1/48 Trumpeter F9F-2 Panther

Gallery Article by Burt Gustafson on July 20 2016



For your viewing pleasure, here is my article and some photos of my 1/48th scale Trumpeter F9F-2 Panther.

The Gruman F9F-2 Panther was a single seat carrier-based jet fighter/bomber. It was Grumanís first jet fighter and the 3rd jet fighter to join the US. Navy fleet. The power plant for the Panther was a 5000 pound thrust Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine, the same engine that powered the MIG-15. Pratt & Whitney was later granted a license to produce the Nene under the designation J42 for production aircraft.

An interesting side note about the jet fuel of the day was that it was no different than the fuel used by propeller driven aircraft. F-9Fís in fact were fueled with aviation gasoline, as were most of the early jets.

The Panther was a conservative design; it had straight wings, a conventional tail, and a rugged structure. Additionally, Panthers were designed with a pressurized and air conditioned cockpit, an ejection seat, and a jettesonable bubble canopy. Top speed for the Panther was 575 mph. For firepower it had four 20mm cannons mounted in the nose with 760 rounds. The aircraft could also carry rockets and bombs on under wing hardpoints.

The first F9F took to the air in 1947, from a 5000 foot runway at Grumanís Bethpage, Long Island plant. The Panther entered the fleet in 1949 and played a significant role in ushering the US. Navy into the jet age. The Navy retired the panther in 1958.

F9F-2 Panthers flew the vast majority of the Navyís combat missions in Korea and was the first Navy jet to shoot down a MIG. Panthers never achieved the MIG killer status of the swept-wing F-86; it earned a different reputation. F9F-2 Panthers performed the dangerous grunt work of ground attack. It became known as a tough bird that brought its pilots home, including three Korean War pilots who were, or would become celebrated American heroes: Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, and future astronauts John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. F9Fís delivered more ordinance on enemy ground targets than any other jet aircraft flown during the Korean War.

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This was an out of the box build. Trumpeter produced an excellent F9F-2 kit. The parts fit of the kit was excellent, allowing the kit to go together without any difficulties. There was some seam filling and sanding, but not a lot. Instruction 10 of the well done instruction guide calls out putting a weight in the nose. Be sure to add plenty of weight to the nose or you will have a big time tail sitter. I installed two egg shaped lead fishing sinkers in the nose; there is sufficient room in the nose for a couple of weights. Since the F9F-2 was a fighter/bomber I armed it with 8 bombs, two five hundred pounders and 6 100 pound bombs.

The overall model was airbrushed with MM RLM 24 (Dark Blue). The wing leading edges and the horizontal stabs leading edges were painted with Floquil Bright Silver. The top of the tail was painted with MM Flat White and the bombs were hand painted with MM Olive Drab.

The decals for the kit were good. They are well printed, easily placed on the model, and snuggled down nicely to the model. The only complaints I have about the decals were that they are rather thin. Trumpeter provides a nice in color painting & marking guide. The decal sheet has decals for two aircraft. I chose to use decals for aircraft 202 of VF 112. Once the decaling was complete, I wiped down the model with a damp cloth and applied a light coat of Future to the model. To finish off the model, I airbrushed it with a coat of MM Semi Gloss Lacquer Finnish.

This kit was a pleasure to build; it goes together without any problems. The parts fit was good, cockpit and external detail is quite good, and the decals were good. The overall quality of this kit is excellent; Trumpeter did a fine job with this kit.

Burt Gustafson

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Photos and text © by Burt Gustafson