Tamiya, 1:48 scale F4F-4 “Wildcat”: My First Build of this kit…

Before released their 1:48 scale -4 "", there was only the old kit. The Monogram kit was little more than a toy, having folding wings and other "Features" that just made the kit a very inaccurate model of Grumman's stubby little fighter.

The F4F, has always been one of my favorite aircraft of the Second World War, having been the only aircraft the US Navy had to take on the cream of the Imperial Navy's best aircraft, flown by their best pilots.

Tamiya's F4F is, to my mind, the best kit of that aircraft in the scale. I know make a fine kit as well, but I feel Tamiya's effort is just a wee bit better.

I'm won't go through a whole "Review" of this kit, as there are many published online, on many websites, that do a far better job than I, and I would urge you to look them up and research them if you are wanting info on this terrific kit.

Never a fan of Tamiya's decals, I chose to go through what was in the spares box, and complete a model of an aircraft, NOT on decal sheets. I had been reading John Lundstrom's book, "The First Team, and Naval Fighter Combat in the Guadalcanal Campaign". At the back of the book, there are profiles that modelers can use for reference. I chose to use these as the starting point for the markings I would be using.

The markings I decided on, were those of Lt.(jg) John A. Leppla of Fighting Ten, (VF-10). This is the same John Leppla who flew an SBD-3 "" from USS Lexington, during the Coral Sea Battle, using his aircraft to shoot down several Japanese aircraft. His aggressive nature earned him a posting to the new Air Group Ten, that was then forming up on the main land, and a transfer from Dive Bombers to fighters.

Air Group Ten, embarked aboard USS Enterprise, for the South Pacific Theater, in support of the ongoing Guadalcanal Campaign.

During late October, the Japanese were making another push at dislodging the Americans, and retaking control over Henderson Field. This was an effort designed to coincide with simultaneous attacks of both naval and land based forces. The resulting naval battle would be known to history, as the Battle of Santa Cruz, fought between 25 and 26 October, 1942, and would be the last major carrier battle until 1944.

The battle would prove to be a tactical victory for the Japanese, but a strategic one for the Americans, as they again thwarted Japanese plans, inflicting heavy losses on aircraft and aircrew, making it impossible for the Japanese to continue offensive operations.

25 October, 1942, Japanese and American scouts spot each others respective fleets
at the same time, causing both sides to launch strikes on each other. Both strike packages literally passing in sight of each other, with the Japanese having altitude advantage. Several of the escorting Mitsubishi A6M2's broke off, and attacked the American formation, attempting to break it up. Many VT-10 -1 "Avengers" were shot down, as well as several F4F-4 "Wildcats", One of which was Lt (jg) Leppla, who flying "White 8" was jumped from behind, as he came to the rescue of a squadron mate under attack. (The "Kill" marking were absolutely Artistic Licence".)

Since today is Memorial Day here in the US, I thought this a fitting posting to honor all Fallen Warriors.

Freddie from LI

5 additional images. Click to enlarge.

19 responses

  1. Nice work as usual Freddie. A fitting tribute as well.

  2. Great Wildcat build!. Nice new profile photo. Felix rules!

  3. Surprised to hear this was/is your "first" Tamiya Wildcat build...a sweet little kit, ain't it? 🙂

    • It was the first of many, Craig. I built this model right after it came out in 1997/98? I honestly don't remember the year, but it is, as you say, a sweet little kit and still is!

  4. Perfect, Freddie. Just perfect - the model and the post.

  5. Very nice Freddie, great story as well. That kit is what I call one little gem of plastic.

  6. Nice looking aircraft Frederick and thanks for the history. Am I the only one who has never built a Wildcat? That'll have to change

  7. Great build, Freddie. Looks ready to fight, which is the perfect look for this bird!

  8. Super build Freddie! Gotta love the Wildcat - stubby yet stubborn, and as you mentioned, took on the best and did so with aplomb!

  9. Freddy absolutely fantastic looking Wildcat !

  10. Classic work on a classic kit, you could do another one for the year of the cat group build.

  11. Frederick,
    Love it, stunning model. Looked at your other posts and you do beautiful work. All your F4F's are gorgeous.

  12. Frederick,
    Love it, stunning model. Looked at your other posts and you do beautiful work. All your F4F's are gorgeous.j

  13. Very nice Wildcat Freddie! Beauty!

  14. Beauty of a build & finish.

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