Douglas F4D-1 Skyray
kit no: 61055
build time: January 1 2014 - February 3 2013

First off, a little bit about this bird, shamelessly nicked from the Tamiya instructions:

Towards the end of World War II, a lot of information about advanced aeronautical technology was captured in Germany by US forces. One bit of information was an analysis of the studies by Dr. Alexander Lippisch on deltawinged aircraft. Based upon this information, Douglas developed the F4D Skyray, the only operational deltawing interceptor in the US Navy.
Starting the design of the aircraft in 1947, Douglas was awarded the contract for the construction and testing of twon prototypes in December 1948. The first prototype took off on it's maiden flight in January 1951. The second prototype took to the skies shortly thereafter, and set two new worldrecords in October 1952: an absolute speed reconrd of 1,211 kph, and the 100 km closed-course record of 1,171 kph.
The first production F4D-1 made it's maiden flight in June 1954 and entered squadron service in April 1956. Although the Skyray never actually saw any combat it proved its capability as an interceptor with numerous world records, and scramble actions over Taiwan in the 1950s. A total of 420 airframes were constructed. The last of thse was retired from active service in 1964.

Some specifications:
* length: 13.8 m
* wingspan: 10.21 m
* wing area: 52 sq.m
* powerplant: P&W J57-P-8 turbojet
* thrust: 45 kN without and 71 kN with afterburner
* max. speed: 1,200 kph
* range: 1,930 km
* service ceiling: 17,000 m
*  4x 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannon
*  rocket pods for 7 70mm unguided rockets or 19 70 mm unguided rockets
*  4 AIM-9 Sidewinders
*  2 2,000lbs bombs

Now the box contains a nice set of plastic. Only 4 sprues with not too many parts, so that's a good sign.

The instruction manual is what I have seen before from Tamiya. Good, with nice color callouts all over the place referring to Tamiya paints (what else...)

And the kit includes not one, but two decal sheets. The first has all the nice colorful markings of the boxart, the second has ome generic markings.

As for detail / I´ve seen better, I´ve seen worse. This is the tub±

It has detail on the side consoles, what more could you ask for. The panelline detail is nice, crisp, and more importantly: recessed. I like this kit already...

And for those who like to - there is a pilot figure included. Of  course with the molded-on arms it's not much of a pilot for an inflight model, but since I'm not going to do it inflight, it's not a big deal. The pilotfigure also has some detail, and some molded-on seatbelts.

Now I really like the way Tamiya engineered the kit. As you can see on the sprue shots, both the underside and the topside are molded fuselage and wings as one part. That means no ugly seam between wings and fuselage, no risk of getting them to sit at the wrong angel, etc. The seam will now be on the fuselage sides, and yes, it may end up there needing work, but I think that'll be easier fixed than wings that don't fit flush with the fuselage...

And with that, let's go see how she looks, shall we.

All the big parts removed from the sprues, taped together and presto - a Skyray.

Now Tamiya offers the option of having the wings folded or extended, and the slats can be retracted or extended too. I'm going with extended wings as I don't like them folded. Slats, I'm not sure yet. I might have them extended. As for the canopy, the fit is excellent, so I really do have the choice between open and closed. I think I'm going for open, but that might require some painting of the inside and I'm not sure I wanna be doing that. Again, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

She will be a tailsitter, but there appears to be more than enough room in the front to remedy that.

Now, let's begin construction. First off, let's see how the cockpit looks when it's put together. It'd be nice to see of the whole lot actually fits...

Cockpit parts

Bangset parts and pilot

And everything thrown together...

I can live with it. Maybe I'll add some extra seatbelt from tape, we'll see.

Next up, the pylons and all the stuff that goes with it:

That's a lot of stuff. All the pylons and weapons ar going to be there. As for the huge droptanks.... that's not set yet. It depends. I always have issues with decals that need to go the full circle on a part as the colorful markings from the boxart do with these. I'll finish the droptanks first, do the decalling, and if it looks good enough, I'll add them. If not, it'll be just their pylons under the wings.

So far so good. The droptanks and pylons are glued together and drying. Same for the wings and tail. We're underway

Lastly: unfortunately, I was unable to find a photograph of the actual airframe that's been boxed here. A close match is this one, although its markings appear to be closer to black than blue. But as said - it's a different airframe.... The markings appear quite similar though.

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