With the F-100 design under its belt, North American Aviation was approached by Tactical Air Command for a new airplane. TAC was looking for a plane to use the new air-to-air track and fire radar. A major redesign of the F-100 was needed. With the new nose mounted radar and belly mounted weapon, the only place left on the airframe to locate the engine air scoop was on the top of the fuselage. This radical shape proved to be very clean in the wind tunnel and looked unconventional even by today's standard. A total of three airframes were build and tested, only to have the F-105 to win out in the end. Today, two of the F-107's are in museums and the third being scraped as a parts supplier to keep the other two planes flying.
This is one of those kits that you had hoped would come out someday. Trumpeter has come through with, in my opinion, the best of the "Century Series" This plane still oozes X-plane design.
The model has fifty eight parts on three trees in light gray plastic with six in clear. The molding is clean and flash free. The three piece canopy is excellent in clarity and the frames have a slight texture to aid in painting. The body with it's recessed scribing is molded in the usual two halves with the roof top air scoop requiring three pieces. The bottom part of the scoop #A21, has two ejector pin holes located just inside. A little putty will take care of this. You will also need a tad of profiling to the joint of the air scoop and the fuselage. The cockpit interior is made up with the tub floor and the nose gear bay as one unit. Included are, a joy stick, dash, and six piece ejection seat with seat belts.
Moving on to the flying surfaces, the 107 has a central pivoting vertical fin like the standard horizontal stabilator. The kit allows you to position this along with the two stabilators and separate flaps. There are two long molded instrument booms coming off each wing tip. I would have liked to see these made as separate pieces to be glued on later, because I know I'll snap these off before it's built. The wing tips are the only item on this kit that is miss-shaped. It looks like Trumpeter has made the navigation lights into a wing shape of sorts. A quick sand will bring this back to F-100 shape again. I did notice that the speed brake arm - part #A-9 is shown backwards. Mount the three arms toward the body to correct this.
Continuing rearward, the exhaust nozzle is nicely rendered. Done in three pieces, this duplicates the prototypes exactly with it's complicated shrouding. The tricycle landing gear is also nicely represented with detailed legs and a clear landing/taxi light on each. The two main tires are made in halves with good looking rims. The nose however, is a little odd with the tire being wider than the rims. A little sanding will correct this. The main gear doors are made in two units with the inside colors being called out as Gunze Dark Sea Gray. I have seen only one color photo of the plane and I can't make a call if this is right or not. It looks to be unpainted or light gray from my photo.
The belly has a 500 gallon fuel tank located in a recessed fuselage cavity. The F-107 was also fitted with a 250 gallon tank (not supplied, but easily made) with a Sandia designed shape 27 weapon (nuke) also recessed into the tank. The weapon is shown on the box cover, but the main tire is covering the fin. This bomb is shaped like a half of a drop tank.
You have only one choice here, but it's a good one. Natural metal with the red panels. To me, this is what brings out that X-plane feel to this kit. The kit provides excellent reference for painting with five drawings on the instruction sheet and five on the box. The beautiful box art reminds me of the early Revell kits with an exciting action shot.
The decals appear to be excellent in color and registration. You are provided tail numbers for all three planes. You also have two different variations of the F-107A nose markings and a NASA stripe for the later test plane. One thing I would have liked to have seen is more data stenciling. The planes were covered by them. The Microscale F-4 data #72-164 sheet should cover this along with the wing walk black lines which the Trumpeter kit deleted also.
I'm very excited to see this great kit of a forgotten model, come to market. This was one of those futuristic planes you dreamed of flying when you were a kid in the fifties. I will throw this in with the XB-70, SR-71 and the F-106, planes that looked as though they were going mach 2 while parked. Buy it and relive the thrill of "real" jets.
Our thanks to Stevens International for the review sample.
Aerophile Vol. 1 #5 North American F-107A by William Simone
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