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Douglas F3D-2 Skyknight
Carrier-Based All-Weather Night Fighter

1st Cavalry Division
"Flying Nightmares"
K6 Airfield
Pyong Taek, South Korea,
August 1953


This model added to on January 20, 2010
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
The Skyknight originated in 1945 with a U.S. Navy requirement for a jet-powered radar-equipped carrier-based night fighter.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
The Douglas team designed around the bulky air intercept radar systems of the time, the result was a broad deep fuselage with side-by-side seating for the pilot and radar operator. The radar system was a combination of three different radars, each performing separate functions: a search radar, a tracking radar, and a tail warning radar. It required intensive maintenance to keep this pre-semi-conductor system operating.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
The F3D was not intended to dogfight. Instead, it was a stable platform that hunted with it's radar system and destroyed it's prey with four 20 mm cannon mounted in the lower fuselage.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
During the summer of 1952, VMF(N)-513 received the F-3D and made aviation history with the first radar kill on an enemy jet aircraft at night, when Maj. William T. Stratton Jr., and MSgt Hans Hoglind shot down a North Korean Yak-15. The squadron was credited with 10 confirmed night kills during the Korean Conflict.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
F3D-2 aircraft saw extensive service during the Korean War and destroyed more enemy aircraft in Korea than any other Navy or Marine fighter aircraft. They were used as escort fighters, accompanying B-29 Superfortress bombers on night raids. They also flew nighttime intercept and interdiction missions.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
This kit maintains all the stereotypical Matchbox pros and cons:
it's molded in annoying multi-color plastic, it has overly simplified cockpit and gear bays, overly thick glass parts... while at the same time it's a rare subject matter produced by virtually no one else, the kit is out of production and difficult to find, it's reasonably accurate in size in shape, and it's easy to build. Somehow I've come to love this formula.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
Matchbox provides decals for a colorful orange and white Miramar training aircraft or this ominous Korean night fighter scheme which I just couldn't resist.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
The exhausts are devoid of detail but fortunately it's difficult to see too far into them. I thinned out the edges to make them a little more realistic.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
From the front the Skyknight bares some resemblance to the A-6 Grumman Intruder which was developed during the same era.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
Early in the Korean War the Glossy Sea Blue Skyknights were painted over with black to aid in their night fighting role. Later the black was applied directly. I tried to be realistic without going overboard.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
The kits wheel bays were void any details so I used styrene strips and wire to simulate missing framing and plumbing.
Matchbox 1/72 scale Douglas F3D-2  Skyknight
Here's my Skyknight in infamous Matchbox 3-color scheme of white, light gray and dark gray. Note the filler required around the cockpit.

Despite a few shortcomings, this was an enjoyable build of a very historically important aircraft.

Matchbox #PK-134 F3D-2 Skyknight model kit maquette model bausatz bouwmodel
Kit: Matchbox  #PK-134

1/72 scale
Scale: 1/72
The kit contains 56 parts molded in white, light gray, dark gray and clear. 1 decal sheet and a 4-page instruction sheet with brief historical data and aircraft specifications.

The majority of the kit has fine raised detail although the raydome and airbrakes have overly heavy sunken detail. Overall fit is pretty good although filler is needed at the wingroot, intake and exhaust areas.

Assembly starts with the cockpit which consists only 4 parts which are highly simplified. You'll need to borrow from other kits or scratch build if you want any detail at all, although much of the cockpit is obscured through the thick cockpit glass anyway.

There is no detail at all in landing gear bays and the gear doors are molded way too thick so I thinned the doors down and scratch built details in the bays.

Simplified hinges are provided to build the wings in stowed position.

Despite being a simple kit, the overall shape and size compare very well with photos of the real aircraft. The final result is a reasonably accurate replica of the Skyknight.
Markings are included for 2 aircraft:
US Navy F3D-2 of VF-121, NAS Miramar, California 1958, or
US Marine F3D-2 of VMF(N)-513 "Night Fighters" K6 Airfield
Pyong Taek, South Korea, August 1963.

Oddly, the instructions show the use of four red "WF" markings - placed on both sides of the tail and on the upper and lower wing surfaces, however only 2 markings are included on the sheet. I put both markings on the tail and had to leave the wing blank.

Decals went down very well despite being over two decades old.

I supplemented the kits decals with "data" taken from Super Scale International sheet number 72-570.
Paint: Testors Silver (enamel) was applied overall then over painted with Model Master Enamel Black mixed with a drop of white. Black was then chipped away in places using tape and an x-acto knife.
After Market Parts: None.
Customizing: Various details scratch built in the cockpit. Framing detail scratch built in the wheel bays.
Cost: This kit is out of production so the market value can be as low as $8.00 or as much as $30.00. My kit was a gift from Kyle Williams of Thanks Kyle!
Recommendation: This is an excellent kit for a beginner, or a nice challenge for an advanced modeler who likes to fabricate details.

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