The F-80 Shooting Star was the first operational jet fighter used by the USAAF, it had its combat debut during the Korean war. It was used for air to air and air to ground combat missions and helped usher in the jet age. Its design was a throwback to the earlier World War 2 designs featuring a straight wing. It was armed with 6 .50 calibre machine guns in the nose and had 2 underwing hard points that could carry bombs, rockets or drop tanks.
- 6 grey sprues
- 1 clear sprue
- 1 photo etch fret
- 1 large decal sheet
This kit from comes in a typical box from Hobby Boss
with an illustration of the F-80C in one of the optional schemes. The contents are moulded in a light grey styrene and feature come very fine engraved details. The front landing gear features a front landing light, this might be better fitted last if the model is to be airbrushed. There is a nicely detailed cockpit and this includes etched seat belts and a clear HUD. The instrument panel features finely engraved details but there are decals that can be used. There are side consoles and the instructions indicate that there is a decal for each side but they are not included on the decal sheet. The front of the cockpit features an avionics bay but this will not be visible when the fuselage is closed up, but may provide a place to add the required nose weight.
The main undercarriage legs feature moulded brake lines which is nice to see on any model. The fuselage halves contain the barrels for .50calibre machine guns, these could be replaced with brass tube or simply hollowed out. The instructions appear a little vague with the placement of the engine intakes but with careful dry fitting these should easily fit in the correct location. Before the fuselage halves are joined, the modeller must add the cockpit and the front nose wheel these are joined so the modeller should pay attention to this stage as the instructions do not show the where or how. The rear of the fuselage has a basic engine this is not visible apart from the rear of the jet pipe. The rear fuselage halves are split correctly as per the full size aircraft, the Shooting Star was literally split open to work on the engine.
The kit is supplied with a number of optional wing tip tanks, drop tanks and bombs which curiously do not reappear in the instructions. The lower wing is moulded as a single piece and this will aid obtaining the correct dihedral. There are lowered flaps and these feature internal detail, there is not a raised option, unless the tabs are removed. The undercarriage and speed flap bays are nicely detailed and feature a number of finely moulded details. The kit also has clear wing tip lights and despite the detailed cockpit the canopy can only be assembled closed.
Painting and finishing
The model comes with two painting options both are an overall silver scheme with a number of larger decals that will differentiate the two aircraft. The first option is aircraft number FT-650 ‘Saggin’ Dragon’. There are two tapering decals that are applied to each side of the nose but not the tip of the nose and the modeller will be faced with matching the decals to the correct shade of paint. The second scheme is FT-547 ‘Evil Eye Fleage’ there are a number of red stripes that must be added to the rudder and drop tanks. The remaining decals are national insignia, stencilling and a vertical stripe indicating the point the aircraft was split when the engine was being serviced.
This appears to be a fine looking example of this iconic jet fighter, especially in this scale and at an affordable price. It appears to be a simple build and would suit novice modellers as well as the more experienced modeller. The silver finish will lend itself to those that prefer to use Alclad or similar paint, in fact the finish could be enhanced by using different shades of paint. Hobby Boss
are to be congratulated for tackling this aircraft but some of the assembly is curious especially that the flaps are lowered but the canopy can only be shown closed.