1/32 F4F-4 Wildcat w/Historical Book

Kit Number RM6876

Reviewed By Howie Belkin, #16

MSRP: $31.95 USD

56 grey and 4 clear injection molded parts, decals for 7 F4Fs, MSRP $31.98 includes special 52 page Detail and Scale U.S. NAVY AND MARINE AIRCRAFT OF WWII by Bert Kinzey

This kit costs a lot less than the new Trumpeter 1/32 F4F-4 and includes a bonus Detail and Scale book to boot.  So you ask, which Wildcat should you go wild over?  First, “yes,” this is a re-release of the old 1960’s Revell F4F.  Secondly, the book will impress you.  And third, you can build a pretty impressive model, in spite of its age.  You might be bothered by the raised rather than engraved details, but it is actually more representative of Grumman’s real Wildcat rivets and dzus fasteners that you could use to your advantage.  I painted my model black overall, before applying the blue gray over light gray paint scheme.  I lightly extra-fine sanded to bring out the detail and was pleased with the results.  I’m not sure how many hundred parts the Trumpeter kit has, but this kit went together one-two-three, requiring a little putty and sanding, but resulted in a finished kit I’m proud of.  You can pay more for Trumpeter’s F4F but you’ll spend a lot more time (I’ve heard about plenty of ejection pin marks, tight fits and over-engineered parts) and require more patience to build it.  It isn’t a perfect kit, according to reviews I’ve read.  Frankly, I wouldn’t mind paying more for a model that “puts itself together” and sets the bar ever higher, and Trumpeter can certainly blow its own horn having pulled their original F4F off the shelves and gone to the expense to correct it.  But it still falls short and therein lays the opportunity for Revell’s Wildcat to soar once again.  According to REMEMBERING REVELL MODEL KITS by Thomas Graham, Lloyd Jones had a hand in seeing that the Revell 1/32 series revolutionized the model airplane field, and it speaks volumes that this 1969 classic is still selling well! 

Back to the model itself.  Revell’s F4F-4 wing fold mechanism is functionally correct and well detailed (I drilled out some of the structural holes), access cowling panels allow the 4 part engine details to be seen, basic landing gear and cockpit compartments are acceptable out of the box (aftermarket kits are available if you want to “go for it”).  In fact, one of the chief complaints about Trumpeter’s F4F is the instrument panel, which Revell has finessed with raised detail and precise decals.  Revell even has the lower fuselage windows and cockpit trough rather than solid floor.  BTW, the interior color was bronze green.  Whichever F4F kit you build, you might want to replace the pilot’s seat or get out some putty and improve upon it.  The crystal clear canopy can be displayed open or closed.

Revell gives you a more extensive decal sheet than ever before and better than Trumpeter’s, with markings to build one of seven F4Fs including the box top and front page booklet artwork of Lt (jg) William Leonard of VF-11 “Sundowners” on Guadalcanal.  The others include Capt Joseph Foss’s VMF-121 #53, Lt Cdr John Thatch’s VF-3 #23, Capt Marion Carl’s VMF-223 #2, Lt James Swett’s VMF-221 #77, and two Operation Torch F4F-4’s, by Lt Cdr John Raby’s VF-9 #1 and Bruce Jacques’ VGF-29 #10. I used Micro Scale decals for one of Butch O’Hare’s Wildcats on my model.

The Bert Kinzey book, U.S. NAVY AND MARINE AIRCRAFT OF WWII Part 2: Fighters is well illustrated by Rock Roszak and includes additional artwork fittingly enough, by Lloyd Jones.  Part 1 about Dive and Torpedo Bombers was issued with the Monogram 1/48 Devastator.  It gives a brief history, colors and details of the F2A Buffalo, F4F/FM Wildcat, XFL-1 Airabonita, XF5F-1 Skyrocket, F4U Corsair, XF-14C, F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat, F8F Bearcat, XF8B-1, XF5U-1 Flying Pancake, FR Fireball, XF2R-1 Dark Shark, and the XF15C-1 Stingaree.  There are three pages showing the “G” symbol wing and tail markings used in 1945, and color cockpit photos of a restored F4F-4, FM-2, F4U-1D & FG-1D, F6F-3 and an F8F-2.  A great addition to any modeler’s library! 

I highly recommend the kit for all modelers wanting a model they can complete at an affordable price, including beginners.  It requires less work and money than the Trumpeter kit and you don’t need aftermarket decals or details.  You can find Revell’s F4F-4 just about everywhere, or see it on line at  Throughout the box top and instructions the company is referred to nostalgically as Revell.  Just the same, my thanks to Revell-Monogram for the review sample!  And may they consider some upgrades on future 1/32 re-releases that will make them fly off the shelves, like engraved panel lines on their F4 Phantoms, and door gunners’ pintle mounted aviator grip M-60s on the venerable Huey, etc.  It could just keep getting better!

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