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!