Jump to content
Jim Barry

Scratchbuilt 1/24 Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat

Recommended Posts

Jay,  Glad you found my build. Kinda quiet on the Western Front here. I've been working to improve my workspace,  raise a puppy and get some bike training in. The Bearcat has been in 4th place all too often. All good. I'm feeling way ahead of things generally having just started my first LSP Scratchbuild just over year ago. A break is due.  I'm really liking building with 3D printed parts but it's still an experiment for me and have yet to declare a revolution. It's still HARD to make your own stuff and then fit it all into the idea of model airplane. It's also so consuming and interesting so that then switching back to manual building (Sanding wing tips for instance) is tougher than you might imagine. Different mind set. 

 

Here's cool picture and some aviation history all in one. So the pilot here is Jesse Leroy Brown, the first African-American U.S. Navy Aviator. I thought I'd go into his story here but I'll let the reader dig into as they see fit. He's pretty amazing, let's say that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_L._Brow

 

WXzgQJ.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great story Jim - tragic too.  So he was flying Corsairs in Korea.  I wonder why the Bearcat wasn't a front line fighter in Korea.  Wait - I'll bet I know.  Same reason the late model Mustangs were not.  I'll bet defense funds were funneled into the jet programs.  Initial air campaigns in Korea had to make due with what we had left over from WW2 I suppose.   The F4U was just fine as a stop-gap as was the P-51D.  Why not the P-47, I'll never know, as the missions seemed to suit that aircraft much better.....   When I think of a Bearcat - I think what is the smallest aircraft we can fit around that big R-2800.  I also think - the Hellcat was supreme; the Japanese had nothing that could touch it either in the air or on in all likelihood the drawing board.  Still - what an amazing aircraft.  Here's one for you - the bearcat is the only plane I know that lacks the commonly seen dome in front of the propeller.  I believe that dome houses the prop pitch mechanism.  So what gives?  Where is the bearcat prop pitch stuff? 

 

Finally - are you aware of the website AirCorps Library?  I use it extensively for my P-47 renovation.  It has access to all sorts of original drawings for many aircraft, including the Bearcat.  Some collecctions are more complete than others (the P-47 collection appears 100% complete, amazingly).  Don't know about F8F.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you get the jist of it. After WW2 there was incredible pressure to consolidate US forces and scale way down. P-47s (and P-38s) did not make the cut (tough against the P-51!) . The Bearcat was really good of course but it was not the future of fighters really (Jets right)  and had no proven record in combat  so I'd guess the Corsair won out in a similar way. The F4U-5 developed just after the war was a stunner with a 470mph top speed. Unlike the P-51 the Corsair was actually developed into a ground attack role  (the AU-5). Its a true legend, the Corsair. But you got to love the Bearcat too! 

 

Regarding the propeller hub, it certainly has the guts in there to support the pitch control but it is odd. The Skyraider has the same Aeroprop 4 blade monster. Racing Bearcats have a spinner typically. 

 

I do use the AirCorps Library. Look back in the build here and you see I used it to model how the control surfaces were made. It has every part in the parts manual but I sigh a little because there are few dimensions given or pure 3 view drawing of things like pilot's seat. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It has every part in the parts manual but I sigh a little because there are few dimensions given or pure 3 view drawing of things like pilot's seat."


 


F8F part catalogue shows pilots seat and other stuff on page 560, figure 291.  I found it in the table of contents.  List of parts is the next page.  Pilot Seat and Belts installation is shone on drawing 57009.  From there you can find anything you want.  For instance seat assembly is 56886, and seat bottom detail is 56887 which is a dimensioned detail drawing, very poor quality.  I cannot make out much.  However seat assembly drawing (56887) is of better quality, has some assembly level dimensions.  Assuming it is drawn accurately (a pretty good assumption - these drafters didn't draw cartoons), you can print the drawing, scale the dimensions and generate a scale for the drawing.  From there you are off to the races measuring stuff.  Accuracy for this method is plenty good.


 


Sorry if I just told you nothing you didn't already know.  Most folks just don't know how to do this stuff (reading drawings, scaling when necessary, etc).  I was an engineer by profession, so it comes easy to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jay you certainly get around the parts catalog better than me! I might do better to pay more attention to what I have here in my subscription. Thanks. I'm building up my methods year over year and would say my research  skills (and then translation)  might need the most work. I've made progress over the years on this but it remains my challenge. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Jim - as you are probably aware, having access to manufacturer engineering drawings is a blessing and also a curse.  If the modeler can exercise some restraint and work within his/her means, then it's a total blessing.  If not (that's me BTW), it turns into a recurring nightmare of sorts, where one constantly pushes the envelope WRT how much detail he/she can cram into the modeling effort.   Makes for years-long projects, bad eye sight, and bad back.  Also bouts of frustration and anxiety.  But also immense satisfaction watching a detail come true that nobody else has done. 

 

As for finding drawings, without a good drawing tree (ACL have them but not good ones), one can do two things:

 

1.  Try to find your part in the the parts catalog.  The table of contents is good, and consistent among models (gov't must have specified how they should be done).  Just about every part is there including gov't supplied items like engine, LG, electrical boxes, radios, etc.  Each figure has a table with a list of the parts.  Once you have a part number, then use the search block to find that part number, and poof!  it shows up on your screen.  

 

2.  Once you have a part number, you can make your way upstream to find the "top" drawing.  It doesn't matter which part; you can get to it.  Each drawing has a next higher assembly block near the title at the right hand lower corner of the drawing sheet.  Hopefully it can be read.  Once you pull up the next higher assembly, keep doing that until you can go no further.  For instance, Seat Installation is drawing 57009.  I see its NHA is 57001 (located right above the title block).  This is "Furnishings Install.", and a very interesting drawing with ALOT of stuff.  Anything you see of interest, just read off the part number and look up the drawing.  Similarly, the NHA of 57001 is 53000, which is "Airplane Final Assembly", which is the top drawing for F8F.  In the list of material, you will see all the major high level components (wing, fuselage, LG, Furnishings, Hydraulics, Electrical, Power Plant, etc.).  That top drawing can get you anywhere you want to go.

 

Use a combination of both methods and there should be nothing you cannot find, as long as ACL provides the drawing and the drawing is sufficient quality such that it can be read, and as long as Grumman designed the part.  You won't find R-2800 details in there; just the installation level drawing for the engine (Grumman obviously was supplied the R-2800 already built by P&W).  Same goes for landing gear etc.  But some of the installation level drawings provide enough detail in their views where you can make some pretty good guesses on part configuration and dimensions.  Certainly better than revell! 

 

BTW - if you have not seen LG installation 54700, you are in for a treat. 

Edited by JayW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. It does seem once you have the part number, a search on it yields all kinds of great drawings. Regarding the blessing and the curse, yes, one does have to mentally manage the burden of detail. Sometimes being dumb about something can be very convenient. "I know nothing" worked great for old Sergeant Shultz even when he did know something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work!

My late father always used to regale me with tails of his time in the USN.....................I loved his story about when he was a mechanic, and during training on land, he used to hear the wildcat pilots grumble about the P-51 pilots from a nearby Army base giving them the "business" buy flying up along side of clean Wildcats, and dropping the gear and partially dropping the flaps then throttling up, pulling away and lifting the gear and flaps, laughing all the way.

 

Then when his squadron got Bearcats, the guys would pull up long side clean P-51s and drop their gear and partially drop the flaps, and accelerate away with the gear down, and slowly pulling the gear and flaps up as they pulled out ahead and away from the 51s................

It always amused me as a kid, and still does to this day. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Brian, Thanks for the story. The Bearcat was something else. 

 

Finally back at the bench again and could not be happier with things. I have been thinking about how I would do the leading edge  of the wings and,  at the same time, pay attention to the landing gear bay.  The solution I originally  had in mind seemed like a real chore and it had me kind of stuck, unwilling to do anything (mojo sucker!). Then I  stumbled on the idea of doing it with a two piece layering thing . I like it and it's very easy. 

 

 

 

 

 

AyJZ8x.png

 

FMI4pN.png

Edited by Jim Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty good week. Buttoned up the cockpit tight so that the big mess of sanding and filling and priming (and sanding and filling and priming) can continue. Made headway on  the vertical and horizontal stabilizers (just set in place here).  Built more of the starboard wing and filled in behind the cockpit (with balsa). It was really looking like Frankenstein and so I gave it a shot of primer just to cut down on the madness. Almost ready to sculpt the canopy for a the vacuform mold. In the bad news department I picked up the plane this morning and forgot I had the engine sitting gingerly in the cowling and it went down hard on the table and broke off some pistons and wires. It could have been worse, really. Whew. 

 

I really like this stage but will miss seeing the cockpit for a few months. 

 

u0DUg8.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clearly in a phase that seems like I'm going backwards making the model uglier. This is  a few heavy coats of automobile primer I brushed on today. Wonderful mess but should polish up smooth. (I hope!) 

 

ZFpyMq.jpg

 

In between coats you'd think I'd maybe work on other parts of the Bearcat but instead I had a passionate interest in the Fi-156 Fieseler Storch and wondered how hard it would be to model that crazy canopy in 3D. The answer: Very hard (for me anyway). Sort of enjoyed the challenge but it was frustrating at times - There are a ton of interdependent geometries and intersections going every which way but 90 degrees. One of my favorite planes: Could be a contender for the next scratch built 1/24. See video here:

 

https://youtu.be/O4xTBzgufLI

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Nice progress on the Bearcat!

There were numerous times that the Bearcat was pitted against the F9F Panther. The Bearcat beat the Panther to altitude everytime.

Jesse's Brown's Corsair squadron markings were done by Cutting Edge once.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/fineartofdecalsimages/CED32056.jpg

Edited by Maxim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks Maxim. I did not know that about the F9F. My general understanding is the early jets were fast  but  otherwise teething in a lot of respects especially on the carriers. Nice find on the Jesse Brown Corsair. I've never been that much of a fan of Korean War Corsairs , but then seeing one up close at an air show a few years , and it changed my view. They are pretty cool. Super WW2 aircraft. That'd be fun to model. 

 

Here's some shots of testing some materials to cover the control surfaces (which were fabric and let the spars show through). Just masking tape. I like it because it has just enough flex to form the the desired shape. I think some coats of heavy primer should do to finish it up and cover the rest of the aileron. 

 

c63CM0.jpg

 

 

Real thing here:

 

WLO3Zo.png

Edited by Jim Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim,

If that photograph is taken in flight then the airpressure would indeed show more of the ribs. On the ground however that is very much less pronounced.

Hope this helps.

Great project.
Cees

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Cees. That makes sense. Though I made a good effort at creating spars on all the control surfaces (except the flaps),   I'm coming to realize they are, when all is said and done,  barely noticeable unless in flight.  but gloss paint and the right light does give them some evidence on the tarmac. No doubt it's a very pleasing effect to the eye (for some reason) but it just has to be balanced with realism. 

 

Off to build my stand now. Much sanding going on on with many coats of primer in the mix. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×