Eduard F4F-3 Wildcat, 1/48. 'The Navy's First Ace'
Unsurprisingly the first Wildcat Eduard releases is the F4F-3, depicting the first version Wildcat to be accepted into service by the US Navy. The kit comes with a wide variety of markings from the bright yellow wings of the pre-war, up to the arguably most famous use of the Wildcat in the Battle of Midway as well as a variety of schemes in between.
The kit comes with a variety of options to enable the build of various engine/intake versions, with many parts awaiting their turn to be used on future cats like the Martlet and FM-2. In my build thread I made it pretty clear that there is no majo issues of note with the build, it is a simple yet detailed model that goes together with minimal effort and presents a hugely detailed end result. Although the Wildcat certainly isn't the most glamorous or famous aircraft of the war, it is nonetheless a very important cog in the allied war machine and if you've been unsure on building one all I can say is you're doing yourself a disservice by not picking up this kit.
Building wheels up wasn't as difficult as other planes, the undercarriage doors fit decently and the wheels were simply sanded down roughly in half to fit a bit better. I've certainly dealt with worse. The propekler The pilot used was from an old Tamiya kit.
The Eduard kit presents you with 6 options, one 'belonging' to Edward 'Butch' O'Hare. In reality this scheme included of 'F-3' was little more than a Cat dressed up for the Propaganda newspapers. Instead I decided to use the decals for that scheme and switch out the numbers for a different bird, you could easily make 'F-1' which was used by VF-3 and Jimmy Thatch is photographed flying it alongside 'F-13' in flown by 'Butch', however I went for 'F-15'. Whilst no photos exist of this machine, it is the one noted as being flown in O'Hare's Medal of Honor citation when he achieved an ace in a day by shooting down 5 G4M Betty's threatening the Lexington. Whilst modern researchers have generally lowered this score to 3 kills, it nonetheless is a noteworthy story from the pacific worth representing. Well, that and I also joined a groupbuild for 'Great Aces' elsewhere and I figured the first US Navy ace was a perfect scheme for my Wildcat.
I can't stop saying praises of this kit, you get 6 great marking options, incredible detail, great fit, and for a good price. What is there not to like?
I've always found Eduard kits to be so close to perfect but often lacking in a few small areas, often incredibly minor thing but they leave you thinking 'how did you overlook that?'. For their Tempest it was the cockpit design and the weird join seams which (from what I've heard) largly were solved with the Mk.II release. For their Spitfire it was the oversized rivets and propeller design. I still am not a fan of how Eduard makes their engines/propellers designed to be glued to the model, and the Wildcat has that issue of course but I do think this is the closest Eduard had got to making a 'perfect' kit in my experience if such thing exists.
Oh boy, uploading photos is a pain. Managed to get it to work by adding a border which I imagine changed the file type or name? Really pain in the rear I have to jump through these hoops.