Profile Photo
Frank Steffens
13 articles

Tamiya 1/48 F4F-4 Wildcat VMF-221

January 15, 2017 · in Aviation · · 14 Comments

Here's 's 1/48th Grumman -4 in the colors of 1st Lt. James Swett of VMF-221 at Guadalcanal in 1942. Paint is Tamiya Acrylic thinned with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner. The National Insignias and "77"s were Montex masks. This was the first time I've used them, and I like them a lot. The tail art is a decal from the Montex set. I also added some Eduard photoetch to the cockpit. The kit has been around for 22 years, so its familiar to most, and other than having to be very careful when joining the fuselage to the wing (otherwise you'll lose some raised detail), it goes together pretty well.

During final assembly, some solvent based glue must have gotten behind the canopy (and I honestly dont know how, because I wasnt using any near there) and created a stain. As I tried to pry it loose to polish it out, it begain to crack. With no spare and seeing that taking it off and polishing out the stain wasn't an option, I had to improvise. I drilled out a "bullet hole" near the stain and etched in a few spider cracks. I added the "Nice Try" sign as if the ground crew had placed it for a photo op before fixing it. Unfortunately, I could find no evidence of Lt. Swett having his canopy shot over Guadalcanal. That would have been convenient (for me at least!). Life gave me lemons, so like any self respecting modeler would do, I chugged a bottle of Lemoncello and came up with a hare brained scheme to save face!

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. Great job , nice idea with the bullet hole.

  2. like this work !

  3. Can't beat those Tamiya Wildcats...and some downright innovative thinking on that canopy issue. 🙂 Actually, I like it as much as your first one (if not more).

  4. Beauty Frank! Love the weathering work - and who hasn't had to "save face" with some creative effort from time to time! You took a more creative route than most, and it paid off really well - adds a nice human touch with the imaginative humor!

  5. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Very nice save on the canopy Frank, very clever and well done.
    Nice job on the weathering, nice work overall.

  6. Frank, Very nice work, on a model kit icon. This is a great kit despite its age and you have done a very nice build here.

    I too have trashed a few canopies, (as we all have) but have came up with a recipe to fix it that works very well. I first sand the area effected with 2000 grit automotive wet/dry sand paper, then move up to 4000, 6000, then 8000. You can sometimes skip the middle grits if you use Meguiars mirror glaze plastic polish on a Q-tip. (I've also heard some types of toothpaste works well). I then dip it in Future, and its usually as good as new. A little trick of the trade that I have used to save my [email protected]# more than a few times.

    I also have used your tactic you used here, after all these were combat aircraft. I must say your shatter effect is quit good !

  7. Very neat work again, Frank, your save is very effective and also draws the eye to your nice detailed cockpit.

  8. Frank, nice save on the canopy. On Guadalcanal, anything went, and did. That is a nice kit, and you've done her justice.
    Nice job on the weathering, easy to go overboard, just enough.

  9. Nice looking Wildcats. The markings look perfect. Still have to do one of those one day.

  10. Very convincing work. Both Wildcats are very nice.

  11. Great looking Wildcat, and yes, a great save on your canopy! 🙂

  12. Beautiful job, Frank! Great build, great weathering, andan even better recovery on the canopy! Well done!

Leave a Reply