Sunday, July 16

Build review guide Pt. I: Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat ProfiPACK from Eduard in 1/48th scale

Brett Reynolds has taken time to show us his build of the 48th scale F4F-3 Wildcat from Eduard . Using the Brassin cockpit & wheels only, he has added to the ProfiPACK's detail in the first part of his build, in our news today...

Build review guide Pt. I: Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat ProfiPACK 
From Eduard
1/48th scale 
Kit No# ED82201
1/48th scale
Price: $54,95 USD from the Eduard Website
Hot on the heels, or should I say tail, of their A6M2 Model 21, Eduard have released the early war Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat in 48th scale.

This first edition of the F4F-3 Wildcat comes as a ProfiPACK. - the contents are:
• plastic parts: Eduard (5 sprues, 131 parts in grey plastic (including 31 marked not for use), 26 parts in clear (12 marked not for use)
• marking options: 6
• decals: Eduard
• PE parts: yes, pre-painted
• painting mask: yes
• resin parts: no
The retail price for the kit is US$55 / £30 / AU$56.

The Grumman F4F Wildcat is an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that entered service in 1940 with the United States Navy, and the British Royal Navy where it was initially known as the Martlet. The Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theatre during the early part of World War II.

F4F-3 Wildcat code F-22
The Wildcat was outperformed by the faster, more manoeuvrable, and longer-ranged A6M Zero. US Navy pilots were greatly dissatisfied with the Wildcat's inferior performance against the Zero in the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. Yet, the Wildcat had a capacity to absorb damage.

F4F-3 Wildcat Bethpage Long Island plant, February 21 1941
Deliveries of the F4F-3 Wildcat began in February 1940 with the first squadron being formed in December 1940, that being VF-41. The first Wildcats used a telescopic gunsight which was quickly replaced with a reflecting model. Later production examples had the carburettor intake which was on the upper side of the cowl relocated to the cowl interior. The wing design had no wing folding mechanism and was armed with four wing mounted .50 cal machine guns. A total of 285 F4F-3s were built before Wildcat production switched to the F4F-4 with a folding wing and six .50 cal machine guns.

Deck crew pushing a returning F4F into position on the deck of an aircraft carrier 1942
Lessons learned from the Wildcat were later applied to the faster F6F Hellcat. While the Wildcat had better range and manoeuvrability at low speed, the Hellcat could rely on superior power and high speed performance to outperform the Zero. The Wildcat continued to be built throughout the remainder of the war to serve on escort carriers, where the larger and much heavier Hellcat could not be used.
From this kit, the modeller can build one of six marking options covering aircraft from the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The first two are pre-war schemes, the rest are actual wartime aircraft that took part in the opening battles of the Pacific War, from Wake Island through Coral Sea to the Battle of Midway.

• BuNo 1850, Lt. Charles Shileds, VF-41, USS Ranger (CV-4), December 1940
• VNF-111, Army-Navy maneuvers, Louisiana, United States, November 1941
• Lt. Edward H. O’Hare, VF-3, USS Lexington (CV-2), Hawaiian Islands, April 1942
• BuNo 4019, Capt. Henry T. Elrod, VMF-211, Wake Island, December 1941
• BuNo 2531, Lt, Elbert S McCuskey, VF-42, USS Yorktown (CV-5), May 1942
• BuNo 4006 (4008), Capt. John F. Carey, VMF-221, Midway Island, June 1942
An excellent two-part article on the F4F-3 Wildcat by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver can be found in Eduard’s Info Magazine.

10 April 1942; LCDR John S. Thach, CO of VF-3, flies in F-1 (BuNo 3976), while LT Edward ‘Butch’ O’Hare is in F-13 (BuNo 3986). VF-3’s ‘Felix the Cat’ insignia is painted under the windshields of both Wildcats. Thach’s aircraft has three Japanese flag ‘kill’ markings. O’Hare’s Wildcat has five ‘kill’ markings, which signify the five bombers he shot down on 20 February 1942. O’Hare became the US Navy’s first air ace and was awarded the Medal of Honor for this exploit.

F4F-3 Thach and O'Hare

IN THE BOX – Eduard 1:48 Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat (ED82201)
In keeping with recent Eduard new tooled kits, the surface detail on the new Wildcat is excellent. The same restrained riveting and panel lines found on their A6M, P-51 and Tempest is present. The use of raised and recessed rivets is evident on the fuselage and wings.
If in doubt that Eduard was going to release other versions of this kit, the fuselage sprue is marked “F4F-3/3A/4 Early Wildcat” and later sprues a marked “F4F / FM1 Wildcat”.
The wing sprue (E) is for the F4F-3/3A only as each wing consists of two gun ports. The later three gun port is found on the sprue (H) which is not included in this kit but is on the later Eduard “Midway” and “Guadalcanal” boxings.
Main parts on the N-sprue consists of the R-1830 radial engine, the cowling parts and propeller.
The cowling parts give you the option of an early F4F-3 with the top mounted carburettor intake and single cowl flap, and the late F4F-3 with an internal mounted carburettor intake and three cowl flaps on the upper cowl and one lower cowl flap.
The M-sprue consists of the aircraft’s horizontal stabilisers, the vertical tail, flaps and drop tanks.
The L-sprue consists of parts that make the cockpit, the forward firewall, landing gear, wheels and the engine mount.
The clear A-sprue has necessary variations of windshield, canopy and gunsights to cover the full F4F / FM1 and FM2 Wildcat family. The canopy parts are A15 for an open and A16 for a closed canopy.
Eduard supplies the builder with a sheet of photoetch parts.
To round off the ProfiPACK, the main decal sheet (10.5 x 7.25 inch) and a secondary sheet (5 x 2.5 inch) consists of the six schemes supplied in this boxing. Depending on the boxing of this kit, it may or may not come with an extra #68 decal which is for the demarcation line on the VF-41 aircraft (Scheme #1).
With this build, I planned to use the Eduard Brassin’ F4F-3 Cockpit w/ reflector gun sight (648777) and the F4F-3 Wheels Early (648767) sets. 
The cockpit set is 3D printed with photo-etch and decals. The wheel set is traditional resin and a mask set.
It’s important to decide which F4F-3 you planning to build as there are many options that can’t be undone, such as the engine cowling. I’ve decided on building Lt. Edward H. O’Hare’s aircraft from VF-3 USS Lexington (CV-2).
As with most aircraft kits, construction starts with the cockpit. This Eduard Brassin’ F4F-3 cockpit is the first set I’ve used which uses 3D printing. Gone is the traditional moulding blank of resin and replaced with printed supports which can easily be removed using side cutters or a sharp blade. 
The ‘tub’ here has all the pieces have been snipped off their printing plates and cleaned up.
The cockpit parts received a base coat of MRP black primer followed by MRP-132 interior bronze-green.
F4F_Cockpit Instructions
The pilot seat was painted same method as the cockpit then dry brushed with aluminium to represent wear & tear. The photo-etch belts were then added.
Painting was finished off using Tamiya Acrylics; XF-49 Khaki, XF-85 Rubber Black. The oxygen bottle was painted in Mr Color 66 Bright Green. Finer details and wiring were picked out with Citadel Colour Chainmail and Mithril Silver.
F4F Cockpit Instructions cont...
Finally, the cockpit was weathered using Mr. Weathering Color Shade Brown (WC18). Applied by brush then allowed to dry, this weathering product can be worked and removed with white spirit.
The Brassin’ Cockpit instructions give no mention of removing the Wiring Diagram Case like the kit instructions (picture insert). I unfortunately didn’t see this until after I finished painting the side walls. Oh well, a sanding stick made short work of this. The cockpit vertical stiffener was replaced with stretched sprue.
The Brassin’ cockpit comes with two instrument panels, one photo-etch, the other 3D printed with decals. The one for the version of the F4F-3 I’ll be doing will be the photo-etch.
The cockpit test fitted the fuselage. The fit is quite good, the 3D printed parts allow for an exact match to the kit.
Test fitting the cockpit again, this time with the wing spar, engine mount and landing gear bay.
The fuselage halves are now sealed up. When sanding the sprue attachment points off the parts, it’s important not to be overly heavy handed here. The fit is extremely good, so when you file a bit too much like I did, a large gap appeared on the bottom of the fuselage which had to be filled. Smaller gaps also had to be taken care of.
The detail is extremely fine with these recent Eduard kits and can be easily damaged from being too heavy handed. CA glue and Tamiya Basic Grey Putty was used where the seams needed filling. Tamiya masking tape was used either side of the seam to protect the detail. This was then sanded.
Sanding the upper and lower fuselage, you lose a portion of the rivet detail. These were reinstated with the “Rosie the Riveter” 0.75mm rivet wheel.
Next, I was onto the wings. Photo-etch is provided for the mesh of the Air Coolers.
The inlet and outlet of the Air Cooler was opened up with a sharp No.11 blade.
The Air Cooler (N2) was then glued to the bottom wing and the wings assembled. Don’t forget to drill 0.6mm holes for the wing pylons if applicable. The rest of the wings go together without drama.
The aft tail planes were next. Each side was split into two pieces, upper and lower halves. I found the fit to the fuselage to be very tight, I had to scrap the opening for the tabs to fit. Test fit the tail planes before applying glue.
Moving onto the front windshield, I applied the mask set that came with the set, then painted it with Tamiya LP-3 Flat Black. This colour will show on the inside of the windshield. It was attached to the fuselage using CA glue. The fit was perfect.
Next was the R-1830 radial engine. At the time, no aftermarket engine wasn’t available, so I had to go ahead attach the ignition wiring. First was to drill two 0.4mm holes in each of the larger gaps between the push rods. 
Then I attached some 0.25mm copper wire of sufficient length...
I next painted the engine, first with Alclad2 101 Aluminium then Mr Color 308 FS36270 Grey around the base of each cylinder and the crank case. A heavy wash was then applied with Tamiya black panel liner to give the engine some depth.
The front and rear rows of cylinders and the top push rod plate was then glued together. The copper wires were then grouped in pairs with small pieces of lead sheet.
The engine is now finished.
The R-1830 for comparison
The wings are now going on. The fit is excellent, no gaps or step in the wing-root.
The main assembly now completed. Areas were sprayed with Tamiya Grey Primer along the check seams and Tamiya panel liner to check rivets and panel lines on the leading edge of the wings, tail planes and cowling.
The aircraft was airbrushed overall with MRP-85 Fine Surface Primer Black, except for the rudder which will receive a few coats of white for the scheme I’ll be doing.

Overall this is an excellent kit of the early war F4F-3. The build is straight forward and the detail is what you expect from Eduard’s latest releases. Standby for the part 2 when I start painting and decaling the model.

Brett Reynolds

Check out the Eduard Website for more information on all of their releases...