Three Tough Marines

Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat Diorama

Gallery Article by H. Davis Gandees on Jan 1 2019

Silly Week 2019



This is my "Silly Week" diorama using a model of my favorite aircraft, the Grumman F8F Bearcat. Just missing combat in WWII, the Bearcat served as the frontline carrier fighter after WWII until carrier based jets became available. The Bearcat continued to serve into the mid 1950s with reserve units and as an advanced trainer. My subject is a Marine Corps F8F-2 advanced trainer that was based at Quantico MCAS. 

Click on images below to see larger images

I thought it would be fun to include 1) an F8F-2 Bearcat, 2) a tough looking Marine pilot and 3) the famous Marine Corps "Devil Dog" mascot. I used a pewter University of Georgia Bulldog earring for the dog. He was modified to a "defiant" stance and a monofilament "stream" was aimed at the Bearcat tire with the resulting "puddle" made using clear yellow/orange painted celluloid. The "campaign hat" was made with styrene sheet and rod. Everything was painted with ModelMaster paints.

At first glance it looks like a Bearcat with a pilot standing in front. You have to look closely. Some might consider it crude, but every Marine who has seen the diorama loves it must be "correct"!

Diorama Details
1) Hobbycraft, Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat 

  • Lone Star windscreen forward corrected fuselage/cowling

  • Lone Star cockpit and rollover structure

  • Lone Star rear engine accessory section and oil tank

  • Lone Star diamond tread tires/wheels

  • Corrected engine crankcase nose, magnetos and prop governor (scrap box)

  • Drilled out cannon barrels

  • Drilled and painted wing nav lights red/green to represent bulbs

  • Formation lights on upper/lower wing cut from blue decal film with punch and die

  • Nylon antenna wire

  • ModelMaster F.S.15042 Gloss Sea Blue paint slightly weathered

  • Superscale 48-998 decals 

2) Ultracast, Pilot Figure

  • ModelMaster paint

3) Georgia Bulldog Earring, "Devil Dog" figure

  • Modified to "lifted leg" pose

  • Monofilament "stream" painted clear yellow/orange

  • Celluloid "puddle" painted clear yellow/orange

  • Scratch built "campaign hat" styrene sheet and rod

  • ModelMaster paint

H. Davis Gandees

Photos and text by H. Davis Gandees