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Ryan XF2R-1 Dark Shark


Czech Model, 1/48 scale


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: CM4816 - Ryan XF2R-1 Dark Shark
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 53 parts in injected grey styrene; 37 parts in cream-coloured resin; 2 clear parts; markings for two aircraft.
Price: USD$35.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Fascinating but until now neglected subject; high-quality plastic; good detail; recessed panel lines; excellent decals; effective use of multi-media; resin parts packed in separate zip-lock bag
Disadvantages: Some preparation required.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended to modellers who have built some limited run kits


Reviewed by Brett Green

Czech Model's 1/48 scale Ryan XF2R-1 is available online from Squadron.com




The US Navy recognised the importance of jet fighters during the course of the Second World War, but early jet engines were insufficiently responsive to take of unassisted from carrier decks. The reliability of jet engines was also of concern to the Navy, considering its pilots spent long hours over water.

The Ryan FR-1 Fireball was devised as the response to both of these challenges. A 1350hp Wright Cyclone engine powered this hybrid fighter on take off and landing, while a General Electric J-31 turbojet took over when the aircraft was underway.

The XF2R-1 Dark Shark was a logical development of the Fireball. The Dark Shark was fitted with a new forward fuselage, engine, four bladed propeller and large fin fillet. Its power sources were a 1700 SHP GE TG-100 gas-turbine engine, with a 1600 LLBST J-31-GE-3 turbojet engine in the rear fuselage.

However, with performance of only 75 mph faster than the Fireball, the Dark Shark did not proceed beyond a single prototype





Perhaps there was only a single aircraft manufactured, but what an inspiring subject!

When I reviewed Czech Model's 1/48 scale Ryan FR-1 Fireball back in May, I hoped that someone making the decisions for Czech Model's release schedule might also find the Dark Shark fascinating. We did not have to wait too long to get the answer in the form of Czech Model's familiar box adorned with Don Greer's artwork of the sole XF2R-1 Dark Shark

Czech Model's Dark Shark comprises 56 parts in injection moulded plastic, two canopies in clear vacform plastic (one plus a spare), 31 resin parts and markings for two aircraft.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The plastic parts are up to the same high standard seen in Czech Model's recent releases. The parts are crisply moulded with very little flash, panel lines are sharply engraved. There are some raised ejector pins on the inner surfaces, but these will be quickly be removed with a hobby knife or sprue cutter.

Trailing edges are quite thin.

The 31 resin parts are in the familiar style of True Details, with good detail, high quality casting and a simple parts breakdown. These resin parts will mostly be destined for the cockpit and the and the wheel bays. Flap actuators, ordnance sway braces and an optional nose wheel are also supplied in resin. It is nice to see that the resin parts are packed separately in a re-sealable zip-lock bag.



The canopy is supplied as a single piece on a vacform sheet. A spare is provided in case of slip-ups.



Engineering is typical of limited run kits. There are few locating positions or tabs, so extra care and time will be required to ensure correct alignment and a secure bond. Interestingly though, this time the horizontal tail surfaces do feature locating tabs. Also, the full-span lower wing will help firmly fix this important join.

Two marking options are included:

  • XF2R-1 Dark Shark Prototype, 1946, and

  • XF2R-1 Dark Shark, VF-41 "Firebirds" (this is a speculative scheme)





Czech Model's 1/48 scale XF2R-1 Dark Shark is a well detailed model of a fascinating subject. It is very pleasing to see this and other esoteric but important Allied aircraft subjects continuing to appear in the last year or two.

In common with the last several releases from Czech Model, the relatively small number of parts and sensible engineering makes this kit a candidate for a modeller who wants to try their hand at their first limited run model. Despite the unusual nature of the Dark Shark's propulsion, the configuration of the airframe is very conventional. This means that there should be no real complications with construction.

With suitable preparation and care in alignment and assembly, Czech Model's 1/48 scale Ryan XF2R-1 Dark Shark will deliver an attractive replica of this unique aircraft.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Squadron for the review sample.

Review Text and Images Copyright 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 21 November, 2005
Last updated 16 December, 2005

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