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Grand Phoenix's 1/48 Scale
FJ-4B Fury

by John Valo


FJ-4B Fury


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This kit is the second release of the Fury from Grand Phoenix, this time featuring a collection of Bullpup missiles to adorn the model, as well as three very striking decal options.

As is my usual practice with multi-release limited-run kits, I collected and studied reviews of the first release of the kit to check for any problematic areas.




I spent the first evening or two separating, cleaning and sorting various parts. This kit demands that all parts be dry-fit before assembly, with a bit of tweaking here and there to be done.

I find that if I get the tedious cleanup and initial dry-fitting out of the way right off the bat, the rest of the experience is much more enjoyable.

The most obvious challenge lay with the main wheel wells, which consist of three resin pieces - one that fits in the fuselage, and two that are sandwiched between the wing halves.



All of the parts needed considerable sanding and thinning to fit, and I also ground out depressions in the upper wing halves to accomodate the parts. Luckily, there are no panel lines or minute details to contend with on the upper wing, in case you accidentally go through the surface when grinding, like I managed to do. Once all the parts are thinned, the fit is fine.



A good technique to use when joining wing or control surface parts without locating pins is to dry-fit the parts, then apply a piece of drafting tape to the trailing edge to hold the parts together. Open the parts, apply CyA glue to the mating surfaces, and the tape 'hinge' will allow precise alignment when the parts are folded back together.

Next up was the cockpit, which is quite beautifully cast in resin. The detail of the seat and instrument panel is enhanced by some nice photo-etched bits and pieces, and with a wash and dry-brushing, the cockpit looks first class. The cockpit tub fits the fuselage halves just fine, but some tweaking needs to be done to the intake duct and lip to fit over the nosewheel well. I ground down the roof of the well to paper-thin, then also sanded the lower surface of the intake trunk as much as possible. By first gluing the intake lip to the trunk, I was able to adjust for a perfect fit at the nose with no putty necessary at the intake lip and fuselage junction.



I used small chunks of lead to fill the nose area before joining the fuselage halves to prevent tail-sitting.

I cut a small piece of .030 styrene to provide a smooth decking behind the seat. The resin tail cone will need to be dry-fit and sanded to avoid any unnecessary putty work.


Painting, Final Assembly and Decals


After assembling the wings, fuselage and tail surfaces, I felt confident enough in the parts fit to pre-paint the subassemblies. I used PollyScale Gull Gray and White with Metalline Bright Silver for the leading edges.

When fitting the wings to the fuselage, the alignment tabs will need to be thinned slightly to fit properly. The port wing basically clicked into place; the starboard wing needed some finessing to fit properly. Both wings exhibit a gap at the fuselage joint toward the rear, but I found this to be acceptable as the gap starts at the hinge line of the control surfaces.

Whether it is correct or not, it looks fine.

The stabilizers fit perfectly after using a needle file to clean up the slots in the fuselage. I used a bit of putty and also thinned Krystal Kleer to close up the minor gaps at the wing and tail surface joints.

I elected to apply the decals before installing the wing fences, as the fences intersect both upper wing markings. The decals were excellent, and conformed beautifully to some tricky surfaces, such as the ribbed rudder. I particularly liked the end result of the 'Diamondback' scheme - it truly is an eye-catching aircraft.

A nice touch to the kit was the inclusion of masks for the canopy and windscreen, which worked well and saved me a bunch of time. The windscreen needs to have its forward edge sanded back just a bit, and a few swipes with a sanding stick to the inside edge at the front to fit properly.

The main landing gear is straightforward and robust, just like the real thing. The nose gear assembly is very detailed and delicate, again, just like the real thing. The gear doors are rather featureless, but additional detail could be added very easily. Although five Bullpups and their associated radar pod are included in the kit, the kit's history suggests that the usual loadout was only two missiles, so I took that approach.




In conclusion, I would recommend this model to the experienced builder.

Make no mistake, there will be considerable time spent testing and refining the fit of parts, but the time is well spent. The end result is extremely attractive, and let's face it - the Fury is one good looking airplane! If you like early USN jets, take your time and enjoy this kit - the end result is worth it.

This new boxing of the Grand Phoenix 1/48 scale FJ-4B Fury is available online from the Grand Phoenix website for USD$34.95


Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2004 by John C. Valo
Page Created 26 October, 2004
Last Updated 26 October, 2004

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