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Kinetic Model Kits 1/48 scale F-84F Thunderstreak

Kit: No. K4801
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Kinetic Model Kits, available from Stevens International, 856-435-1555,
Price: $24.95
Comments: Injection molded, 93 parts (2 metal), decals
Pros: Nice subject; good fit
Cons: Pesky little seams between major parts; grainy surface texture; some sink marks
When you open this kit, the first thing you notice is that it's obviously an update of the old Monogram kit from the 1980s. The parts breakdown is almost identical.

I say almost because a few differences make it unique to Kinetic: a gun bay in the nose, the tires, and wheels are molded separately, and you don't get the nuke with the dolly as in the Monogram kit. The biggest difference is the engraved panel lines, which have been refined and accurized.

The kit is pretty easy to assemble. The instructions don't have numbered steps, just progressive illustrations. The nose gear bay assembly, or halves, have a compartment at the rear for one of two steel ball bearings provided for nose weight (only one is needed).

On page 3 of the instructions, the location of part Nos. C5 for the main gear bay is vague. The parts aren't labeled in the instructions, either.
On page 4, the wheels and tires come in halves (four parts per unit for easier painting, I suppose). On the last page, you have the option of displaying the gun bay open or closed. If you display it closed, as I did, you will have to glue a piece of .020" strip stock on the right-hand bottom of the gun cover, part No. A3. It doesn't sit level the way it is.

Now for the problem areas: Almost all the subassemblies - fuselage halves, fuel tank halves, wing halves, even the tire halves - have troughs at the seams that need a bead of super glue. It's not a lot, but enough to be a bother and add two hours to the building time. On the tops of the wings, there are sink marks from the molded wheel-well detail underneath. It would be a good idea to level these areas with filler. Also, the plastic has a rough, grainy texture which is very problematic with a natural-metal finish. I had to sand the entire model down to smooth it out enough to be able to apply the finish. The last thing is the colors specified for the cockpit. I've never seen dark olive for cockpits - it's always been interior green (which is how I painted mine) or dark gull gray (since 1953). I found out too late that the markings I chose were from an aircraft of the Missouri Air Guard that was called up for the Berlin Crisis of 1961; its cockpit should have been painted gull gray and black.

As I mentioned earlier, assembly was easy. It's fixing the seams and smoothing the surfaces that takes what I consider to be unnecessary time.

The decals went on nicely and laid right down. Despite the problems, it took only 15 hours to build. However, those problems make this a kit for modelers who have experience filling and smoothing seams.

- Larry Schramm


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