1/72 Matchbox-Revell FJ-4B Fury

Gallery Article by Carmel J. Attard on July 10 2014


FJ-4B Fury


The FJ-4 prototypes were complete redesigns by North American engineers and these consequently differed from the earlier FJ-2 and FJ-3. The first of the prototypes made its maiden flight on 28th October 1954 and the first production machine came off Columbus assembly line in February 1955.

The new design had a smaller fin, and was fitted with a shorter redesigned rudder and a fuselage that was deeper and shorter than the previous Fury versions. It also had a dorsal spine running all along on top of the fuselage. There was also an increase in cockpit armor plating. There was increase in wingspan by 2 ft which was also reduced in thickness and have a multi spar design. The wing had a mid-span aileron, high lift flaps and leading edge slots.

The FJ-4 carried four underwing pylons with the inboard station being capable of carrying drop tanks or up to 2,000 lbs of ordnance. All 4 stations were wired to carry air-to-air Sidewinder missiles. The FJ-4 carried 50% more fuel than earlier FJ-3 giving combat range close to 1,500 miles with comparable speed to the FJ-3. It also contained electronics, which made it capable of carrying an attack in all weather conditions.

The FJ-4 was equipped with in-flight refuelling probe and was often flying in company with the AJ-2 Savage that served as tanker. The majority of FJ-4s were operated by the Marine fighter squadrons. Navy utility squadrons also operated a number of FJ-4s. These carried target-towing reel under the wing inboard pylons. The end of 1962 has placed FJ-4s out of front line use, operated mainly by reserve squadrons. Such types were assigned to Naval Reserve Air Units of NAS Memphis during summer of 1962.

FJ-4B differed from the FJ-4 in several ways. It featured strengthened wing that could carry 6 underwing ordnance stations, additional speed brakes positioned at the rear of fuselage which had two external reinforcing channels and extended approximately half way back under the tail surfaces. These additional speed brakes helped slow the aircraft considerably at low level, allowing more precise bomb runs.

Following introduction into fleet services the FJ-4B had a number of changes incorporated into the aircraft. To extend its range a Buddy refuelling package was designed that allowed the FJ-4B to take full advantage of its in-flight refuelling capability. The Buddy fuel tank contained hose and drogue refuelling system, allowing one FJ-4 to refuel another with some 3,000 lbs of fuel. This extended the receiving aircraft combat radius by 50%. The system was successful and was put in operational use by VA-151 during June 1958 while deployed aboard USS Bennington.

More significant improvement s to the FJ-4Bs was the introduction of the ASM-7 Bullpup missile to its arsenal. This allowed the aircraft to hit a target with great accuracy while avoiding heavy ground fire. The 11 ft long missile weighed 540 lbs and carried 250 Lbs of warhead. The pilot using a small control stick to direct the missile. The stick transmitted radio signals to the missile that the pilot tracked through his gun sight with the aid of a flare mounted in the missile tail.

A total of 5 ASM-N-7s could be carried by an FJ-4B, along with a missile guidance pod, which was carried on the inboard starboard wing station. Bullpup armed FJ-4Bs were soon in service with Pacific fleet units although none were delivered to Atlantic fleet units.

The FJ-4 attack aircraft was powered by 7,700 lbs thrust Wright 65-W-16A engine. 222 FJ-4Bs (later AF-1E) were an improved attack aircraft that operated a totally new airframe. Two examples of a universal sub variant of the FJ-4B had the designation FJ-4P was used for evaluation purposes; each had an auxiliary rocket motor and supplementary fuel tank.


  • FJ-4 in Action …Squadron Signals publications.


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The kit: North American FJ-4B Fury
Make: Matchbox-Revell EM 1001
Cost: 3.50 Euro 
Scale: 1/72
Type: Injection molded with two decal options

The kit which was for a time overlooked until both Rareplanes and later Matchbox released the kit to 1/72 scale and I recall that US Naval enthusiasts welcomed the kit with open arms in spite of its short comings.

The eye catching box-art depicts an aircraft of attack squadron VA-116 with contrasting orange lightning flashes on fuselage and tail fin. Released by Emhar and later followed by Revell the Fury kit comes in pale gray plastic. The cockpit is very basic consisting of an instrument panel, a basic crew seat in two parts having a large headrest, and cockpit floor. The simplicity of the cockpit office which lacked even the detail issued earlier in the Rareplanes kit (see http://www.modelingmadness.com/review/korean/us/usn/attardfj4.htm) makes one look for after market sets available to enhance detail and make good for what was lacking. The cockpit canopy was also inaccurate in shape besides having a section on the thick side and earned for a replacement part.

The Pavla Models cockpit set for Emhar kit, which is set C72122 contained all that was lacking in the kit that consisted of several dark gray resin detail parts. These consist of an instrument panel, control column, front and rear cockpit coaming, left and right instrument console, a super detail ejection seat and best of all a clear vac form canopy that can be assembled in the open position to reveal all that inside the cockpit office. The usual Pavla accurate oblique projection drawings depicting all color details on each part are contained in the instructions that come with the set.

A feature that comes with the kit is the provision for the outer wings that can be attached in the folded or deployed configuration. Six hard points can carry a pair of drop tanks and four AAM Sidewinder missiles. Pylons and launchers are also provided for the missiles. Being a B-variant this could also carry Bullpup missiles which one could expect from Matchbox to provide, at least a pair or even five of these missiles and an electronic pod which was the maximum load that the ground attack version could carry.

North American FJ-4B Fury 2 continued


The Fury series of carrier born aircraft has always been the types that I have been totally unable to resist with their unique shape variations they took eminating from the F-86 Sabre from the North American Company.

Having built 3 FJ-4s including two Rareplanes vacform kits I was eager to build two ‘B’ versions and with the provision of the Pavla series of detail parts the turn has come to make good model representation of the Emhar FJ-4B. Dating from some years ago the kit features raised panel lines and a rather thick plastic. Construction is fairly simple if you just go by the instructions. I have gone through both the instructions and those that come with the resin detail sets that Pavla Models issued. For the more accurate kits of the Fury I have therefore used the kit in conjunction with Pavla C72122 and U-72-151. The former is detail set for the cockpit office; the latter is the jet outlet orifice.

Construction begins in the cockpit, which is quite basic. The only alteration to the cockpit is the removal of the gun sight coaming and it is replaced by resin part No R4 and there is the cockpit floor, which is only required to fit upside down in order to accommodate the resin set arrangement. The Emhar kit parts 23 and 28 are no longer required as there are replacement resin parts. The same applies with the rear nozzle part 21 and the canopy 48.

Other areas that were improved were as follows: Air intake part 19 was opened up at the rear and a short pipe extension cut from a short ball point of similar diameter was added to give a better depth of the intake. The nose wheel well was also opened so that it was deepened, added sidewalls and base. Nose wheel door 35 and also main nose wheel well door 18 were reshaped and rebuilt to a more accurate representation. The wing tank pylons were modified to a more proper shape with a taper leading edge. Wheel door stays added to forward edge of each door. Gun ports were drilled open using a 1mm diameter pin drill. The air intakes at side of fuselage were opened at front so that section is thinner and the rear airbrakes had streaks added, two on each.

The new resin cockpit tub fit well inside the fuselage. Lead weight was also added to the nose area at the rear of tub before the fuselage was closed. The resin tail pipe replaced the kit part. This was deeper on the inside and in more detail. Areas at wing root required a little filler to smooth out the wing joints. A metal pitot tube was attached to then starboard wing tip. Do not be misguided by the box art where the wing tip tube is left out. The clear vac form canopy complete with the inside resin deck to the rear was attached in partially open position. The FJ-4B completed in the markings of VF-214 was armed with a full load of five bullpup missiles and a pod, all the items came from a Rareplanes kit I made previously as a tanker version, thereby being spare and are used on this kit.

Paintwork and decals
The model was given an overall coat of semi gloss white that allowed me to reveal any flaws; following smooth sanding then the final coat was applied. All undersides and upper elevators, ailerons and lower half of fuselage were masked and Model Master Gull Gray was applied to all upper areas. The cockpit office was painted as directed by the Pavla instructions which were mainly medium grey sides with black instruments, touch of red and yellow to seat. I then brushed a coat of Klear just where the decals had to go. I used Xtradecals sheet XO-37-72 to complete the two FJ-4Bs in markings of VA-214 and the other in the Fleet Air Gunnery Unit based at Naval Air Station Miramar, California. Decals performed faultlessly in spite of 18 years since I purchased the sheet.

The two brand new FJ-4B Furies were now in need for space on the shelf next to three FJ-4s that were built earlier. I still have one more Fury to make as it remains one of my all time favorite aircraft.

Carmel J. Attard

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Photos and text © by Carmel J. Attard