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Kitty Hawk FJ-2 Fury

Build review of the 1/48 scale aircraft kit with the option to fold the wings
Kit:No. KH80155 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$69.99
Kitty Hawk
Options to fold wings; dropped slats
Engine not quite right, but it can’t be displayed correctly anyway
Injection-molded, 207 parts (6 PE, 2 resin), decals
At long last, Kitty Hawk has released an FJ-2 Fury — the “Navy Sabre” — in 1/48 scale. Build options are plentiful, with cannon bays, cockpit, wing folds, wheel wells, and landing gear, all fully detailed. 

Kitty Hawk includes more underwing stores than are accurate; in addition to drop tanks, the instructions show mounting Sidewinders, incorrect for the FJ-2. A small photo-etched metal (PE) fret includes seat belts and small details. All five marking options are for natural-metal jets, typical for the FJ-2. 

Also included are two nicely cast resin figures, one pilot ascending and one ground crew member.

Construction of the interior calls for a British green color, hemp, which I assumed was incorrect. However, videos and photos online confirm Kitty Hawk got it right. I used Tamiya cockpit green (XF-71) as a close match.
The cockpit floor in my kit was badly warped, but I was able to bend the soft plastic back to shape.

Be careful with the fit of the gun bay walls; I had to trim the tab and slot arrangement to fit, which allowed a bit too much play in the fit. In turn, the fuselage wouldn’t close without surgery. 

I cut off and mounted the gun barrels to one fuselage half, as there was no way to assemble the cockpit and install all four barrels at the same time. 

The kit supplies decals the for cockpit, but they should be trimmed to fit the molded detail of the instrument panel and consoles. 

A full intake trunk fits into the airframe, with space above it for weight to be inserted to keep the nose down.

Each fuselage half is split at the servicing break, a confusing choice as the kit incorrectly provides the later J-65 engine that powered the FJ-3. The error is compounded by mounting the engine in the tail section rather than the front. Both intake and exhaust segments are needed, however; I chopped the rear portion of the engine off to avoid any fit issues.

The design of parts such as the speed brakes, tail hook, landing gear doors, and gun and ammo bay doors should be posed open. But photos show most of these were closed or stowed on the ground. The exception is the lower ammunition doors that were typically used as steps to the cockpit. While it took work, I’m pleased to report that the doors and hook can all posed closed. 

Enlarge the undersized holes to mount the nose and main landing gear before assembling the gear bays.

The good news is that Kitty Hawk nails the wings, including leading-edge slats and trailing flaps, and they fit perfectly folded or spread. (I chose the former so it didn’t look like another Sabre!) 

Fill the holes in the wings intended for the Sidewinders. Frustratingly, no mounting features of any kind are included for the drop tank pylons. 

When mounting the wings to the fuselage, I found that the tab that engages the lower portion of the engine interfered with the fit. So I removed it. Place the ammo bay (Part A1) prior to mounting the wing or the fit will be extremely tight.

I used Alclad II for the natural-metal finish. The center section of each wing panel was sprayed with a mix of Alclad gray primer and Alclad aluminum to get the “silvery-grey” color. 

The decals are a mixed bag. They went on nicely, but have a number of frustrating errors in font, size, and length along with inaccuracies in the size and number of stars compared to photos. The blue in the national insignia seems too bright to me as well. However, once corrected as much as possible and on the model, the markings look fine to all but a Fury fanatic.

I spent about 33 hours on my Fury, a little more than I expected. Purists will want to replace the decals, but in the end, it is a beautiful rendition of the FJ-2.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2020 issue.


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