by Tommy H. Thomason

Monday, June 30, 2014

Grumman F9F-8T/TF-9J

Chinese plastic kit manufacturer Kitty Hawk has just released a 1/48th scale kit of the Grumman F9F-8T/TF-9J. (For my earlier notes on this airplane, see

This is very welcome since it is one of a handful of U.S. Navy airplanes that have gone unrepresented as an injection molded kit. A built model looks pretty good:
It's clear that the length of the nose-gear strut on this model is representative of the TF-9J on display at the Pima Air&Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona rather than a flyable airplane. (It may have been fixed in the kits as produced.) The "sit" should be more like this:

There are few other detail discrepancies notable in the model built. See for some notes and illustrations. Darren Roberts is providing a excellent and informative progressive build review here: and a summary of the build here: Before you buy it and for sure before you build one, you should take a look at his posts.

Another very helpful and illustrated build review: Note that the builder did not encounter the problem with gluing the plastic that the kit is made from but did note a couple of detail errors. (Others have noted the "Marines" marking on the upper right wing is incorrect; it should be the aircraft number and the tail code.)

One configuration option provided in the kit is the ejection seat. The first two-seat Cougars were delivered with Grumman ejection seats. These were soon replaced with Martin-Baker seats. See The Grumman seats were used in the model above, but Martin-Baker seats had been standard long before the Marines began to use the TF-9J as a Fast FAC (Forward Air Control) as the model is marked.

As usual, the single best reference on a Navy airplane is available from Steve Ginter. See

Darren Tamanaha put some excellent detail pictures of the Pima TF-9J HERE. Note that the shock struts are bottomed instead of being inflated as it was for a flyable airplane.

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