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Louis Gardner
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1/48 Hobby Boss F4F-3 Grumman early Wildcat

October 31, 2016 · in Aviation · · 29 Comments

For your enjoyment on "All Hallows Eve", here is my interpretation of an early from "The Iron Works ". So if you're done passing out candy and have some time for yourself please check it out. As always comments are welcome.

I'm a big fan of the Yellow Wings Navy. These planes just look great. Any of them during this colorful era do.

The real plane from the USS Ranger (VF-4) that was my inspiration for this build is in the second picture. This picture is from the book "US Navy Aircraft Camouflage and Markings 1940-1945". The real version of this model was bureau number 1863, and was part of the Worlds Fair in New York in 1940. In the black and white picture I posted from the book you'll notice that the plane has a spinner. There are no Neutrality Patrol US insignia on the forward fuselage.

I took the liberty to add these markings and didn't bother with the spinner, as the plane may have looked later on in its career. Sadly like most of its stable mates, this one didn't survive too long. It was lost at sea on August 3rd, 1942, while serving with VMF-111.

The Navy used an aluminum colored paint to protect their aircraft metal surfaces (although sometimes a gray was used), so I didn't have to worry about the "natural metal" look.

This is a really sweet build and I was happy with how it turned out. The hardest part about the build was that I made a mistake and attempted to spray the Model Master "Metalizer" aluminum first, then masked it off to paint the other colors. When I removed the tape it left marks where the tape was adhered to the plane.

So I ended up stripping the Metalizer Aluminum Plate color off, and then painted on all of the other colors first. I painted all of the red stripes and red cowling trim. I used Model Master paints and "Aluminum Plate" Metalizer for the build. Once everything was dry, I used Model Master Metalizer clear gloss sealer over the entire plane. Once it dried the clear provided a nice surface for the decals to adhere to.

Then I gave it another coat of clear to seal the decals. The propeller was painted anti glare black on the rear, then red, yellow and blue tip stripes were sprayed on. Once this dried I used bare metal foil for the rest of the prop and added the manufacturer logos.

The plane looks more glossy in person than it does in these photos. I also used bare metal foil on the canopy frames.

I used railroad dry transfers to replicate the bureau number. It was the closest font I could find and looks a little off to me.

The kit has a great little engine and the landing gear are well detailed. There is even a chain for retracting the landing gear (yes the pilot had to manually crank the gear up) and a nice oil tank and inter coolers are provided.

If you're a fan of the Wildcat this is a great little kit. Mine didn't need any filler anywhere. The fit was that good.

Enjoy! And I hope you all had a safe and Happy Halloween.

33 additional images. Click to enlarge.

29 responses

  1. Very nicely done - and colorful, too - but where's the rest of the pics..? (I know you took more than ONE). πŸ™‚

  2. Yes I just finished posting them. Try looking at the article again and see if they show up. Thanks my friend.

  3. Outstanding work, Louis! Like you, I'm a huge fan of the Navy's 'yellow wing' period, too. Your Wildcat looks terrific!

  4. Louis, I, too love the yellow wings Navy. "Dive Bomber" was the probable start to it all, and the photo of the Torpedo 6 TBDs on the carrier deck, in all their prewar color!
    I was real pleased when HB came out with the early Wildcat, lots easier than hacking up the Tamiya -4.
    Good looking early Wildcat!

    • Thanks Bernard. I too was very happy when HB released this kit. After building this one I bought another. My eventual goal is to build quite a few planes from the "yellow wing" era. I have several Devastators, Buffaloes and SBD's. ( not counting the biplanes). You're right about the Enterprise TBD's. That has to be the "Ultimate" from that time frame.

  5. Louis, a very interesting model! Complex landing gear, but you beat them! Great!

  6. Very colorful and perfectly finished !

  7. Great looking scheme.

  8. Fantastic . Beautiful finish. I'm actually doing a 1/48 CA Boeing F4B-4 from the Ranger right now. Just painted the green tail today. Great job on your Wildcat. I'll do one too at some stage, to add to my growing Wildcat collection. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Paul ! I was torn between building a Wildcat from the Ranger or the Wasp. The kit decals are for a plane from VF-72 from the Wasp and another overall light gray plane with huge red crosses on the wings from a war game exercise in Louisiana.

  9. Great job! Beautiful finish.

  10. Very nice! I've got some yellow wing decals left over and have had the Wildcat in mind for the application, as there just isn't a lot of variety otherwise to Wildcat schemes. This is exactly what I hope to end up with! When I looked at pics of the Grumman Duck I used as a reference for my build, with willow green tail and yellow upper wing (from a currently flying bird), I wasn't real sure whether it was a gray or silver, so went with gray on that one (I think it's posted on my iModeler blog). Glad to know it might have been either! I'm gonna follow your lead and go with sliver on the Wildcat - it looks really good!

    • I would definitely go with silver on the Wildcat. I'm pretty sure the light gray was used primarily on biplanes in the 1920-1930's era. (I could be wrong though) That's why I try to locate a great picture to work from before I start painting. Even though I generally try this approach, sometimes I still end up getting burned. (case in point check out the last color photo I posted with my early Mustang AM model. I finished mine in Duck Egg Blue undersurfaces, then I found a very clear color photo of the same type of planes on a factory ramp and the underneath appears to be a light gray.

      Bottom line is try to have fun and do what you like.

      Thanks for the kind words everyone.

  11. Well, now I know who's getting my Wildcat money! I really didn't want to do a camouflaged one! The willow green is probably the prettiest color the navy had and no doubt the HB kit went together without a hitch. Great job! p.s. If you have Tamiya's Buffalo, you could swap the props to see how your model would look with the spinner. (If only long enough for a photo!)

    • Thanks Josh and that's a great idea with the spinner. I have a few of the Tamiya Buffaloes in my unbuilt kits. If I were to do this I would have to repaint the cowling to get rid of the Neutrality Patrol stars. Hmmmmm. Now you have me thinking!

  12. Very nice, I love the yellow wings era of Naval Aviation!

  13. πŸ™‚ ... Greetings ... πŸ™‚ :
    Well done Louis, it has that "HISTORIC" look to it.
    It's like seeing a museum piece, very clean and nice work.

  14. Nice looking. The Navy stopped painting metal surfaces gray in 1934, so you got it right for this. Also you got the "chrome yellow" for the upper wing right, and a very good rendition of USN "willow Green," which is hard to do, so congratulations all around.

    • I knew it was some time during the 1930's when they stopped using light gray. Now I have the exact time frame. Thanks for that important bit of information Sir !
      The "Willow Green" is Model Master enamels, FS 14187
      Thanks for the compliments...

  15. Yellow wing rules

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