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Scale 1/72
Manufacturer Sword
Kit ID SW72025/SW72026
Type P-80C / RF-80

Here are my preliminary impressions...

BOX ART

Beautiful renderings. The artist even has the correct tanks on the RF versus the C model (even though that style tank is not in the kit).

MOLDINGS

Clear parts are separately bagged and, well, clear and not too thick.  The RF nose comes in three pieces - two sides and bottom section that houses the camera windows.  Finishing the nose will only require masking the camera windows. Great! Unfortunately, no antenna scribing  on (or decals for) the canopy.

The main sprues are "typical" Czech short run - very shiny surface with beautifully engraved panel lines; no alignment pins; very small (negligible) amount of flash, but ALL the parts have a very small lip around them, requiring each part to be scraped and sanded. On a more positive note, the sprue attachment points are fairly small, and there are only a few, small ejector towers on the back of the parts - but they are, in the main, non-interfering, and easily removed with a Dremel grinder.

The sprues in the RF and C kits are almost identical, the exception being that the RF nose has already been cut off, saving some effort in mating the clear camera nose to the fuselage. Two types of drop tanks and 1,000 bombs are provided (Instructions for the RF show bombs being carried, but since the RF didn't have a gunsight (as far as I can tell), I think I'll leave the ordnance off).

DECALS

Nicely printed by Techmod - in register, with the smallest type readable under a magnifying glass. However, no shark mouth for Eagle Eye Fleagle, and no tank stripes.

RESIN

Beautiful main and nose gear wells, ejection seat, gun sight (F-80C) or Camera Control Box (RF-80A), and landing light, but.... (more on fit coming)

ACCURACY

I'll be comparing to the best reference out there - which I'm told is the Monogram 1/48 kit. (I'll also compare to Gran, Airfix, and RVHP 1/72 kits).

A discussion of ejection seat versus bucket, in the C model vice the RF (A model), and the corresponding canopy/cockpit /windscreen location is a volume in itself. Same for the canopy extractor bulge .... However, for the most common A or RF configuration (early), the kit windscreen should be moved 9 scale inches back, a bucket seat used, and the canopy bulge trimmed off the kit part)....for starters. For a P-80C or RF-80C model, use the kit canopy and ejection seat, and add canopy antenna.

ETC

Flaps are not dropped (as in Gran kit), but it's a simple matter to cut them out and detail with some ribs.

Tip Tanks: Two types are provided: the original 165 gal faired type; and the later Misawa 265 gal. The RF's also flew with modified 165 gal tanks which you can fashion by removing two sections from the Misawa tank.  If you want super accurate tanks (for instance, having seams on the original tanks), I recommend Fox Three Studio tanks - he offers no less than four type of tanks carried by F/RFs, including the T-33 style which some Shooting Stars carried in Korea.

FIT

I'll post more in an in-progress build, but as a preview, this kit is a challenge to put together!!! One area in particular, the "confluence" of the intakes, wing,fuselage, and wheel wells, is particularly irksome - be prepared to do a lot of sanding, cutting, trimming, and grinding while you're doing incessant test fitting, not to mention puttying and Mr. Surfacering!! 

Fit of wing bottom to fuselage needs trial fitting and more fiddling (imprecise fit, but only a small gap at the wing to fuselage joint..... 

Resin wheel wells - outstanding - but once they are in place, the fit of the front fuselage is terrible, requiring a lot (I MEAN A LOT!!) of trimming of the resin!!!

CONS

Minor: no flaps; no representation of antenna for the canopy; no intake ducts; no representation of the gun camera in the right intake.

CONCLUSION

A very nice kit that requires "basic" modeling skills and a lot of patience to assemble -- but well worth the effort. The kit can can be made even better (and the options expanded, for example to model A and B versions) with the Fox 3 accessories. The price is a little steep for a kit with such few parts, but compared to what Hobby Boss has been ejecting for exorbitant prices, this kit's a bargain. 

But, it should at least have had an intake duct! (negated by height of resin wheel wells - more coming).

My next project was to use the Sword kit, and graft in some fuselage extensions and parts from a Heller or Hasegawa T-33....however, after the fit issues, I'm reconsidering....

Review courtesy of Gene K