Debut: June 2017

 




   

.: Andrew Liu's Grumman F7F Tigercat

Brand:

Monogram
# PA163

Scale:

1/72

Modelling Time:

8 hrs

PE/Resin Detail:

none

Comments:

"1968 vintage model (older than me!)

Courtesy from Roger's trash stash.

Plenty of filler required wherever plastics met. Aftermarket decals to replace perished originals. Light weathering to replicate early service use in Korea before being replaced by F9F Panthers."

Grumman F7F Tigercat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Tigercat" redirects here. For other uses, see Tigercat (disambiguation).
F7F Tigercat
F7F-3P Tigercat.jpg
An F7F-3P preserved in United States Marine Corps markings in flight
Role heavy fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Grumman
First flight 2 November 1943
Introduction 1944
Retired 1954
Primary users United States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Produced 1943–1946
Number built 364
Developed into Grumman XTSF

The Grumman F7F Tigercat is a heavy fighter aircraft that served with the United States Navy (USN) and United States Marine Corps (USMC) from late in World War II until 1954. It was the first twin-engined fighter to be deployed by the USN. While the Tigercat was delivered too late to see combat in World War II, it saw action as a night fighter and attack aircraft during the Korean War.

Designed initially for service on Midway-class aircraft carriers, early production F7Fs were land-based variants. The type was too large to operate from older and smaller carriers, and only a late variant (F7F-4N) was certified for carrier service.

Design and development

F7F Tigercat N747MX La Patrona 2014 Reno Air Races
F7F Tigercat N747MX La Patrona 2014 Reno Air Races pit

Based on the earlier Grumman XP-50 that was eventually canceled, the company developed the XP-65 (Model 51) further for a future "convoy fighter" concept. In 1943, work on the XP-65 was terminated in favor of the design that would eventually become the F7F.[1] The contract for the prototype XF7F-1 was signed on 30 June 1941. Grumman's aim was to produce a fighter that outperformed and outgunned all existing fighter aircraft, and that had an auxiliary ground attack capability.[2] Armament was heavy: four 20 mm cannon and four 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns, as well as underwing and under-fuselage hardpoints for bombs and torpedoes. Performance met expectations too; the F7F Tigercat was one of the highest performance piston-engined fighters, with a top speed well in excess of the US Navy's single-engined aircraft—71 mph faster than a Grumman F6F Hellcat at sea level.[3] CAPT Fred M. Trapnell, one of the Navy's premier test pilots, opined that: "It's the best damn fighter I've ever flown."[4] The Grumman F7F was originally named the "Tomcat" but this name was rejected as it was considered too suggestive, at the time.[5] The name would much later be used for the Grumman F-14.

An F7F-3N of VMF(N)-513 at Wonsan, Korea, in 1952.

All this was bought at the cost of heavy weight and a high landing speed, but what caused the aircraft to fail carrier suitability trials was poor directional stability with only one engine operational, as well as problems with the arrestor hook design.[6] The initial production series was therefore used only from land bases by the USMC, as night fighters with APS-6 radar.[7] At first, they were single-seat F7F-1N aircraft, but after the 34th production aircraft, a second seat for a radar operator was added; these aircraft were designated F7F-2N.

The next version produced, the F7F-3, was modified to correct the issues that caused the aircraft to fail carrier acceptance and this version was again trialled on the USS Shangri-La. A wing failure on a heavy landing caused the failure of this carrier qualification too. F7F-3 aircraft were produced in day fighter, night fighter and photo-reconnaissance versions.[8]

A final version, the F7F-4N, was extensively rebuilt for additional strength and stability, and did pass carrier qualification, but only 12 were built.[8]

Operational history

Marine Corps night fighter squadron VMF(N)-513 flying F7F-3N Tigercats saw action in the early stages of the Korean War, flying night interdiction and fighter missions and shooting down two Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes.[9] This was the only combat use of the aircraft.

Most F7F-2Ns were modified to control drones for combat training, and these gained bubble canopies over the rear cockpit for the drone controller. An F7F-2D used for pilot transitoning also had a rear sliding, bubble canopy.[10]

In 1945, two Tigercats, serialled TT346 and TT349, were evaluated, but rejected, by the British Royal Navy, who preferred a navalized version of the de Havilland Hornet.[11]

Variants

The second XF7F-1 in 1946.
An F7F-2D drone controller with an additional F8F windshield.
An F7F-3N night fighter of VMF(N)-513 in April 1950.
XP-65
Proposed U.S. Army Air Forces pursuit fighter.
XF7F-1
Prototype aircraft, two built.
F7F-1 Tigercat
Twin-engine fighter-bomber aircraft, powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-22W radial piston engines. First production version, 34 built.
F7F-1N Tigercat
Single-seat night fighter aircraft, fitted with an APS-6 radar.
XF7F-2N
Night-fighter prototype, one built.
F7F-2N Tigercat
Two-seat night fighter, 65 built.
F7F-2D
Small numbers of F7F-2Ns converted into drone control aircraft. The aircraft were fitted with an F8F Bearcat windshield behind the cockpit.
F7F-3 Tigercat
Single-seat fighter-bomber aircraft, powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W radial piston engines and featuring an enlarged tailfin for improved stability at high altitudes, 189 built.
F7F-3N Tigercat
Two-seat night fighter aircraft, 60 built.
F7F-3E Tigercat
Small numbers of F7F-3s were converted into electronic warfare aircraft.
F7F-3P Tigercat
Small numbers of F7F-3s were converted into photo-reconnaissance aircraft.
F7F-4N Tigercat
Two-seat night-fighter aircraft, fitted with an arrestor hook and other naval equipment, 13 built.

Operators

 United States

Survivors

The Tigercat was designed to have a very small frontal area.
F7F-3N Tigercat in use with belly tank in the fire-fighting role in 1988

Beginning in 1949, F7Fs were flown to the then-US Navy storage facility at Naval Air Station Litchfield Park, Arizona.[12] Although the vast majority of the airframes were eventually scrapped, a number of examples were purchased as surplus. The surviving Tigercats were primarily used as water bombers to fight forest fires in the 1960s and 1970s and Sis-Q Flying Services of Santa RosaCalifornia operated an F7F-3N tanker in this role until retirement in the late 1980s.

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