introductionI love early jets, all countries, all, types. To me, they seem to marry the beauty of WWII design with the new technology of turbojets. The second generation “Century Series” fighters may have been more lethal, but no one could call a F-100 or F-101 Beautiful. I have personal connection to some of these as well: My dad served 20 years in the Air force, flying B-25s, F-89s, F-101s, RF-4s and this: the F-94. In Fact, as we were strolling through the Nation Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, OH one day, he mentioned that more than likely he had flown in the one on Display! As an added plus, it was outfitted in the colors of the 60th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Otis Air Force Base, Mass, A squadron my dad belonged to, and where he ended up retiring.
historyFrom the NMUSAF Plaque:
The F-94 series all-weather interceptors were developed from the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The prototype F-94 first flew on July 1, 1949. The Starfire was subsequently produced in the A, B and C series. The F-94C (originally designated the F-97A) was a fundamental redesign of the F-94B and made its first flight on Jan. 18, 1950. Improvements in the F-94C included a higher thrust engine, single point refueling, a redesigned wing, a sweptback horizontal stabilizer, upgraded fire-control and navigation systems, and later, mid-wing rocket pods. Twenty-four rockets were carried in the nose in a ring around the radome, shielded by retractable doors, with an additional 24 in the wing pods, if installed. The F-94C carried no guns. Starfires were employed in the air defense of the continental United States in the 1950s. In the F-94A form, they served as the first all-jet, all-weather interceptor for the Air Defense Command. The last F-94Cs were withdrawn from USAF service in 1959.
the modelWhich brings us to this kit, a 1/48 scale offering from Kitty Hawk. I knew nothing about the company or had yet to see any reviews, but I had to have it and build it, just based on the decals alone...
When I opened the box, I was amazed. This is a very well detailed and engineered kit. There are some tricky parts and seam lines to clean up, but building was pretty straightforward. My personal preference is on the finishing, rather than the building, so any kit that requires little or no trouble in the build is okay with me. I also tend to like putting models on bases and in dioramas, so this one had to go on one as well. I had a True Details Ground Power Unit in the stash box, along with an old Italieri Combat Aircraft Support Group. Although the Italieri set looks more like out of the 70’s era, the 60th flew F-94’s up until the introduction of the F-101s in 1959. So I had to do a little back-dating when painting (and rely on my own failing memory) to portray something from the Late 50’s.
painting and finishingFirst, the Aircraft: Air Defense Command Aircraft were kept pretty clean, so the NMF finish needed little weathering. One thing I always noticed, however, was the NMF finishes I saw as a kid were not chrome shiny, but a duller finish. I used Black metallic overall as a base, followed by Alclad Polished Aluminum. I over coated this with Future, and then added the supplemental blacks, OD Greens and tans. The decals are amazing, and look great when they settled down. There are a few spot where “mistakes were made,” but luckily some paint fixed the problem. I added some slight weathering, and then sealed the whole thing with a light matt finish which, after the Alclad and Future, gave the right sheen. This is one of those models that beg to be made again, with a different color scheme. If I pass one in a store I the near future, I’d probably buy it again.
Setting the sceneGround equipment: From my memory and old photos, I recall everything in the Air Force in the early 60’s being painted Yellow or Blue. As this was equipment from the 50’s, I assume it was the same. The models went together pretty smoothly, the GPU being pretty much a sold piece of resin. The figures are all from the Italieri kit, and I only had to do some minor surgery on the pilot figure to backdate him a bit. Those Orange jumpsuits are one of the most indelible images of my youth. My dad wore it to work every day, and it identified you as Air Crew immediately.
Base: This is my standard, go-to base: a cheap wooden plaque from the crafts store, sanded, stained, and polyurathaned. I follow this with foam board scribed to show the concrete slabs, painted and static grass added.
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