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When I agreed to review kits for Firehouse Hobbies, it had not occurred to me that I was also volunteering for a time warp back into modeling history. Bill stocks a great variety of classic kits, one of which landed on my doorstep a couple months back.
Upon discovering the classic Lindberg mid-70's box art, I knew I was in for treat hailing back to my childhood with their 1952-vintage F7U-1 Cutlass (for the record, that ’52 reference was over a decade prior to my birth).
The kit contents are very simple -- a couple of sprues of parts molded in stark white, with a single clear piece for the canopy. As typical for that era, detail is raised and heavy by modern standards. Only cockpit detail is in the form of a sideless ejection seat with an optional pilot figure. Wheel wells are completely absent, and the tricycle gear plugs directly into the underside of the wing and fuselage surfaces. Instructions are simple, but adequate, although no color callouts are included. Printed in 1976, the kit's decals were still relatively un-yellowed. Rounding out the contents is the quintessential Lindberg display stand for posing the finished model "in-flight."
With only a couple dozen pieces, assembly was simple and progressed quickly. A fair amount of TLC and Tamiya putty was required to mitigate the fairly heft fuselage seams. Careful dry-fitting, sanding, and trimming were essential for fitting the wings and radome. Fuselage panel lines obliterated by sanding were restored using Mr. Surfacer 1000 and Tamiya Tape, as featured in the April 2011 issue of FineScale Modeler.
The assembled craft was primed with WalMart flat light gray spray paint and then preshaded with Italeri Acrylic Flat Black. The belly was painted with Italeri Acrylic Flat White, and uppers with Model Master Acryl Flat Gull Gray. Finally, a couple thin layers of Minwax Acrylic Gloss Clear served as the base for decals.
The 37 year-old decals required a coat of MicroScale Clear decal film to prevent disintegration, and even remained brittle after that. Getting the brittle old markings to settle down over the stout surface detail took a couple coats of MicroSol. Once satisfied, I applied an overcoat of Model Master Acryl Flat mixed 75/25 with Future.
After a modest investment of effort, I was very pleased with the outcome of a kit tracing its origins back to 1952 -- that's 61 years!
I recommend this kit for modelers looking for a sense of nostalgia for the earliest days of our hobby. Thanks to Bill Brierton and Firehouse Hobbies for the opportunity to review this classic!
The article to the left was written a few years ago by Dave Koukol, President of Wright Field Scale Modelers Ohio. If you are interested in being a kit reviewer please use our contact page.