In-Box Review
Grumman F3F-3
Grumman F3F-3
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Associated Hobby Manufacturers ( reincarnated as INTERNATIONAL HOBBY CORPORATION until IHC’s demise in 2010) was a multi-faceted hobby powerhouse c.1960‘s-80’s. Modelers -- especially model railroaders -- of that era no doubt had some of AHM’s products. AHM airplane model history is at the bottom of this review.

Quick History
The Grumman F3F was the last American biplane fighter aircraft delivered to the United States Navy, and served between the wars. Designed as an improvement on the single-seat F2F, it entered service in 1936. It was retired from front line squadrons at the end of 1941 before it could serve in World War II, and was first replaced by the Brewster F2A Buffalo. The F3F which inherited the landing gear configuration first used on the Grumman FF served as the basis for a biplane design ultimately developed into the much more successful F4F Wildcat.

I have collected most of these. Their F4B-4 (see my review) built into a pleasing model.

These kits are packed inside opening boxes with interesting art, including printed wood grain and brass plaque (this was a trend in the late 1960s – early 1970s.) Painting and decal placement is printed on the back. The model sprues are sealed in a plastic bag.

These are nicely molded with little flash. It has 33 light gray parts, a black chunk for the cockpit, and 2 clear parts. The little Grumman’s rivet detail is oversized and the airfoil parts are out-of-scale thick. Unfortunately, the canopy has a blue tint. The control surfaces are position able--they just snap into place. Test fitting is impressive.

The 30-year-old decals are well registered. Only one airplane can be decaled: VF-5 from the USS Yorktown.

For aircraft modelers, these are niche models. For model railroaders and war gamers, they offer the opportunity to build aircraft of the era when many vehicles were still propelled by the beast and engines of steam. While most of these kits are not rare, you will have to search to find them, and they vary in price; mine have cost from a few dollars to over thirty dollars.

I greatly enjoyed building the stubby Navy Boeing, and look forward to building this classic yellow wing-era Grumman.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale.

AHM Airplane Model Kits

AHM also released model kits of different aircraft in 87th scale*. They were in the 'All the worlds aircraft - Historical Aviation in Scale Models' product line. There have been at least three series of aircraft. All models were released in 1974 or later. * Information received from Wayne Calder:
    several of the kits were actually made in 1/100. These later turned up as Roco models.
Additional information received from Jens Mehner:
    Having almost owned all of them at one time or another, I can assure you that none of them was in 1/87 scale, with the possible exception of the "Spirit of St Louis", the only one I never had, they were all more or less in 1/96 scale.

Information received from J.D.:
    I was the purchasing director Far East for AHM in the mid 70’s. We took over the Cox line of built-up planes and produced them in both kit and built-up models. I don’t recall just how many we did, but it included some like “Spirit of St. Louis” as well as the StuKa, P-38 Lightning, most of the famous WWII fighters (US mainly) and the F4 Phantom. The built ups were nicely done.

Model railroaders and war gamers of OO [1/76] through TT [1/120] (including E and QO SCALE [1/96], OOC SCALE [1/100], 3mm SCALE and TM SCALE {a version of TT}, [1/101.6]) desiring aircraft had, and still suffer, a small field to choose from. AHM filled the void with a good selection of common and popular aircraft c. 1930-73:
Series Name Kits

    1. 'The Golden Era' (6)
    2. 'The Famous World War II Fighters' (6)
    3. 'The Classic War birds’ (?)

      SK-1 1 P6E Curtiss 'Hawk' 1/100
      SK-2 1 Grumman F3F-3 1/97
      SK-3 1 F4B4 Boeing 99 1/100
      SK-4 1 P26A Boeing 'Peashooter' 1/99
      SK-5 1 Ryan 'The Spirit of Saint Louis' 1/110
      SK-6 1 Lockheed Vega 'Winnie Mae' 1/100
      SK-7 2 Mitsubishi / Nakajima A6M 'Zero' / 'Zeke' 1/103
      SK-8 2 Kawasaki Hien K1-61-1 'Tony' 1/100
      SK-9 2 North-American P51D 'Mustang' 1/100
      SK-10 2 Messerschmitt BF-109E 1/100
      SK-11 2 North-American P51D 'Mustang' 'Miss America'-version 1/87
      SK-12 2 Curtiss P-40 'Warhawk' (Flying Tigers decals) 1/96
      SK-13 2 Bell P-39Q 'Airacobra' 1/102
      SK-14 3 McDonnell F-4E 'Phantom II' 1/90
      SK-15 3 Lockheed P-38L 'Lightning' 1/89
      SK-16 3 Junkers Ju87G 'Stuka' 1/85 ? ?
      McDonnelF-3B 'Demon' (announced but never issued)”**

    1/87 (HO scale) is 21% smaller than 1/72
    1/87 15% larger than 1/100


†. Wikipedia

*, **. Used with permission of 87thScale.info
Highs: Unique scale for aircraft & ship modelers, model railroaders and war gamers. Control surfaces are positionable. Good detail for the scale. Decals look sharp.
Lows: Thick airfoils. Blue tinted windscreen. Limited decal choices. Price and availability inconsistent. Oversized rivet detail. Scale does not exactly fit m
Verdict: A neat little model.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:96
  Mfg. ID: SK-2
  Suggested Retail: Varies
  Related Link: AHM F4B-4 Boeing 99 Review
  PUBLISHED: Mar 21, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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