The Grumman F4F Wildcat is an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that entered service in 1940 with the United States Navy/US Marines, and the British Royal Navy where it was initially known as the Martlet. First used by the British in the North Atlantic, the Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of the Second World War. Until the arrival of its successors, the F6F Hellcat and the F4U Corsair in 1943, it was the only machine in the arsenal of the US Navy and Marine Corps Air Forces that could at least match the Japanese Zeros. Even after the arrival of more powerful successors, it remained in the armament of escort aircraft carriers for the rest of the war.
Arma Hobby’s Wildcat isn’t hot new kit anymore but at the time I started building it you could tell it was. This is my third model from AH and after the PZL.7/11c you can see a positive shift in the quality and design of each model released. It seems that Arma is always going to move forward as evidenced by the last piece from their production, the P-39 Airacobra. I must admit that I’m a big fan of them even though I’d rather see less mainstream types released, but a thousand people, a thousand tastes and you can’t simply please everyone.
The model goes together very well and the build isn’t tricky. It is necessary to be careful when assembling the landing gear and installing it in the well. I would appreciate a one-piece canopy cover, I had a problem fitting the windshield and rear part of the canopy, which is a bit visible as a result. I only added a few details, such as the holds for anchoring the wings when they are folded, replaced the plastic gun barrels with metal ones, completely riveted, etc. The model is so nice that it doesn’t leave much room for any modifications. Of course, if you don’t start folding the wings.
As is my habit, the biggest struggle for me is choosing the colors to match my idea of the given camouflage. I found the light gray on the lower surfaces quite quickly. The Vallejo Air 71.298 fits perfectly. Unfortunately, it was not so easy with the paint for the upper surfaces. I tried the Gunze H, AK 3gen, AK RC, Hataka orange and finally ended up with the proven brand, Vallejo Air 71.109. Originally I wanted to choose the camouflage from Operation Torch with the typical yellow edging of the US insignia, but in the end I decided to go for Lt.Cdr. John S. Thatch‘s plane participating in the battle of Midway. There is no point in praising the quality decals from Techmod, a good thing praises itself. All painted with Microscale semi matte and voilá, the Wildcat is done. I started this build in January 2022 as part of a GB (which was supposed to last a month 😊 ) and finished it in the last days of 2022.
I have to admit that it is difficult for me to evaluate any build with the hindsight of time. There are always moments during each project when remark appears and I think to myself „hell, I have to mention this in a blog article“ but if I don’t make the note immediately time reliably erases most of such tips. In the end after weeks spent with the kit something like an overall impression remains only. I addition I’m always influenced by the fact that I like every my finished model. Therefore everything bad is forgotten and only words of praise and satisfaction remain. However, don’t get my „confession“ wrong, it’s really hard to find anything downright negative about Arma Hobby’s Wildcat. Directly from the box you get currently the best Wildcat on the market in gentleman scale. I believe we will see the F4F-3 sooner or later and I wouldn’t be mad at all if the AH continues with other naval types.