WIP : Tamiya 1/48 Wildcat Pt. 1 – Construction

My next kit is hopefully a straightforward build of the Tamiya 1/48 F4F-4 Wildcat. This was the workhorse of the USN and USMC during the first half of the Pacific campaign.

When I opened the box, I realized that I had already assembled most of the parts into subassemblies previously. This includes having already painted most of the interior with Interior Green and Futured the canopy. I began this build with masking the canopy. As usual it’s on the tedious side but I was done after an evening of faffing with 1mm masking tape and masking liquid.

The ejection seat is bare and Tamiya doesn’t include the seat belts in the form of a decal. While I don’t think they will be very visible, I decided to scratchbuild some shoulder harnesses and lap belts from 1mm and 0.4mm masking tape. I got this idea from my friend Soon Tuck of Spruecutters. After a re-basing of black and Interior Green over this, I handpainted the belts. They actually don’t look half bad. There is evidence that the Wildcat interior was a deeper green in color than the usual green but I’m going ahead with the usual hue.

While reading other people’s builds I found out that Tamiya molded the floor plate without any cutouts which allowed the pilots to look through for better visibility below the Wildcat. So I quickly marked out the areas and cut accordingly. Again these are probably not visible in the final build but at least they are (not) there.

Like most aircraft kits, the Wildcat requires some pre-painting before assembly but due to the way the aircraft is designed, there are more spots that need to be taken care of than usual. 

These subassemblies were given a basecoat of black gray and painted separately.

The interior of the cowl and landing gear were sprayed with Light Gull Gray (instead of the instruction’s calling for white). These were also given a wash of black.

The instrument panel and consoles were all handpainted based on the instructions although the dials were painted Gunship Gray to ‘pop’ them out.

I put the cockpit together after giving it a black wash and edge highlighted with a silver color pencil.

I decided not to modify the engine since it can’t be seen so I painted as per instructions. This was painted in Vallejo Air Metallic Gun Grey and then a drybrush of Vallejo Air Metallic Steel.

Once I have painted these, I quickly put the rest of the kit together. Sure looks like a Wildcat to me!

Being too smart for my own good, I decided to drill out the gun barrels on the wings. Of course I messed it up so I ended up cutting all 6 off and replacing with 0.5mm brass tube.

The fit has been excellent so far but we’ll see after I give this a shot of primer to check for seamlines. Hopefully I won’t have to spend much time on this.

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