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Trumpeter F4F-3 early - Back from the dead!

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So there I sat, staring at the 4 (!) Poorly organized sprues that are the Revell 1/48 B-17. Looking at all the flash, the poorly fitting pieces, and the struggle of fitting all the aftermarket, I sighed, put everything neatly back in the box, and put off my cutaway B-17 yet again.


Looking for something not too challenging, a little different, and that wouldn't take too long, I pulled this kit off of my shelf. Perfect. Not too many parts, good details right OOB, and a colorful pre-war paint scheme. I started as per instructions with the cockpit, which goes together nicely after cleaning some minimal flash. The cockpit on these pre-war birds was painted silver lacquer. I've used MRP super silver for this color, and I think it looks the part.








Some of the sidewall parts in primer black.


The IP is decent if sparse, but then so was the 1:1. It's an acetate film with the plastic faceplate over it. I painted the background white to help the dial faces pop and added a drop of clear to each of the dials for glass.


Button up the cockpit, a little detail painting, some lead foil seatbelts, and then on to the engine.

Edited by Bstarr3
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Finished work on the cockpit tonight.


First, some detail painting in the sidewalls and IP. I kept looking for ways to dress up the IP, but references confirmed that it was just this dull. Used Airscale generic cockpit placards to busy things up.










My first attempt at scratching lead foil seatbelts. I like the way they came out. The brackets are bomb mounts from the spare box.






Found a reasonably buckle-like piece of PE in the spares box and painted my foil seatbelts khaki.

Early Wildcats had no shoulder harnesses. 20180426_222230.jpg


Assembled cockpit with very light weathering. I plan for this to be a well maintained and clean pre-war machine.









Edited by Bstarr3
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Very nice detail painting.  I built Trumpeter's F4F-4 version of this aircraft and though the cockpit was pretty nice oob.  As you show, good painting and a few placards go a long way to dressing it up.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Here is the result of the last few weeks worth of intermittent, fits and starts progress. Modelling season is slowly giving way to grilling and gardening season.


Firewall and engine mount. This is my first Trumpeter kit - I see why they have a reputation for engineering details that can't possibly be displayed.




I decided not to wire this engine, but just to let the very nice kit part speak for itself.






Cockpit and gear bay/engine bearers installed and fuselage halves together, and seam work completed (I think). Rescribing and reriveting completed where necessary.






With the engine dryfitted and clear cowling applied, just to see how it looks.




Cockpit details are absolutely buried in this deep,round-sided fuselage.




Next work will be on the wings and tailplanes. After getting a taste of Trumpeter's fidgety rod and tab adjustable control surfaces with the rudder, I'm not looking forward to doing 4 more of those types of assemblies.


Also, any advice on undercarriage color for a yellow winged wildcat? Instructions call for grey, but I don't know if thats accurate.

Edited by Bstarr3
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That F4F kit made me a "believer" for Trumpeter's 1/32 WWII USN kits.


As I mentioned on another string, I frankly found it a better build then an Accurate Miniatures' TBF.


As for the undercarriage colors, judging by the museum photos, I would use a mix of metallic (that might be a chromed piston rod) and gray upper with gray lower bracing:



Edited by Gigant
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Thanks for the picture.  Like the others I've seen in my research, it's hard for me to tell between a "Grumman grey" primer color and the metallic of the silver lacquer paint elsewhere on the plane.  I'll go with the instructions here and stick with grey

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So, last year when I was on this project, it was coming into summer time, when I generally spend less time on modelling and more time on other things.  When I did get to the bench, I was just sort of uninspired by this project as it was sitting.  So I put it back in the box and went to my WNW Albatros.  That ended up being a very frustrating project, due to my own lack of skill more than anything else.  It is currently on hold very near to the finish line.  Also in between all of this, we decided to move last fall, and then moved across the country this spring, so needless to say, I've been a little short on free time for the past six months or so.  Once I got my work area set up at the new house, I decided to finish this up (well, again, I started with finishing up the Albatros, but I'll update that thread separately).


Wings on. As has been mentioned in other builds of this kit, the wing to fuselage installation is suboptimal.  There is a small tab that doesn't really support the wing well or hold the dihedral properly.  It is also not sized exactly right.  After struggling with it for a bit, I decided to cut the tab off and attached the wings with superglue.  This did leave a bit of a gap which came up later...


I tinted some of my usual Stynelrez primer red to warm up the yellow color.




It takes a lot of patience to get yellow built up.  There's a run on the starboard wing where I wasn't quite patient enough.




Tail empenage was painted with Testor's square bottle gloss green enamel, which I thought came out well. 



I decided to cover the wing root gap with Squadron white putty, which I'd never used before.  Unfortunately, I thought it was a water soluble putty, so I slopped it on in the hopes of wiping it down with a wet cloth.  Once I smelled it though, I knew that it wasn't, and in fact is really hot.  This made a really sloppy joint that I was never able to clean up to my satisfaction in spite of a lot of time sanding and wiping down with lacquer thinner. 



Wet sanded this spot and went back over with yellow



Some detailing work on the undercarriage. I buffed out the seam line on the vinyl tires, and I feel like it turned out quite well. The buffing actually has the effect of weathering the tire as well. The oleo strut I hit with Molotov liquid chrome pen, which is new to me and I love for this application.  Not sure what's up with the white balance in this photo. 




Final coat of yellow wings and green tail, before masking. 



Masking on and Mission Models gloss black applied.  I really liked this as a basecoat for metal. 



First coat of MRP super silver.  This plane was painted aluminum lacquer, so I'm looking for a painted silver effect more than a NMF, and I think it looks well. 




Masking off. I had a couple of tiny areas to touch up. 




Decals on this kit were really a dream.  Strong enough to futz around with, as was necessary for the stripes, but really melted right into the panel lines and surface details, even without MicroSol, although it was better with an application.



Something really off about the texture of the finish before the decals went on.  It seemed fine to touch and to appearance, but once the decals were on I could see these minor surface imperfections, which really showed up under the decals.  Sadly, as I was trying to put another gloss coat over it this morning to smooth things out, I spilled the bottle of Alclad Aqua Gloss onto the model.  I dabbed off the huge puddles of it and tried to put another smooth coat over.  We'll see how it turns out.  Finished except a little weathering.  There will be very little on this plane. 



Edited by Bstarr3
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