OzMods 1/144 F9F -5 Panther
By Matt Bittner
A few years ago I reviewed the OzMods 1/144 T-33 (in which I need to modify my text because, well, just because) and Bruce Simard built their 1/144 Hawk T.1. Those kits can be considered their "first generation" in terms of injected plastic. The plastic they used was extremely hard and brittle resulting in lots of parts damage if care wasn't taken with removal from the sprue. But even then it was still possible to damage the parts if not careful.
Fast forward a few years and with the release of their 1/144 F-86D "Sabre Dog" OzMods started using a better type of plastic for their injection process that wasn't as brittle. Now, OzMods has re-released their 1/144 F9F Panther using this newer plastic.
The OzMods 1/144 F9F Panther consists of 23 pieces of white, injected plastic with both a clear injected canopy and two vacuum-formed canopies. Decals are for all five F9F-5 Blue Angels birds or an F9F-5 of VFA-192, "Golden Dragons". Decals appear to be in register and aren't ALPS printed so that's an added bonus.
The instructions are a single-page of construction with a separate page for the decals' color profiles. Be sure to start with the assembly of the lower fuselage-half (the fuselage halves are divided horizontally instead of vertically) by inserting the really-nice cockpit tub (with included seat, control stick and instrument panel) into the lower half prior to joining the halves together. The instructions don't call for any nose weight but I would be surprised if the kit didn't need some so add it also before gluing the fuselage halves together.
Once the fuselage is assembled then the rest of the assembly goes quickly with one caveat. The separate rear tail pieces (split into a left and right half) – that includes the upper rear of the fuselage and rudder/fin – will need to be thinned because the trailing edge of the rudder is quite thick; too thick for the scale. You'll have to check while sanding to be sure you don't put the rest of the tail-halves at risk when gluing together and adding to the fuselage. While the horizontal tail is a single piece, passing through slots in the left and right tail halves, I've read a review where it would be better to separate the single piece into two separate tail parts and check fit while adding. Granted, that was a review of the "first generation" Panther so maybe it won't be needed with the newer plastic. Time will tell.
After the tail is on and the wings are added, I would definitely add the tip-tanks but leave all the other small parts off. If closing the canopy you'll probably want to add that as well before painting so it can be blended with the fuselage and masked appropriately. Then after painting and decals are on then add the landing gear and gear doors and call it complete.
I'm hoping that with OzMods using the new plastic it will help with some of the issues found with the older, more brittle plastic. In any event, this is a nice kit and once together will look great. With the options of either any of the Blue Angels aircraft or the "Golden Dragon" bird will result in a great-looking kit.
Many thanks to OzMods for sending the review kit.