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by Phil Brandt




 Modelcraft's 1/48 scale F-82E is available online from Squadron.com




As HyperScalers are well aware, Bondo has an affinity for relatively obscure airframes, and the F-82G meets this criteria in spades.

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.


Modelcraft's 1/48 Scale F-82


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 canopies.



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 Tanks...

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 Allisons).



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.



Painting and Markings


After 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", Squadron/Signal Publications

  • "P-51 in Action", Squadron/Signal Publications

  • F-82E on display, Lackland AFB, TX


Additional Images


Click 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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