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1/48 HobbyBoss F3H-2 Demon

Gallery Article by Burt Gustafson on Mar 6 2013

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For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of my 1/48 scale HobbyBoss FH3-2 Demon. Designed and built by McDonnell Aircraft, the F3H-2 Demon was a subsonic swept-wing United States Navy carrier-based jet fighter aircraft. Despite early engine and ejection seat problems, the Navy ordered 239 F3H-2s, first deployed in March 1956. 519 Demons were built up to the end of production in November 1959.

Though it lacked sufficient power for supersonic performance, it complemented daylight dogfighters such as the Vought F8U Crusader and Grumman F11F Tiger as an all-weather, missile-armed interceptor until 1964. It was withdrawn before it could serve in Vietnam when it was replaced by the extremely successful McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. 

F3H-2s carried the AN/APG-51 airborne intercept radar set. Armament consisted of four 20-mm cannons mounted below and behind the air intakes. Two hardpoints were provided underneath each wing for air-to-air missiles. Additionally, two 262-gallon drop tanks could be carried on mounts underneath the fuselage. 

 

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Construction
Although a lengthy build (lots of parts), construction of my F3H-2 Demon was straight forward and pretty much trouble free.  I say pretty much trouble free; there were two areas that caused some problems; joining the wings to the fuselage and mounting the canopy.  Joining the wings to the fuselage created some serious seam gaps that required filling and sanding.  Installing the rear canopy was a real problem.  I spent a lot of time dry fitting and sanding and still could not get the canopy to fit properly. HobbyBoss is not noted for their good fitting canopies.

Note that the kit provides PE wing fences and perforated airbrakes for the wings and the fuselage, and the fit was almost perfect.  Only one area of the build proved to be a little difficult and that was building the nose gear, the main landing gears, and the doors.  It was difficult because of the small and tight fitting parts.  However, the part fit was excellent which made it a little easier. 

For under wing and fuselage things, I equipped my Demon with the AIM-7C and AIM-9B air-to-air missiles the kit provides.  I also installed the two fuel tanks under the fuselage, even though they were not used very much on the real aircraft.  One other item of importance was I added a lead weight to the nose.  Without a nose weight, I believe this model would be a tail sitter.  When I finished the building process, I was surprised at how large the model is. It is as big as a 1/48 scale F-4 Phantom or an F-15.

Painting
All paints used for this model were Model Masters and Floquil enamel paints.  F-3H-2 Demons were painted in the basic carrier aircraft color scheme used by the US Navy from 1951 thru the late 1980s: Gloss Gull Gray upper surfaces and Gloss White for the underside of the aircraft and control surfaces.  Floquil Weathered Black for the nose and glare shield.  The leading edges of the wings and Horizontal Stabilizers were airbrushed with Floquil Bright Silver, the edges Floquil Signal Red.

Decals
The decals for this kit were flawless.  They are well printed, easily placed on the model and snuggled down nicely with a light application of Solvaset.  The kit offers decals for two aircraft.  I chose to go with the decals for a Demon from VF-31 “Felix the Cat”.

Comments
To sum up, this was a nice kit to build.  HobbyBoss has done a nice job with this kit.  The external detail is good, the parts fit is good, and the decals were excellent.  The 18 page instruction booklet is full of clear illustrations and the full color marking and painting sheet, all contributed in building a really good looking model.  I say again, I was surprised at how large the model is.  I highly recommend this to any experienced modeler.

Burt Gustafson

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Photos and text © by Burt Gustafson

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