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Sword FJ-3 Fury

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/72 scale plastic model aircraft kit
For decades I’ve been pining (sometimes loudly) for an injection-molded FJ-3 Fury. Finally, Sword has come to the rescue with its new Fury family of kits. Released simultaneously with the similarly missile-armed FJ-3M and the slightly different FJ-2, Sword’s Furies fill a significant gap in U.S. Navy jet fighter model collections.

Sword’s Fury, like many limited-run plastic kits, is not a precision-fit kit. Nearly every part needs work to attain an acceptable fit. 

The cockpit interior is adequate and features a two-piece resin ejection seat with no harness. There is a noticeable lack of detail behind the seat, though.

The fuselage halves line up pretty well, but the intake trunk is too round in cross section to fit properly into the lips of the rectangular intake of the fuselage. Work on improving the fit of the intake trunk before closing the fuselage, and don’t worry about the trunk reaching the rear bulkhead underneath the cockpit. The instructions don’t mention it, but I added a little weight to the nose.

I am impressed that Sword reflects the different intake and wing shapes in its Fury kits. The FJ-2 kit comes with the smaller intake and early narrow-chord, slatted wing (although the aerodynamic slats are molded shut), while the FJ-3 and FJ-3M kits come with the taller intake and wing with the “6-3” chord, fixed, and cambered leading edge featured on late -3 Furies. This kit’s wing also has finely molded barrier catchers molded to the leading edges (although there should be an additional one near each wingtip). They are really tiny and thin, and you’ll have difficulty preserving them through all the gluing and seam-sanding.

Also on this wing are mid-span leading-edge fences, little horseshoe-shaped items separately molded on the sprues. All of the fences in my two -3 Furies arrived broken. Just as well — their openings were too narrow to fit around the leading edges of the wing. There were no indicating lines or slots in the wing to determine where the fences should go; after further study, I found I had glued mine on about ¼ inch outboard of the proper locations.

Interestingly, there are clear lenses for the wingtip navigation lights but no notches for them on the wing. The notches are on the FJ-2 kit’s wing, though. I just painted my lights.

The main gear struts and doors are OK, but the nose-gear strut is molded with the oleo cylinder completely compressed. To make up for that shortfall, the section above the oleo is way too long. I had to cut off about 4mm from the top to make the model sit right. Also, the instructions show the placement of the separate oleo scissors on the left side of the strut and the damper spring on the right; they are opposite. But it’s an easy fix, as there are no designated holes or pins for them.

Fitting the canopy is a problem. The part that covers the pit behind the seat has a shallow-peaked ridge along its length that prevents the sliding canopy from fitting, either opened or closed. I shaved off the ridge. The front edge of the windscreen fits poorly to the top of the nose and requires careful filing.

The last hurdle was the decals. Beautifully printed, Sword’s decals are thin but too supple — moving them into position made them warp, tear, and fold over on themselves.

Despite the problems, it sure is an attractive model! Now that I know the problem areas, I’ll do better next time. I clocked 28 hours on my first Fury. It’s about a scale foot too long, and photos show the kit’s cannon ports are molded a couple of millimeters too far back on the nose. So, for my second Fury model …

Note: A version of this review appeared in the March 2018 issue.
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