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F4F-3/3A Wildcat Conversion

 

 

Just Plane Stuff


Just Plane Stuff's F4F-3/3A Conversion is available online from Squadron.com

 

S u m m a r y

Stock Number: JPS016
Contents and Media: 17 parts in yellow resin
Scale: 1/48
Price: USD$35.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook / Preview
Advantages: Impressively cast one-piece wing; high quality resin parts; correctly depicted floorless cockpit; five cowl options covered; thoughtful inclusion of machine gun barrels and seat with lap harness; accurate.
Disadvantages: Some trimming, thinning and minor adjustment required
Recommendation: Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green

 

FirstLook

 

Just Plane Stuff has released a conversion to depict one of the US Navy's most significant aircraft, the F4F-3 Wildcat. This resin conversion is designed to be used with Tamiya's 1/48 scale F4F-4 Wildcat kit.

The main differences between the F4F-3 and -4 are the fixed wing, four gun configuration and alternate cowl styles fitted to the earlier version.

Just Plane Stuff's 1/48 scale F4F-3 conversion comprises 17 parts in yellow resin snugly packed in a sturdy cardboard box. The artwork on the boxtop is by author, artist and HyperScale contributor, Rich Dann.

All the parts required to build any of the F4F-3/3A variants are included. A British Fleet Air Arm Martlett III is possible too.

The one-piece, full span wing is the highlight of this set. This wing is cast integrally with the lower mid fuselage area under the cockpit, permitting the modeller to accurately depict the floorless cockpit of the real Wildcat. The inaccurate cockpit floor was one of the few shortcomings of the Tamiya kit, and it is nice that Just Plane Stuff has thought to correct this.

 

 

Five variations of the cowl are covered by four separate resin parts. Two different cowl rings (with and without carburettor intake) and two different main cowl parts (2 cowl flaps and 8 cowl flaps) are supplied. Two intake scoops for the inside of the cowl ring are also provided. By combining these elements in different ways, all five cowling variations may be modelled.

The casting blocks for the cowl parts are worthy of note. The parts are cast onto a circular block with a central cone. The parts are attached with a very thin and well defined ring of resin. I used a razor saw to quickly and easily remove the parts. The photo below shows two of the parts on their casting blocks, and two after removal.

Some additional details are included in the conversion. These include a pair of oil coolers for the wheel well (Tamiya's kit only includes one), a replacement seat with lap harness and machine gun barrels.

 

 

All the kit parts are crisply detailed. Casting quality is almost flawless but there is a little flash on the lower wing, especially around the wheel well and window openings. The trailing edge of the wing is also a little thick for my taste, but it is a simple matter to thin this area with a sanding stick.

The wing has been cast with an aluminium spar inside the resin, but my sample displayed a minor droop at each end of the wings. A few minutes under hot running water corrected this small problem. I also sanded and polished the upper surface of the wings to eliminate a very slight orange-peel texture.

 

 

Instructions take the form of four typewritten pages broken down as General Notes, References, Building Instructions and Decal References. The text is logical and helpful. There are no diagrams, although a few illustrations would have been helpful.

I have test fitted the wing to the kit fuselage. I sanded the rear mating surface of the resin fuselage section, and trimmed the rear of the starboard wing root. The fit with the kit parts was almost perfect after this fine tuning.

I also fitted the front cowl ring to the main cowl cylinder. As can be seen in the photograph (right), the fit of this part is near perfect too.

My initial impression is that some fiddling might be required to correctly align the kit bulkhead and cockpit parts with the resin central fuselage, but the task should not be beyond any moderately experienced modeller.

My advice is to follow the Three Golden Rules of Resin Conversions -

  1. test fit,
  2. test fit and
  3. test fit.
 

 

Conclusion

 

Just Plane Stuff's 1/48 scale F4F-3 Wildcat conversion will be welcomed by US Navy enthusiasts and WWII modellers in general. In addition to bringing a significant Wildcat variant to the market, it corrects one of the few errors in the otherwise excellent Tamiya kit.

This is a high quality offering that will be within the capabilities of moderately experienced modellers.

Recommended.

Thanks to Just Plane Stuff for the review sample.


Review and In-Progress Images Copyright 2002 by Brett Green
Page Created 12 June, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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