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FM-2 Wildcat/Martlet VI




S u m m a r y

Catalogue No. & Description SW48005
Price: USD$25.46 from Squadron.com
Contents and Media: 45 injection-moulded parts; three resin pieces; two vacuformed canopies; decal sheet
Scale: 1/48
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Well detailed; crisply engraved panel lines; accurate outline; superbly detailed cockpit sidewalls and seat; two marking choices
Disadvantages: Somewhat brittle plastic
Recommendation: Recommended 


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Sword's 1/48 scale FM-2 Wildcat is available online from Squadron.com




The General Motors FM-2 Wildcat/Martlet VI is Sword’s latest issue in the company’s foray into 1/48 scale.

It is important to understand that Sword is not a main-line producer and its products are the result of limited/short-run technology. Having stated that though, it is hard not to be impressed when you open the box

The kit is packed in cardboard box, but unlike kit boxes from other manufacturers this one has ends that open rather than a lid that lifts off. The top and bottom of the box show colour renditions of the options contained on the decal sheet.

The box contains two sprues consisting of 45 injection-moulded parts in two different shades of a rather brittle grey plastic, three resin pieces, two vacuformed canopies, a decal sheet and a set of comprehensive instructions.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The sprue gates are reasonably thick and, as I managed to chip part of the fuselage when I snipped it from the sprue with scissors, I would recommend that you use a razor saw to separate the parts from the sprue. The parts themselves are well moulded and exhibit some very nice detail as well as small amounts of flash. Don’t be too worried about the flash as it is easily removed by scraping it away with the back of a hobby knife and with the use of sandpaper. The only sinkmark that I was able to find was on the starboard fuselage beneath the horizontal stabilizer, not really a big deal as it was easily dealt with by the use of a little putty. The surfaces of the wings and fuselage halves have a slight grain to them but again, this was easily dealt with by some fine grain sandpaper.

The three resin parts are the seat and the left and right sides of the cockpit. These parts are superb as only East European companies seem to be able to make them. Clean-up will be minimal and restricted to the removal of the casting blocks and a scrub with a toothbrush in soapy water to prepare them for painting. The seat has the shoulder and lap belts cast in place.

Two vacuformed canopies are supplied in the “closed” position. The canopies are crystal clear and are very close to the standard of those produced by Falcon for the Squadron canopies range.

Decals are provided for two different aircraft in overall Glossy Sea Blue (GSB), one for a USN machine and the other for that of the RN Fleet Air Arm aircraft. The decals are produced by Techmod. My previous experiences with decal sheets from this company have been positive. They are very thin, have minimal carrier film and were totally opaque which augers well for white decals on GSB. Caution is required though as they don’t seem to like Microset all that much. Ensure you use plenty of water and float the decal into place and you won’t have any problems. Be wary if opting for the USN version. The stars and bars are supplied without the blue border/background. If this is the same aircraft as depicted on page 47 of the Squadron/Signal In-Action book then it should have the blue background. Also missing from the sheet is the USN Bureau number for the fin and all of the other stencil data.


The instruction sheet is pretty comprehensive. It contains a potted history of the aircraft as well as its tabulated data. The assembly instructions are depicted in the “exploded view” format and the painting instructions are by means of a “match the letter to the colour” style. Also included are comprehensive painting/decal placement instructions with top and bottom, left and right hand side views of both aircraft.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:



Comparisons and Conclusion


Comparisons to the Tamiya F4F are inevitable so how does it stack up? Pretty good really. Although a few years old now the Tamiya F4F still stands out as one of that company’s best products. The surface detail on the Tamiya kit is littered with tiny rivets. The Sword kit is not. Could you use the Tamiya detail parts for the Sword kit? Yes you could if you really wanted to but why bother as the Sword kit parts will look equally as nice under a coat of paint. The Tamiya rendition is a little sharper in detail – that’s about it.

The breakdown of parts in the Sword kit also telegraphs a possible issue of further F4s in the series. Given that it has separate wings suggest that a-3 with it’s non folding wing could soon appear.

All up, this is a very nice little package and well worth the asking price. Previously the only way of adding an FM-2 to your collection was by either modifying the Tamiya F4F-4 with plastic card, filler, elbow grease and a new propeller or by purchasing the KMC conversion. The Sword issue now eliminates the need to attack the Tamiya kit.


Review Copyright © 2002 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 01 July, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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