Next up is the Italeri 1/48 F7F-3 Tigercat with Eduard photo etch details. The F7F-3 aircraft entered service late in the war in 1944. They were produced in day fighter, night fighter and photo-reconnaissance versions. They were originally designed to be carrier based but there were some issues that caused them to fail carrier qualification. They ended up being used by the Marines and did most of their service later during the Korean War.
Starting off with the cockpit, the dashboard was detailed with photo etch parts. The photo etch seat was adorned with the seat belts then mounted to the cockpit. While assembling the cockpit to the fuselage I noticed the kit did not have parts for the front a rear bulkheads of the nose gear bay.
I used a contour gauge to measure the fuselage and cut out the bulkheads from sheet styrene. They grabbing so extra photo etch parts from my spares drawer I detailed the bulkheads . with a little minor shaping they fit right in. Another detail I did was to drill out the gun barrels of the nose guns for a more realistic appearance.
More progress on the Tigercat. I first cut out the molded wing tip lights. Later I will add clear parts to make the lens. Next I assembled and detailed the main gear bays with some photo etch and detail painting. Moving onto the engines I used the photo etch wiring harness. The engines were painted with aluminum for the cylinders and black for the pushrod covers. The wiring was painted burnt umber and the front cover was painted light gray with chrome bolts. The landing gear was then detailed. The main struts had the hydraulic lines molded on. I cut them off and replaced them with black sleeved 32 awg wire. I drilled a small hole at each end then stripped the sleeving off to the bare wire and CA glued the wire into the holes. I added the one for the nose gear as well.
When assembling the fuselage I filled everything forward of the cockpit to the nose with lead weights. Alas even with all the weights the aircraft still wants to sit on its tail. There just isn’t enough room to add more weight due to the sleek fuselage. I am most likely going to make a display base for the aircraft to sit on so that it displays correctly. The fuselage has been base coated and the decals will be the next step.