The Grumman F4F-4
Wildcat was the mainstay fighter of the U.S. in the Pacific Theater at the
beginning of WWII. Although outmatched by the Japanese Zero in many
respects, lessons learned in combat allowed American pilots to survive through
teamwork and superior strategy.
I have always found the Wildcat to be an interesting subject. Its stubby,
barrel-shaped, yet incredibly rugged fuselage is almost comical in appearance.
As usual, this kit went together very well. The moldings and parts fit
are excellent. The instructions are very easy to follow. With the
exception of one piece that I had no choice but to replace, I built
mine straight from the box with no after-market items.
Except for rare circumstances, I do not feel the added expense of after-market
items is warranted.
I went all out with after-market accessories on a couple kits I built.
The extra items tripled the cost of the kit for very little upgrade in overall
Yes, resin and photo-etch do add more detail, but unless you are putting these
items in an area totally devoid of detail they do not make that much difference -
except to your bank account.
Unfortunately, I did have
to purchase one after-market item for this model - the canopy. My usual
way of doing things is to paint, finish and weather the canopy separately from
the rest of the model and then glue it on near completion of the model.
Usually some effort is required to blend the canopy into the model so that the
finish and weathering are consistent and flow together smoothly.
On my Wildcat I decided to try something different (for me) - glue the canopy
in place and then finish the model. I masked the entire inside of the
canopy and the glass portions of the outside. then I sprayed the frames
with zinc chromate and glued the canopy in place while it was still masked.
I went ahead and finished and weathered the model as usual.
When I removed the masking tape, the canopy was shattered. It looked as
if the model had been dropped and landed upside down on the canopy. To
this day I do not know what happened as I do not recall ever doing anything that
would have damaged it. The only fix was to replace it. I placed an
order with Squadron and
received the new canopy a few weeks later. I was stationed in
I did the best I could
to match the finish, but it took a lot of blending and dry brushing to get it to
match. I wasn't really happy about all this as you can imagine. In
the end, it turned out fine, but I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get it
The unique landing gear is a project unto itself if scratch built either for
a display model or a flying model - especially one that works.
Fortunately, Tamiya includes a highly detailed gear that only requires some
minor flash cleanup to be used as is. No, the gear on this kit is not
The doors had a few ejection marks that required some filling and sanding as
well, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Other than the canopy fiasco, this kit was an enjoyable build and not the
least bit difficult. Parts kit well and assembly is straight forward.
If you like the subject then this is a kit you will certainly enjoy building.