F4D-1 Skyray by Burt Gustafson
Brand: Tamiya
Scale: 1/48
Modeler: Burt Gustafson


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For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of my 1/48 scale F4D-1 Skyray. One of the unusual combat aircraft introduced during the 1950s was the "Douglas F4D-1 Skyray". The Skyray was a modified-delta wing, single-seat carrier-based fighter, and was derived from German design concepts developed late in WWII. The F4D-1 was given the name Skyray because of its resemblance to the Manta ray fish.

Although in service for a relatively short time and never entered combat, it was notable for being the first carrier-launched aircraft to hold the world's absolute speed record, at 752.943mph. It was also the first US Navy and Marine Corps fighter that could exceed Mach 1 in level flight. Douglas produced 422 F4D-1 Skyrays, and it was the last fighter produced by the company before it merged with McDonnell Aircraft and became McDonnell Douglas.

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The kit was a nice build with an excellent parts fit throughout, very little filling or sanding. The cockpit module goes together well and fits nicely into the right fuselage half. A single decal makes for a nice front instrument panel. The side instrument panels require careful painting to make them look realistic. The 2-piece canopy/windscreen assembly is crystal clear, and fits perfectly. Even though the instructions don’t call out for a nose weight, I added one. Without a nose weight, I believe this model would be a tail-sitter.

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All paints used for this model were Model Masters and Floquil enamel paints. The model here is painted in the basic carrier aircraft color scheme used by the US Navy from 1951 thru the late 1980s: Gloss Gull Gray upper surfaces and Gloss White for the underside of the aircraft and control surfaces (flaps and rudder). Gloss Black for the nose, and Olive Drab for the rocket pods.

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The decals for this kit were excellent, well printed, easily placed on the model and snugged down nicely. The kit offers decals for two aircraft, one for the US Marines and one for the US Navy. I chose to go with the decals for the Navy aircraft.

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This kit was a pleasure to build. As previously mentioned, the parts fit was excellent. Cockpit and external detail is also quite good, and the decals were super. The overall quality of this kit is excellent, typical for a Tamiya kit. I was pleased with the finished model.

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  Photos and text © 2013 by Burt Gustafson

May 4, 2013