Lockheed F-90C

This panel is from Blackhawk No. 168, January 1962.

This is the Blackhawk airplane that renewed my interest in the Blackhawks after a twenty year hiatus. It was the airplane that the Blackhawks flew in the early 60's, which were my peak years for reading comics. As a kid, I was also fascinated by technology of any kind (though we didn't think of it in those terms then), especially jet fighter planes. Modern aircraft may be more effective but for me, those early jets will always epitomize what an airplane ought to look like! Naturally, the almost archtypical Blackhawk jet has a special place in my memory. Blackhawk #68 from 1953 shows an unmistakeable Lockheed F-90 on the cover, but the earliest appearance I can identify is Blackhawk #33, October 1950. By 1957, the Blackhawks were flying a plane that strongly resembled the F-90, but was clearly different. It was a mid-wing aircraft instead of low-winged and its fuselage was even more slender and needle-nosed than the F-90B. I don't know why the design was changed. References indicate the same artists drew the comic in both periods. Probably the change in design was simply a matter of making it easier and quicker to draw, but I can imagine another (fictional) scenario....

The Blackhawks had already upgraded the sleek, futuristic looking F-90's inadequate twin engines with a larger, more powerful single engine to produce the F-90B. But after flying this plane for a few years, they found it too large for their kind of missions and, even with the larger engine, it had never gone supersonic. So they gave Lockheed specifications for a smaller, faster fighter. The famous Skunkworks came up with a new design, based on the the F-90, but incorporating research from the X-7 project that would also lead to the F-104 Starfighter. Lockheed probably didn't make much off the original production of six aircraft, but building replacements kept them busy for a long time. The Blackhawks lost on average about one aircraft a month and it wasn't uncommon for all six jets to be destroyed in a single mission!

F-90C Model

1/72 Scale

Click here for more pictures and description of the construction process for the Blackhawks' plane.

Sven Knudson's photo of the Lockheed F-90C at the 97 IPMS Nats

Sven Knudson's photo of the Lockheed F-90C at the 96 IPMS Nats

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