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Trumpeter F4F-3 build with rivets FINISHED!

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Finally got my cataract surgery over with so I haven’t had much time to work on it, but did spend a lot of time tying up lots of loose ends like getting the bottom of the fuselage buttoned up. While I'm on the subject, if you're considering cataract surgery don't put it off another day. The procedure is quick, totally painless and you will not believe the results.... it's life changing. EVERYTHING is better; colors are brighter, contrast is sharper and my vision in both eyes is 20-20 now and for the first time in 40 years I don't need glasses except for reading.


Had to do some shimming on the center piece between the fuselage haves to close up the gap there. Not sure why that didn’t fit but whatever. Some filling and sanding around the exhaust opening needed but that’s to be expected.


One other thing to mention if you build one of these - don’t glue the landing gear assembly on until the instructions tell you to. I’ve had to make some foam blocks to keep the model from resting on that flimsy assembly.




Also cobbled up a new gunsight based on the kit part and a photo I found in my reference material. Unfortunately, not all reference material is equal and this may not be correct but it’s done and I’m going to use regardless. I actually bought a resin one from a company who shall remain nameless but it was so bad I returned it for a refund.




Perhaps I’m being a bit anal but I always cringe when I watch videos of guys painting a model while they hold it in their hand. Maybe you can get away with this with acrylics but not gonna’ happen with enamels so I made a fixture so I can hols the model while painting without touching it. The tube is just large enough for an Exacto knife handle can fit inside it. That will be taped onto the plastic tube and the metal blade handle will be clamped ib a Panavise while the paint dries.




Construction is pretty simple and is held onto the model by slipping it over the place where the engine goes. It’s held in place with some pins made from .040” Evergreen rod that’s had one end heated and mashed down to form a head.






A big THANK YOU to Juggernut (Tim) sending me the pilot figure from a Tamiya Corsair, and being a bit of a goof ball I couldn’t resist having a little fun with it.



She’s just about ready for paint so hopefully my next update will be what everyone seems to be waiting for - the ‘Cat in primer. 

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Got all the fiddly bits on and did all the masking so she’s almost ready to paint.


Not sure if people still use this method but I used the old school, wet facial tissue (Kleenex) method for masking. Quite simple and works well. Just gently stuff the facial tissue in and use water to soften it so it conforms to  the edges. A couple dabs of masking fluid will keep any edges from lifting when you spray. 


Cockpit required some masking tape (Tamiya) with masking fluid to close up any holes.


Landing gear assembly wrapped.


I knew there was no way I could drill a hole in the kit antenna mast so I first drilled the hole in some .015 card stock and then cut the mast out around it. A tad bigger than the kit part but it looks good.


Next, I’m going to do some paint tests to determine if I’m going to use acrylics or enamels. I’m not fond of acrylics but what little experimenting I’ve done with hair spray chipping it’s easier than my old way of chipping enamels which amounted to nothing more than putting down a coat of aluminum first and then scraping the enamel with a knife.


I plan to post pictures of my paint tests and have the model painted and ready to decal by the first week of April.

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Finally got a coat of primer on but there were problems, of course. One I gotta’ own myself because the model sat on the bench for a couple weeks and picked up dust. No big deal, I’ll just wipe it down with some IPA and use a paper towel that someone told me is “lint free”. Long story short, It's not and I didn’t realize how much lint was on it until I started priming. So I had to stop and tediously remove all the lint I could fine, which went okay.


THEN! My completely clean airbrush started clogging and spit out a few chunks. At this point I’m like “the hell with it” and soldiered on clearing the occasional clog. I knew the airbrush was clean so just to see what would happen I filtered some with an ancient filter funnel I’ve had for 40 years and sure enough the primer has chunks in it. Lesson learned. 


It could have been a lot worse but now I have to do some sanding to get rid of the problem areas.


See those five dots in the filter screen? Those are chunks of primer and they do not pass harmlessly through an airbrush. I guess I’ll be filtering my paint from now on.


Enough whining, this is what everyone seems to be waiting for.












Comments and critiques are always welcome. Don’t be shy - an honest critique is a catalyst for improvement.



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I built a new gunsight based on the kit part. I drilled out the kit part, put a chrome disk in the bottom and made the lens out of epoxy tinted with Tamiya clear yellow. Scratch built the brackets and used clear acetate for the reflectors. Not exactly “correct” but it is what it is.










One of the big problems I have is that my hands aren’t steady enough to paint the camo scheme so I made masks which took a couple tries but it was time well spent.




My test mule. Pay no attention to the colors, I just grabbed two colors to test the masks. If the model turns out this good I’ll be happy. The odd scheme on the cowl is unique to Wake Island Wildcats. The planes were painted on the carrier delivering them and the prevailing opinion is that they draped a cover over the engine and cowl so they didn't get paint on the engine. 




I'm going to try some pre-shading on the mule. Never tried it, just like almost everything else on this model.

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6 hours ago, ltdann said:

Please don't put drop tanks on this beautiful rendition of the F4F-3. They did not have provisions for them. They typically had two 110 lb bomb racks much further out on the wing


Thanks for the kind words.

Just by dumb luck I knew about the drop tanks by reading a review here so I got that covered. My Wildcat is going to be a Wake Island one, but one that was destroyed in the first raid. Fresh off the carrier so minimal weathering. A tribute model for Lt. "Spider" Webb who lived very close to me. He was seriously wounded in the first raid and wound up a POW. 

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