It has taken me more than three years to finish this model. No, I have not been procrastinating. I have simply not had the time to finish it. Work, work... and more bloody work. Work life balance... bahhh! But during the past few days I have made time for myself to finish it. Built out of the box it is not a prize winner by a long shot, but it is good to know I have finished her. (Yes I know there is still some work to do on her... but I am "over" her.) She was a joy to build (when I did build). Well done Academy on a simple well made model. At the end of the day, that is what it is all about. Relaxing and enjoying a pleasant hobby.
Bearcat: 1st Fighter Squadron, South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) early 1960's
The F8F prototypes were ordered in November 1943 and first flew on 21 August 1944, a mere nine months later. The first production aircraft was delivered in February 1945 and the first squadron, VF-19, was operational by 21 May, but World War II was over before the aircraft saw combat service.
Postwar, the F8F became a major U.S. Navy fighter, equipping 24 fighter squadrons. Often mentioned as one of the best-handling piston-engine fighters ever built, its performance was sufficient to outperform many early jets. Its capability for aerobatic performance is illustrated by its selection for the Navy's elite Blue Angels in 1946, who flew it until the team was temporarily disbanded in 1950, during the Korean War. The F9F Panther and McDonnell F2H Banshee largely replaced the Bearcat in USN service, as their performance and other advantages eclipsed piston-engine fighters.
Other nations that flew the Bearcat included the French Air Force and Royal Thai Air Force. French aircraft saw combat service against the Viet Minh in the First Indochina War as fighter-bombers in the early 1950s. They were used to support French Forces at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, operating at the edge of their combat radius, but failed to prevent the French defeat that brought about the end of the war. Upon its creation in 1955, nearly 70 surviving aircraft passed to the Vietnam Air Force.
The following pics not mine but sourced from the net: