the air refueling doors, rescribing wing panel lines, and replacing the Swiss-cheese speed brake with the slotted speed brake from the Battle-Axe kit. Also, many auxiliary tanks were installed on Thunderjets without the tank to wing joint fairing. One source mentions the planes were not flown with out the fairing; that is incorrect as many photos show aircraft in flight without these fairings. To model that installation, I used a hobby knife to cut away the molded fairing on the kit tanks, then using wire bent to fit holes drilled into the kit wingtips, used super glue to hold the non-faired tanks in place. I used PageMaker and the ALPS printer to create the decals for this aircraft.

All three were modeled with canopy bracing, as shown in photographs of the subjects. There is considerable confusion about the canopy bracing on the Thunderjet; I have documented the correct bracing as shown on photographs of an F-84C on another page. I used white decals, cut to size with a hobby knife, to create each brace in the same order as applied to real aircraft; see photo and caption below. To my eye this technique, albeit tedious, produces the most accurate representation of the real thing.

Paint on all three models was four shades of Testors Buffing Metalizer, and Testors or Aero-Master enamels for other colors. Gear and speed brake wells were done in yellow zinc chromate. As documented elsewhere, Thunderjet gear wells were finished with either yellow or green zinc chromate, and I have a photo of an F-84C which has panels with both colors. Either color is correct if specific information on a specific plane is not available, but, in general, yellow was used on earlier aircraft and green on later aircraft. Photos of these models are at the page Tamiya models by Bruce Craig.

Addendum: Since I built these kits, the ProMod kit was released and, so far, I have built one of them. In checking measurements on both the ProMod and the Tamiya kits, I found I had missed other areas where the Tamiya kit varies or is not correct. First, the auxilliary tanks on the Tamiya measure larger than the ProMod auxilliary tanks, and the ProMod tanks match (in scale) the measurements a friend made of the tanks on an F-84E. As there were two sizes of tanks used on Thunderjets, we do not know if the F-84E tanks were the small or large tanks. Also, I missed that the aft center bracing tape on the canopy does not extend to the tail as on the Tamiya kit. I found that the ProMod kit fuselage and fin profile better matches the composite profile I made from photographs of real aircraft. And, I found that the ventral fuselage fairing, which extends much further forward on the ProMod kit than it does on the Tamiya, and that this correctly depicts the fairing on real Thunderjets. Even so, the Tamiya kit more accurately depicts some of the details of real aircraft. See the Tamiya/ProMod parts comparison page for more details.


Go to page with large images of box art and decals Go to page with large images of box art and decals Go to page with large images of box art and decals

Box art, Tamiya 1/48th scale F-84G Thunderjet, kit #61060.

Main decal sheet, Tamiya 1/48th scale F-84G Thunderjet, kit #61060.

Secondary decal sheet, Tamiya 1/48th scale F-84G Thunderjet, kit #61060.

Go to page with large images of box art and decals



Go to page with large images of box art of decals versions Go to page with large images of box art of decals versions Go to page with large images of box art of decals versions

Box art showing FS-271, one of the three decal schemes furnished with the Tamiya kit.

Box art showing FS-460, one of the three decal schemes furnished with the Tamiya kit.

Not show on box is FS-464, one of the three decal schemes furnished with the Tamiya kit.

Go to page with large images of box art of decals versions


Go to page with large images of canopy fix and brace order Go to page with large images of canopy fix and brace order

This photo shows the location of the incorrect brace on the Tamiya canopy which should be removed. More information is on page with large photo. Addendum: I found later that the aft part of the center bracing tape does not extend to the tail of the canopy, and should also be removed.

This photo shows the correct order to apply the decals to simulate the white fiberglass tape canopy braces. More information is on page with large photo.

Go to page with large images of canopy fix and brace order

Go to parts comparison page

KIT RATING
Rate OneRate OneRate OneRate OneRate One-Half

The Tamiya F-84G is moderately priced at about $30.00. Given the quality and reasonable accuracy of the kit, it is currently easily the best value for anyone wanting to build a 1/48th scale model of the Thunderjet. I didn't rate it 10 of 10 because of the minor but noticeable canopy, intake, and nose wheel glitches, and because of minor omissions of parts appropriate to the G-model. The ProModeler F-84E is (I understand) due out in late summer 1999. Time will tell how it fares compared to this excellent kit by Tamiya.
Addendum: The ProMod kit is out, I have built one, and the review is elsewhere on this site. Generally, both the Tamiya and the ProMod have their different strengths and weaknesses, but I consider them to be about equal overall; see the ProMod review for more details. If the kit is for a beginner, I suggest the Tamiya kit; both kits are suitable for advanced modelers. If only cost is considered, the ProMod is probably the better value. If the weapons bay detail is desired, then get the Tamiya kit. Although both have detail differences, and neither is totally accurate, both may be built into good representations of the real aircraft.


Contents Copyright 1997-2000 Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved
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