Building the Hobby Boss 1/48 FJ-4 Fury

By Will Riepl

Overview

The new Hobby Boss kit of the FJ-4 Fury was one that I was waiting for, the only other in 1/48 scale are the Matchbox, Collect-Aire, and Grand Phoenix kits. The Matchbox is a very old kit and it would take a lot of work just to fill in all the lines on the kit. As for the Collect-Aire kit, it is an all resin kit and at $100 it is a little out of my range. And then the Grand Phoenix kit, it is all plastic with resin parts that have some fit problems from what I have seen on the other discussion groups. With my first look of the Hobby Boss kit I thought it just might be the kit we have been looking for. But then I saw the hump on the fuselage and they overdid it. I could see that to get it right I would have to make some templates to keep it the same for each side. For this first one, though, I just wanted to get quickly. I will attempt that correction on my next version of this kit. I will let you know how it turns out.

The Build

To start off with the cockpit tub, I used the kit parts and added some stuff to it for a better look. I hear that AMS will have a resin tub out soon. It would certainly help to make a better looking cockpit (AMS is also releasing a new lengthened burner section for the FJ-4 that will give you the right length in the fuselage). I moved the instrument panel aft a little to make it look like the pictures in my reference books (Detail in Scale and the Naval Fighter books on the Fury). The kit comes with a very basic panel with no details and no decal for it either. I cut some decals from F-4 instruments and used those. I hope that the AMS cockpit tub kit will take care of that.

For the fuselage, I drilled out the gun ports and added some better-looking gun tubes. I used surgical tubing for this. Next I glued a piece of .010 plastic to the back of the intake. This is a very easy way to make an intake cover. I cut out a window for the approach lights in the bottom of the intake and made red, green and amber lights and a clear piece of plastic for the cover. Do not forget to add some weight in the nose before you glue it together (you can pack it around the tub).

I also made some new vortex generators out of .010 plastic. The ones in the kit are a little to thick. I then made some new air scoops as the ones that came in the kit are too wide and the shape is little off. I made mine out of some Evergreen channel (3/16” or .188). I found that it would just slide into the opening for the air scoop. I added a piece of .040 to the back of the channel and rounded it off. This created a more realistic air scoop. I also made a new rudder. The kit is okay, but it can be improved upon. I made one out of .010 plastic and added some stiffeners (also out of .010) and it looks a whole lot better. I glued the dive brakes closed and used some plastic on the inside of the fuselage hole to keep it flush with the fuselage.

Next is the wing. The only thing that I did was to close up the gear doors on the fuselage and wing. In most pictures I have seen, they are usually closed. If you have the nose gear door down you will have to cut a notch out of door. Check your pictures and you will see what it should look like. The kit has a square door. You must take care when you put the wing together. You want to make sure that bottom of the wing will fit up into the fuselage. It is a little tricky get it fitted; if you don’t get the fit tight to the fuselage you will have a gap, requiring some putty. This is the only thing that I found that did take some care in getting it to fit correctly.

Next I gave the model a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 and did a wet sand. I then painted some white where I was going to use the Dayglow. I use Acryl Fluorescent Red (it looks like the orange color that I remember seeing on the aircraft at the time). There is a book out that has some very good color pictures of Dayglo Navy and Air Force aircraft of the 60-70s. It is called High –Viz by Osprey. Unfortunately, it is out of print but if you have a chance to look at one you will find some very interesting color schemes for the Navy and Air Force aircraft. You have to start off with some light coats of the day glow at first, just to see how it will look; the Day-Glo is a hard color to make it look right. It would fade in a very short period of time if it was out in the sun for any length of time. So just take your time and stop when it looks right. I then masked it off and painted the Light Gull Gray. I masked off the antiglare panel and painted it black. The wing walk was painted with some dark gray. Then I put on a coat of Future for the decals.

The unit that I wanted to do was from NAS Memphis. Chris did the artwork for the markings since there are no decals available for that. I printed them on some decal paper with a LaserJet printer. You can use the kit decals for the star and bar and some other markings. For the intake marking, the Fury had two types of intake danger markings. The one in the kit is misspelled (they have in take instead of intake so you will have to find a decal that you can cut up to do it right). The one that I wanted to use was like the one you see on Navy F-4s. I used one from an F-14; this had the right marking for the Fury. I just had to cut it up to make it fit. Then a coat of Future and some weathering, followed by a coat of flat.

I made a cockpit air pressure regulator and the electrical connection. They don’t have this in the kit, but it is visible in photos where the cockpit is open. The landing gear is the biggest problem with the kit (bigger than the hump!). The kit is made with the struts compressed. This does not give you the nose high look of the Furies. I cut the nose wheel oleo strut and made a new one to a 6” scale. I also made new scissors, and then glued it back together again. This gives the proper nose high look.

The last step is adding the refueling probe. Murphy’s Law: you put it on…you will break it off. And I did! I made a new one out of some plastic rod that is sturdier. I cut the tip of the probe and glued it to the rod, then glued the probe to the wing. I used some Sidewinder rails from an F-86 kit which worked out better than the ones in the kit.

Conclusion

This is a good kit. It just needs some time and attention. I hope Hobby Boss will continue to produce the aircraft of the 50s and 60s. I’d like a Dash 3 Fury and some Banshees, please!

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