(ex-)BASH-O-RAMA: Grumman F11F TIGER
Posted by Matty on February 8, 2009, 12:58:50
Message modified by board administrator November 23, 2009, 0:36:32
With all the reference to kitbashing lately - my IL-4T build, Hudson MkV project, various ideas for "scratch-bashing" a U-505, and, before that, my Do217k2 and F2H Banshee, etc. - now seems a good time to unveil another project idea - perhaps the ultimate aircraft kitbash - which I've had in mind for some time now: |
Click on Image to EnlargeThe Grumman F11F Tiger; a 3-view drawing of it at left. The Tiger was a supersonic record-setter of the '50s - a true classic from Aviation's Golden Age - with the minimalist lines of an arrow, pure and simple. Plus the high-tech twist of having one of the very first "equal-area cross-section" - or, more commonly, "coke bottle" - type fuselage; a forerunner of the "Century Series" of land-based aircraft.
At right, Garry Beebe's old kit - the Hasegawa 1/72nd scale F11F-1 - has but one problem: it is just too small for my taste. Meanwhile, the few 1/48 kits of it are just way more than I want to pay. Particularly when I have the time and motivation to kitbash - and my stash is already replete with other jets - which I know I'll never build othewise - and which could provide many if not all of the elements needed to approximate the Tiger's simple airframe. For kitbashing to make sense, of course, this choice of which kit to expend, depends (at least) as much on which are available for sacrifice at little or no cost, as anything else.
So I began by considering the most expendable kits in my stash:
Click on Image to EnlargeThe ubiquitous, Monogram 1/48 scale F-104 (left), my example in cheesey, commercial-TV-promo boxing - that I picked up for a song at K-Mart, IIRC; which toy- and craft stores commonly stock, or at least used to stock, such kits for practically a dime a dozen - as they can also be found heavily discounted at the hobby shops, too.
A "Century Series" fighter, the F-104 reveals itself in the overlay-comparison of drawings, at center, to have only limited features in common with the Tiger. Really, the primary match is only in the lower fuselage profile (top, and x-section at bottom); thus, I scaled- and positioned it to fit best that way. The -104 being a slightly bigger airframe, this incorporation of my 1/48 scale kit would produce a Tiger of 1/39.9; almost exactly 1/6th larger in scale, though adjusting the overall dimensions back to 1/48 would still be quite easy, within all the other cutting and pasting required.
Overall, this plane is not much of a fit for the F11F, the primary reason being that its "coke bottle" shape is very different from the Tiger's; the air intakes forming much more distinct "shoulders" and the central body becoming widest at the aft end - just the opposite of the F11F's. Meantime, the wings and tail surfaces simply don't provide any matches, to any significant degree. The extensive features still required - and potentially available - from other kits (see below) would later suggest that perhaps the best use of the F-104 fuselage - its aft end, at least - might in fact be to reverse it, split the tailpipe housing and use its halves for the more rounded, air intake "shoulders" of the Tiger, as demostrated at right, above.
Clearly, more "raw material" is needed:
Click on Image to EnlargeAt left, regard my old Monogram 1/48 scale F-105 ThunderChief kit, obtained for cheap, some years ago. When I think about a "coke bottle" fuselage, the -105, another "Century Series" jet, is one of the first planes to come to mind. However the F-105 was not a fighter at all, but an attack bomber, which explains why its fuselage is also not a good match for the diminutive Tiger, as shown at center-left. The "coke bottle" is simply too long - and too large, at both ends - plus the air intake "shoulders" are located in the wing, not the fuselage sides.
Still, the -105 derives from much the same aerodynamic engineering as the Tiger - as evidenced by the wings and all tail surfaces; the rudder being almost a perfect match, right OOB. At center-right, the wings and stabilizers have been slightly repositioned to demonstrate their near-perfect matches, as well. The wings would have to be thinned somewhat, as the wings of the Tiger were near razor thin - machined, in fact, each from a slab of solid aluminum! Meantime, at top the fuselage is depicted reversed; to suggest how some part(s) of the aft end might could fit the central body of the Tiger. If so, that is the only part of the fuselage, as the nose of the Thunderchief is far too large, as shown at middle - so large, in fact, that, when resized to 1/72 (relative) scale, at right, the nose of the -105 becomes a potentially pretty good match! But this is not where we're going - I don't have a 1/72 scale F-105, anyway - and what I'm planning is to simply copy all the Thud's wings, stabilizers and rudder in resin; to supply all the Tiger's aerodynamic surfaces - here again, as above, in 1/40 scale, but likewise easily shaved down to 1/48, if required.
Although now getting somewhere, still the above does not provide the very core of the plane - the central fuselage (nor cockpit area) - and this project languished accordingly, until I finally (I think) hit upon the "jackpot":
Click on Image to EnlargeOne of many, inexpensive 1/48 scale kits of the French Mirage; my example, at left, being the Academy Mirage IIIc. The comparison (right) - again, for a 1/39.9 scale Tiger - reveals a near-perfect match in the main fuselages - with the entire dorsal profile matching the F11F so completely, that even the cockpit fairings coincide; suggesting that the entire cockpit could be essentially just dropped into place! Only on the underside does some dishing-upwards degrade the match - but for this area we already have more than enough fuselage pieces available from the F-104 above.
The addition of the Mirage suddenly advances us to this point:
Click on Image to EnlargeA 90%-complete scheme for a kitbash! Of course, manipulation of the F-104 contributions (black) will be the most complex - but all of it still highly do-able, IMHO. Including coming up with the required canopy and nose cone - both simple, and standard components - in fact quite possibly available from a 1/48 scale F-18 Hornet also sitting in my "bash pile".
What do you people think? If anyone(s) has a better idea(s) for kits to use - or if there is an inexpensive 1/48 scale Tiger anyone(s) has located - let me know ASAP, before this Bash-O-Rama begins!