Tuesday, December 30, 2014

F9F-8 Variations

Kitty Hawk is shipping its 1/48th F9F-8/8P kit:

For the Cybermodeler in-box review, see http://www.cybermodeler.com/hobby/kits/kh/kit_kh_80127.shtml

Paul Boyer has built one for a modeling review (note that Kitty Hawk did not fix the flat nose strut from its F9F-8T kit; Paul modified it to give his Cougar model the correct sit):

He also only folded one wing to illustrate the kit option and notes that it sits at an angle (it's hard to tell from a photo if it's the correct angle for an F9F-8, which was 80 degrees):

Note that there should only be a clear window for the approach light (an angle of attack indicator) in the left inner wing leading edge. Like the deflated nose strut, this error was carried over from the Kitty Hawk F9F-8T.

One of the questions that has arisen is the effectivity of the inlet splitter plate. This was a prominent feature added at some point during the production run to improve performance.

After looking at lots of pictures, my guess is that it was incorporated at some point between BuNo 141157 (no splitter plate) and 141172 (splitter plate) and was not retrofitted to earlier Cougars except for at least two -8s that were used for Grumman flight test. (The F9F-8Ps and F9F-8Ts were all produced with splitter plates.)

With two exceptions, I've not seen a picture of a overall-blue Cougar with the splitter plate. One is BuNo 131894, which appears to be dedicated to test, and the other is the sole Blue Angels' single-seat F9F-8 with a splitter plate, BuNo 144279 (it also had the mounting point for the inflight refueling probe).

Early gray/white F9F-8s did not have the splitter plate. Another exception to BuNo 141157 or earlier not having it is BuNo 141140, which did, shown here. Again, my guess is that this was a Grumman test article.

Many of the F9F-8s were relegated to advanced training Navy squadrons after their service with deployable squadrons. The ones delivered prior to the introduction of the splitter plate had almost certainly been through enough overhaul cycles that if the splitter were retrofitted, they would have it. I've not seen one that does; BuNo 141155 is an example.

Also note another -8 variation in the picture above, the Martin-Baker ejection seat (the kit comes with it as well as the original one). I'm not sure when the Grumman seat was replaced with Martin-Baker's, but I don't recall seeing them in pictures of deploying F9F-8s and it's usual to see them in the training-command Cougars. It may have been a requirement.

In addition to not providing any information on the presence or absence of the splitter plates or when to use which ejection seat, the Kitty Hawk instructions reportedly don't specify which instrument panel to be used in the fighter versus the photo-reconnaissance version of the kit. The F9F-8 fighter had a gun sight:
The F9F-8P had a large periscope view port in lieu of a gun sight:

Corogard: This was the "silver paint" on the leading edges of the wing and empennage. For more see http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2012/01/corogard.html

The width of the coating doesn't appear to be consistent, other than much wider on the wing leading edge of the blue Cougars than the gray/white ones (the original requirement was back to the first line of rivets). Your Cougar may vary (this one is more like the blue Corogard application and was probably repainted at a Navy overhaul and repair facility; the Corogard on the leading edge of the vertical fin also extends further down that typical even on blue Cougars).

It does appear that the width was usually a little greater on the top of the leading edge than the bottom of factory-new grey/white Cougars:
Note that on this factory-new F9F-8P, the horizontal tail is all white, the spoilers are not painted white, and there is no trimmer surface on the right wing, only the left and it is painted white. The spoilers were subsequently painted white like the rest of the control surfaces.

For the differences between the F9F-6/7 and -8 Cougars, see http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2010/11/f9f-6-vs-f9f-8-cougars.html

More later as reports and questions roll in...