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Tamiya 1:48 Scale Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat

May 02, 2015

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Tamiya 1:48 Scale Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat

Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat

Manufacturer Tamiya
Scale 1/48
Building hours ~60

Airfield Models ( 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.

Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 WildcatI 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 appearance.

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.

Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 WildcatWhen 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 Germany at the time.

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 right.

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 operable.

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.

Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Front detail Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Landing gear detail Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Cockpit detail Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Cockpit detail
Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Rear quarter-view Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Front quarter-view Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Front Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Engine detail
Tamiya 1:48 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat - Overhead, front quarter-view      


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Copyright 2002 Paul K. Johnson