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The Monogram F8F Bearcat

The Finished Beauty

The F8F Bearcat

This was one helluva fighter in its day.  Fast, agile and like a rocket in its climbing.  The Bearcat was everything the US Navy could've wanted in a carrier based interceptor, circa 1945.

A bit of history here.  By 1944, the war in the Pacific had changed.  It was no longer like the dark days at the start of the war when the US Navy had to face the massive Japanese attacks with but a few highly trained naval aviators.   On December 7th, 1941, the US Navy was a small, peacetime force.  It had just a few carriers with just a few, relatively, pilots to fly the planes aboard.  As far as fighter aircraft went, what was best for this environment was a plane which was optimized for performance.  Something which would not limit the pilots who flew it.  This was acceptable for the Naval Aviation of the day as that small cadre of pilots was highly trained and quite capable of dealing with the Wildcat's demanding nature.  Then came Pearl and suddenly world changed.  To stem the Japanese tide and then reverse it, the US Navy would need a lot more than its small, peacetime force.

The answer was to ramp up as fast as possible and churn out as many ships, subs, planes and pilots as possible.  This was a "mass market" approach that required a "mass market" aircraft.  That meant a plane that gave its pilots an advantage over the Japanese foes he'd face while at the same time still being forgiving enough that these newly minted pilots could handle it.  In this, the Grumman F6F Hellcat was tailor made.  It was faster than the Zero, something which the Wildcat wasn't, and was a much easier aircraft to operate than the Wildcat.  Thus the Hellcat was exactly the plane that was needed at the moment.  With the right tactics, it held an advantage over the Japanese aircraft and did so even in the hands of the new and inexperienced pilots being churned out by all those new flight schools the Navy had set up.  And so, as planned, all those newly minted naval pilots were soon climbing into all those newly produced Hellcats and together with the old hands who flew their Wildcats, the US Navy was able to stem the tide in the Pacific and then reverse it.  Thus, by 1944, the Navy found itself in a position where it could move beyond the pressing needs for a mass market approach.  Thus it could once again field an aircraft which would not limit the pilots who flew it.  Thus the contract for the Bearcat.

The Bearcat was optimized for performance and was therefore perfect for all those US Navy pilots who now had enough combat flight time to have outgrown the limits of the previous world beater from the Iron Works (as Grumman came to be called) the Hellcat.  Now with thousands of pilots who had hundreds of hours of combat flight time - and not just the bare "200 hours in a trainer and you get your wings!" as they did previously, the higher performing and more demanding Bearcat was a perfect match.

Benefiting from having examined freshly captured German Focke Wulf FW190's, Grumman engineers had set themselves to the task of designing as small and lightweight and aircraft as they could squeeze behind the well proven and reliable Pratt & Whitney R-2800-30W Engine.  That is a twin-row 18 cylinder air-cooled radial that can generate 2,250 hp for takeoff and that was enough horses to yield the Bearcat a max speed of 455 mph @ 28,000.  This was also enough to rocket the Bearcat up into those skies at 6,300 feet per minute.  That was just the thing you'd want in an interceptor that had to scramble off the carrier deck to defend the fleet.

As a result of Grumman's efforts the Bearcat was very compact.  It was but twenty seven and a half feet long and only thirty five and a half feet wide.  That's actually a bit smaller than a Mustang and definitely smaller than a Jug.  The designers at the Iron Works achieved all this at some expense in range.  There simply wasn't the extra space inside the minimized design to stuff any extra fuel tanks.  So, the Bearcat had tankage for but 185 gallons internally and that yielded a range of 865 miles.  Shackling on that big centerline tank, at 150 gallons, almost doubled that range, bringing it to 1,435 miles.  As you might guess, it was rare indeed when the Bearcat went out on operations without that centerline tank.

As good as the Bearcat was, it got out of the Iron Works doors just a shade too late to see combat service in World War Two.  The Navy issued Grumman the contract for this high powered interceptor November of '43.  Grumman had a prototype ready for flight testing a mere nine months later.  Typical of those guys out there on Long Island.  Also typical for Grumman, the Bearcat was rolling out the factory doors just six months after that first flight.  That put the F8F into the hands of the Navy's training development squadrons in February of 1945 and into the first line squadron, VF-19, in May of '45.  VF-19 was still familiarizing itself with its new mount and had yet to deploy to the Pacific theater when the war ended in August of that year.  Thus, the Bearcat became another of those "could've beens" in US aviation history.

Still though, the Bearcat was fast, was maneuverable, and could climb like nothing else.  At least nothing else then in US Navy service.  The scream of turbines and the smell of JP-4 soon rendered even the Bearcat's excellent performance obsolete.  The huge production contracts the Navy had drawn up for the F8F were all downsized (from over 2,500 to just 1,266 for Grumman) or canceled outright (all of the birds GM was to have produced.)  Although twenty four US Navy squadrons did operate the Bearcat through the mid to late 40's, their days were numbered in US service.  It was another Iron Works product, the F9F Panther, which pushed the Bearcat out of its active US service.  So it was that the Panther jet was the "Navy Sea Blue" bird over Korea and not the Bearcat.

All was not over for the F8F however.  While the US was wealthy enough to afford the latest and greatest in military technology, there were plenty of other countries in the world who had the need but hadn't the budget to afford those new fangled jets.  And when those countries were trying to fight off Communist insurgents the US was quite happy to supply them with weapons it no longer had a use for.  Thus the Bearcat found new life in foreign service.  Among the nations which wound up using the stout and powerful fighter were the French and the Thai air forces.  The Bearcat became the primary close support aircraft the French used in trying to retain their grasp of their Indochina colony.  And it was destruction of so many of them - on the ground - by the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu which heralded the French defeat there and their eventual loss of that colony.

The Bearcat was too good a plane to be knocked down by any French loss and it remained a frontline fighter-bomber throughout the 50's with the Thais and with other air forces.  Eventually though, jets and age caught up with most of those aircraft.  In the 60's, with the rebirth of unlimited air racing, the Bearcat found new life again.  Here the Bearcat was in its element.  These races are short high speed affairs just the place for an interceptor plane which was long on speed but short on legs.

Soon there were quite a few Bearcats tearing it up over the desert out there in Reno each year.  And also soon enough there were racers who began extensively modifying their mounts and tweaking its engine to squeeze even more power from an already powerful beast.  The results are still airborne today and have set several airspeed records over the years.

Not all the remaining Bearcats are only flying at Reno.  Several of these famous planes are in the hands of private owners who keep them operational so they can prowl the airshow circuit.  The purr of that big Pratt & Whitney is a distinctive and roaring thing to hear.

Even on the ground the Bearcat's long landing gear, necessitated by its huge diameter prop, and blunt nose, necessitate by that radial engine, give the plane a distinctive and powerful appearance.  The plane just looks strong and its actual performance - even today more than a half century since it first took flight - lives up to its looks.

Well, that's a bit of the Bearcat's history.  As such, you can see why it'd be a great subject for companies to make model kits of.  The plane has a good history, a long and varied service record, is still flying today, and besides, the damn thing looks pretty cool to boot!  Thus it came to be that Monogram Models Inc. issued a kit of Bearcat back in '67.  This, along with similar kits of a P-51B and a P-36A Hawk.  For their day, these were really sweet kits.  They were simple but pretty accurate and were well thought out in their design.  Just the thing for the market at the time.  Even today, almost four decades later, these kits hold up very well.  The Monogram Bearcat kit is still good rendering of this plane in 1/72nd scale.  I know that Frog produced a Bearcat kit as the plane's long French service meant it was well known over there.  I've not seen the Frog kit but, given its vintage and given the general quality of other Frog kits from that era, I'm pretty sure the Monogram rendering has it beat hands down.  I've not seen the Sword version of this plane but I suspect that it reflects a more modern production standards and detailing as it is in current production.  Monogram has long since ceased production of this kit.  It has, however, re-released it in 1979 and in 1989.  That most recent release being under its "Mini Masterpieces" series.

The Monogram F8F Bearcat model kit box top

This particular boxing of this kit dates from its 1979 reissue.  Monogram did the same with those other three 1/72nd scale kits as well as many of their other 72nd scale items.  I well remember making several of the kits from that line back then.  I still have a couple left, unmade, in my collection.  This particular Bearcat kit is one I purchased on eBay a couple of years ago for about $3.50.  You can still find this release of this kit on eBay for around that same price.

I selected this kit as my second "stock" model as it seemed a rather simple build.  The color scheme is simplicity itself being but a single color.  The kit design also seemed to present few problem for assembly as it was well designed and a dry fitting revealed no problems.  So, with all this in mind I chose this as the next kit I would complete after my F-80.  I also chose to declare this my "Model In A Month" entry on the Starship Modeler website's "contest."  I declared my intent at February's start but actually started working on it some two weeks or so later.  A computer hard drive crash and a renewed bout of industrial disease conspired to distract me.

However, I did eventually get down to the business of getting down to business.

Here's what I found upon opening the kit box.

Parts is parts is parts

As I said above, this is a pretty well done kit - especially considering its vintage.  The surface detailing of this kit is of the raised variety but it is restrained and well done.  The kit instructions were simple and direct consisting of a single four panel sheet.  This was rather sparse, detail-wise, but sufficient for the day.  I'd have liked more specifics as to decal placement but between the box images and instruction sheet I was able to work things out pretty well.

First things first, this kit got a bathOnce dry I set to the testing the fit of the kit's major pieces.  Learning from my mistakes with the Airfix F-80 kit, I closely examined how the fuselage looked.  Luckily, there was no warping of the plastic here as there'd been with that kit.

One thing that I decided early on to do differently with this kit was to "open it up" by animating it's control surfaces.  The kit was molded with the flaps, rudder, elevator and ailerons all in the neutral or closed position.  That simplifies the molding process and does produce a very clean looking model.  However, the real world aircraft was rarely in such a state.  So, in short order I had carved through the plastic enough to separate the flaps from the wings and the rudder from the fuselage halves.  I also wanted to open up the engine cowl flaps.  That took a bit more work but I did that as well as separating the elevator from the horizontal stabilizer.  I even carved the inside of the aileron's hinge points such that I could flex them out of their neutral position.  All this was probably the single most time consuming part of this kit's assembly.  There's nothing terribly special in doing this, just taking care to not carve any other part of the kit that shouldn't be carved.  I used a regular X-Acto knife for this but I worked it in reverse by pulling it through the part against its tip and not against its blade point.  This meant the blade would tend to carve the plastic away more than just cut through it.  I also used a panel scribing tool (both the Tamiya and versions) when I could.  All three tools were effective.

Once I got through that I decided I needed to do something about the kit's lack of any interior detailing.  This was most glaring in the kit's treatment of the wheel wells.  Simply put, there was nothing there but the attachment points for the landing gear struts.  Mind you, I was glad for such prominent and effective attachment points as that made the gear assembly and positioning much easier and effective then what I found with the Airfix F-80 kit.  Still though, the whole area looked naked as all get out.  I especially didn't like how open the whole thing was.  The wheel wells were devoid of detail and they also were not boxed in at all.  So, you could see into the rest of the wing and also see right through the fuselage via the wheel well openings.  That was hardly realistic.

The simple answer would be to just box those wells in with plastic card.  I tried that but found I was rather fumble fingered getting the pieces trimmed properly.  I then thought of making a template for the plastic card by using putty or clay to establish the correct profile.  At first I used some Silly Putt.  I simply placed a bit of the putty in the area where I wanted to get the shape from and then squeezed the wings together until they fit properly.  Unfortunately, the Silly Putty® was too flexible and the profile it yielded once I pulled it up from where I stuck it turned out to be useless.  I tried the same with some Plasticine (modeling clay) and this certainly was an improvement over the Silly Putty®.  However, it wasn't enough of an improvement.  So, I decided the simplest way I could "box in" the wheel wells was buy puttying them closed.  Out came my tube of Testors modeling putty.  This was rather gooey and too liquidy to smooth very well.  While I used it to do the initial filling in, I switched over to Tamiya modeling putty to finish things off.  Even with the Tamiya putty, this was still a rather slow way of doing things.  I would smear as much putty as I could into the gap and then have to sit back to let it set up.  Then it'd be time to smear more into the gaps and then let that set up.  Finally, I'd have enough of a contiguous surface to apply the Tamiya putty onto and then smooth that out.  Along the way though, I did use some small strips of plastic card to "box in" the wing root air scoops.  I would like to have detailed those further but I just didn't have sufficient references to do that with.  The pictures of the Bearcat that I've found online are all well and good but they don't show the details of the landing gear bays.  In the end, I simply put those plastic strips into the right area, placed a bit of kit sprue behind them (so as to "suggest" the air ducting) and then smoothed the gaps with more putty.  No, it's not to scale and it's not accurate.  However, it's a lot better than nothing.

At about this time I also decided to do something of the kit's cockpit - or more accurately, its lack of a cockpit.  As issued, the kit came with a cockpit seat, a control stick, a instrument panel on the decal sheet, and some bumps molded into the wing's upper surface which one could take as perhaps being rudder pedals.  Unlike more modern kits - and even unlike that Airfix F-80 kit - there was no separate cockpit "tub" into which you could pour your detailing efforts.  Instead, the cockpit detail would have to sit atop the upper wing piece and then the two fuselage pieces would come together around it.

As basic as all this was, the cockpit seat did at least feature molded in seatbelts and was rather finely molded.  Since the seat would wind up being the most prominent feature of the model's cockpit, this was a good thing.  Even though the Bearcat's cockpit is a small and tight affair, reflecting how the actual aircraft is a small and tight machine, I figured that the basic level of detail was too basic.  So, I decided to do something about that.  I couldn't readily box this one in as its assembly was too open.  With most other kits, the cockpit is a subassembly that attaches to one side of the fuselage and that lends itself to more detailing.  With the cockpit pieces simply sitting out in the open on top of the wing, this would harder to do.  I thought about using more Plasticine to establish the profile of the area I had to work with but decided just to simplify thing by keeping it simple.  To that end, I cut out two pieces from a rather thick sheet of plastic sheet and superglued those on to either side of the cockpit seat.  I used the thicker stock so as to provide a simple level surface for the superglue.  Thinner stock might have required bracing or more futzing.  I also wanted a wider surface upon which I'd then glue the thin strips which would serve as the cockpit console panels.  Here's what resulted:

Cockpit with side panels

It looked a bit like a throne, actually.  For my purposes, that would do.

After about ten or eleven days of work, at an hour or two a day, here's what I had on my hands:

And on the eleventh day...

The kit's wings are assembled and the wheel wells are still being worked on.  I've glued the flap halves together as well as the rudder halves.  The kit's cockpit seat is attached and and I've built up the cockpit interior.  I've also cut out the engine cowling flaps and have replaced them with pieces of thin plastic card stock.  I found that I could work a slight curve into those strips by pulling them across a hard edge - much the same way you can form a curve into a piece of paper by pulling it across the a table's edge.  With the curve formed into the strip I cut out pieces that were just a hair longer than the hole they were to fit into.  This further assured they remain curved once attached.  A bit of superglue later and I had my cowl flaps.  I also attached more strip on the inside of the fuselage halves to close off the hole that I'd carved.  I didn't do any fairing in of the hole as I figured it would be too obscured by the flaps to show.  Looking back on this, I think I attached these flaps a bit too early in the assembly process.  However, they took only a bit of effort to work around so there was no real harm done.

Cockpit basic paint job The next step was to paint the cockpit interior and "create" the detailing.  A basic coat of zinc chromate green went down first and then I painted the cockpit consoles flat black over their white bare plastic.
Scratching away to make an instrument panel
With the black top coat done, I then began to create a detail effect simply by scratching off bits of that paint.  Using the tip of an X-Acto blade, I scratched off the black paint to reveal the white plastic underneath.  This simulated the look of instrument panel faces on the consoles.  On the left here you can see how I've worked up the right side of the cockpit consoles. 
All scratched up
And here's how it looked after I got done scratching.  No, it's not accurate.  No, it's not to scale.  True, it's hardly visible in the finished model.  However, it's a helluva lot better than what the kit originally came with and it looks pretty good in the finished model.
The finished assembly - note the stick position
And here's how it looks with the harness straps painted and the control stick in position.  Note that the stick is pushed over and forward.  This matches how I set the rudder, elevator and ailerons.
Seeing what you can see
And here's the finished result.  On the left you can just barely make out what's visible of the left cockpit console panel.  Without the inserts and scratched out detail there'd be nothing visible there but the inside of the fuselage and the top of the wing.

On the right here is what you can see of the instrument panel.  The decal for this was of the right shape, trapezoidal, as that's what the full size Bearcat's instrument panel is shaped like.  The scale though was way off.  I had to trim about a 1/4 off of each side just to get it to fit up into the curved space Monogram thought was what the instrument panel should fit into.  Had I tried to fit the whole thing in there then the bottom of the panel would be down by the rudder pedals.  I think the instrument panel decal is more 1/60th or larger scale than 72nd.  Still though, it's sure a lot better than nothing!
Instrument panel

With the wing and cockpit done as far as I could do them, I then turned to working up the fuselage.  Here's where I found a problem with the design of the kit.  Monogram made the wing one continuous piece that ran through the fuselage.  That simplified the kit's design and manufacture.  It also meant for a gap between the bottom of the wing and the inside bottom of the fuselage.  So, not only did I have to blank off the inside of the wing, but now I had to blank off beneath the wing and bottom of the fuselage.  To do this I did use plastic card that I trimmed and bent around.

Between the bottom of the wing and the inside of the fuselage bottom.

These pieces served as a backstop for the putty I later applied to fill the remaining gaps.  I did have to trim the strips a bit in order to assure a smooth fit with the wing in place.

With that applied I then decided to blank out the gap around the engine.  As it stood, there was a distinct gap between the engine piece and the fuselage sides.  You can see that on the left fuselage half in the picture above.  Monogram just saw fit to mold two prongs upon which you'd glue the engine in place.  Without the wheel well blanking light would come through from there as well as through the cockpit opening.  That's not cool so blank it out I must.  I had thought to cut out more plastic card stock and I began using paper sheet to work out the right profile.  As I did this I realized that all I really needed was something which blocked the light effectively.  It didn't need to be a structural piece of plastic nor anything which fit perfectly.  Just well enough to block the light.  That being the case, a piece of darkened paper cut to shape would do.  In this case I cut it out to a close enough - but just a bit too wide - a shape and used Elmer's Glue to hold it in place.  Yeah, supergluing it in place would've probably worked just as well but, hell, I'm a traditionalist when it comes to paper.  I used a black Sharpie pen to darken the paper and then slathered the thing in place.  Realizing that all that glue I'd put in there would take forever and a day to dry (after using so much superglue I'm spoiled) I scooped some of it out so it would dry faster.

The engine blank Elmered into place

At this point I was ready to join the fuselage halves together.  Before I did that though, I wanted to see how closely the kit's profile matched the real McCoy's profile.  So, I found a usable three view of the Bearcat online, ran it through my graphics program (Paint Shop Pro 7) and printed it out in 1/72 scale.  Then I placed one of the fuselage halves on the image to see what I might see.  This is what I saw.

A pretty close match

From the looks of this, Monogram got the basic shape pretty close.  The kit looks to be about half a foot or so, in scale, too long.  The kit's cockpit placement looks too low for the after portion and it most likely has the dorsal tail fairing wrong.  The leading edge of the vertical stabilizer should also be forward by a few scale inches as well.  From the cockpit forward though, it looks dead on.  I know some would quibble at these scale failings but at this point I'm happy enough that a forty some odd year old kit came this close to being spot on.

So, out came the superglue and together came the fuselage halves.  It was a bit tricky getting everything slid inside properly - not only is the wing a single assembly but so to is the horizontal stabilizer.  But I did it.  In the future I'll take more care to ensure I've got glue on all the joining surfaces before I press the whole thing together.  I missed the portion between the cockpit and the tail.  I'll also have to get more familiar with using plastic weld glue.  I've not had much luck with that but I've read how it's perfect for such joining.  In any event, I still had some seams to work over.  I also had an unfortunate gap to fill between the bottom of the wing and the fuselage.  This should have been a nice and tight fit but it didn't work out that way.  A bit of putty filled most of that in but I had to go back over it with some Mr. Surfacer to fully nail it. 

I'd heard that Silly Putty was just the thing to mask off interior areas when it came time to spray paint.  With that in mind, I gave it a try.

Silly Putty and Bearcat

Yeah, it looks strange.  The putty did work but was a bit messy extracting from the interior cavities.  I've decided to stick with stuffing in bits of paper tissue.

I sprayed a coat of primer on the bird and used a rattle can of Tamiya for that.  This showed up some finishing errors that weren't all that apparent previously.  More filler, more sanding, more filler, and more sanding followed.  When I felt things were ready I took my bird out to the garage, where I have my compressor, and had at it.  This was the first time I tried using my Aztec airbrush.  Previously, I'd only used my old Badger airbrush and its air propellant can.  I'm still trying to get the knack of this and had some problems with it all.  So much so, that I decided to ditch the Aztec for the first go 'round in applying the blue to the kit.  This somewhat mottled finish is what resulted.

First coat

Once this had dried enough, I used the Badger to apply a coat of Future to the model's surface.  This provided a good glossy base for the decaling.  That brings up the next phase.  Looking over what was in the kit, I thought things would go pretty well here as the decal sheet looked in very good shape with no curling, cracking nor any yellowing.  Well, I was wrong there!

I decided to start with the fuselage decals and then work my way out from there.  That way I'd minimize the dangers of pulling anything out of place as I applied other decals.  So, I precisely cut out the big "201" decals that take up so much of the aft fuselage sides.  I plopped them in a dish of warm water and waited for the moisture to take effect.  What resulted was a tightly curled out mess.  These decals were intent on curling up as tightly as they could.  They were also intent on not laying themselves down once applied either.

Decals.  Tightly Curled.  One Each.

The decals above here are the big "B's" that went on the tail and rudder.  It took quite a bit of careful smoothing to work them out flat.  That and once again realizing that Micro Sol and Micro Set are our friends!  Lots of Micro Sol and Micro Set.  Those fuselage decals were very disappointing at first as they refused to unkrinkle even when I finally got them to lay out flat.  An hour or so later, after the Micro Set had time to fully work its magic, those decals almost looked painted on.

Decaling in process.

The shot above shows how tightly curled those things were when trying to get them on the kit.  You can also see how the national insignia was a tad off register.  Had I my druthers I would've simply scrapped the kit's decals and used some suitable aftermarket ones.  However, I had non such available so I went with what I had.

Once I'd gotten all the decals on - save but for a large red broken line circle decal which neither the instructions nor the pictures gave any indication of where it went - and they'd a day to dry, I then sprayed on another coat of Future to seal them in place.  I'd hoped that this second coat would eliminate any of the silvering that came up from the application.  No such luck.  That second coat got most of it, but not all.  As I said, I'm not entirely happy with the way the kit's decals worked out.

I am happy with the way the kit, as a whole, came out.

A beauty shot of a beauty!

There she is!  In all her Sea Blue glory!  There's something very attractive about blue on an aircraft and the Navy benefited from this handsome finish handsomely.  I also like the effect of the big white markings.  Aside from being bold and eye catching they're also somewhat arrogant.  Their high visibility seems to be a deliberate challenge to any opponent.  Much like the bare metal finish on the Air Force birds of that era.  Kind of like a "Yeah, you can see me - you wanna try an' do somethin' about it?  Well, punk, do ya?"  Of course, today's military is far too professional for such an attitude and the camouflage reflects that with its subdued tones and well neigh invisible markings.  Still though, that Sea Blue looks sharp!

3/4 view

Here the cowl flaps show up nicely.  As does the dropped wing flaps and elevators.  You can, however, see some of the silvering of the wing's star and bars and the numbering on the right wing tip.

The other side

Perversely enough, the fuselage "201" was the first decal I applied and despite all the problems I encountered getting it to lay flat, it turned out to be the least silvered of the larger decals.  Go figure.

From the front

I decided to build my Bearcat clean, i.e. no stores on the wings.  The kit had the option of building it with bombs and missiles but I thought that'd detract from the 'Cat's smooth and sleek lines so I left them off.  You'll notice the landing gear is not all silver, as specified in the kit's instructions.  From the images I found of Bearcats in service it seems that the Navy would paint the larger portion of their plane's landing gear the same as the fuselage color.  They'd also do this with the insides of the landing gear doors.  Thus, no zinc chromate yellow here either.

Bearcat from below

More silvering on the decals.  You can also make out, barely, the "ducting" I worked up for the wing root air scoops.  It ain't to scale or anything like that but it sure beats the see through nakedness that was there originally.

Bearcat from above

And here's the top view of the bird as well.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the way this one turned out.  True, the decals kind of marred things and I sure would've like to have been able to do an accurate job boxing in the wheel wells.  I also see that I've some work to do in smoothly applying a smooth airbrush finish.  But those things'll come with time and practice.  For now though, I've a nice shiny beautiful blue bird to park on my shelf.  This was a good way to spend some quality detail oriented time and I'm glad for that.  Making a model like this sure beats spending the same amount of hours just sitting in front of a screen - be that either a television one or a computer monitor one!

For references about this aircraft I used several sources.  Via eBay I was able to snag one handy book on the Bearcat and all the rest came from various Bearcat sites on the Web.  I would've liked to have access to the Squadron "Bearcat In Action" booklet but those are very hard (and pricey) to come by these days.

Famous Airplanes of the World #78 (Japanese Text)
"Famous Airplanes of the World #78"

This is a Japanese staplebound book published back in the 70's.  The pictures and artwork are what was the most useful here as I'm not exactly skilled at reading Japanese.

This book was helpful though and it was a worthwhile investment for this project.

Ace Pilot A good basic page about the mighty Bearcat.
The Fighter Collection
The Fighter Collection is an outfit running in England which is all about, you guessed it, fighters!  Among their collection is, you guessed it again, a Bearcat!  The thing I found interesting here was that they've done up their Bearcat in the same markings as Monogram chose for theirs.
Fly Vintage
Another UK based outfit.  This site actually had more pictures of the Fighter Collection's Bearcat in its "201" livery than did the Fighter Collection.
The Ghost Squadron
Another good general reference page about the Bearcat.
Google Another good source for info was the Google Images page.  I typed in "bearcat grumman" for the search criteria and after looking through the results on the Web section, I clicked over to the Images page and culled that.  This is where I snagged the plan view of the F8F as well as got some clear images of how the Navy painted exterior blue on the upper landing gear struts and insides of the landing gear covers. 

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In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site.  Check back again to see what new images I have added.  Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!


This page was last updated on: 09 March 2005  

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs and images on this page are copyright protected property of Madoc Pope.  If you would like to use any of my images you must contact me first before you do so.



In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site.  Check back again to see what new images I have added.  Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!