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Year of The Cat Group Build: Grumman Martlet Mk III – Hobby Boss 1/48 Wildcat F4F-3A

When Louis announced the group all those months ago, and with its closing date being quite some way distant, I decided to go for three builds. Three kits whose fates were already planned (although the ‘109 E7 Trop’ took a few twists and turns along the way) and which had some feline link or other. At times this third build has seemed like it may have been a step too far. And to be honest, I haven’t greatly enjoyed this Hobby Boss kit in the building at times, which is more of a reflection on my skills than the kit’s quality – it isn’t Eduard or Tamiya or recent Airfix, but it goes together if you don’t make errors – I did and some time was spent ironing them out.

When all is said and done however, I have ended up liking the output for this one most. It is not by any means a perfect job – but there are a lot of hours under the surface and I enjoyed weathering it a lot.

There is a fair amount of photo etch here too – Eduard providing the cockpit and the fire wall detail.

Vallejo Air and Alclad paints were used (Middle Stone over ‘Non-specular light grey’ in the main). Ammo ‘dust’ wash and Tamiya panel line washes were used – the latter as a scrubby wash.

Hard and soft pastels were used for the majority of the weathering. Decals were from ‘Aviation Workshop Publications – WW2 Commonwealth Fighters over North Africa and The Mediterranean’.

The aircraft represented is a Marlet Mk III (a Wildcat F4F-3A) AX733, Identification ‘K’, of 805 Sqn, Royal Navy Fighter Unit, Mersa Matruh Egypt, August, 1941. Mk III Martlets were redirected from a Greek contract after Greece fell in April 1941. Mk IIIs had fixed wings and four .5 calibre machine guns – the 12 Martlets of 805 Sqn were used in the Western Desert at first in all grey and then in desert camouflage. They operated from land bases to protect shipping between Alexandria and Benghazi after its capture. They moved to Fort Maddalena in November and then on to Tobruk in December where they were also used in army co-operation roles.

Although many others have said it before, I must finally add that this group build has been a huge success – so many have joined in, so much variety has been on display, the quality has been mind-boggling, and so much fun has been had. I know that Louis holds the last part about ‘fun’ in great esteem! I’d like again to thank him for all the hard-work and friendship – and for all the fun still to come!

31 responses to Year of The Cat Group Build: Grumman Martlet Mk III – Hobby Boss 1/48 Wildcat F4F-3A

  1. A most excellent piece of work, Paul…one of the better ones I’ve seen!

  2. Agreed, Craig, this is an excellent build. You can just see the hours that have gone into it.

  3. Fantastic weathered finish on this, Paul, I really like it.

  4. Paul, that’s a pretty worn Martlet, excellent weathering sir!

  5. Never seen a Martlet in those colors Paul. Looks really good and your weathering sure depicts a well used cat. I’m sure the desert didn’t treat them very well. Nicely done sir, I like what you’ve done here. One suggestion, your Nav lights seem to be the painted in the Middlestone color, or it could be just the photo lighting. Easy fix if they are painted to change them to clear or red and green.

    • It isn’t the photography Tom – you are exactly right. Thank you for the heads up! I wanted to hit the deadline (or get near it) and it slipped my mind entirely – and I had been looking at some of your builds and commenting on how well you do lights – and how I should take a leaf from your book! I will have another look and go back – thanks for the feedback – it is what makes us better!

  6. Excellent ! Unusual colors.

  7. It has a great worn ‘desert look’ Paul.
    This is a great colour scheme on wildcat/martlet’s.
    Super work!

  8. Wow Paul, that’s one excellent Martlet. Great finishing and I really like the detail work on the engine and cockpit. Well done.

  9. Paul my friend !!! This is an excellent Martlet (but we will call it a “Wildcat”, simply for the sake of the name for the Group Build).

    I have never seen one painted like this before. It is a welcome change, and you have pulled it off nicely. The details you have incorporated into this build are stunning……… down to the last little nut and bolt.

    This little jewel is a very welcome addition to the Year of the Cat, which has exceeded my wildest expectations. This is due to people like you that built such fine examples.

    Thanks for sharing this beauty with us. I like it …………. a LOT !!! Two thumbs up buddy.

    It’s all about having fun……………..

  10. That is superb! Love the scheme (had never seen F4F’s in that look before), and the weathering and tonal variation are fantastic. Love it. I’m gonna have to copy-cat you in 1/72 at some point in the future!

    • Greg, I was thinking the same thing………………It will be in the future.

      I just found a set of decals in the stash for a 1/48 build desert Martlet ……… 🙂

      • Louis and Greg – thank you for the very kind comments – I have a feeling that weathering these desert planes gets us a little closer to what goes on with some armoured subjects. I’d recommend building one – the research you do will show up some nice variations too – some wholly in grey (a little more boring) and some in two colour desert camo ( a lot more exciting)!

        • Here’s a few pictures of the decals, in case someone may be looking for a slightly different plane than what you have built…………….. Aero master 48-046
          Listed as “US Aircraft in FAA Service”.

          The Martlet is machine X with Middle Stone uppers and Azure Blue undersides. It’s listed as serial number AX 736 from 805 Squadron.

          I hope this may help someone along the way.

  11. This is a very well done wildcat! I love the chosen scheme and you captured it very well. Really nice finish! Also your interior details are outstanding. Very realistic!

  12. Absolutely excellent. You nailed it with the weathering and detailing. Nice build.

  13. Paul, this is beautifully done. I’m whistling to myself under my breath as I look at that interior detail–and mourn that is cannot be readily seen! Great, great work!

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