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Frank Cronin
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“Midway Group Build” F4F VMF-221

I have not posted for some time and I just wanted to get back into the groove with this add to the “Midway Group Build”. Midway was such an important battle in WWII that I just had to add this as my homage to all those that lost their lives in that battle and to those that continued their sacrifice for our country.

This is a build of the that I had started long ago. (I am perhaps like a lot of others that start something then go on to something else. My goal is to finish all the things I have started in the past. We will see…) there is not much to say about this kit that has not already been said. It is a great little kit. This is modeled for VMF-221 which did so much at Midway. I will not swear by the A/C number as I made it up. One can never not like the the F4F for the tough little fighter it was and what it accomplished particularly at the beginning of the War. I have spoken to a number of pilots that flew it and aside from its shortcomings they thought it was a great little airplane to fly. Out of what was learned in battle with the , the F8F Bearcat idea was spawned. As a very young kid I remember seeing a Wildcat on a flatbed truck, on Market Street in SF, without wings, and the fuselage full of bullet holes. It was being used to recruit and raise money for War Bonds.

On an interesting note, about a week ago, one of the persons at our lunch group said he had just met a man whose father was Colonel James Neefus USMC,NC, and a pilot of an F4F with VMF-221 at Midway. He was awarded the Navy Cross for actions on Midway. Google his name and it will come up with further info on him. The person that had met his son had limited info on him and if I am able to locate him I will offer him this model if he would like to have it.

Thank you to Louis Gardner for conducting this group and I am happy to add my small touch to the build.

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

19 responses

  1. Those Tamiya Wildcats are sweet, aren't they? This one is no exception.

  2. Lovely Cat, Frank. Really crisp and clean; very smart build and and a real beauty.

  3. Very nicely done, Frank! As you say, who doesn't like F4Fs!?

  4. Cool Cat... Great job!

  5. Excellent looking Wildcat Frank. I had a good time building my first two Tamiya F4F kits during the Group Build. It was my first Tamiya F4F. But it won't be the last... They really build up nicely don't they ?

    I googled Col. Neefus' name and this is what I came up with:

    Here's a link below for his Military Awards, which include the Navy Cross and a DFC. Looks like the (then Captain) shot down a 4 engine Japanese "Mavis" float plane headed for Midway on 10 March, 1942 (some records indicate 10 April, 1942) while flying with VMF-221 just as you stated. He was flying a Buffalo numbered "211-MF-1" during this event.

    Here's a link if anyone else is interested:

    Earlier during the Midway GB, I did some research on VMF-221 as I had originally planned on building a Tamiya F2F Buffalo from the unit or a F4F-3 flown by Marion Carl. I didn't have time to cut and add some length to the fuselage on the Buffalo, and never got around to building the Marion Carl F4F. I ran out of time, but I still eventually plan on doing these two builds.

    Anyhow, there was a Wildcat at Midway "number 28" in VMF-221. It was flown by 2nd LT. Hyde Phillips, USMCR. It was bureau number 1864, and was part of the 5th Division when most of the unit was decimated by the Japanese. They have it listed as a F4F-3. It supposedly had mechanical troubles shortly after take off and returned to base. Because of this, the pilot and the plane survived to fight on another day. I think this was the only plane that turned back that day due to mechanical problems.

    I hope that you find this little bit of information interesting, and can someday pass it along with the plane to the Colonel's son.

    Good to have you back posting ...

    • PS: Thank you very much for the compliments. it was a team effort, and your Wildcat is a welcome addition. Sorry, I hit the enter button too quick.

      • I'm always amazed at your research info. Nice!

      • Louis, Great info and thank you. I'm happy to hear that my made up A/C number was real. I will continue the hunt for Needs' son and let you know. couple of my previous starts are F2A's so I will give it a shot at Needs' A/C. BTW I misplaced your e-mail address, if you get a chance send me a note with it. Thanks.

  6. Nice clean build, Frank. Good to see you back !

  7. FANTASTIC looking Wildcat !

  8. Frank,
    Great looking model- the last photo should have the caption " The pickle barrel and the Beast!" Two fingers of JW Blue and an ice cube to you my friend!

  9. Beautiful Wildcat and info.

  10. Thank you all for the nice compliments and as our former Governor said "I'll be back..."

  11. Hi, Frank! beautiful job.JW Blue?Wassat?

  12. Frank, a very fine looking model of a wonderful kit (I still have two in my stash to build). Good to see you back in the building mod !

  13. Nice clean Wildcat Frank. Well done!

  14. Man, that looks great Frank! I love the Wildcat and it's hard to beat the Tamiya kit. It is the only one I've done.
    Here's to your Wildcat sir! clink! 🙂

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