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April 9, 2013
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Chance Vought F-7U3 Cutlass by Teratophoneus Chance Vought F-7U3 Cutlass by Teratophoneus
Backround: The F7U3 Cutlass is with no doubt the most exotic and in my opinion one of the most beautiful navy planes that were ever put into survice. She belonged to the first generations of jets for the us navy. The plane is allegedly beeing based up on captured german designs from arado, mainly the arado ar e 555, a big flying wing bomber. However Vought has denied any of that- but really, it really does look a lot like the e 55 although in my opinion it looks more like the Junkers EF 128. The cutlass was planned and built for the Navy for carrier use and had a very long nose undercarriage which meant that the pilot had very bad visibility. The cutlass had two engines from Westinghouse and this wyas its main drawback: The engine was a complete desaster. The aircraft was plagued with beeing much too underpowered and the engines flame out during rain often. The performance of the cutlass wasnt very good and its top speed laid by 1200 km/h at optimal height. Because of the lack of performance, the plane was known as the gutlass cutlass by its pilots. However, in better times, the aircraft was reffered to as the praying mantis. The cutlass was a unique design and maneuvrability was very good, the aircraft was quite agile and it was among the first aircraft to be equipped with the aim 7 sparrow radar guided missile. As with many other aircraft of that time, the cutlass was built in only few numbers and around 320 were produced before production ceased in 1955. Because of the poor ´performance, the aircraft wasnt very long in service but some units took the fighter to the sea. Although generally regarded a failure, the desing iself was good, the thing that killed the aircraft was the weak engine. Today, seven cutlass survive in museums. The blue angels aerobatic team also briefly operated 2 cutlass to make the new aircraft more popular among the people but they performed a solo program rather than flying with the normal formation and they were not used very long because they were found to dangerous to handle.

The model : This kit is a classic model kit which mean that this kit is a rerelease of an old classic kit from the 50s, 60s or 70s. Only 5000 of these reproductions have been released and I am one of those, I dont know if should consider myself lucky or not but here it is, so lets see what we have. The kit is from revell and comes in 1/60-a weird scale but back then this was probably usual. The box is also a nostlagic classic box with the priginal artwork from the kit and also the kit contains original decals.
Detail: To be honest, I went with no exspectations to this kit and I sure wasnt disappointed: The detail is awful. We again have that screw design I hate so much, the wheels are horrific thats why I swapped the bakc wheels with those from an old ju 87 tank buster kit which fitted perfectly and look much mire realistic. The engine nozzles are also detailless thats why I put the engine nozzles of a jedi starfighter kit onto the inside to give the whole thing some more real istic look. The cockpit however was a bit of a surprise: Thecockpit detail was better than I thought-ok its still bad but not as worse as I thought. The cockpit comes as one piece with a pilot molded onto the seat with some basic cockpit equipment.However theres one thing I really like about the cockpit. YOu cvan put it in after finishing the rest . This is very helpful if you paint a kit like I do, because I dont put the canopy on the kit until thepaintjob is finished and if you use an airbrush you have to mask the cockpit . But here you can install the cockpit after the paintjob so this really helps a lot. The whole nose of the aircraft however looks wrong, I think it should be á bt longer. The sparrow missiles also arent detailed at all. Most confusing of all is that the american star is actually molded onto the kit . I mean did they really think we are that stupid to not know where the star has to be place so they molded it onto the fuselage. The navy script is also molded on the kit. Even the box says that because of the long age the kits hasnt been produced and the age of the molds, fitting problems and that kind have to be exspected. I´ve never had that before. But to be honest, the detail is not as bad as in the me 109 e 4 kit from revell
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Fitting: Oh my god, the fitting is also horrific. This is not surprising given the kits age and the cartridge says that fitting problems are likely to occure but still, the fiting is awful. The fuselage halves went more or less well together. The wings too but fitting them onto the plane is a real bitch because in the end they are offset, one is well fused to the fuselage the other is too low. ALso the missile hardpoints all have gaps when fitted to the underside. But the worst thing are the fins on the wing. They show some really big gaps. The landing gear however went flawless together.Overall the fitting is not the worst but still not very good.
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Quality: To make it short: The worst I have ever seen, there is flash , some big sinkmarks and the molds are that old that the kit shows extensive crispy plastic rests from the mold. Given the kits age that no surprise but revell could have at least improve the quality a bit. Despite having only 30 parts I think I never had to sand no much sinkmarks, flash and plastic rests down
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Decals: Fortunately, Revell decals seemed to have the same quality in the 50s that they have today ,cause the decals are fantastic and have the standard revell quality
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Extrapoints: The kits comes with movable wheels, a nice function for a jet . Although building this kit was not very enjoyable because of the lousy quality, I am somehow glad I bought it because its a limited edition of a classic kit and back then the kit was probably very good but it doesnt held up to the modern standard. BUT this is the only Cutlass kit on the market, no other producer has the cutlass.
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Fazit: Not a very good kit but given the kits age thats not surprising. But as it is the only available cutlass kit, it makes a nice addition to my collection. I wouldnt advise young builders to start with such a kit because despite having few parts, the bad fitting and quality canbe very hard to accomodate.Expereinced builders who like detailed kits will have a lot to work with but for those who like that kind of challenge this kit is for you.
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:iconarmamentdawg:
ArmamentDawg Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013
Ah, the infamous "Gutless Cutlass." Do you think new engines could've saved the program, or are its poor flight characteristics also due to poor aerodynamic design, meaning the Navy was right to send the aircraft to the scrapyard?
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:iconteratophoneus:
Teratophoneus Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013
I think, that with more powerful engines, this aircraft could have been one of the best of its kind. The high landing gear was another problem but its main problem was the weak engine. From the aerodynamic design, this aircraft actually looks pretty good, it has swept wings and the wing configuration in such a way was successfully tested by the germans with their junkers ef 128 prototype(which I think was flown after WWII in russia).
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:iconskoshi8:
Skoshi8 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Astronaut/senator John Glenn flew this when he was in the Marines.
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
i have always been wondering why it has such a long nose strut XD it seems exaggerated. also, it has a pretty cool wing arrangement. one of my fav. planes! :D
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:iconteratophoneus:
Teratophoneus Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
yes, the long nose wheel seems a bit odd in comparison o the whole plane, but it was neccessary to make the aircraft usable for carrier landings and starts.
And yes, it really is one of the most awesome us navy fighter designs ever :D
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
oh really? what is the exact reason for having the long "foreleg" thoug? XD what does it help with? shorter take offs and landings? I doubt it had anything to do with shock absorbtion during the landing, as it is the main gerar that has to deal with most of the impact... do you have any information about this? just curious ;P

And indeed, the shape of this plane caught my eye on the first sight, it's been one of my favourites since childhood, very iconic indeed :D
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:iconteratophoneus:
Teratophoneus Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
yes, the high landing gear is indeed for shorter takeoffs and landing. When starting, the angled surface of the wing gives the air a better flow under the wings and gives the aircraft more lift. You´ll see that in many navy aircraft of the 20th cetury, like the f 8 crusader.
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
oh wow. why haven't I noticed that before? XD
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