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Tom Cleaver
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Grumman F3F-2 BuNo 0976, 1/48 Accurate Miniatures

July 26, 2013 · in Aviation · · 10 · 3.2K

This is the gem - I was so happy when they finally released a good model of my favorite Grumman fighter. The model is done OOB with kit decals, to depict -2 BuNo 0976, flown by 1st Lt. Bob Galer of VMF-2.

On August 29, 1940, while doing night carrier qualification aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3) off San Diego, Galer was forced to ditch in the ship's wake when his engine cut out after he switched tanks; he was barely able to get out before it sank. In 1988, the airplane was discovered at a depth of 3,600 feet by a Navy submarine, and it was raised in April 1991. Being at that depth, it was not corroded by salt water, and was restored at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. It is now on display at the National Musuem of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, the only original Grumman F3F-2 in existence.

Galer went on to command VMF-224 and take the squadron to Guadalcanal on August 30, 1942. Between August 31 and September 28, 1942, Galer scored 11 of the 27 victories claimed by VMF-224, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for leadership above and beyond the call of duty.

Reader reactions:
3  Awesome

13 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. Tom...Great looking!

  2. Tom,
    I agree, this is a beautiful airplane. You did a great job on it and have made the USMC proud. I have not done the -2 yet but did do the -1 and AM made a marvelous kit. I,m glad you related the story of Galer's a/c. great story.

  3. Stand out aircraft. Love the between the war colors.

  4. I try to stay away from anything with a top and bottom wing (regardless of scale), but this one looks pretty nice.

  5. Another superb build, Tom! Like Frank, I have built the F3F-1, and have two of the -2's in the stash. I was able to walk around this very aircraft just a few weeks ago when I visited the museum in Pensacola. Again, your F3F-2 is a museum-quality build.

  6. Hey Tom, great looking model !
    I have been off the charts for a wee bit here, and it's fitting that the first post I see upon my return, is a build by Tom Cleaver.
    Outstanding job Tom, now I'll have to find the one I have in my stash...

    • Good to see you back Freddy.

      BTW - for those who didn't pick up any of these fantastic kits back in the day, I have just learned that some new entity has taken over Accurate Miniatures and intends to re-release the whole range. Of course, they won't be selling for those old prices...

  7. Nothing beats the pre-war paint schemes, you nailed it. Nice build!

  8. Another marvelous barrel, Tom. You did a fine job portraying the differences in the two yellows used between the wars.

  9. most beautiful

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