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Valom F-101C Voodoo

Valom’s new F-101C is the first 1/72 scale kit of the single-seat fighter-bomber version of McDonnell’s big jet. Before now, the Voodoo that you’d do would have been the ancient Hasegawa RF-101C recon aircraft or the newer Revell two-seat F-101B interceptor.

The all-new kit captures the graceful, purposeful shapes of the jet in plastic, along with improved detail provided by cast resin afterburners, wheels, and intake trunks, and photo-etched (PE) landing-gear doors, harness, and other small items. The sprues include parts for the reconnaissance jet.

Other features include a pair of drop tanks and a choice of one-piece closed or two-piece opened canopy.

Assembly of this short-run injection-molded kit was simple, but hampered by instructions that don’t clearly show some details, leave out a few, and sometimes indicate the wrong parts.

Starting with the cockpit, the instructions show the instrument panel and viewer hood for the recon version (parts 16 and 27); use the other panel (17) for the fighter. Also choose the alternate coaming (19). Valom would have you add 12g (.4 oz.) of weight to the nose, but none is needed.

The resin intake trunks fit well and provide a view of plastic turbine fans at the rear. Rectangular PE splitters install inside the intakes, but the instructions show them as curled items.

Step 4 shows assembly of the main landing gear with views of the assembled struts and doors, but nothing shows how or where they and an internal brace are mounted in the wing wheel wells.

The worst fit was underneath where the wing met the forward fuselage. The flat rectangle at the front sat deep, while the rounded front ends of the engine bays ½" away sat proud. Sand, fill, sand, fill …

I liked the resin afterburners, but they are 1⁄16" short at the front.

No locators are provided for the separate cannon fairings, so I dug into my references to determine exactly where on the nose they should be. The instructions incorrectly locate the PE angle-of-attack vanes; they should go ¼" behind the radome on either side.

Watch out while attaching the horizontal stabilizers; the tiny locator pins don’t provide much gluing surface for firm attachment. F-101Cs had a small tubular intake high on the fin’s leading edge, but it isn’t provided in the kit.

The closed canopy did not fit well at the rear, so I used the opened version. A pair of tiny PE rearview mirrors should be attached to the bow of the canopy, rather than the windscreen as shown.

Most photos of the 81st TFW Voodoos at RAF Bentwaters show them without drop tanks, so I left them off.

I painted my model with several shades of Alclad II lacquers and accented a few nose panels with Bare-Metal Foil.
Decals provide markings for two jets of the 81st TFW; I chose the colorful commander’s bird. While the decals went on without problems, there was still trouble: The cutout for the horizontal stabilizer area on the tail is not the same shape or location as on the model. Also, the white stars are missing from the blue area, even though they are shown in the full-color marking instructions. Instead of providing decals, Valom would have you paint the main wheel covers and wing- and stabilizer-tips in the same colors as the tail design. I cut mine from solid-color decal trim film. The red turbine warning stripe around the rear fuselage should go about ⅜" forward of where Valom shows it.

The instructions also indicate blue for the fences on top of the wings. Wait a minute: Valom didn’t mold the fences or give you PE fences.
I built my Valom Voodoo out of the box, but it’s going to take more than the 34 hours I put into it to make it look right. I’ll scrounge my decal collection for white stars to add to the tail, and cobble up some thin wing fences, too. So, this kit has potential, but care — and extra work — will be needed to realize it.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2016 issue.

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