1/72 scale Matchox kit of the Douglas SkyKnight
review / modelling report
The Douglas F3D Skyknight was an American twin-engined, midwing night jet fighter aircraft of the Douglas Aircraft Company. Designed by the famous Ed Heinemann as a carrier-based all-weather aircraft, it saw service with the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. First flight was in beginning 1948.
As a night fighter it was quite big to accomodate a powerful radar system and second crew member to direct any attack and for navigation. It also needed two Westinghouse J34 turbojets and had a non-swept wing and the aircraft had a maximum speed of about max 850 km/hour. Armament consisted of four 20 mm cannons mounted in the lower fuselage. Some versions were developed, the F3D-2 being the most common one that was also used in the Korea War in an overall black "night" livery. Later, in 1954 the F3D-2M was the first US Navy jet aircraft to be fitted with a Sparrow air-to-air missile that could fly operational combat missions. At the end of the Skyknights career, some aircraft were used for electronic warfare. Also, a few aircraft were converted for use as trainers and were designated F3D-2T.
Matchbox (Lesley UK) issued a 1/72 kit no. PK-134 of a F3D-2 a very long time ago in 1988. I bought the kit 1988 while on a trip in the UK at MilSlides , so it was in my stack for nearly 25 years... Ooo Wheeeee.....
The parts are of the usual Matchbox fashion but deep panellines are almost absent, actually hardly any panellines. The kit gives the option of folding the wing. But no rib details are there. The Skyknight had an old fashioned enclosed cockpit, crew had to bail out in case of emergency.
Below the parts are seen in the usual
different plastic colours. Some parts are also seen painted by me in their
sprues. The fueltanks are better replaced (e.g. tanks from the Hasegawa
Microscale USA had also a number of decalsheets. Hard to find nowadays.
Douglas Skyknights were painted in various colours, including the common US Navy and Marines corps standard schemes of Fed.Standard light gull gray FS16440 on top and white on the bottom, with trim paint in other colors, such as red outlined intakes and various panels. Colourful squadron markings also were used a lot.
I decided to make the kit in a colourfull white/dayglow orange scheme. Also, to add some extra's to the model, so decided to open up an engine bay panel. Some details from scratch suggesting the Westinghouse engine will be included.
Building the kit
This is a straight forward build, with no headaches except for the desired scheme and decals. The kit was made as per instructions with hardly any filler needed. Matchbox kits normally have a good fit and this kit is no exception.
The engine bay panel was cut open as desired:
The intakes and exhaust parts needed
filler and sanding. This was done first as the fuselage is well reachable
now for sanding.
Next comes the wing.
Details for the opened up engine bay
came from the scrap box and rods and pieces of sprue. Inside the gearbay,
side walls were made from card with some details. Any gaps can be easily
closed with white glue as well here.
The cockpit windows do not fit very
well. Sand the edges carefully. The windows have prominent framing, but
this was on the real Skyknight as well. Inside the barely visible cockpit,
only some seatstraps were added and painted. An instrument panel was suggested
with decals from the spare decals box. (not yet seen below).
After an overall check with grey coat
applied with the airbrush, any irregularities were filled and sanded.
Colours used were:
After spraying the white and ample drying time, masking was done with low tack tape followed by the dayglow. After that, the black panels and nose were airbrushed. Note: I forgot to set the nose now, better do it earlier.
The smaller parts were airbrushed
as well like the gear doors.
Next followed the metallic leading
edges of the wings using ALCLAD II gloss alumium colour. These were masked
off and sprayed.
The kit decals were applied but the
"stars and bars" replaced with ones from Microscale/ Superscale.
Finishing the model was done by adding
the nose, gears and doors. Also note the "REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT" vane gotten
from the spares box.
Some slight wash was added in the elevon-, flap- and aileron hinge lines and add the pitot on the nose and wingroot walkways from black decal.
The overall model got a coat of protective Johnson Future / Pledge and this gave a nice gloss look.
Books and magazines:
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Created this page October 5, 2012