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HobbyBoss 1/48 scale FJ-4B Fury

Kit: No. 80313
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: HobbyBoss, from Squadron Mail Order, 877-414-0434,
Price: $31.99
Comments: Injection-molded, 137 parts, decals
Pros: Easy build; good fit; nice underwing stores; great decals
Cons: Compressed oleo struts; no instrument panel detail; no key to interior paint colors
Issue Published: July 2008
The FJ-4B was the definitive version of the North American Fury, with 222 produced. The FJ-4B featured several improvements over previous variants, with its increased fuel capacity necessitating a distinctive, taller "razorback" rear deck and widened landing gear.

HobbyBoss' new Fury is on four individually bagged sprues of light gray plastic finely molded with recessed panel lines. Options include open or closed speed brakes, raised or lowered arresting gear, poseable rudder, and a bounteous selection of underwing stores that includes Martin ASM-N-7 Bullpup missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, and 200-gallon underwing tanks. The two-piece canopy is thin and crystal clear, and the wheel wells and speed brakes have an acceptable level of molded detail.

The landing gear is fairly accurate but, strangely, the oleos on all three gear legs appear to be completely compressed.

Decals provide two sets of markings: U.S. Navy VA-214 "Volunteers" (instructions have it as "VA-241") or U.S. Marines VMF-323 "Death Rattlers." The markings were glossy but nicely printed.

The cockpit tub has raised side-console detail that's OK, and a nice ejection seat that needs only seat belts. However, the instrument panel is a disappointment - a flat panel with faint raised lines representing instrument faces. No matter how I tried, dry-brushing failed to make the instruments "pop."

Construction began with the intake duct, which was plagued with ejector-pin marks on both halves. It's odd that the instructions list no paint colors for interior elements. I used white for the intake duct, and dark gull grey for the cockpit and ejection seat.

The instructions don't remind you to weight the nose; don't forget this, or your Fury will be a tail-sitter for sure. In spite of the intake duct and fairly deep nose wheel well, I was able to super glue lead fishing sinkers in the free space.

The rest of the model went together easily. Overall, I was impressed with the fit. Just a bit of Mr. Surfacer 500 smoothed both ends of the underside wing fuselage joint.

For painting and decaling the exterior, HobbyBoss includes a two-sided, full-color marking and painting guide listing Gunze Sangyo Mr. Color or Aqueous Hobby Color paints. I used Model Master paints for my Fury's exterior, with light gull gray on top, and gloss white for the control surfaces, underside, and various underwing stores. For the shiny leading edges of the wings and vertical fin, I used Alclad polished aluminum.

After letting the paint dry for a couple of days, I applied a sludge wash composed of a 50:50 mix of black and burnt umber acrylic craft paints; that really made the nicely engraved panel lines stand out.

After the sludge wash, the decals went on perfectly. I used a little Mr. Mark Softer to get them to conform to some of the more difficult curves, and they turned out very well.

The instructions are to install the position lights in the wingtips - but they don't list part numbers for each wingtip light. Another oddity, the instructions and painting guide show the nose gear door with a radar fairing that is supposed to carry on to the fuselage (but it doesn't).

I look forward to giving other HobbyBoss releases a try. I spent about 20 hours on my Fury, about average, and was very pleased with the results. Beginners with a kit or two to their credit should find this a fun build.

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