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Trumpeter's 1/32 Scale
F4F-4 Wildcat

by Rick Cotton


Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat

1/32 scale F4F-4 Wildcat is available online from Squadron




Trumpeter’s massive rollout in 1/32 scale continues…I won’t bore you with the details. Lots of kits, lots of work, lots of fun.





Trumpeter’s F4F-4 Wildcat is, in my opinion, quite a challenging build. It is an ambitious kit, with working control surfaces (everything but the trim tabs), folding wings, and very good detail.



In my opinion Trumpeter's Wildcat is light years ahead of the ancient Revell issue. That being said….here’s the vinegar to go with the sugar:

  • Ejector pin marks…LOTS of ‘em. Some in hidden spots, many more not. Be prepared for a lot of filling and sheeting over. At times like this, I remember the Old Master on “Kung Fu” telling the young Caine “Patience, Little Grasshopper”. Arrrgh, fill and sand, fill and sand…

  • Very tight fit of the forward fuselage halves around the cockpit….I think the front of the ‘pit is a bit too wide. The seat is too thick, you’ll need to shave it down or replace it with a brass one.

  • Rubber tires . Uuuugghhh! ‘Nuff said. Hey Cutting Edge! How about some resin here?

  • Lots of openings to mask. A treasure trove to the superdetailer, a nightmare for those who hate spending several nights masking. You’ll need that whole roll of tape.

  • The access hatch on the starboard lower rear fuselage sticks way out (about 3 scale inches) from all that nice recessed panel line and rivet detail. I cut mine open, which of course necessitated scratchbuilding an interior and filling more &*^%$#@ ejector pin marks.

  • While some may like the option of moveable folding wings, the fit in the extended position is far too loose, so the outer panels hang down like a cruising albatross. Be prepared to glue your wings in one of the positions so they will line up correctly. Glue those *&^%$# photoetch hinges tight.

The kit gives you open bays for all six “fifties”, a little detail inside the gear bay (the gear retraction chains are not convincing, but they are also hard to see), and a very nice engine. The cowling is a one-piece clear affair, but I hate that, so I painted mine.



Cockpit detail is very nice with separate control consoles, bulkheads, a nice control stick, and Trumpeter’s trademark plastic instrument panel with film instruments. No seat belts or hardware are included. The canopies are thin and very clear with nice relief on the framing.

The only non-out-of-box items added to this model were:

  • Seat belts with hardware (True Details)

  • Interior wiring

  • Spark plug wiring

  • Radios, wiring and boxes visible through the opened access hatch, as well as structural stringers and formers

  • Antenna wire and insulators

  • Brake and hydraulic lines

  • A scratchbuilt opened life raft compartment. This feature was deleted on later F4F’s because it was found that the bird usually sank so fast on ditching that the pilot had no time to deploy the raft! My raft is painted and white-glued tissue paper.

The kit also supplied two drop tanks, but I think they destroy the lines of the plane visually (they look like a big pair of …..never mind) so I didn’t use them.



Painting and Markings


Paint is my usual Polly Scale Acrylic, this time USN Blue-gray over USN Light Gray, with a watercolor wash and Testors Acrylic Clear Flat. Chipping was with a Prismacolor silver art pencil.


The only markings provided are for Joe Foss’ Guadalcanal bird, but they laid down nicely. I had to use a bit of setting solution on the fuselage stars to get them to fit the compound curves, but they behaved well.





All in all, this kit is a vast improvement over the old Revell ‘cat. There are some challenges to the average modeler (that would be me), but hey, that’s half the fun, right? ($%^&* ejector pin marks…)

Now, somebody….how about an FM-2 conversion, hmmmm?


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Rick Cotton
Page Created 17 December, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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