Czech Model | 3202: 1/32 Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star
Reviewed by Randy Bumgardner
Can I get a "Woo-Hoo!"...? I'll say it again. Everybody give me a "Woo-Hoo!"... We finally have an injected plastic 1/32nd scale F-80! Sure, we've had vacuformed kits of this aircraft. However, for us vacuform-challenged modelers, that didn't necessarily help. Squadron to the rescue. Well, actually Czech Model, another of Squadron's divisions, to the rescue. This is Czech Model's second release in this scale (a couple of years ago they released a version of the F2A Buffalo) and it's a whopper.
This kit includes 91 injected plastic parts on 6 parts trees. One of those parts trees contains 12 clear parts. The kit also contains various resin bits as well as a photoetch fret containing pre-painted parts. And, last but certainly not least, decals for three markings options designed by Aeromaster and printed by Cartograf, round out the kit. In all, there are enough parts present for the modeler to build one very nice representation of the F-80C.
The injected parts are molded by MPM. They are molded in MPM's traditional gray plastic. The exterior parts contain very nice details including fine panel lines and restrained rivets. The surface texture is rough and pebbly in some spots " not enough that a good polishing won't knock down. Some of the parts also contain some ejection marks " especially on the inside of the larger airframe parts such as the fuselage halves and the upper and lower wing halves. These will have to be cut away prior to assembling these parts.
The trailing edges of the wings, stabilizers, and rudder are nice and sharp, without a trace of flash. The control surfaces are not separate from the main airframe parts. The speed brakes can be posed in the up or down position. If the modeler wishes to pose them deployed, they might want to add some details to the speed brake "wells" as there isn't any " none at all.
In the lower wing half, the holes for the loadouts are not pre-drilled. So, the modeler has a choice if they would like to build the model with or without the weapons pylons and/or wing tanks. The kit comes with a choice of wing tanks. The modeler can choose between the ubiquitous Lockheed standard tanks, like those used by the P-38 Lightnings during WWII, or the larger cylindrical "Misawa" tanks. Be sure to consult your references to verify which choice is correct for your model. While your looking at your references, be sure to verify which navigation lights your model should have. Czech Model provides the modeler with two different styles of wingtip lights.
The cockpit tub does seem to be a little bare. The side consoles in particular. These could stand a little dressing up. The kit does come with some resin bits to add, but the side console may still need some help. A resin seat is included with the resin parts in the kit. It is certainly very well detailed and contains a bunch of harnesses piles onto the seat. Unfortunately, my copy arrived with one of the finely detail handles broken off. A little superglue and I'll be back in business again.
The wheel wells are molded as a separate pieces with the inboard half of the wells integrally molded with the lower wing. The outer halves of the wheel wells are molded separately and fit right into channels molded into the inside face of the lower wing half. Depending on how detailed the modeler chooses to get, there is room for some plumbing. The wheel wells are well molded and look pretty good, and they also look kind of bare. If you are still looking at your references from the preceding paragraph, make sure to take note of the type of wheels your aircraft had. Czech Model supplies the modeler with two types of resin wheels, each with a different tread pattern on the tire. Both types have the brake detail molded onto the rear hub. The fancier wheel is also available in plastic on the 'E' parts tree.
The intakes for the centrifugal flow engine, are molded as a three piece affair. The instructions call for the interiors to be painted Aluminum. The fit is very nice, so I don't think seams will be a big problem. What might be a problem is that the intakes open into the empty rear fuselage. There is a kink in each intake which may be enough to obstruct the view of the casual observer. However, a painted blocking plate, somehow painted to represent the big compressor impeller, would do the trick.
The photoetch is produced by Eduard, and is one of their color photoetch frets. As always the detail is great and the color just adds that much more. The instrument panel and center console face are both two piece affairs with the instrument faces being overlaid by the panels themselves. A very realistic effect is produced by this method.
The instructions themselves are straightforward, clear and well printed. Consisting of 3-dimensional CAD drawings, the modeler has clear and concise directions each step of the way. The paint callouts are easily identifiable and clearly labeled in each step.
The markings options provided are for three Korean War aircraft:
- F-80C-10-LO, 49-650, "Saggin Dragon", 16th FIS, 51st FIW, Suwon, Korea, March 1951.
- F-80C-10-LO, 49-423, 8th FBG, Wing Commander's aircraft, Lt. Col. Levi Chase, Suwon, Korea, March 1952.
- F-80C-10-LO, 49-765, "Li'l Dottie", 80th FBS, 8th FBG, Lt. Ray Marsh, Taegu, Korea, December 1950.
All of the above aircraft are finished in natural metal. So, break out the Alclad, SnJ, or whatever else you want to use. The markings themselves are a very colorful selection. Each option adds it's own flavor to the aircraft. The decals are printed by Cartograf and are up to their usual high quality. The colors are magnificent and correct. The decals are very thin, have very little carrier film, and are in register. Being from Cartograf, they should be a dream to apply. The decals were designed by Aeromaster and I really like the options they provided. A full set of stencils and insignias are also provided and round out the decals. The sheet is a big one " even the Olive Drab anti-glare shield forward of the windscreen is provided on the decal sheet.
So, here it is. Czech Model has released the first 1/32nd scale F-80 Shooting Star in injection molded plastic. They have also released a very nice kit. There are some areas that need some help "the cockpit and perhaps the speed brake wells" but overall this kit is a winner.
This kit is available directly from Squadron.
© Randy Bumgardner 2009
This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016