Things you can do with the Tamiya Wildcat – Part 1
David's very nice article on his rendition of Pug Sutherland's F4F-4 has gotten me thinking back to all the variations on a theme one can do with this kit and some aftermarket decals.
Here are some Fleet Air Arm Martlet/Wildcats.
The first six pictures show the easiest conversion, a Martlet II. One need only fill in the cowling flaps and re-do them, and sand off the intake lip on the upper cowl, then paint the model and apply decals. Tamiya Dark Grey, RLM Grey and Sky were used to do the FAA scheme.
The next six are a Martlet III. The Martlet III is based on the F4F-3. Originally built for Greece, the 50 aircraft were taken over by the British on the fall of Greece. Some have said they were light blue, but I think they were in the overall non-specular grey in use by the USN at the time. This was done using the KMC wing replacement for a "solid" F4F-3 wing, with the kit cowling modified for the cowling flaps, with decals from an early Aeromaster sheet; the model was painted overall Gunze-Sangyo Light Gull Grey.
The next six are the Martlet IV. This involves a bit of work because it is powered by a Cyclone engine, and the cowling is shorter than the standard one. I cut off the rear of the cowling along the line of the foward edge of the cowling flaps, glued that to the forward fuselage and puttied it in. The intake was sanded off the cowling, different cowling flaps were cut out and made with Evergreen sheet, and the Hamilton-Standard prop came from an old Monogram SBD out of the spares box, while the engine was from a scrapped Monogram T-6 (not really right, but it looks "OK" inside the cowling). US insignia was used to do an FAA airplane operating from HMS Formidable during the North African invasion, when British insignia was overpainted to avoid inflaming the French.
The last six are a Wildcat V. Here the wing was modified by puttying over the outer gun bays and then rescribing the rivets with a pounce wheel. I have always thought this particular airplane looked good ever since seeing a cover painting of the old Model Airplane News when I was a kid. The airplane comes from 805 Squadron aboard HMS Emperor, flying during the invasion of Southern France in August 1944, and again used the same Aeromaster decal sheet as the Martlet III. Tamiya paints used as with the Martlet II and IV. All kits also used the Squadron/Falcon vacuformed canopy, and the old True Details photoetch British seat belts.