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Work-In-Progress: Kitty Hawk’s FJ-2 Fury

Step-by-step build review of the 1/48 scale aircraft kit
FSM reviewer Chuck Davis is building Kitty Hawk’s 1/48 scale Fury and has sent this in-progress report so you can see how it goes together.

You can also see all of the sprues pulled out of the box in this New Product Rundown video.

Check back for updates!

Part 1

Like some other Kitty Hawk kits, the Fury features prominent ejector-pin towers that need to be removed. It isn’t difficult surgery, just a bit of a pain.

Here you see the result if the pins aren’t addressed — the intake will have a bad case of tonsillitis.

A few minutes with sprue cutters, knife, and putty are all that’s required …

… to clear the Fury’s throat.

Well, I wasn’t expecting this: The floor of the cockpit is badly warped.

Even with the sidewalls in place, the floor remains warped – note the gap between the side console and the forward cockpit wall.

Forcing the rear deck up to where it belongs shows it should be an easy fix.

I had planned to heat the floor and bend the part to shape, but the plastic is soft enough that hand pressure did the trick. The tiny amount of bend remaining will be removed when the cockpit is glued in place. Notice how the front bulkhead is in the correct place and the gap is nearly gone between the sidewall and front cockpit wall.

I plan to leave the port gun bay open to show the nice detail. The guns include barrels that must be inserted through the blast tubes molded in the fuselage sides., but the lower gun barrel has to be bent to “pop” into place. It will be nearly impossible to do that to the opposite side when gluing the fuselage halves together.

Kitty Hawk helpfully molded locations for the barrels, so I cut the forward portion of each barrel off behind the mount.

I then glued the barrels inside the blast tubes using the mounts.

The rear and top of the ejection seat’s head box needed a touch of filler.

The Fury also has “innie” ejector-pin marks that require attention; the main and nose gear legs each had a noticeable one near the top.

A quick test of the slats showed visible ejector-pin marks on the inside surfaces. They are easily removed though.

The so-called “pen-nib” fairing under the tail fit together very well, but it also had a shallow ejector-pin mark. Gentle scraping made that disappear.

Part 2

A quick smear of Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty and a quick wipe with a damp cotton swab took care of the seam in the pen nib fairing.

I noticed there were mold lines along the lower surface of the rear fuselage, much like you see on a model-car body; a few quick scrapes with a blade made them disappear.

Kitty Hawk includes detail in the bays and on the inside of the fuselage-mounted air brakes, but most photo show them closed when the aircraft are on the ground.  Unfortunately, the mounting arms are too thick to pose them closed. I thinned them as seen on the top brake to fit.

After the modifications, the parts fit the openings nicely.

There’s a lot going on inside the Fury, so I took a moment to check the fits. Kitty Hawk includes a full engine and exhaust assembly along with the intake trunk, although the engine is the later J-65 of the FJ-3 and not the earlier J-47 used on the FJ-2. It seems too long, a problem easily addressed by chopping off the front of the engine. Not that it will matter much as the only way to see the engine is to have the tail separated from the front. Unfortunately, Kitty Hawk incorrectly mounts the engine in the tail rather than the forward fuselage.

Don’t be fooled by the holes in the wing; Kitty Hawk neglected to provide holes for the tanks used on all marks of Fury, but included open holes to mount the Sidewinder missiles included in the kit, but never used on the FJ-2. It’s an annoying problem easily fixed with a drill bit and styrene rod to fill the holes.

On a happier note, the wings assemble well and include decent hinge detail.

I plan to show the wings folded, but here you can see the fit is excellent should you choose to pose them down. Separate deployed slats are also included, a wonderful touch.

Part 3

A final test-fit pointed out an issue with the nose. Investigation pointed to gun bay sides not being in quite the right location. I had trimmed a bit too much from the tabs to get them to fit, but that allowed to much sideways movement.

A test of the wings revealed a misfit at the trailing edge …

… with two issues that needed fixing. The rear of the landing-gear bay didn’t quite mate up because of a couple of tiny points of interference. A quick trim fixed this. Also, the tab-and-slot arrangement of the engine to the gear-bay roof shown in Step 21 interfered with the fit. But it was also unnecessary, so I removed both the tab on the engine and the mating “shelf” on the gear-bay roof.

Checking the fit after these tweaks shows no filler will be needed — nice job Kitty Hawk.

And now we have a naked Fury, warts and all. Most parts fit very well, not needing filler. I think the area of filler behind the cockpit may have been my fault for not noticing a slight misalignment during assembly.  The gun bay, gun trough, and ammo door all fit without needing filler — at least in this view.

The ammo door was a bit too short to fit closed. Also needing a bit of help are the nose-wheel bay and door and the panels near the tail hook. The main gear doors fit perfectly. While Kitty Hawk didn’t intend all these panels to be closed, pictures show they usually were, and the generally good fit allows the modeler to install them closed with just a bit of effort.

Prior to attaching the canopy, I painted the mating surfaces to reduce reflections – a simple method that makes the “glass” seem a scale thickness.

Small gaps at the tail and around the intakes were addressed with a quick smear of Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty and a quick wipe with a finger or damp cotton swab. After the canopy was installed, the Fury was ready for masking.

Here’s the lower fuselage ready for paint. Larger gaps by the nose-gear door and tail hook area were filled with small styrene strips, while the rest of the gaps were eliminated with Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty.

Part 4
I used to hate painting wheels. But I’ve used a circle drawing template as a mask for years and it keeps me from being deflated when it comes to painting tires.

Find an appropriately sized circle — I usually select one slightly undersized to minimize the chance of overspray — and place tape over the surrounding holes to prevent overspray.

Hold the wheel tightly against the template and spray the hub color.

Voila! A simple, quick method for painting a clean hub.

Before any other painting steps, remember to paint the canopy frames the appropriate interior color so it matched the inside.

Priming is essential for a natural-metal finish like that on the Fury. I used Alclad II gray primer for the overall base coat.

The first color applied is Alclad aluminum. After this dried, I masked various panels to be painted a different shade. One huge advantage of using Alclad for natural-metal finishes is its resistance to peeling or marring of the finish during masking.

I shot the center panels of the wing with a mix of Alclad aluminum and its gray primer to replicate the elusive corroguard — a metallic gray. The gun trough panel on the Fury must be steel as every picture shows it to be a dark metal color, so I masked it and painted it with a mix of Alclad dark aluminum and black primer. Looking at photos online, I realized I missed a panel behind the cockpit that is typically darker than others, so a few quick pieces of tape and it was done. Still waiting are the gray tip of the tail and the red nose.

Here’s the fuselage in its final paint. Time to apply decals!

There are two panels on the outer wings that are natural metal, not corroguard. An easy way to accomplish tricky masking of small panels is to use Bare-Metal Foil. Simply apply a small swatch, rub it down to see the panel outline, and carefully cut the around panel leaving a mask.

Carefully removing the masking reveals a sharply defined, multipaneled wing.

The main wings have the same multipaneled look, including the center section’s grayish aluminum corroguard.

One other oddity of the FJ-2 Fury is the strange green color of the cockpit and ejection seat. Online videos and pictures confirm the unusual color. Apparently, the Navy was experimenting with alternate cockpit colors when the FJ-2 was introduced, and a mid-green tone was selected. I used Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green which seemed to match.

Hmmm. Some issues with the decals. The red sash is far too long and cut at an incorrect angle, and the tail stripe is also too long. Based on photos, the stars are too small as well, while the font of the WU is wrong and too big, causing it to be placed too low on the fin. The stencils are mostly gibberish, and one warning triangle is printed as a mirror image. Overall, poor marks for the decals even though most of the issues are easy to correct, and unless you’re a Fury fanatic — or look closely at photos — you’re unlikely to notice.

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