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F4F-4 Wildcat Early

Eduard ProfiPACK, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Eduard Kit No. 82202 - F4F-4 Wildcat Early ProfiPACK
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 131 parts in grey coloured plastic (including 31 marked not for use); 26 parts in clear (12 marked not for use); colour photo-etched fret with 61 parts; self-adhesive masking sheet; markings for six aircraft
Price:

USD$54.95 plus shipping, available online now from Eduard

GBP£29.20 (£24.43 Export Price) plus shipping available from Hannants

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Very high level of detail; world beating surface features including crisply recessed panel lines, raised and recessed rivets, fabric texture, rib tapes and stitching; includes colour photo-etched parts; separate control surfaces; many options, some applicable to future releases.
Disadvantages: No open cowl flap option.
Conclusion:

Eduard's sophomore Wildcat is just as impressive as its predecessor. I think the subtle fabric and recessed textures on display here are their best yet. The cockpit is a gem right out of the box, but the inclusion of colour photo-etch in this ProfiPACK edition will lift it to even greater heights. From day one Eduard has also released a slew of multi-media update sets for the cockpit, undercarriage, wheels, guns and more, so you can decide for yourself whether to go straight from the box or super detailed. Another winner from Eduard - I can't wait to start mine!


Reviewed by Brett Green

Background

 

The F4F-4 was the definitive version of the Wildcat that saw the most combat service in the early war years, including the Battle of Midway.

The F4F-4 Wildcat entered service in 1941 with six machine guns and the Grumman-patented Sto-Wing folding wing system, which allowed more aircraft to be stored on an aircraft carrier, theoretically increasing the number of fighters that could be parked on a surface by more than a factor of 2.

Navy F4F-3s were replaced by F4F-4s in June 1942. During the Battle of Midway, only VMF-221 still used F4F-3s. VF-42 of the Yorktown was the last carrier group converted to the F4F-4, and that was done as it left Pearl Harbor on the way to the Battle of Midway as VF-3 flew in new F4F-4s with Com. Thach.

 

 

The F4F-4 version was less popular with American pilots because the same amount of ammunition was spread over two additional guns, decreasing firing time. With the F4F-3, four .50 in (12.7 mm) guns and 450 rpg, pilots had 34 seconds of firing time. Six guns decreased ammunition to 240 rpg, which could be expended in less than 20 seconds.

The increase to six guns was attributed to the Royal Navy, who wanted greater firepower to deal with German and Italian foes. Jimmy Thach is quoted as saying, "A pilot who cannot hit with four guns will miss with eight." Extra guns and folding wings meant extra weight and reduced performance. The F4F-4 was capable of only about 318 mph (512 km/h) at 19,400 ft (5,900 m). Rate of climb was noticeably worse in the F4F-4; while Grumman optimistically claimed the F4F-4 could climb at a modest 1,950 ft (590 m) per minute, in combat conditions, pilots found their F4F-4s capable of ascending at only 500 to 1,000 ft (150 to 300 m) per minute.

Moreover, the F4F-4's folding wing was intended to allow five F4F-4s to be stowed in the space required by two F4F-3s. In practice, the folding wings allowed an increase of about 50% in the number of Wildcats carried aboard U.S. fleet aircraft carriers. A variant of the F4F-4, designated F4F-4B for contractual purposes, was supplied to the British with a modified cowling and Wright Cyclone engine. These aircraft received the designation of Martlet IV.

*Historical summary adapted from Wikipedia

 

 

FirstLook

 

Eduard's debuted their Wildcat 1/48 scale family with the F4F-3 around August this year. The clan is now expanding with this new 1/48 scale F4F-4 Wildcat, early version.

The wings are new in this boxing - Sprue H being the new F4F-4 wing, replacing Sprue E in the F4F-3 kit. Please note that the wings are depicted down for action. There is no option for folded wings at this stage.

Eduard's 1/48 F4F-4 Wildcat Early ProfiPACK edition comprises 131 parts in grey coloured plastic (including 35 marked not for use), 26 parts in clear (11 marked not for use), a colour photo-etched fret with 61 parts; a self-adhesive masking sheet and markings for six aircraft.

Subtract optional parts from these numbers and we are looking at a surprsingly modest total of plastic parts.

However, this does not imply any compromise in detail.

  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 822012- F4F-4 Wildcat Review by Brett Green: Image
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Indeed, detail is excellent. The cockpit is built up from plastic and photo-etched parts. With its tubby fuselage, there is plenty of space to build the cockpit up from the bulkheads to the accurate see-through floor, pilot's foot rails, busy side consoles, rudder pedals and the instrument panel.

Colour photo-etched parts are supplied for the instrument panel, but alternative dial decals are offered as an option if you prefer.

The crisply pre-painted panels for the side consoles are another highlight, as are the impressively shaded harness straps.

 

 

The firewall doubles as a rigid base for the wing spars.

The engine mounts are made up from three cleverly designed pieces that plug directly into the back of the engine.With careful handling this should be an impressive looking structure.

 

 

The instructions recommend that you trim a little from the inside of the lower fuselage window opening before gluing the clear pieces in place. Ignore the instructions at your peril!

The textures on this model are superb - perhaps their best yet.

I really like the stretched fabric effect on the control surfaces, along with rib tapes and stitching detail.

 

 

The combination of recessed and raised rivets on the fuselage is a nice touch too. It is very subtle - more of a touchable texture than an obvious feature. The lines of recessed rivets are particularly fine.

 

 

Parts breakdown is conventional. The upper and lower wings are split into port and starboard halves. They will slide onto the stout wing spars later in the assembly sequence. All control surfaces are separate.

The new wings depict the different panel line arrangement as well as the recessed lines for the wing folds.

 

 

There was discussion about raised gun access panels on the upper wings of the original F4F-3 kit. The F4F-4 also has very restrained raised panels. They are even hard to see under the unforgiving glare of my big Bowens strobes, carefully angled to pick up the effect. It is so subtle that you really have to look for it.

 

 

The characteristically spindly undercarriage is built up from a number of fine plastic parts. Their assembly is cleary illustrated in the instructions.

Main wheels are moulded with radial tread and a separate covered hub. The tyres are not bulged or flattened.

Two styles of tail wheel are supplied - one with a pneumatic tyre and another with a smaller solid rubber type.

The engine is simply broken down into four parts - two rows of cylinders, a ring of push rods and crankcase cover. Ignition harness is not included.

 

 

You are also offered the choice of three different forward cowls and two side cowlings. Cowl flaps are closed on all options. The instructions advise which parts are applicable to what marking option.

Wing mounted bomb racks are optional. The wing machine guns are not hollowed out at the end but the cooling jackets feature deep holes that look great.

 

 

Three antennae on the lower fuselage are supplied as flat photo-etched parts. I'll be replacing these with fine metal rod. Check your references for the correct location of these.

The clear sprue is free from distortion. There are a number of options here, including different parts for open and closed canopies.

 

 

A windscreen with a hole to accommodate a telescopic sight is also provided.

Instructions are supplied in a 16 page stapled A4 booklet. As you'd expect, the diagrams are logical and easy to follow.


 

Markings

Markings are supplied for six schemes with some interesting and varied markings from the Pacific to Casablanca to Daytona Beach in the USA.

 

 

The decal sheet is perfectly printed by Eduard.

Six colour four view diagrams and historical notes are included for all of the schemes.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Eduard's sophomore Wildcat is just as impressive as its predecessor.

I think the subtle fabric and recessed textures on display here are their best yet.

The cockpit is a gem right out of the box, but the inclusion of colour photo-etch in this ProfiPACK edition will lift it to even greater heights.

From day one Eduard has also released a slew of multi-media update sets for the cockpit, undercarriage, wheels, guns and more, so you can decide for yourself whether to go straight from the box or super detailed.

Yet another winner from Eduard - I can't wait to start mine!

Thanks to Eduard for the sample


Review Text Copyright 2022 by Brett Green
Page Created 5 December, 2022
Last updated 5 December, 2022

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