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Academy F8F-1/2 USS Tarawa

The Grumman F8F Bearcat was a single-engine American fighter aircraft introduced in late World War II. It went on to serve into the mid-20th century in the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, and the air forces of other nations. It would be Grumman Aircraft’s final piston engined fighter aircraft. Modified versions have broken speed records for piston-engined aircraft, and are popular among warbird owners.

The Bearcat concept began during a meeting between Battle of Midway veteran F4F Wildcat pilots and Grumman Vice President Jake Swirbul at Pearl Harbor on 23 June 1942. At the meeting, Lieutenant Commander Jimmie Thach emphasized one of the most important requirements in a good fighter plane was “climb rate”.[2]

Climb performance is strongly related to the power-to-weight ratio, and is maximized by wrapping the smallest and lightest possible airframe around the most powerful available engine.

Academy F8F-1/2 USS TARAWA

This is a 1/48 F8F-1/2 Bearcat “USS Tarawa.” The F8F-1 made its first flight in 1944. The kit’s design and parts allow it to be built either as an F8F-1 or F8F-2. Features include accurate cockpit and landing gear as well as fine panel lines and rivets.

  • Highly detailed plastic pieces molded in gray and clear
  • Special edition
  • Accurately detailed panel lines and rivets
  • Precisely engraved cockpit and landing gear
  • Can be built as F8F-1 or F8F-2
  • Waterslide decals by Cartograf
  • Illustrated instructions
  • MSRP: $28.00
  • Street Price: $20.99


  • One decal sheet with markings for 6 versions:
  • F8F-1, VF-15A (Later VF-151/192), USS Tarawa (CV-40), US Navy, 1948
  • F8F-2, Same Unit, USS Boxer (CV-21), US Navy, 1950
  • F8F-2, USS Valley Forge (CV-45), US Navy, 1949, V01 is the the commanding officer of CVG-11’s aircraft, 1949.
  • F8F-2, VF-111 “Sundowners”, USS Valley Forge (CV-45), US Navy, 1949
  • F8F-2, VF-61 “Jolly Rogers”, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB42), US Navy, 1949
  • F8F-1, VF-3 “Felix Cat Squadron” (later VF-31), US Navy, 1946

Finished recently this is the latest iteration of the 1/48 F8F-1/2 Grumman Bearcat from Academy Models. If you haven’t built this kit, it comes with a humble cockpit straight out of the box considering the real thing is very simplistic in this regard. Both fuselage halves on the model kit fit perfectly with little to no filling to work with. The engine is very simple as well but if you suffer (like me on certain models) from chronic AMS, you’ll have to check 3rd party options.

2 500 lbs are included with the kit along with two versions of an external 150 gallons fuel tank and 4 four 5-inch rockets (HVARs). The clear parts are of very good quality with the proper thickness and no visible flow marks. It took me about 7 hours to complete this model from cockpit chromate green to the last decal on the 4 blade propeller. The modeler will end up with exquisite markings for future projects and a few useful parts.



In all, price per final result on this model kit will exceed the expectations of seasoned and new builders alike.

Highly Recommended!

My sincere thanks to Model Rectifier for the review sample.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.