1/48 Eduard F4F-3S

13 posts · Last reply 1 week, 1 day ago
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    Tom Cleaver said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    What's that, you say - Eduard hasn't produced an F4F-3S? You're right. Just like they haven't produced the Spitfire Vb seaplane.

    However, it is an even-easier conversion to make an F4F-3 into an F4F-3S than it was to turn the Spitfire Vb into the seaplane. All you need is the Hobby Boss F4F-3S, for the floats, a sheet of .101 plastic sheet, and an Xacto knife.

    The basic conversion involves making a cover for the wheel well, which involves the .101 sheet plastic, glued into position with the gear doors from the kit. This took about 40 minutes to create, mostly sanding the sheet plastic to fit the opening. The other part of the conversion involves filling in the shell ejection chutes on the lower wing and taking off the bulges immediately behind them, then using a pounce wheel to restore the river detail there. then fill in the gun ports on the wing leading edge. If you make an armed "whiffer," you don't even have to do that.

    Given the chance to compare the HB Wildcat to the Eduard Wildcat, one finds the HB kit would qualify as #2 behind the Eduard kit for overall accuracy, ahead of the Tamiya F4F. The HB kit's upper fuselage line is almost high enough to match the (correct) Eduard kit profile, though a comparison of the HB engine cowling with the Eduard shows the opening of the HB part isn't correct - too small. But both are way ahead of the Tamiya kit, further proving that when Tamiya was in a "race" with Hasegawa to release kits back in the 1990s, "accuracy" took a back seat. "Buildability," is something completely different, a point too many modelers miss.

    Anyway, once you do this small modification to the Eduard kit, it's just a case of assemble the floats and assemble the airplane. I think I will do some riveting on the floats so they look like they came from the same kit as the airplane.

    Why do this when the HB kit will deliver an acceptable result (see my review of that kit here)? Well, I've always liked the F4F-3S, and like using the Eduard kit with the Gartex floats for the Spitfire seaplane resulted in a really accurate "definitive" model, doing this will give me a "definitive" Wildcatfish.

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Profile Photo
    Spiros Pendedekas said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    Great conversion, my friend @tcinla! Looking forward to it!

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    John vd Biggelaar said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    Very interesting conversion, Tom @tcinla.
    To be honest, I was not aware of a Wildcat on floats.
    Will go and do some reading about it.

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    Tom Cleaver said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    This is it, @johnb.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

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    Pedro L. Rocha said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    Always one step ahead Tom @tcinla 😉
    Your work & insight here will be undoubtedly useful to anyone wishing to build such version of the Wildcat, since I doubt Eduard will ever produce it.

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    George R Blair Jr said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    I have never seen one of these done, Tom (@tcinla). I have seen photos of the real plane, but never a model. Looking forward to the completion.

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    John Healy said 1 week, 6 days ago:

    Great idea. Like George, I’ve never seen a Wildcatfish model built.

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    Tom Cleaver said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    Here is the model assembled.

    Other than drilling a hole in the lower wing and making it fit the locating pin for the main float brace, and cutting the horizontal stabilizer to allow fit of the endplates, there was no difficulty in this, although it is important for you to check carefully when you attath the rear strut to the fuselage that the result will have the pontoons parallel; my first sttempt has them pointing outward just enough to be noticeable. Moving the attachment location a bit forward solved that.

    And then I took a good look at the photos the real airplane and realized there are two different configurations - early and late. The early configuration lacks the ventral fin. It also has "clean" wing leading edges. However, the one photo of the "late" configuration with the ventral fin shows a gun barrel fairing in the leading edge similar to the fairing in the early F6F-3. So I filed the area to allow fitting of a fairing made from sanded-down sprue from he kit. I then had to fill in around it with some Mr. Surfacer 500.

    Had I not downloaded the one photo that shows this, I would have missed this minor-but-important detail. You can see the difference in the two photos of the real thing I am posting here. Another identification is that the early conjfiguration had the floats and struts all painted the light grey of the lower camouflage color, while the upper part of the floats and the forward leg of the attachment struts are painted with the Blue-Grey upper surface color.

    The model does look as much better than the HB kit as the Eduard Spitfire seaplane looks better than the Gartex conversion kit with the old Hasegawa model.

    Off to the paint shop over the weekend.

    7 attached images. Click to enlarge.

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    Eric Berg said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    TC@tcinla - that looks great Tom. Eduard would be proud of you. Didn't Grumman produce just one solitary 3S? Or? I assume that's the same plane in all three photos and Grumman just added the ventral fin and the gun ports in later testing?

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    Tom Cleaver said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    @holzhamer - I have Vlad at least thinking about doing the Spitfire floatplane with an aftermarket set of pontoons. He might be persuaded for this too.

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    Tom Cleaver said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    @eb801 - Yes, only the one. They did produce an extra 100 F4F-3s for the program. When it was canceled, these airplanes went to training command, where a few were lost in Lake Michigan, and became the surviving F4F-3s that exist today: the airplane in O'Hare's markings on display at the airport, the one that flies, and the one at the National Museum of Naval Aviation.

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    Spiros Pendedekas said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    This is a really super project, my friend @tcinla! Amazing how many details s pic can provide.

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    John vd Biggelaar said 1 week, 1 day ago:

    She is getting nicely together, Tom @tcinla
    Amazing to see that those pontoons are nearly the same size as the length of the Wilcat.

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