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Kitty Hawk 1/48 scale F-101A Voodoo

Kit:KH80115 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$54.95
Kitty Hawk
Long-awaited Century-series jet; nice markings (although mine needed modifications for the subject and the red was out of register).
Poor fits; sinkholes (massive on speed brakes); brittle plastic
Injection-molded, 190 parts (23 photoetched metal), decals
Photoetched metal dresses up the Voodoo's cockpit with a harness, instrument panel, and side consoles.
Finally! An F-101A to go with my Monogram F-101B from the early 1980s.

The kit comes molded in a medium dark blue gray plastic that’s a bit brittle, especially when it comes to the more delicate parts.

The kit supplies one Genie missile and four Falcon missiles, but there’s no place to put them. The parts are probably in the box for a future B model; I know for a fact Kitty Hawk is coming out with an RF-101G/H, the shorter-nosed recon version with panoramic cameras, because the nose glass for that model is in the box, too.
You also get a fret of photoetched metal with seat belts, instrument and side-console pieces, and splitter-plate braces that go between the splitter plates and the fuselage. Unfortunately, being so small, a few of them snapped out of my tweezers into oblivion; the others didn’t fit properly. (Sometimes, I think, manufacturers go a little too far with photoetched metal.)

The decals feature markings for four aircraft, all from the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at the twin Royal Air Force stations of Bentwaters and Woodbridge in Suffolk, England, in the early 1960s. The markings I chose happen to be my favorite — the multicolored tail — but they cover the whole tail, which isn’t accurate. I trimmed the decals to better represent the real markings. Also, the blue could be a little lighter, and the red stripes in the stars-and-bars insignia were out of register. I replaced them with some AeroMaster spares I had.

In Step 1, the cockpit, the color callouts are wrong. They call for FS35237, blue gray, but it should be FS36231, dark gull gray. The seat cushions should be green; pick your shade (FS34079, dark green, works for me). The kit provides photoetched metal or decals for the instrument panel and side consoles; I used both. It gives the decals a little relief, and it’s easier than hand-painting the metal.

In Step 2, the nose-gear wheel and bay, again, the color is wrong. Instead of FS34102, the medium green used for Vietnam-era fighter aircraft, it should be FS34151, interior green.

The nose gear is fragile. On mine, Part C11 snapped in half. (Leave the nose gear off until final assembly.) This subassembly is glued to the bottom of the cockpit assembly from Step 1 and gets sandwiched between the forward fuselage halves, parts B2 and B13. The nose halves (A12 and A13) contain an optional refueling probe. I didn’t use it; I just glued the refueling doors closed. You won’t need the nose weight, either.

Gun muzzles (parts A1, A2, A6, and A7) are installed in Step 5. They need a lot of blending with a file and sanding sticks. I used thick super glue to fill sink marks on the undersides of the gun fairing, blending it in with a file and sanding stick.

Now, pay attention: Steps 6 and 7 deal with the intake and exhaust assemblies and their insertion in the upper and lower fuselage halves (parts C4 and C5). If you follow the instructions, the main fuselage and the forward assemblies won’t line up properly. I nipped off the two forward locator pins on the intake assembly, then shaved down the area on part C4 where it contacts the bottom of the intake assembly. (Lots of trimming and fitting here.) Dry-fit this whole assembly and check it with the forward fuselage. To make sure it fits, pinch the top and bottom pieces of the main fuselage until you get a smooth match between the front and main fuselage assemblies. Now, glue all the subassemblies, intake assembly and exhausts, plus the boat-tail assembly, to the bottom main fuselage. Glue only the rear mounting pins on the intakes; leave the front loose. Glue the top piece to the lower piece (main fuselage) only in back of the intake assembly. After the glue dries completely and the seams are blended (they don’t have to be perfect), the wing assemblies will cover most of it.
Next, plug the forward fuselage into the main fuselage, but glue only across the top of the fuselage. Let this dry completely. When that’s dry, clamp the main fuselage, top to bottom, until the bottom seam is flush.

Let this dry completely. If you do it right, you won’t need any filler for the seams — just a few swipes with a sanding stick! Leave the wings off. It makes for easier joining of the aforementioned subassemblies.

As in the nose-gear bay, main-gear bays should be interior green. Make the main-gear locator holes a little bigger and deeper.

The speed brakes in Step 15 have monstrous sink holes that must be filled. I glued the brakes closed after the body work; I didn’t want to ruin the plane’s lines.

Painting and decaling were uneventful except for the modifications to the tail markings. However, there are no wingtip lights. Also, all the slime lights should be removed — they weren’t on the A or C variants.

This build took me about 38 hours, a little longer than usual because of the fit issues. Still, the model scales out correctly and it turned out nice. But beginners won’t have much luck with this one — it takes some experience to charm a good Voodoo out of this box.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2015 FineScale Modeler.
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