Not too long ago I was tasked to come up with a new subject for our Encore line. Anything, they said, as long as it is an airplane. Having a carte blanche once in a while is not a bad thing and since the Powers That Be weren’t looking all that closely that day, I snuck one in; the F-84F Thunderstreak!
Well, you might say, what possessed you to choose the “Streak?” The reason for that is very innocent and involves a nostalgic dosage of childhood memories.
Plus the fact the F-84F is a beautiful jet and still captures the contours of a “real” airplane. On top of that let’s not forget, that the Thunderstreak, at least to me, is the epitome of a true mix of post war engineering, century fighters and the birth of modern aviation all in one airplane.
And yes, guilty as sin, the main reason is an undeniable bout of personal preference! There you have it!
The F-84F Thunderstreak and Thunderflash always had a big impact on me since I grew up when they were flying over the Kingdom of Belgium.
So there is a lot melancholy attached to my Encore choice and I know for a fact that a lot of guys from my generation share the same sentiment where we have the opportunity to secretly relive part of our childhood. Even if it is through gluing a model together that meant something to us at one time.
When HobbyBoss released their version in 1/48th scale a couple years ago, I was pleasantly surprised. When I finally got my hands on one, I felt immediately reborn with the feeling of being ten again, wearing Terlenka shorts, knee high knit, wool socks, visualizing wiping the snot of my nose with my right flannel shirt sleeve! Couldn’t wait to build the sucker!
Unfortunately, like with everything and a busy schedule, when the new wears off, so does the interest and the F-84 kit descended into the gravel pit of obscurity. Until now that is.
Other than the USAF, NATO members back in the sixties were one of the main users of the Thunderstreak and the planes carried a beautiful NATO camouflage of dark gray, olive green and a sky blue underside. This would be the platform I’d go for and quickly gathered information for a colorful decal sheet.
Having the keys to Squadron’s own Archivum Secretum Apostolicum helps a lot and I found a Don Greer painting (featured on the back cover of SS1224)that would be perfect to serve as box art. Did I mention I was from Belgium?
The Hobbyboss plastic is one of their finer tooled kits and I was thrilled that the company agreed in producing the kit for Encore.
The kit itself is a simple build with no problem at all and a perfect fit. You can leave the putty in your drawer. Cockpit is a little sparse but with some punch & dies here and there and a couple of well placed wires and cables, you can change the landscape pretty dramatically.
My idea was to build it straight out of the box with not too much frills and concentrate more on the paint scheme and weathering. We supplied a very nice resin seat that by itself will spruce up the cockpit tremendously.
The only thing I “helped” a little was at the rear edge of the wings and CS joints. Because of the thickness of the plastic, it didn’t seem right so I glued a piece of plastic strip in place and trimmed it in angles until I received a nice smooth crisp edge. It added a few thousands of an inch to the width of the wing but nothing that the eye would catch and it looked so much better.
The small fret of PE parts that is included added a nice touch to the dive brakes on top of the wings and the brake doors on the fuselage. Honestly, the whole time during the build, I did not run into any problems so it shouldn’t take you all that long.
In next chapter, I will elaborate a little more about touching up and painting the cockpit and prepping the model for airbrushing.
Once in a blue moon, I come across a kit where everything falls together like “simple comme bonjour” and it rejuvenates the respect I have for our hobby. This time it is the F-84F. I think we all need a project occasionally where we can rediscover how fun and educational model building actually is.
Question: What kits or modeling projects have rejuvenated you after hitting a lull in our hobby? Please share your comments with our community below. Thanks!
P.S. This kit is not for sale just yet. 🙁 Next week, we will post part 2 of ‘Building Encore’s 1/48th F-84F Thunderstreak’ on this blog along with the release date. Till next time!