Two Old 1/72 Model Kits of the Grumman Wildcats (Revell and Frog)
A couple of months ago I started work on these two kits, Revell's and Frog's F4F-4 Wildcats. I wanted to build them together like the way I did with my Bearcats back in March and enjoy the whole process. My original game plan was to build them straight out of the box but I did end up doing some tweaks here and there.
This was an eBay buy that actually contained 5 kits in one MPC Profile box of their F4F (FM-2) Wildcat. One Frog, One Revell and three MPC wildcats and the price was right, the price of one cheap old kit.
The Revell kit probably came from the 1982 boxing, this kit was first released in 1961. The Frog kit is the bagged release kit from 1972.
On the Revell kit, I did file down the big hump from the spine of the fuselage to flatten it out a bit, and the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer was a bit too curvy and I filed it a little to straighten. Since the top of the engine cowling was meant to be removed to see the engine I instead glue it on to the bottom cowling and blended them together, and added a small piece of cut styrene strip to make the upper scoop look more legit. There was no cockpit and left it alone, I also decided to leave most of the small rivets alone. I usually remove them but in this case it looked really nice so they stayed. I did use an S.D.S Models resin propeller to replace the original. I think it did improve the front look a lot.
The Frog build was probably the least worked done to the build but I had to deal with a fuselage that was warped. I used hot water and patience to see if it kept its shape after gluing the halves together in which it. I also made the main wheels a little thicker since they were both too skinny. A piece a cut styrene sheet did the job. My other problem was a weird one, the plastic was delaminating around the engine cowling and wings upper surfaces. I dealt with that by brushing on the liquid cement and that stopped it. But this made me not go to crazy on sanding the surfaces too much or blending in the seams fearing I made the other areas start to delaminate.
To be honest the Revell kit was actually the easier build and I loved it, With the Frog build, its little challenges took some of the fun away but not enough to kill the build. At the end I have myself two builds from the past, the Revell I have built twice in 1970 and in 1973 which made this build very enjoyable. On the Frog build I never had the chance to build it so for me I was happy to have one made.
I used the decal that came with the Frog kit and made both options. The Revell build used the American markings from Operation Torch, 1942, VF-9, USS Ranger. The Frog build is the marking from a Martlet Mk. IV, 896 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, HMS. Pursuer, February 1944.