Grumamn F4F Wildcat

A step by step guide for novices

Trumpeter 1/32 scale

by Fabian Vera  © 2004 Modeler Site

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Some time ago Trumpeter had released a 1/32 F4F Wildcat which was postponed before being introduced to the US market because the kit had serious shape problems especially around the fuselage and nose. Nowadays, this company go on offering big size kits, very well detailed, even if built straight from the box, and have newly re-tooled a 1/32 scale F 4F Wildcat, which was thoroughly corrected, different and in my opinion excellent indeed.


The Wildcat, was the first of the famous “Wild Cats” from the Grumman company, it was predecessor of the Hellcat and Tomcat, and nearly the only huge aircraft available, to confront the powerful Japanese A6 M Zero in the Second World War.

The kit...

I built this model for a friend of mine under commission, changing the version just by his request, using the Eagle Strike decal sheet #32015. Actually, the quality of the kit is good enough so as to get a successful result even intending a straight from the box project.

The decals were very well printed, but in spite of the correct use of decal set and sol, they didn't copy the surface correctly, as they appeared to be not so flexible, the reasons might respond either to the decals manufacturing date (1999) or to the kind of varnish used by the manufacturer. Anyway, a few tricks such as white glue and patience helped me to get an acceptable result.

Assembly and detailing

As this model was built straight from the box, I'll explain the assembly according to the instructions.

Step 1:

First, I want to mention that the solid cockpit floor presents large open areas on each side. Everything was built per instructions, except for the painting that was accomplished according to my reference pictures.

Instrument panel

After painting the back of the printed film ( as we usually do with the ones supplied for the PE), I painted the instrument panel matt black (not steel as the instruction manual indicates) to detail it later in white, red and aluminium.

The film had previously been clear coated to get a proper contrast between surfaces and stand its details out.

The pedals were painted Interior Green, and for the weathering sepia ink was drybrushed to recesses and joints and yellow drybrush to highlight volumes and edges.

The rear bulkhead where the seat leans on, part A28, received the same painting treatment and weathering, highlighting especially, the rivets. The head rest, A15, was gloss black detailed and slightly drybrushed with the same color which gave to it the stretched leather texture, of the padded parts.

Next, I proceeded to assemble the cockpit. In this stage, I decided to paint the oxygen tank (at the back of the pilot's seat) green, as shown in the pictures of the real aircraft, instead of black according to the instructions.

No fit problems were encountered when assembling the cockpit to the fuselage. Owing to the scale and size of the parts, all painting details are fairly visible once the model has been finished.

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