1/48 Lindberg Grumman F11F-1 Tiger

Gallery Article by Gene A. (Gene-o) DiGennaro on Jan 20 2017



The Grumman F11F Tiger was designed as a supersonic US Navy carrier borne day fighter. Grumman engineers sought to capitalize on newly discovered area rule technology which led to the popular "Coke bottle" fuselage seen on many early supersonic jets. When the first Tiger flew in July of 1954 it was dubbed the XF9F-9 largely to fool Congress into thinking it was an extension of the existing Panther/Cougar family. Operational Tigers received an afterburning J-65 Sapphire jet engine and came in two varieties: "short nose" and "long nose." The Tiger's operational was rather short as the technology of supersonic aircraft was changing rapidly. Today the Tiger is best known as the Blue Angels' mount from 1957 to 1969. 

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I chose to model the "long nose" version of the Tiger as flown by VF-33 off the USS Intrepid in 1959. In 1/72 scale there is nice Hasegawa release of the F11F that has been around since the late 1970s. However in 1/48 scale there have been several releases. One is the 1955 vintage Lindberg model which somewhat represents the non afterburning XF9F-9. It's still in production. The other is a 1990's Collect-Aire release that is OOP and fetches 200-300 dollars at auction sites. The latest release was from Fonderie Miniature. Unfortunately Fonderie Miniature is out of business.

Do ya wanna guess which kit I chose for my Tiger? Here's a hint: I've got two kids in college and I've been building plastic models for over 45 years. Yup, you guessed it. Good ol' Lindberg! No cockpit, rivets, see through fuselage. No problem! We are modelers and not assemblers aren't we? If I wanted something easy, I would have bought a Tamiya kit. So here’s my laundry list of things I did to make a more representative model of a long nosed Tiger.

  1. Sanded off the rivets and rescribed panel lines using 1/48 scale drawings.

  2. Removed two wing fences at the tips and reshaped the two large wing fences on the topside of the wings.

  3. Reshaped the delta shaped control hinges on the undersides of the wings to a more ogive shape.

  4. Reshaped the delta shaped control hinges on the topsides of the wings to a more ogive shape. The hinges were faired in with putty.

  5. Scribed in new plenum chamber vents on the top of the fuselage.

  6. Closed off the intakes so one can’t see through the model.

  7. Separated the intakes from the fuselage and added splitter plates.

  8. Scratch built a cockpit using computer generated decals of the Tiger instrument panels, a Monogram F-18 ejection seat, plastic card, and a pilot from the scrap box.

  9. Scratchbuilt the radio antenna located behind the ejection seat.

  10. Carved a new nose from a pine block and faired into the fuselage

  11. Added the afterburner by extending the rear of the fuselage by about 1”.

  12. Added a Monogram F-18 jet exhaust tube in the extension.

  13. Added a tailhook and tail skid housing to the underside of the rear fuselage.

  14. Added a fuel dump vent to the rear fuselage.

  15. Increased the chord of the vertical tail.

  16. Added a rear radar warning fairing and tail spike over the afterburner.

  17. Moved the horizontal stabilizers back about 0.25” inches.

  18. Added the leading edge extensions at the wing roots.

  19. Simulated cannon barrels with stainless steel tubing.

  20. Scratchbuilt cannon shell ejection chutes just aft of the guns.

  21. Added catapult bridle attachment hooks on the underside, just aft of the ejection chutes.

  22. Reshaped the hinge fairings on the wings and stabilizer.

  23. Vacuformed a new canopy.

  24. No decals existed for VF-33's Tigers so I had to make my own. Created computer vector artwork for the VF-33 squadron markings. Modex numbers were made using “USN Stencil”  aka “Long Beach” as a font. These were inkjet printed onto decal sheets.

  25. Stars n Bars came from the Lindberg kit, as did the “NAVY” script. Stenciling came from the spares box.

Hope you like it!


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Photos and text © by Gene A. (Gene-o) DiGennaro