by: Russ Amott [ ]
The F-105 Thunderchief was developed as a high speed, low level fighter bomber and was used extensively in the fighting in Vietnam. One result of combat experience was a realization of the need for improved accuracy in bombing. As a result, new navigation and bombing systems were developed and installed in a large dorsal spine on the F-105D, running from behind the cockpit to the tail. Named the Thunderstick II, the first aircraft flew in 1969. The aircraft boasted much improved accuracy, but were never deployed in combat. Only 30 aircraft were converted. They served in the continental United States, first with teh 23rd Tacical Fighter Wing, USAF, based at McConnel AFB in Kansas, and later with the 457th Tactical Fighter Squadron, USAF reserve at Carswell AFB, Texas. They were retired from service in 1980.
Revell has updated their venerable F-105D Thunderchief, retooling the main fuselage and adding the raised dorsal spine.
The kit comes in a a large, top opening box with artwork depicting the aircraft in flight. Upon opening the box, the first thing seen is a large piece of cardboard set across the box to reinforce it for shipping. Under that is the fuselage, in two halves. They look huge, even in the big box. Under that the remainder of the parts are bagged up to protect them.
The kit comprises a total of 87 parts in gray styrene and two clear canopy parts. There was a bit of flash visible, but no major flaws in the plastic that I could see. Seam lines are visible and on some parts prominent, but this is common to most kits. Detail on the parts is generally good. Panel lines on the fuselage and wings are raised, even on the new dorsal spine.
The sprues are not lettered but rather all parts are numbered from 1 to 85. No sprue map is provided so there will be a bit of hunting for various parts.
Aside from the two fuselage halves, there is a sprue with lower wing surfaces, air brakes, pilot and navigator figures and instrument panels, another with the upper wing panels, cockpit, landing gear, afterburner nozzle and nose cone, and another with ordinance. The clear canopy parts were very clean and nicely done.
Instructions are provided in booklet form with line drawings showing assembly in 16 steps. Painting of various interior parts is called out during the instructions. Decals appear to be thin and are very well done, with even the small text legible.
There are no specific paint brands called for, only generic colors provided. Markings for two aircraft are provided, the first being for the 457th TFS, USAF reserve, code 60-0471, and the second frm the 23rd TFS, USAF, code 61-0047. Both feature the topside Southeast Asia camouflage scheme with light ghost gray underside.
I did a test fit of the fuselage halves, which lined up very well. All panel lines matched and there were no gaps i the fit.
I noted that while the afterburner is well detailed, at the intakes there is nothing to fill in behind, leaving a large, empty fuselage visible through the intakes. Also, while detail is molded onto the instrument panel, there is no decal option.
For fans of the F-105 this should be a nice option. While not as detailed as many, more modern kits, it still looks like a nice build. My 13 year old son, Andrew has already begun a build and has found no issues. Considering the price point, I think he is just the type of modeler this kit is intended for. It should be a great kit for someone who wants a kit that isn't too difficult and with an easily manageable parts count. Though only 30 of the actual aircraft were built, there have been many kits offered over the years of subjects that never even made it into production.
This kit has a suggested retail price of $22.95 US, but can probably be found for less. Revell has been promoting many of their older kits, and updating those that, like this, can offer another option.
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