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Uncle Dick

Airfix Nakajima B5N2 'Kate' Grumman Wildcat F4F4 Dogfight Double

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Um... I was consulted by those doing the artwork for the decals. I too at first thought the plane was an FM-1, but when i was shown the photo they were working from, the 6 gun ports were clearly visible. The plane in question is an F4F-4.

david

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It's an understandable conclusion to jump to.

-d-

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Although the pictures of the Kate's sprues didn't impress me, the Wildcat build article in the latest Airfix mag looked very nice... really good panel lines, which up to now I thought was the main deficiency of Airfix' recent kits. The photos of the upcoming Shackleton also looked like they've finally cracked that nut.

Bottom line is I ordered the dogfight double and I'll be posting some comparison shots of the Kate (Mania vs Airfix) and Wildcat (Hasegawa vs Airfix) for those who care about such things.

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I'll be posting some comparison shots of the Kate (Mania vs Airfix) and Wildcat (Hasegawa vs Airfix) for those who care about such things.

Yes, please :)

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... I'll be posting some comparison shots of the Kate (Mania vs Airfix) and Wildcat (Hasegawa vs Airfix) for those who care about such things.

Please do. I'd be very interested in a comparison of the spine. In some photos it looks a bit wide and overly rounded when comparing to photos of the real thing, albeit at not quite the same angle.

Tim

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Main points:

F4F-4 to Wildact Mk. V: delete two guns (was an FM-1, had just four guns);

F4F-4 to Martlet Mk. II: no air intake on the upper cowling, no supercharger air intakes within the engine (had the -90 engine variant)

Claudio

It's a long time since I had a love affair with the Martlet, but some more visible aspects:

-4 to FM-1/Martlet V: The reported reason for the wing redesign in the Eastern-produced versions was that USN pilots preferred a longer firing time over a higher salvo weight, so the overall ammo capacity was retained, now being distributed over 4 guns. This results in visibly larger ammo box slots. I think the only drawings to depict this are those in the two Squadron books authored by Harry Dann.

-4 to Martlet II: There's a pic of a brace of M.IIs in the AeroDetail showing something about the magnetos - memory is hazy (and the books buried in some storage box), but at least some had front mounted magnetos when most hadn't, or vice-versa. In addition, in the early in action book (#84), there's a pic in the first half of the book showing the wing undersurface of a -4 in the gun region in detail. This shows some large but shallow blisters between the spar panel lines and spent case slots (IIRC) that aren't represented on any drawing, not even those in the Dann-authored books. Few pics clearly show the wing underside, but I remember at least one hazy almost frontal shot that shows the blisters are present at least on the -4 (some), and therefore probably the II also. Does the Airfix kit feature them ? I had a brief exchange with Harry Dann about the blisters some 10 years ago on the Hyperscale forum, but if I remember his essence of reply, the blisters weren't included on the Grumman material he worked from.

Finally for the II, AeroDetail states that the first 10 had non-folding wings, though I have never read any description anywhwere whether this means a -4 layout otherwise, or something different (e.g. -3/Martlet III layout).

-4 to III: The III had a completely different wing layout requiring more or less complete rescribing of the wings.

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Finally for the II, AeroDetail states that the first 10 had non-folding wings, though I have never read any description anywhwere whether this means a -4 layout otherwise, or something different (e.g. -3/Martlet III layout).

-4 to III: The III had a completely different wing layout requiring more or less complete rescribing of the wings.

AFAIK, the first 10 Martlet IIs were nearly the same as USN F4F-3As (or the F4F-3A prototype, XF4F-6) and used the same engine. Unsurprisingly, they were re-designated Mk.IIIs, like the 40 ex-Greek F4F-3As. Here's one:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125171

Simplifying a little, later Martlet IIs were very much like F4F-3As fitted with F4F-4 six-gun folding wings. I suspect performance may have suffered as, in spite of the greater weight of guns and wing fold, they retained the same engine:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205145169

Claudio

P.S.: love affair with the Martlet keeps going...

Edited by ClaudioN

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Regarding the Martlet/Wildcat, Bruce Archer did this on Hyperscale

http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/wildcatfaaba_1.htm

I really do not know why, but I always seem to take on very confusing subjects. Spitfires, for example can and will make your head hurt with the variations between aircraft of the same Mark, let alone the differing Marks. The Grumman F4F Wildcat/Martlet appeared to be no different.

For what is supposedly a simple aircraft there are so many variables it appeared even the Admiralty gave up on giving coherent Mark numbers to the Martlet. This article hopes to clarify the apparent confusing Marks, sub-marks and confusing serials of the Martlet/Wildcat in the FAA.

And from a read of some of the above posts, they are getting confused, but as pinning down what you need to do for what gives me a headache, that is understandable.

But the short is the new Airfix kit is an F4F-4, which is a Martlet II, anything else is going to require some work, either on wings or cowl or both, but just read the link as Bruce has made an excellent job of explaining what is what.... but you have been warned!

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Great link and post Troy... that'll save a few hours of digging through all the references, although I do kinda like this part of modelling.

Cheers .. Dave.

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But the short is the new Airfix kit is an F4F-4, which is a Martlet II

Well… almost, but not exactly.

Looking back at Bruce Archer's reference work, I couldn't believe it is now almost ten years old…! Bruce did a great work but, since then, I believe some further details have come to light. Early members of the G-36 family had lots of subtle differences among them.

I do not wish to cause headaches, but... this is a Martlet II (early):

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186160

and this is an F4F-4:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/F4F-4_Wildcat_taked_off_from_Henderson_Field_1943.jpg

Note the F4F-4 has an air intake on the upper cowling lip, that the Martlet II hasn't. Also, looking at the bottom of the fuselage, this Mk.II has a more streamlined (i.e., longer) keel bulge.

This is also a Martlet II (late - don't be fooled by the serial, A.M. serials actually came before AJ serials):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F4F_Wildcat#/media/File:MarletMk2_888Sqn_HMSFormidable_Oran_Dec1942.jpg

and, in this case, the keel bulge is the same shape as a standard F4F. In this side view the small spinner of the Curtiss propeller is also visible. US Navy F4Fs did not have that.

As can be seen in the front view I posted yesterday, the engine on the Martlet II lacks the air intakes for the two-stage supercharger within the cowling, as its engine was the single-stage R1830-90. F4F-4s had the two-stage R1830-86, which no British Martlet had, until Mk.Vs were supplied under Lend-Lease.

Fortunately, none of these changes are hard to introduce. So yes, from a modelling viewpoint an F4F-4 is (quite nearly) a Martlet II.

HTH

Claudio

Edited by ClaudioN

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Received my kit today, and to be blunt about it, I'm impressed. I sometimes feel like I'm Airfix harshest critic on BM when it comes to panel lines, but the improvement from previous kits is immense, at least where the Wildcat is concerned.

I will post pics later but they are virtually identical in subtlety to Hasegawa's Wildcat. Airfix make some different choices in representing some details, opting for raised detail instead of recessed where it concerns access hatches for instance, but that is a matter of taste.

If all their kits will be like this from now on... wow.

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Received my kit today, and to be blunt about it, I'm impressed. I sometimes feel like I'm Airfix harshest critic on BM when it comes to panel lines, but the improvement from previous kits is immense, at least where the Wildcat is concerned.

I will post pics later but they are virtually identical in subtlety to Hasegawa's Wildcat. Airfix make some different choices in representing some details, opting for raised detail instead of recessed where it concerns access hatches for instance, but that is a matter of taste.

If all their kits will be like this from now on... wow.

Good to hear, I'm all for seeing improvement or taking it to the next level. I have an unbuilt Hasegawa Wildcat, be interesting to see how the two compare in terms of build.

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AFAIK, the first 10 Martlet IIs were nearly the same as USN F4F-3As (or the F4F-3A prototype, XF4F-6) and used the same engine. Unsurprisingly, they were re-designated Mk.IIIs, like the 40 ex-Greek F4F-3As. Here's one:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125171

Thanks Claudio and Troy for digging out Bruce Archer's article, refreshing my love affair and getting me back into the state of confusion I was in way back when :chair:

Looking at AM958 in your link...is my mind playing tricks, or does it have the carb air intake on the upper lip ? If so, does that mean there are two different configurations for the "first 10" ? Seems I'll have to print this thread and Bruce's and read them in close conjunction. May also be a good idea to search for the picture cross refernce notes I took way back when.

2nd edit: Looking again at the pic of 958, I'm not sure if the spacing and stagger of the case ejector slots and also their length really corresponds to the -3 configuration. The lateral spacing may be influenced by the angle of the view, of course.

Edited by tempestfan

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Not my picture,but a shot of 2 different cowls on III's side by side.

4508960044_343db64ab0_o_zpsayxtuu4z.jpg

Edited by Gwart

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Here's some photos of the Wildcat's plastic compared to the Hasegawa version. Dark grey is Hasegawa, light grey Airfix.

IMG_4149.JPG

IMG_4150.JPG

IMG_4151.JPG

As for the spine about which there is so much discussion, the overall cross section of the fuselage is identical, but the spins is somewhat shorter on the Airfix and the rounding starts a bit lower, making it look more dumpy. It also appears slightly wider.

I don't know which is correct.

Edited by sroubos

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The Airfix canopy is either too low, too wide or both: this is clear by comparing the kit with photos of the original (see the latest Airfix magazine) because the top line does not rise aft of the top of the flat windscreen. The question is whether this is due to a flaw in the spine - is it just too shallow? - or in the main fuselage. If the spine is just too shallow then this is fairly easily corrected. I believe that you are saying that the cross-sections of the two kits have the same depth from the belly to the top of the spine. In this case the flaw appears to be that the round part of Airfix's fuselage is too fat and hence ends too high. Which isn't so easy to fix: the lesser of the evils is probably to extend the spine and get a replacement canopy anyway, and just live with it being a little deep. There are plenty of kits around that would look worse.

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I believe that you are saying that the cross-sections of the two kits have the same depth from the belly to the top of the spine. In this case the flaw appears to be that the round part of Airfix's fuselage is too fat and hence ends too high.

Yes, that's the case.

Personally it's not an issue for me but if one is a purist or just very knowledgeable about the type I do understand it is annoying to look at.

Edited by sroubos

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Not my picture,but a shot of 2 different cowls on III's side by side.

You're right! I never realized that.

After reading your post I immediately turned to the set of pictures by Lt. Chilton: https://www.flickr.com/photos/billchilton/sets/72157623826178790 (on page 2)

and there are indeed Martlets both with and without the upper cowl air intake.

Two machines with no air intake on the upper cowl lip were AX744 and HK842. Reportedly, AX744 was Bu.No. 3900. Detail and Scale no. 65 on the Wildcat has a nice diagram showing a number of changes of cowling shape and the position of air intakes on the F4F-3/3A.

Claudio

Edited by ClaudioN

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Not my picture,but a shot of 2 different cowls on III's side by side.

Looks like I'm doing another Mk III...

Tim

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