by Phil Brandt
1/48 scale F-82E is available online from
As HyperScalers are well aware, Bondo has an affinity
for relatively obscure airframes, and the F-82G meets this criteria in
Pressed into Korean war service in the confused, earliest days of the
conflict, the black twins bridged the Air Force's post-WWII
technological transition, playing an important stopgap role until the
jets arrived. And then suddenly, almost as if they had never been there,
the high-performing piston birds were gone, some to Alaska, the rest
scrapped. A sad end to the penultimate American prop-driven fighter.
I put aside my relatively crude Gremlin Model's resin
F-82G as soon as Modelcraft of Canada announced their F-82 series. The
first version was the -E and, since I opted not to wait an additional
year for the -G to be released, I pressed on to kitbash the -E into a
-G, soon realizing that the glowing, pre-release telephonic reports by
Modelcraft's principal were fairly subjective; the kit had real fit,
finish and inaccuracy problems.
The molding was done in the Czech Republic and exhibited characteristics
typical of the limited-run "soft" epoxy mold process, although I had
been originally told that harder, copper/copper-plated molds would be
used. As many modelers have subsequently discovered over the years since
the Modelcraft F-82s hit the market, there is a certain degree of finish
crudeness and lack of sharpness on smaller parts, especially the
Construction - Let
the Pain Begin
Although the main components are nicely engraved, with
various overlaid panels, the joining surface of the vertical fin and
rudder portions of each fuselage had to be sanded on a flat surface to
properly thin the blunt rudder trailing edge. The alignment pins and
holes in the wings and fuselages are very crude, and I sanded them off.
The twin canopies and windscreens easily qualify as the
low point of the kit. The excellent Squadron vac replacements didn't
come along until about two years after I had completed the model, and I
wanted to pose the canopies open (is there any other way?) so Bondo
Industries was forced to Dremel the Coke bottle-thick windscreen/ canopy
mating edges to give the illusion of thinner clear parts. Future dipping
also helped. And, I'll try not to dwell on the all-round poor fit of the
windscreens/canopies to the fuselages...
Both cockpits--as you would expect, the right cockpit of the
radar-equipped -G has a very different configuration--were rebuilt from
scratch, since the excellent Eduard PE set hadn't yet been released
either. Seats were taken from Monogram P-51 kits.
The pain goes on - Blades and
The prop blade profiles were distinctly incorrect: the
F-82 Aeroproducts blade has parallel sides when viewed from the front
(much like a fraternity paddle) and a very short transition from the hub
to the said parallel sides. I used the resin blades from the Gremlin
kit, but suitably altered Testor's Bearcat or Monogram A-1 blades could
also be substituted (don't forget the different rotations of the
The shape of the kit's external tanks were fanciful also
(noses much too blunt) so I substituted the teardrop-shaped externals
from the good ol' Monogram Black Widow.
....and on - Gear Legs, Exhausts and Radar
The main landing gear struts and braces are simple, as
in the 1:1 version, with triple-puck discbrake calipers. Modelcraft's
assemblies are much too small and spindly. Based on my pix of the
incorrectly black-painted -E on display at Lackland AFB's parade ground,
I kitbashed the heftier struts from the ol' Revell F-94C kit. The
Modelcraft wheels had the WW II diamond tread style--bet the Czechs
cloned 'em from something like, say, a Monogram Corsair or P-38, but
then, what does Bondo know?--but my references show the later,
concentrically grooved tires. David McLaren's book, "Double Menace"
shows the tires to be 32" in diameter, and the Modelcraft wheels are
significantly smaller than this. Monogram to the rescue again; I used
their A-1 wheels with nicely cast-in discbrake rotors and caliper pucks.
The night fighter exhausts were scratchbuilt, and the Gremlin Model's
resin radar pod was grafted onto the -E wing. It's good that I had the
correctly contoured Gremlin radar pod because Modelcraft's year-later
release of the -G added salt to the modeling wounds of the first
release, with a significantly mis-shaped pod cross section.
To add busy-ness and color to the large expanse of black wing, I elected
to scratchbuild an open gun bay, using Don Greer's fine artwork (same,
same for the cockpits!) found in the Squadron "P-51 Mustang in Color."
Bill Koster's excellent cast metal machine guns and ammo belts formed
the basis of the effort.
the requisite iterations of 3M Blue Acryl putty, I shot Polly Scale
Midnight Black overall. Letters and numerals are from the Superscale red
letter sheet, and the squadron logo was enlarged from the 1/72 Monogram
F-82G, and laser color-printed on decal paper.
The highly fluid combat situation and the summer dust of Korean
airfields made for very dirty aerochines, so Bondo was happy to oblige
with lotsa burnt sienna wash, exhaust residue, pastel 'grime' and silver
pencilling 'wear' on panel edges and step areas.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Bondo and a prop job - what's wrong
with this picture?
First, the F-82G airframe was a 'mean', powerful,
wonderfully sleek original design. It was not, as many believe, a
rehashed Mustang. And, IMO its sinister black color scheme added even
more cachet to the important part it played in the first critical months
of a painful war much too easily forgotten in almost sixty years of
nonstop WWII modeling hysteria.
I'm glad Modelcraft went ahead and developed the only
injected 1/48 F-82 model series extant, but as I've said about the
eclectic releases of Mach 2, you know from the get-go that you're gonna
take a beating!
"Double Menace" by D.R.
McLaren, VIP Publishers
"Terror Twin Mustang in
Korea", Wings Magazine, August 1983
"P-51 Mustang in Color",
"P-51 in Action",
F-82E on display, Lackland
the thumbnails below to view larger images:
Model, Images and Article
Copyright © 2002 by Phil Brandt
Page Created 23 July, 2002
Last updated 04 June, 2007
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