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David Butler
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HobbyBoss 1/48 F4F-3 Wildcat (Early)

March 18, 2023 · in Aviation · · 14 · 520


I was drawn to this kit not because I am a huge fan of wildcats but because I am a huge fan of stretching my dollar. So I was interested when I saw this on Amazon for $25 including shipping.

This feisty little fighter builds up very nice out of the box and has good detailed in the cockpit, engine, and landing gear. Surface detail is good too, however when it comes to attaching the main wings take care as there are only miniscule tabs to help with proper alignment.

I found the decals a bit hard to work with- they look good when they are on but they get soft very quickly and are difficult to get into place. I might be crazy but I think that they decals for the top wing stripes were not identical- that or I am just bad at applying them evenly. The decal for the engine cowl was a 3 part ensemble that was a disaster from the start so I just skipped it and painted my own.

I used Vallejo paints as per the usual arrangement. I highligted panels and rivets with Tamiya panel liner and I think I got a bit too heavy on the yellow wings since this prewar bird was probably not too dirty. Despite using multiple coats of Future to seal my work before detailing, the yellow paint still absorbed the panel liner and ended up looking more grimy than the look I was aiming for.

Over all I am please with the result despite a multitude of "unforced errors" during the building process (did you see the crack in the canopy where my 8 year old daughter "found" the piece on the ground?") Coming in at $25 this kit represents a great value for someone looking to build a number of different variants. Now that I have this one under my belt I may just have to level up and get the Eduard kit.

Happy modeling!

Reader reactions:
11  Awesome

2 additional images. Click to enlarge.


14 responses

  1. Nice job, David, and a great looking scheme. I'm sure this one stands out nicely in the display case.

  2. Yeah, David. I'm not the biggest Wildcat fan but I do like the looks of this scheme. In spite of your opinion on the final outcome, I think you did a masterful job. Well done!

  3. Fantastic job, David!

  4. Nice work, David! I’m a big fan of all things with yellow wings. I built one of those and am satisfied enough not to replace it with an Eduard kit. I did install small brass pins to help the wing joint.

  5. Cool Wildcat. I love things with yellow wings!

  6. David Butler
    Excellent Wildcat ! I have built one similar to yours. Here is a link to it if you're interested.

    I do like how they assemble. The landing gear was a bit tricky going from memory, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.

    I like the "Yellow Wings" era, and these Wildcats look outstanding in these colors. You have done an outstanding job with yours.

    Thanks for sharing this one with us. I'll be sure to click on the "like" button before I leave.

  7. A well chosen scheme on this great build, David @dbutlr
    The cowl painting must have been a challenge but it did turn out very nice.

  8. Well done David, she looks good dressed in yellow wings.

  9. That is a real pretty build David, @dbutlr. I really like the yellow wings look, with the bold but not combat worthy markings. You did a great job bringing it all together. Error, forced or unforced, are how we learn to overcome.

  10. Looks great! I'm a fan of the pudgy little fighter - held it's own against some of the best in the world while the US caught up with more modern designs. I have to say the pre-war schemes - especially yellow wings and NMF - are a bit daunting! It's easier to hide stuff under some good weathering, but those early birds weren't as weathered so they just hang out there for all to see! You did great with yours.

  11. Beautiful work David @dbutlr, I really love the bold colours, looks amazing, It came out really nicely despite any issues you had, well done.

  12. Nice looking yellow wing!

  13. Looks cool and great value.

  14. Love yellow wings

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