Tamiya 1/48 FM-2 conversion
July 28, 2014 in Aviation
I have finally finished my conversion of a Tamiya 1/48 F4F-4 into an FM2. I used the Vector conversion set. While intended for the HobbyBoss Wildcat kits, I had a pile of Tamiya kits I had already put aside before the HB kit came out, and wasn’t planning to spend even more money for the more expensive Hobby Boss kits that are in need of corrective parts anyway!
So, on to the conversion. I had to shape the Vector front fuselage part a bit to fit the Tamiya cross-section, as well as leave a section of the Tamiya wheel well, to act as an insert into the Vector part- you can see those details in the images provided. The difference between the Tamiya and Hobby Boss kits when using the Vector conversion, is that the Hobby Boss wheel wells are further forward than in the Tamiya kit (placement of the wheel well is one thing HB got right) which also means that you need to cut the Tamiya kit a little bit ahead of the panel line that you would use on the HB kit. The engine is truly a work of art as other Vector products are!
For this conversion you need to remove the extra gun details on the wing, and fill in the fairings under the wings near the wing roots. The fuselage cockpit windows need to be painted over as there were metal panels placed over the window openings on the “standard” Wildcat fuselage for FM2 production. You also need to replace the rudder and add a little to the top of the Tamiya kit F4F-4 tail to match the length of the FM2 replacement rudder.
I was going to add rocket stubs as you can see from the photos, but fortunately, just before paint, I realized that the airframe I wanted to model was from the early production run that did not provide those. I wanted to do a kit of “Mah Baby” ever since I saw its profile in the Opsrey Wildcat aces book, so took them off. I decided that I would do another FM2 with them, and have since found great pictures of FM2’s toting HVARs! I have another Tamiya kit and Vector set ready for another build with beautiful Vector late model Wildcat wheels as well.
Lastly, I used Aeromaster Decals, Modelmaster enamel, Layers of future floor finish to prep for decals and later to seal them in. Hand painted canopy frames. I am planning a little airbrush work for exhaust staining in future, but for now I have a number of other kits I really want to finally finish this summer!
I am really happy I followed through on the conversion as it is proof you can use the Vector conversion on the Tamiya kit. I hope you enjoyed it.
8 additional images. Click to enlarge