by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
The kit arrives in an immensely strong box with the sprues and accessories bagged separately for protection. Not surprisingly, a number of the sprues are carried over from the single-seater. The new version comprises:
255 x pale grey styrene parts
17 x clear styrene parts (3 not used)
Decals for a pair of aircraft
With obvious roots in Trumpeter's 1/32 scale kit, HobbyBoss's Thunderchief impresses from the moment you open the box. First off - it's BIG! Fresh from tinkering with an Fw 190, I simply wasn't prepared for the sheer size of the Thud's fuselage - I actually wondered for a moment whether this was a 1/48 scale kit at all!
Moulding is very precise, with no signs of flash or sink marks, and the ejector pins seem to have been kept out of harm's way. The surface finish consists of neatly engraved panel lines with a few raised panels. There are embossed rivets which are probably a bit overscale, but they can be knocked back if you desire and certainly add to the overall "beefy" look of the Thud.
Parts breakdown mirrors the earlier kit, with the new fuselage split just ahead of the stabilizers and a separate extended fin. The cockpit tub is quite simple, but effectively detailed with 7-part ejector seats, crisply moulded instrument panels, separate side consoles and dual controls. The seats have moulded-on harnesses which look a bit basic, so you may well want to replace them.
Sadly largely hidden inside the fuselage is a remarkably detailed engine - 25 parts in all. It's rather a shame that HobbyBoss haven't included a stand so you can display the engine separately. The multi-part Vulcan cannon is also good and time spent on it won't be wasted, because there's a separate cover for the gun-bay.
The undercarriage is quite nicely handled. The nosegear assembly is the more complex, but the stalky maingear legs have separate oleo scissors and landing lamps and look sturdy enough to support the model without any trouble. The wing root inlets are are cleverly designed to avoid nasty seams and the wings and fuselage fit together very cleanly. The wings have separate control surfaces and leading edge.
Under the nose cone there's radar dish and, while there's no mention of whether any nose-weight is needed to avoid the finished model being a tail-sitter, this whole array can be left loose until final assembly to let you pack in some ballast if need be.
The kit includes a good variety of stores along with a useful load-out chart:
2 x AGM-78
2 x Wing drop tanks
2 x ALQ-87
2 x Dual AGM-45 racks
1 x Centreline tank
The transparencies are crystal clear and the canopy sections have a frosted finish on the frames. Other clear parts include the gunsight and various formation and lamp covers.
Instructions and DecalsDespite the quite high parts count, the assembly is broken down into just 6 stages. Nevertheless, everything seems clear and straightforward, thanks largely to the quite generous size of the fold-out instruction sheet. Colour matches for Gunze Sangyo, Vallejo, ModelMaster, Tamiya and Humbrol paints are provided - very handy, as it means you should be able to find suitable matches in most countries..
HobbyBoss have included a large decal sheet with markings for 2 aircraft:
1. F-105G s/n 63-8321, 1561st TFS, 388th TFW, 1973 in S.E.Asia camouflage
2. F-105G s/n 63-8300, 49th TFW, 9th TFS, 1967 in a n/m finish.
The quality of the decals looks good. They are thin and glossy with very little excess carrier film. The registration looks excellent. The Insignia Blue looks a bit bright on the sheet - it may dull down when the markings are applied, but alternatives are readily available if it need be. The sheet includes a comprehensive set of stencils and fascias for the instrument panels and consoles. Getting the latter to sit on the moulded detail could be a bit of a struggle - plenty of decal solution is probably the order of the day. Lastly, there's sealing trim for the canopies and windscreen.
ConclusionHobbyBoss's F-105G looks set to build into a very impressive model. The kit seems well designed and construction isn't overly complex, so it should be suitable for modellers of average experience.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.