North American F-100 in 1/72 by Esci and Revell

(April 2008) Many, many years ago I made the old Hasegawa F-100D that was marketed in the shops I went to as a Frog kit.  Even then I was showing my Frankish interests and made it up in the markings of the Armee de l’Air.  However, over the decades the kit started to show its age, the decals began to yellow and the carefully painted Humbrol 11 scheme lost its appeal.  This may well have been one of the first kits that I made after buying my first airbrush in 1975.  If that was the case I wasn’t very good at it.  By 2007 it was time for a replacement and, as you do, I bought a couple of Revell F-100D kits and, as an added bonus, the AMT F-100F kit.
I had heard somewhere (you hear all kinds of gossip at swap and sell events) that the new Revell kit is nothing more than the old Esci kit and that it is related to the just as old Ertl F-100F kit that was rebadged in the US as an AMT kit.  If all this was true it meant I could make three different F-100s from the same basic kit.  As it turned out, the Revell kit and the AMT kit seem closely related with very similar engraved panels and things like optional jet exhausts, but there are also differences in cockpit and undercarriage layout.  Still, I’d paid good money for these kits so they weren’t going to go to waste.  (I also bought a Pioneer 2 kit purporting to be a F-100C in the hope of using the tail on one of the Revell kits but it turned out to be a badly made F-100D, which makes good filler for any rubbish bin.)  In addition I’d acquired decals for F-100Cs, F-100Ds and F-100Fs over the years.  Now was the time to use them up. The first thing to do was to convert one of the Revell F-100Ds to a F-100C.  This was not too difficult and involved straightening out the wing trailing edge and filling in some panel lines to get rid of the flaps, taking a few millimetres out of the tail to make it shorter, and removing the ECM pod from the tail, removing the wing fences and leaving off the arrestor hook.  Apart from that, and using the old fashioned straight refuelling probe, everything after that went straight out of the box for all three models. The excitement came from the different colour schemes for the three models.  In many ways the most challenging was the F-100C, in an intellectual sense anyhow.  It turns out that around 1961 the USAF’s F-100s were all given a coat of silver laquer as corrosion protection and, as the model I was making came from around that period, the question was whether it should be bare metal or laquer coated.  In the end I decided it was probably bare metal but the first coat of Alclad II looked more like laquer than bare metal (for obvious reasons), so I said ‘bugger it’ and forged ahead anyhow.  The other problem was more physical, the old Mircoscale decal sheet I had specially saved for this occasion.  It  was beginning to show its age and tended to fall to bits at the slightest provocation.  Merde! I finished the two European F-100s with Modeldecal sets, which were much more satisfactory. Everyone knows that Danish aircraft were notorious for their excessive weathering but it seems that almost every one weathered in a slightly different way and, since weather was not my strong suit, I decided to make this model as though it was fresh out the factory.
The other thing about all F-100s is the burnt metal on the rear fuselages.  That was a challenge, too, and one I could have lived without.  Nevertheless, I survived.