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1/48 HobbyBoss F-80C Shooting Star

Gallery Article by Burt Gustafson on Nov 19 2013

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For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of my HobbyBoss F-80 Shooting Star. The Lockheed P-80/F-80 Shooting Star was the first operational jet fighter used by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF). Designed and built by the Lockheed Skunk Works in 1943—it was delivered in just 143 days from the start of the design process. Lockheed's design team consisted of 28 engineers that was led by the legendary Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson.

The P-80/F-80 was a conventional, all-metal airframe with a slim low wing and a tricycle landing gear. It was the first American operational jet fighter to have its engine in the fuselage. P-80/F-80 armament consisted of six 50 caliber machine guns, and could carry 8 unguided rockets or two 1000 lbs bombs.

F-80s first saw combat during the Korean War. F-80s flew both air-to-air and air-to-ground sorties, claiming several aerial victories against North Korean Yak-9s and Il-10s. On 8 November 1950, the first American claim for a jet-versus-jet aerial kill was made when Lieutenant Russell J. Brown, flying an F-80C, reported that he shot down a MiG-15. Despite the initial claim of success, the speed of the straight-wing F-80s was inferior to the 668 mph MIG-15s. F-80s were soon replaced in the air superiority role by the North American F-86 Sabre. When sufficient numbers of F-86s were in operation, the Shooting Star flew exclusively ground attack missions. By the end of hostilities, the only F-80s still flying in Korea were photo-reconnaissance variants.

 

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Construction
This was an out of the box build and an easy build. The kit practically went together by it self, following the 6 step building instructions. A little seam filling and sanding was required here and there—but nothing serious. The assembly illustrations are very clear and the parts fit is excellent. The cockpit is nicely done, complete with seat, control stick and rudder pedals, that all fits into a tub with raised detail on the sidewalls. The kit provides a front instrument panel decal, but I chose to paint it. There are also interior sidewalls, a nicely done gunsight, and an etched seat harness. 

Painting
For the most part, F-80 Shooting Stars had a bare metal finish. So I decided to airbrush the model with Alclad II Polished Aluminum. I first primed the model with MM Gloss Black. I let the Gloss Black dry for 48 hours and the finish was smooth and shiny like glass, ready for Polished Aluminum. That’s when disaster struck. When you airbrush Alclad II Polished Aluminum, the finish is typically very smooth and a sheen like glass. But, not with this application. The finish came out rather grainy, cracked in several places, and dull instead of smooth and shiny.

I sanded the model with Micro Mesh sanding pads and applied another coat of Polished Aluminum to no avail—the finish was still grainy and dull. I suspect the problem was caused by a bad bottle of Alclad II Polished Aluminum. However, I may have caused the problem by having the airbrush too far away from the model surface and the air pressure too high. Anyway, two coats of Future prior to decaling improved the appearance of the finish. The wheel wells are painted MM Interior Green and the front end of the fuel tanks are painted Floquil Insignia Red.

Decals
For decals I used kit decals which are superb. They behaved well, settling nicely onto two coats of Future. I used a few touches of Solvaset on each decal to ensure the decal snuggled down to the model surface.

Comments
To sum up, this was a very enjoyable easy kit to build. HobbyBoss has done a nice job with this kit. It is reasonably well detailed out of the box, has very few fit problems, and has clear instructions. I recommend this kit for any modeler.

Burt Gustafson

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Photos and text © by Burt Gustafson

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