avatar_Daryl J.

The Electric Knife; Chance Vought's F7U-E:

Started by Daryl J., January 30, 2009, 04:26:22 PM

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Daryl J.

What if the Vought XF7U-1 was developed into a reliable, stable ECM platform that had a 50+ year service history.   While a small single seater may not be an ideal platform, the Cutlass is unique enough giving it an oddball mission seems appropriate.  Being an ECM machine, the Cutlass earned the nickname 'The Electric Knife.'    

For once, the US set aside it's dogma of 'faster, faster, faster; costlier, costlier, costlier' and pursued a long term airframe and mission profile.  The electronics were kept external so minimal changes would be required as technology changed.   Fortunately, Vought changed from using Westinghouse engines to Kelvinator turbojets which were far more reliable and about 30% more powerful.   The type frequently was used on the US West Coast and the Caribbean for jamming fishing trawler transmissions.   This action completely obtunded the planned expansionist attack by the Soviet Union known internally as The Triple S.....Seattle, Seaside, San Francisco.   Operating in pairs or triples during the early days, each machine carried a different electronic suite thought to adequately cover enemy frequencies.   As time passed and electronics upgraded in strength, sensing, miniaturization, and weight,  the flights reduced to one machine at a time further saving funds.   Over the course of time, the type performed remarkably well and completed it's final service as an escort to the B-2 and F-15 on a mission which has yet to be disclosed as to location and purpose.

In order to stabilize the aircraft, canards will be added but not in the usual place.   Instead, they will be on the nose of large underwing ECM pods which will position the canards in about the usual place fore/aft, but will be out of the airstream for the engines.    Sweep to match the basic planform of the main wing both on leading and trailing edges.

Canopy will be replaced by a Squadron vacuform for Hobbycraft's Cutlass.   ECM pods likely to be scratchbuilt in their entirety which should not be too hard.  Metal landing gear by SAC (for the Hobbycraft kit) not likely to be used as there are no wheel wells and I suffer far too much from ADD/ADHD to scratch build a set of wheel wells.  Cockpit details to be thought about......  Glass IP, new IP cowling, floor, basic sidewalls, and a resin ejector seat come to mind but will see if they come to fruition.

Colors and markings to be determined.

The inexpensive and basic Lindberg kit will serve as the starting point.   There is only one piece of Scotch tape holding it together for a preliminary fit check which is not too bad at all.  Gaps seen are easily held shut and looks like it was engineered for little filler needed if built OOB.  Raised panel line detail will come in handy for the build.   It measures approximately 10" X 10".

Brian da Basher

You don't see many Cutlass models built, which further adds to the delight of this project! I can't wait to see more! The idea is definitely inspired!
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Brian da Basher


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  Really great idea, looking forward to this build. :cheers:

John Howling Mouse

With the improved engines, this does make sense.  What will the paint/markings be? 
Styrene in my blood and an impressive void in my cranium.


For some reason your close up cockpit pics made me think of a Cutlass with 2 seats in a side-be-side arrangement.


All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Daryl J.


The markings candidates are:   USCG, USN Gull Grey/White, CIA, RCAF, USAF Arctic markings provided the surfaces smooth out enough, or even French Navy.   I'm having to think about approach angles with the canard set up for carrier duty as the Cutlass' shortcomings in this matter are legendary.  I am leaning US Navy at this point as it could be some "Vought vindication" for pursuing the type much like the B-2 is posthumously a vindication for Jack Northrop's Flying Wings and the F/A-18 series also his for being perpetually shortchanged by the US Military services.

And you are right, uprated engines are paramount!


The side by side arrangement had passed through my mind too, and if I do that, I'll base the machine off the Sea Vixen.   FWIW, I did buy a HC Cutlass for the express purpose of putting a Monogram F-14 cockpit/canopy, wing extensions, and tail empennage in Sea Vixen, Sea Venom, etc. flavor.   Then not long after that the thread 'Ah de Havilland" showed up.   :thumbsup: :thumbsup:  That would be a 'Super Cutlass' so to speak as someone else mentioned elsewhere.    That particular idea has its roots in the April Fools article Fine Scale Modeler did some years back when I still subscribed to modelling magazines.  It was my 3rd favorite FSM article next to the MiG-21 Analogue and the XF-88B VooDoo prop conversion.   And yes, this conversion would be complete with Sundowners markings, although VF-84 has a good solid tug to it. 
Daryl J.



Quote from: joncarrfarrelly on January 31, 2009, 11:49:41 PM
Kelvinator engines? 
Very amusing. ;D


Yeah, that took me a double-take, and a quick trip to the kitchen...... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Good one, Daryl!!!

What will the EW/ECM loadout?

Understood only by fellow Whiffers....
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OK, I know I can't stop scratchbuilding. Someday, I will build something OOB....


Daryl J.


ECM suites are also spurious.  Reading between the lines tells you I'm pretty ignorant as to ECM and am busy enough elsewhere that I'll not research it out.   However, today while still at my house 200 miles west of here, I did find that the Hasegawa F-15 fuel tanks look about right as starting points for housing the gear and supporting some canards.  Extensive reshaping and imagineering to follow of course courtesy of Evergreen white styrene and Magic Sculpt.

Daryl J.


Daryl, I didn't know you built models  ;D   LOL!  I like it  :thumbsup:
Jeff G.
Stumbling through life.

Brian da Basher

You oughtta go Coast Guard on this one, Daryl! A killer idea!
Brian da Basher


The nice thing about this kit is that the styrene is nearly a half inch thick.  Very good for cutting and attaching new funky bits.

As far as ECM, I like the faired-in pods on the F-105F and G.  Something like that would be fairly simple.