COLLECT-AIRE 1/48th F-84E/G KIT #4835

Retail Price: $99.00

Collect-Aire advertises in magazines such as Fine Scale Modeler, and specializes in limited run (usually 200) kits of subjects which are of interest to many modelers, but which are also generally ignored by other manufacturers. I purchased this F-84E/G kit at list price of $99.00 plus shipping, and it is kit number 140 of 200.

KIT REVIEW

The Collect-Aire F-84E/G kit is a mixed-media kit, but primarily the parts are amber resin castings, white-metal gear, and two vac-formed canopies. Two decal sheets were furnished, one primarily of USAF markings, the other of French markings. Ejection seats for both E and G are furnished, along with both versions of speed brake. Panel lines are very finely engraved and mostly accurate, and finely modeled details represent the several vents in the fuselage. Unfortunately, there were no resin parts which did not have moderate to severe invasion of air bubbles in the castings, both fuselage halves and the wings were warped, and the small parts all had flash surrounding them; some of the flash was so thick it was impossible to cut the flash away without breaking the part. The metal gear castings were bright silver with only moderate detail, and the nose gear had a large blob of "melt" attached which invaded part of the detail. Two canopies were furnished, one with and one without the canopy bracing, so the kit may be built either way depending on the subject aircraft being modeled. There are small depressions in both canopies where the vacuum ducts are located in the mold, and the clear surfaces are slightly mottled. The decals are by Scale-Master; the red was slightly out of register, but otherwise the decals are good.

I started to build the kit. The more I got into the build, the more I realized there were problems. The air bubbles in the resin castings were so extensive, it was not possible to eliminate them, especially in detail areas like the instrument panel. The instrument panel is a copy of the Monogram F-84F, as also are the nose gear, nose wheel, and main wheels. Although the nose gear is similar enough to pass, the other parts are not the same from Thunderjet to Thunderstreak. The main gear wells are detailed, but the detail is not representative of the Thunderjet. For example, on the Thunderjet, the ribs in the well run spanwise; on the kit, they were chordwise. Also, the main gear cutouts and doors are shaped incorrectly. The auxiliary intake door openings are the wrong size, and the door inserts are the wrong shape. After discovering these errors, I then checked the fuselage shape and found it was incorrect in profile. The weapons pylons are too long, and the auxiliary tanks, both wing end, and underwing, are much too fat; the length is correct, but the diameter is about 20-25% too large. I corrected one half of the fuselage by sectioning it in several places then by reassembling it to the correct profile. I attempted to correct one wing by replacing the gear well detail with parts I cast from a Monogram F-84F gear well detail (it is close, but not fully correct for the purpose). However, the casting was so warped, I could never get it straightened, even with repeated hot water bath treatments. The fuselage parts before and after the changes are shown in photos below.

I did not attempt to complete the model, although, if the Tamiya kit had not arrived on the scene when it did, I may have continued the build. My frustrating modeling experience with this kit, along with that of the Battle-Axe kit, lead me to start serious research on the F-84 Thunderjet, with the intent to make my own molds. Tamiya's Thunderjet kit solved that problem for me, but meanwhile, I decided to document my research into the Thunderjet, and that lead me to create this web site.


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Box art, Collect-Aire 1/48th scale "F-84E/G Thunderjet", kit #4835.

Main decal sheet, Collect-Aire 1/48th scale F-84E/G Thunderjet, kit #4835.

Supplementary decal sheet, Collect-Aire 1/48th scale F-84E/G Thunderjet, kit #4835.

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Inside of Collect-Aire fuselage halves. On the left is the unmodified kit part (paint was added for contrast in other photos). On the right is the modified part which is accurate in profile. The cuts I made are easily visible, and the patch to correct the shape of the vertical stabilizer is prominent. Note that I considerably thinned the walls of the part.

Outside of Collect-Aire fuselage halves. On the right is the unmodified kit part. On the left is the modified part. Generally, the front part of the fuselage was too fat, and the windscreen too high and too far forward. This meant the cockpit and canopy were also too far forward. Notice the filled in auxiliary intake and the resized air brake well.

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KIT RATING
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The Collect-Aire F-84E/G is expensive, and at first look, seems impressive. There is no question, someone took a lot of time and effort to produce the kit. With a substantial effort, the kit could be made to appear as a fairly well detailed representation of either an E or G Thunderjet, particularly if the auxiliary tanks from either the Battle-Axe or Tamiya kit were used in place of the ones furnished with this kit. But, if either quality or accuracy counts, this kit misses the mark. The Tamiya kit is far better in every way, and it is less than one-third the price.


Contents Copyright 1997-1999 Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved


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