The F11F Tiger began as a Grumman funded study to improve the F9F-6/7 Cougar using “area-rule” principles released by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in September 1952. Using Area rule principle reduces transonic drag on an airframe by maintaining the same cross sectional area over the length of the airframe by narrowing the fuselage as the area of the wings increases resulting in a coke bottle shape. The resulting design, Grumman Model G-98, was very different from the Cougar, it was lighter, smaller with a thin airfoil wing, an all flying tail mounted low on the rear fuselage, an afterburning engine and the landing gear folded into the fuselage as there was no room in the thin wings. Despite these changes the Navy felt the design was a continuation of the F9F series and it first flew on July 30, 1954 as the XF9F-9. In April of 1955 the Navy finally accepted that the G-98 was a completely new design and changed its designation to the F11F-1 Tiger.

       As the Wright J65 engine was undergoing development problem the first flight took place without an afterburner yet it almost achieved supersonic speed. The second prototype did have an afterburner and the Tiger became the second US Navy aircraft, after the F4D Skyray, to be capable of supersonic flight.

       The Tiger served with 7 US Navy squadrons from 1957 to 1961 it being superseded by the Vought F8U Crusader. The small size of the Tiger limited its fuel capacity and therefore it range and endurance. However, the Tiger did continue service with the Navy in the Training Command serving to give new pilots their first experience with supersonic flight.

       The Grumman F11F Tiger is also notable as the first supersonic aircraft to serve with the US Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron – The Blue Angels. The Tiger was the Blue Angels mount during the 1957 thru the 1968 seasons and was also the Blue’s last Grumman aircraft.

      The choices for kits in 48th scale of a Grumman F11F Tiger are limited. Lindbergh Line offers a kit that has been around for many years and there is a Fonderie Miniature kit that is no longer in production. The reputation of the Lindbergh kit is that it is pretty rudimentary and I wanted to build a kit that would do the subject a little more justice. I was able to obtain the Fonderie Miniature Kit #6045 on EBAY.

      The kit consists of photo-etched, resin, white metal and both vacuum-formed and injection molded plastic parts and a decal sheet that allows the possibility of modelling 3 different aircraft.

      Assembly began with putting together 3 subassemblies, the cockpit and front landing gear, the main wheel well bays and the exhaust pipe area. The assemblies then are glued in the fuselage halves. Care must be taken to make sure the main wheel bay is in the right position as there are no alignment tabs to make sure the finished model sits correctly. I also had to do some sanding to the exterior of the wheel bays as there was a gap between the fuselage halves until the wheel bays exterior was reduced.

      The fit of the wings and tails surfaces was pretty good and very little sanding was required. The landing gear is made up of several white metal parts and was assembled using super glue. The canopy is provided as a one piece vacuum-formed part. I wanted to have the canopy slid back on my model so I had to separate the front and rear sections. A resin and a white metal piece are assembled into the vacuum-formed piece to make the canopy rear section.

      

      Options for three aircraft are presented on the decal sheet, aircraft #1 from the Blue Angels team of 1961, a Tiger of VF-21 the “Mach Busters” during 1957 – 1958 and a Tiger of VA-156 the “Iron Tigers” while onboard the USS Shangri-La during 1958-1959.

      When the box was first opened it was obvious that the kit had been sitting for a while as the decal sheet was pretty yellow. I put the sheet in a plastic bag, to prevent moisture from getting to it, and taped it to a west facing window for about six weeks. This method did wonders to bleach out the yellowing but it seems to have had an effect on the decals.

      My first choice was for BuAer # 141740 from the “Mach Busters”. But, as I said previously, something wasn’t quite right with decals. I usually use the Microscale system of applying Micro Set before laying the decal down and then liberally applying Micro Sol after the decal is on the surface. When I did this to the Tiger Mouth decal it wrinkled up, which is usual, but it would not flatten back out again. Eventually it disintegrated to the point that I had to remove it. I ended up using the decals for Tiger # 141745. Using minimum amount of Micro Set and Micro Sol I had success and made a very presentable model of the Tiger.

Bibliography:

       Carrier Aviation – Air Power Directory – The World’s Carriers And Their Aircraft: 1950 – Present

                   A Special Publication From International Air Power Review

                   Published By AIRtime Publishing Inc. – 120 East Avenue, Norwalk CT 06851

       Grumman F11F Tiger Article By Richard J. Caruna in Scale Aviation Modeller International – October 2004.

       Wikipedia Article on the Grumman F11F Tiger

       Military Aircraft Factory –Grumman F11F / F-11 Tiger Carrier-Borne High Performance Fighter Aircraft

       National Naval Aviation Museum – Grumman F11F Tiger

Photo GalleryModel Magazine DatabaseModel ProjectsEnthusiast's LinksHomeContact Us