Grumman F9F-2 Panther

1/72 scale model of the F9F-2 by HobbyBoss China
kit review / modelling report

The Grumman F9F-2 was designed as shipboard carrier based fighter in the nineteen-forties. It was one of the first successful U.S Navy aircraft with a jet engine. It was also used during the Korea War.

Argentina bought 2 dozens second hand US Navy aircraft end nineteen-fifties. (see below for more info)

See more Type info on my 1/32 scale Panther page here....

and the old 1/72 conversion of a Grumman Cougar here...

This Hobbyboss kit of the F9F-2 Panther (kit no. 87248) was released in 2011 and has about 90 parts on 2 sprues and 1 sprue for the weaponry and a clear sprue. (The only other 1/72 kit was the old one from Hasegawa). 

The kit decals are for 2 schemes:
- U.S NAVY in an overall blue scheme of VF-123;
- Argentina Aeronaval as flown from Punta Indio in 1960 with "NAVAL" markings. 

The stencilling on the decal sheet is a bit limited, on some U.S Navy aircraft small with stencilling was often applied.

I opted the Argentian scheme, a nice addition to my World Air Forces collection. 

The Hobbyboss kit was assembled rather straight forward as per instructions. There is adequate detail in small wheel bays and cockpit with a reasonable ejection seat. There are also parts for weapons with a few unguided rockets and bombs and for the pylons, holes need to be opened up in the lower wing. 

The aileron and flap demarcations on the lower wing were vague, I inscribed these with a scriber.

Assembly started as expected with the cockpit. The cockpit interior was painted inside dark gull grey for the Argentina Panther (on a U.S NAVY aircraft it was probably interior green until a first major overhaul).

The wing intakes are there but I added a piece of card inside to direct it towards the engine. 

I added a lot of weight in the nose to prevent tail-sitting (so not needing part A11). Rest of the assembly was OK. Hardly any filler is needed, only some at the rear of the wing-fuselage joint and nose. 

After assembly, a couple of light grey base coats were applied with the airbrush to check for any flaws that needed rework. 

The lower colour is white, using in this case Gunze Sangyo H1 acrylic. This was applied first with the airbrush and than masked. The upper gull grey Fed.Std FS16440 came from the Gunze Sangyo paint H315 acrylic. 

Some details were painted red such as the markings on the wing tip tanks. Also the rear trailing edge of the lower speedbrake aft the nose gear was painted red. The undercarriage legs I painted white with silver oleos (though not sure). 

Decals were used from the Hobbyboss kit for the Argentine Navy. They are fine and show the Aero Naval  "anchors" as markings. 


After decalling, details like the undercarriage were set on the model such as the unguided rockets. 

Overall a gloss transparant coat was airbrushed onto the model of Johnson Future/Pledge varnish. Anti-collision lights were painted on the wing tip tanks. That canopy was installed set open after it got a central rear view mirror and that completed the F9F-2 model.

Argentina is the second largest country in South America. A military aviation school was set up in 1912 with French biplanes at El Palomar. Following the First World War, an Italian support mission arrived with Ansaldo fighters, Caproni bombers and in 1920 additional French aircraft arrived. A small aircraft factory was set up from 1927 to produce under license foreign aircraft. The air force now had Dewoitine D.21 and Curtiss P-36 Hawks and types like Martin B10 bombers. At the end of the Second World War modernisation  began of the "Fuerza Aerea Argentina" with Fiat G.55 fighters, Avro Lancasters and Lincolns and C-47 and C-54 transports. In the late 1950s also Paris trainers and Beech Mentors were license manufactured. In the fifties some aircraft were designed and manufactured with German assistance like the Pulquin and later followed by the manufactured IA.35 Huanquero by FMA in Cordoba. In the 1960s F-86 Sabres and Meteors arrived as well as Canberra bombers and Grumman Albatros amphibians.
Other aircraft were FMA IA.50 Guarani's II and and FMA also produced the IA.58 Pucara attack aircraft with many aircraft delivered. The air force also got some 70 A-4P Skyhawk attack aircraft that were modified ex-US A-4B and -C. From Israel "license made" Mirage III fighters (known as Daggers) were acquired but numbers were limited to some 14 aircraft as Argentina (as more often in the past) faced economic crises. Some transports were types like the Fokker F27 and F28. A military coup in 1976 took place with military dictatorship and a "Dirty War where many protesting civilians disappeared".
In 1982 there was the large conflict with the Falkland War. It concerned the territory of the British Falkland islands and South Georgia that was "now claimed to be Argentinian" and attacked. A British armed response followed with Royal Navy ships dispatched including HMS Ark Royal and long range RAF support bombing missions with Avro Vulcans were also deployed. The British military defeated the deployed Argentina forces and security and control established again but at the cost of many lives on both sides. In 1983 Argentina returned to a democratic government and in 1989 the relations with the U.K became normalized.
Various Argentinian governments had tight defense budgets and still many old aircraft are operated with no actual fighters remaining. Some tensions about the Falklands blocked modern fighter aircraft acquisitions. The most modern types are helicopters like several Bell 412 and Sikorsky S-70's. Trainers are also EMBRAER Tucano's and Grob G120's and locally designed IA.63 Pampa jet trainers.
Argentina also set up a rather large Naval Aviation force. First established in the 1920s with Italian assistance some Italian aircraft were flown. In the thirties types were Supermarine Walrus, Southampton and several Fairey aircraft. After the Second World War Catalina's and Goose aircraft were operated with from 1956 Corsair fighters with some Neptunes. From Britain in 1958 HMS Warrior was acquired second hand and Trackers and Corsairs began to fly from 1959 off this carrier that was now named the "Independencia". At the same time, the Aviacion Naval bought 28 second hand ex-USN F9F-2B Panthers capable of firing rockets and dropping a few bombs. The first batch of 10 arrived in 1958 and 24 aircraft were eventually put in service and 4 used as spares. 
The Panthers were operated from land bases, as the carrier Independencia had insufficient catapults. They were used in local conflicts like a Revolt in 1963 and deployed in a border conflict with Chile in 1965 flying from Rio Gallegos air base. The Panthers flew with the "Aeronaval Argentino" until 1969 as from 1966 ex-USN A-4 Skyhawks were being introduced (probably a total of 16 A-4Q aircraft).
End 1960's also an ex-British carrier HMS Venerable (of the Colossus Class), that was transferred in 1948 and owned by the Dutch navy "Koninklijke Marine" known as the second Hr.Ms "Karel Doorman" R81, was acquired. (The Dutch Naval Flying service flew from the Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman with Sea furies, Fireflies and later, after it got a steam catapult and angled flight deck, from 1958 with Sea Hawk jets and Grumman Avengers). After a large fire in april 1968, the "Karel Doorman" was put out of service by the Netherlands Navy and the carrier was purchased by Argentina. It was repaired and named ARA "Veinticinco de Mayo" or "25 de Mayo". It became the flag ship in 1971 and was capable of operating the A-4Q Skyhawk jets. Also Trackers were flown in the anti-submarine role. A-4 Skyhawk and Super Etendard attack aircraft also were deployed during the Falkland war in 1982/1983 with not "NAVAL" but "ARMADA" markings. For training the naval aviation service used the T-28, T-34 and the MB.326 jets with later MB.339's that were also flown during the Falklands War. The "25 de Mayo" carrier went out of service mid 1986 and the current "aeronaval" types are flown from land and includes also various helicopters like Seakings, Alouette III, S-55 and Bell 47's.

A nice special Argentine Panther of an unusual air arm is now in the World Air Forces collection

Back to 1/72 Models.......
Books are just a few.... 
- Panther / Cougar in Action, Squadron Signal publications
- Air International, Volume 22, pages 130->

Web (Argentina):

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Created this page
December 22, 2016