Pair of 1/48 Tamiya F4F-4 Wildcats, one from the USS Enterprise the other ??? TBD later

  • 35 posts
  • Last reply 11 months ago
  • 1/48, F4F, Midway Group Build, Tamiya, Widcat
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  • Louis Gardner said 11 months, 4 weeks ago:

    A few days ago, I was captivated by a colorized photo that was posted by Rob Pollock during his normal “Friday Briefing” posting. The last picture he posted on Friday shows a group of planes on the deck of the American aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. The planes in the picture are from VF-6 and VT-6.

    Ironically, on Friday I was looking at one of the Tamiya F4F kits in my stash.

    That’s when I noticed the propeller ( that I had previously painted) was missing……………………

    In this picture you can see the results of the assembly line work that day…………………

    The two props on the left are for Accurate Miniatures TBF Avengers. The one with red, yellow, and blue tips was installed on my “8-T-1” plane.

    The top middle is for a Tamiya F2F Buffalo.

    The middle bottom is the MIA prop for a Tamiya F4F Wildcat.

    The two on the right side are for Tamiya F4U-1 Birdcage Corsairs……………..

    The missing Wildcat prop is in the bottom row, middle prop as shown in this picture. I had an assembly line going that was dedicated to painting props during the Accurate Miniatures TBF-1 “early” build.

    Here’s a close up of the MIA prop.

    I then started an unsuccessful search for the missing prop…………………. It never has been found to date.

    So this forced me to scratch build a new one…………………… I had an old Monogram F4F stored away (that I built many years ago), so I “borrowed” the propeller from it. It had the proper hub, but the blades were wrong, because they looked like a Hamilton Standard blade.
    I scrounged the spare parts bin and found what I thought would work. I used an old prop from a P-61 Black Widow, and spare leftover blades from either a Hasegawa Ki-61 or Bf-109. Between these items I managed to make a decent replacement for the missing item.

    The new prop is on the right in this photo. I looks a little wider than the original part, but that could be due to a pitch angle. If I ever run across the missing item I can simply swap it out.

    Now having spent the time to build one, I will probably stumble across the missing part…………..

    Having built a replacement propeller and noticing the last picture in Rob’s “Friday Briefing”, I took out my Squadron Signal book on the F4F.

    and found this photo inside that was taken during the same time frame as the one posted earlier by Rob.

    I got busy building and painting two cockpits:

    Fuselage halves

    painted the canopy parts in Bronze Green as a base color.

    Here’s a Group photo with most of the completed parts placed together. The engines assemblies are shown in the middle bottom while the wheels are on the bottom right of the picture.

    Followed by the wings: you can see the canopies are now painted in “Blue Gray”………

    Then I started another assembly line dedicated to painting wheels………………… Here they are after the sanding work was done to remove mold seams. The wheel sets on tooth picks in the white Styrofoam container are from Tamiya F4U-1 Corsairs. The 4 wheels in the plastic container are for these two Wildcat F4F’s. The two on the bottom left are for my Tamiya F2F Buffalo, which I plan on building as a Midway Island USMC plane for the Group Build if time permits, and the bottom right set of wheels are for another AM TBF-1C Avenger………………

    and after they were painted………………….

    Don’t worry, I put these parts back in the corresponding boxes. 🙂

    I plan on building one of the F4F-4’s as a plane from VF-6 in the “Red / White” striped rudder markings and US insignia centers as used during the Coral Sea battle, up until around mid May 1942, just prior to the Battle of Midway.

    Sine I have already completed a TBD Devastator from Torpedo 6, I figured why not build a fighter from the same Carrier.

    I have a decent start on this one. So far I am pleasantly surprised at how easily this kit goes together.

    As Tom Bebout stated, this “is one little gem of a kit”………………. I couldn’t agree more. This is my first Tamiya F4F. I will build more of them………………..eventually.

    Comments are encouraged.

    Have a good night.

  • Craig Abrahamson said 11 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Those Tamiya kits are a joy to build, aren’t they…? And your “assembly line” pics look great (as does your ‘new’ prop) – you know you’re gonna find it next week, right?

  • neil foster said 11 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Yep,the best way to find anything that’s missing is to spend hours replacing it.Nice work so far.

  • Tom Bebout said 11 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Damn Louis you’re just a modeling machine. You turn them out quicker than the original Grumman factory. Keep up the good work

  • Louis Gardner said 11 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Thanks for the compliments fellows…………………

    Yes Craig, these Tamiya kits are hard to beat. The fit and engineering is very good. Even on their older kits like this one. I have two more of these in my stash. I can see myself building a few more of them fairly soon. (probably after the Midway build is over).

    You guys are probably right. Now that I have made a replacement prop, hopefully the other one will show up………………………..

    Tom maybe I’ll start calling the hobby room the “Iron Works”, especially since I have been turning out some Grumman planes lately……………. I’m just very fortunate to have recently retired. That’s the only way I can have the time to build as often as I do. I guess I’m trying to make up for lost time when I couldn’t build my plastic models due to a hectic work schedule.

    Today and last night were productive days at Gardner’s “Iron Works”…………………..

    I managed to get a lot more work done on the pair of Cats.

    Here’s the completed cockpits for both planes. I took some cues off Tom Bebout’s recent Midway Group build Wildcat. His plane really turned out nice and he provided some great pictures of the pilot’s office…………………. Thanks Tom !!!!

    Here’s the front center section of the wings showing the intercooler details.

    The engines after some more detail painting was done…………….. I still may go back and do something with the spark plug wires…………………..

    Once the basic assemblies are done, these things really go together quickly. An the fit is fantastic. No gaps anywhere.

    The rudder and stabilizer assembly’s fit is so good that I didn’t need to use any glue to hold these parts in place.

    Here is this last picture, the cowlings, engines and rudders have simply been held in by friction. I did a mock up to see how things fit. They will come back apart for painting, which hopefully will not be too far off.

    In these last two pictures you can also see another accurate Miniatures TBF Avenger. This one is a straight out of the box build as a “dash -1C” variant. I have been painting parts for it along the way when I was building and painting similar parts, such as the engines. (The same has been going on for two Tamiya F4U-1’s.) It’s a quick way for me to knock some planes out in assembly line fashion.

    The interior has been painted as an “Eastern Built” TBM.
    Now I’m at the point where I need to decide what markings to go with.

    I have been thinking of building the Avenger as either Robert Cosgrove’s Avenger from VT-15 when his gunner Loyce Dean was killed, or a “Flight 19” plane from Fort Lauderdale.

    Now I have a tough choice to make.

    Any thoughts on the TBM ???? Thanks in advance.

    Comments are encouraged.

  • Greg Kittinger said 11 months, 3 weeks ago:

    As stated, you are a modeling machine! Egads, I’m getting short on breath just imaging your pace…!

  • Louis Gardner said 11 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Once the Gardner “Iron Works” gets rolling it’s hard to stop ………. 🙂

    Thanks Greg. I just have more time to devote to the hobby now that I have retired. I guess I am trying to make up for lost time.

    Today I was working on the TBF Avenger while thinking about a small problem with the Wildcats.

    Ironically last night a TV show was on the Military History Channel called “Battle Group Halsey”. In it they actually had the exact Avenger plane I mentioned earlier. They had Cosgrove’s TBM-1C from the USS Essex on the show and had an interview with him later in life about how his turret gunner Loyce Dean was killed. I guess it sealed the deal for me as far as which Avenger to model mine after. I took this as a sign and I will be painting my TBM as Cosgrove’s plane.

    Here’s a few pictures that I snapped during the TV show last night while watching the Military History Channel.

    This one below shows the plane flying towards the target which I think was Manila Bay in the Philippines.

    This picture shows the plane landing with the gunner dead in the turret. It’s pretty moving and makes one realize the costs of war. This is what made me decide to build this plane. I know that it’s not related to the Wildcat build.

    This photo shows the pilot Bob Cosgrove standing on the far left looking into the camera.

    and the pastor saying prayers with Dean covered by a tarp inside the turret ………..

    Finally the plane was pushed off the fantail of the USS Essex with Dean’s body still inside. He was given a burial at sea in the plane in which he was killed.

    I think that it would make a fitting tribute to the crew by building my TBM as this plane.

    Here’s the problem with the Wildcats. Tamiya molded the lower wings with holes in them for drop tanks which are included with the kit. The dash 4 Wildcats didn’t have this feature until sometime after January 1943, which is around 6 months after Midway. So I wanted to fill in the holes.

    I’m pointing at the holes with a wooden tooth pick.

    I didn’t want to loose any of the raised surface details so I decided that I would try clear tape and cut out the areas to be filled in with putty.

    Here’s a picture of Cosgrove’s TBM. It’s really coming along quickly. I had most of the small things done for it.

    I borrowed a set of rocket launch rails from a Hasegawa F6F-5 Hellcat for use on the Avenger. They really look the part. I’m not going to install rockets.

    Here’s the TBM temporary assembled. The upper surfaces of the wings look weird. Here’s why.

    I had to respray the white on the underside of the wings since my air brush was spitting out clumps of paint. So I used Easy Off oven cleaner to remove the paint. In doing so it discolored the plastic. It won’t be seen under a coat of Dark Sea Blue.

    Anyhow I’m calling it a day. As usual comments are encouraged.

    Thanks again for following along.

  • Louis Gardner said 11 months, 3 weeks ago:

    I just finished spraying on the underside color. Most of the day was spent filling in the openings for the drop tank hardware. Then I had to re-scribe the lost rivet and panel line details.

    I really wish kit manufacturers would leave this option to the modeler. It’s a real pain to close the holes up, and very easy to open them. I know this is an older kit, and many manufacturers now do this………………. (I just had to vent a little, sorry).

    Then I removed the cotton ball stuffing and glued on the engines and cowlings.

    Here’s a few close ups of an engine after it was glued in place……………

    Now they are drying on my work bench…………..

    Later on tonight I may do some more on these two.

    Comments are welcomed.

    Take care.

  • Louis Gardner said 11 months, 3 weeks ago:

    I sprayed on the “Blue Gray” tonight.

    In this picture if you look close, you can see where the paint has still shining on the one plane. That’s because it’s wet and hasn’t had time to dry just yet when I took the photo. The masking materials are still in place too.

    Here’s how the Wildcats looked after I removed the masking.

    I made small variations in the demarcation line between the colors on each plane. After studying a lot of original photographs, it looked to me as if no two planes were exactly the same.

    Here’s the nose. If you look close you can see the minor differences.

    and the differences between the rear fuselage sides of each plane…………..

    I also built the landing gear for both planes.

    They are getting closer. Now I need to decide exactly which marking / numbers these planes these will be wearing.

    I’m calling it a day……………….

    Thanks for looking.

  • Bernard E. Hackett, Jr. said 11 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Looks great!

  • Louis Gardner said 11 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Thanks Bernard. I appreciate the compliment.

    I noticed in one of the photos that I had a lot of fuzz in the paint. I took a small brush and knocked it all off. Then I found out the cause. The regulator on my air brush was set too high. I reduced the pressure and it seems to have helped considerably.

    Meanwhile I finished installing the landing gear.

    Then I installed all of the little parts…………………

    Here’s how they look now:

    and with them reversed. One has no rudder just yet. I still need to paint the red stripes on it.

    Later I will spray some Future on the planes to prepare them for the decals. I still have to decide what plane to paint the second F4F as. I have been thinking about doing a plane that Joe Foss flew………………………..

  • David leigh-smith said 11 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Hi Louis.

    Thanks for this build, I really like your narrative style of ‘taking us along’ for the build. The story of Loyce Dean was very moving, and what a fitting tribute to rest in peace in his Avenger. I love these stories, mainly for the way they keep alive the sacrifices these men made through new generations. We can never forget.

  • Louis Gardner said 11 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Thanks for the kind words David. I agree that we should not forget the price that many paid for in blood so that we could enjoy our freedoms that we have today. I honestly think it’s part of the appeal for us in our hobbies in that it allows us to build a miniature replica of something that changed history, even if it was a small part of a larger event.

    I was able to get a nice coat of Future sprayed on both of the Cats. I have let it dry overnight. Now that it’s done both planes are ready for decals. I really need to decide exactly what plane markings to use on the second plane.

    Here’s how they’re looking now.

    Enjoy !!!!!!

    Comments are encouraged.

  • David leigh-smith said 11 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Beautiful work. Love the subtle colour changes – and you have inspired me. To hell with the 2017 build plan – bring on the cats!

    Where’s my 1/32 ‘Minsi III’ ?

  • Louis Gardner said 11 months, 2 weeks ago:

    I’m in for it. I’ve been thinking about building up another 1/48 Hasegawa F6F as a tribute to the Hellcat pilot who I met about 10 years ago. He flew with VF-16 and participated in the Marianna’s Turkey Shoot. He had a confirmed A6M Zero kill during the event. His name was Arthur Payne Whiteway and sadly he passed away a few years ago.

    Let’s do it after the Midway Group build is done.

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