Hobby Master HA7306 USN Grumman F3F-1 "Flying Barrel" Biplane Fighter - VF-4, Section 3 Leader, USS Ranger (CV-4), late 1930's (1:48 Scale)
"Nothing can stop the attack of aircraft except other aircraft."
- General Billy Mitchell
The Grumman F3F was the last American biplane fighter aircraft delivered to the United States Navy. Designed as an improvement on the single-seat F2F, it entered service in 1936 and was retired from front line squadrons at the end of 1941.
The Navy's experience with the F2F revealed issues with stability and unfavorable spin characteristics, prompting the October 15th, 1934 contract for the improved XF3F-1, placed before F2F deliveries began. The contract also required a capability for ground attack, in addition to the design's fighter role. Powered by the same Pratt & Whitney R-1535-72 Twin Wasp Junior engine as the F2F, the fuselage was lengthened and wing area increased over the earlier design. A reduction in wheel diameter allowed greater fuselage streamlining, eliminating the prominent bulge behind the cowling of the F2F.
The prototype, BuNo. 9727, was delivered and first flown on March 20th, 1935 with company test pilot Jimmy Collins making three flights that day. Two days later, six dive-recovery flights took place; on the tenth, the aircraft's pullout at 8,000 ft (2,438 m) registered 14 g on the test equipment. The aircraft broke up in midair, crashing in a cemetery and killing Collins. A second, strengthened prototype was built, but it crashed on May 9th of the same year following the pilot's bailout during an unsuccessful spin recovery. The second prototype was rebuilt in three weeks, flying on June 20th, 1935. An order for 54 F3F-1 fighters was placed on August 24th of that year, following the conclusion of the flight test program.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a US Navy Grumman F3F-1 "Flying Barrel" biplane fighter that was attached to VF-4, then embarked upon the USS Ranger during the late 1930s. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 8 inches
Length: 5.75 inches
Release Date: May 2011
Historical Account: "From the Keel Up" - USS Ranger (CV-4) was the first ship of the United States Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. Ranger was a relatively small ship, closer in size and displacement to the first U.S. carrier Langley than later ships. An island superstructure was not included in the original design, but was added after completion. Of the eight pre-war U.S. aircraft carriers CV-1 through CV-8, Ranger was one of only three to survive the entirety of World War II, the others being the USS Enterprise and the USS Saratoga, although, unlike the others, she spent most of the war in service in the Atlantic Ocean.