The F9F Panther brought the jet age to the US Navy. Although not the USN's first carrier jet, it was the first to reach widespread service and to win real popularity among the Navy and Marine pilots who flew in it.
This superbly tough warplane is best remembered as the most important carrier-borne jet fighter of the Korean War. Although exclusively used on ground-attack duties in Korea, the Panther scored the US Navy's first jet kill against the faster swept-wing MiG-15 on 9 November, 1950. Two Yakovlev Yak-9 piston-powered fighters as well as other MiG-15s, also fell victims of the F9F's four 20-mm nose cannons, proving that the Grumman's warplane was a very fine machine.
Panthers could carry up to 1360 kg of underwing bombs or gallan tanks; but the favourite armament was six high-velocity rockets, used extensively against gunfire, ground troops and other surface targets.
It rapresents an F9F-2 serial BuNo. 127207 flown by Captain B. Macarthur of VMF-311 "Tomcats", a US Marine Corps squadron flying ground-attack missions in support of UN forces in Korea. I spotted the picture on the right which shows the actual aircraft but with a different nose artwork instead of the "panther-face". Still searching some info about the pilot and I should hopefully receive some feedback from a VMF-311 online source.
The aircraft was first assigned to VMF-112 squadron in Korea and was damaged by enemy anti-aircraft guns in May 1951. After repairs, it was eventually assigned to VMF-311, tail code WL, and was used in other bombing and strafing mission. Finally in 1957, it was acquired by the Armada Argentina to be assigned to the Naval Air First Attack Squadron. Today its displayed outside the Tigre Naval Aviation Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Falcon Model finally brings us a fine 1/72 diecast model which does justice to the F9F Panther. Since HobbyMaster produce the F9F in 1/48, this little model for me was a looong wait desire. It proves to be a winner, in terms of fine quality mould, good finishes & fair price.
With its glossy all-midnight blue paint scheme, this model comes with six rockets, an opening canopy, stand, and optional landing gear. Stand seems firm enough, and at least your model won't shake that much at the slightest vibration in your cabinet. Rockets look great, but another optional armament-set would have been nice, lets say a couple of bombs.
No pilot, but don't worry, HobbyMaster pilots fit just fine and the sliding canopy, makes the task easier. No folding wings, tailhook is fixed and the ventral airbrakes beneath the fuselage, are also fixed. Nevertheless it's a very well presented model and a great addition to your 1/72 scale collection.