1/48 Classic Airframes Grumman J2F-5 Duck

by Eric Hargett



Perusing through my limited run kits, I decided it was finally time to build the 1/48 Classic Airframes Grumman J2F-5 Duck.  I've always had a fondness for almost forgotten military aircraft and the Duck is no exception.  Though not as glamorous or as handsome as Wildcats and Hellcats, this unsightly Grumman aircraft was vital to the U.S. war effort in World War II.  The Duck performed admirably in duties such as reconnaissance, medical evacuation, smoke-laying, light transport, search and rescue, target towing and homeland sea patrol. My Duck represents a J2F-5 with Fleet Air Photographic Unit Atlantic 3 in 1942 wearing the NS Blue-Gray over NS Light Gray scheme.  This Duck also wears the solid blue and white national insignia instead of the pre-war red dot within the white star and red and white stripes on the tail that were removed early in the war. 

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The Classic Airframes kit contains a great assortment of low-pressure injection molded and resin parts.  Surface detail consists of finely engraved panel lines.  Most resin parts are used to construct the nice cockpit.  Some cleanup of flash and other debris are needed prior to assembly.  I basically built my Duck out-of-the-box with the addition of Edward photoetch seatbelts.

Many panel lines had to be rescribed because they were either poorly represented or were sanded off during construction.  As recommended in the instructions, styrene rod was used for the landing gear supports and radio cable attachment points.  The instrument panel for the cockpit is basic so I added some details and decals from my spares box.  There are no attachment points for the fuselage and wings so I drilled holes in the fuselage wing root and added styrene rod for wing placement and additional wing support.   Lots of putty was needed along the fuselage joins, wing edges, wing roots and engine cowl.  The inside of the engine cowl had to be sanded down considerably for proper fit of the resin 950hp Wright R-1820-50 engine. I tried using Squadron's vacuum-formed canopy for this Duck, but the canopy was too narrow for the Classic Airframes kit and is better suited to the recently released Glencoe version.

After construction, all panel lines were pre-shaded with Model Master Gunship Gray, followed by a light mist of Tamiya Sky Gray over the entire model.  Keep in mind the upper wing was not attached until after all painting and weathering had been completed.  Aeromaster Lt. Gull Gray was used to tint the ventral panels followed by additional panel tinting with mixtures of Lt. Gull Gray and Tamiya White.  A light mist of Lt. Gull Gray was then applied over all ventral surfaces.  My focus then turned to spraying a light coat of Gunze-Sanyo Blue-Gray on the dorsal and side surfaces.  This was followed by tints of Blue-Gray and Lt. Gull Gray applied to panels.  Lastly, a light mist of Blue-Gray was applied to all dorsal and side surfaces to blend the colors.  The model was then given a few coats of Future.  Decals were applied and an acrylic wash of Neutral Gray/Flat Black was applied to panel lines.  Another coat of Future and a mist of Flat Clear prepared the model for additional weathering.  All wartime photos of the Duck in the NS Blue-Gray over NS Light Gray scheme show marginally weathered aircraft. I decided to keep with that historical condition and used mixtures of black and gray pastels for most of the weathering.  Tamiya's A and D weathering kits were also used to simulate salt/rust/grime around the main float area.  Flat Clear was used to seal the weathering.  Adcock's 'U.S. Navy Flying Boats and Amphibians in World War II' is an excellent reference for weathering the Duck.

Consulting my references I then drilled holes in the fuselage and wings for rigging.  The upper wing was then attached to the model.  On my kit I had to cut about a 1/4 length off of each of the four wing struts to obtain the proper dihedral.  I used 4X tippet for the rigging and radio cable.  Several coats of Flat Clear were used to finish the model.

Overall, this was one of the better limited run kits I have built and makes into a fine representation of the Duck. 

As always, thanks to ARC for the wonderful contributions that provide loads of information for scale modelers. 


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Photos and text by Eric Hargett