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14 hours ago, ClaudioN said:

There weren't many F4F-3s around at the time, so which one are we looking at? From what I have been able to find, the small rectangular fuselage window close to the wheel recess was only present on Bu. Nos. 1844, 1845, 1846, 1847 (and the XF4F-3 protoype, Bu. No. 0383).

  1. for Bu. Nos. 1844 and 1845, photos suggest a standard roundel position, whereas the only photos I found of the XF4F-5 are perfect side views, no chance
  2. the tip of the visible propeller blade seems a bit pointed and "might" suggest a Curtiss propeller

Taking a still closer look, a new question is: what's the thing that changed position, the roundel, or the bomb carrier?

Hi Claudio

Sharp eyes and logical surmise. You spotted something i had missed, the small rectangular "window" aft of the wheel recess.  i went back and reviewed pictures of all the possible airframes.

It's on the XF4F-3, F4F-3 BuNos.1844 &1845, XF4F-5 Bu Nos.1846 &1847. It is not on the Martlet I or the XF4F-6. This knocked my theories about shared airframe feature back a bit. I spent some time looking for a commnon link. It took a second cup of Starbuck's before the light came on.: What if it's not a window? It seems too small to provide a view of anything. Even zooming in, I can't discern if there is glass in it. It's just a rectanglular black hole.

I took a fresh look at the pictures. All the airframes that have it are fitted with the fuselage guns. I think it may be a shell ejection chute.

To test this theory, I looked up the pictures I have of the first production G-36A (NX-G1, finished in Aeronavale mcolours and markings, and built with the fuselage gun mounts intact).. Viola! That airframe has it too! 

I can't say this is a certainty, but it seems likely. The two XF4F-5s were delivered with the fuselage gun stations paneled over, but they had no armament fitted at all, and may have just retained this feature.. I have read that seven G-36As were complete before the contract was turned over to the UK.. Assuming  those early airframes were built with the gun stations, they might also have retained this when the gun stations were deleted and paneled over before delivery to the British, but I cannot say. It is definitely absent on later Marlet Is.

This is all just theory on my part. What do you think? I'm prepared to go back to head-scratching if you have evidence otherwise,

 

I'm convinced you are correct about the identity of the airframe in the photo. It shows a cuffed Curtiss propeller blade. By process of elimination it has to be either 1844 or 1845.

 

As to the position of the wing markings/bomb rack, I looked at as many references as I could find. Different viewing angles make it hard to tell, but I believe that the position of the marking did not change, and that of the rack did.

 

Yes, that is a Gulfhawk. I have another photo that shows it more closely. It"s the second G-32A, NC1326, a two seater that Grumman retained for executive transport.

 

"If reality disagrees with theory, reality wins. Always".

-Richard P Feynman

 

"I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal." 
-Groucho Marx  🥸

Edited by captnwoxof
corrections and clarity
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7 hours ago, Fernando said:

Hi, gentlemen,

 

Is there any indication of the Martlet IIIs (fixed wing,, upper lip carburettor, single cooling flap, blister, cuffed prop -just checking) actual colours when in 805/806 Sqn, FAA, service?

 

The options I have found are:

- Delivery colour of USN Light Grey M-485;

- Middlestone (solid) uppers, LG lowers;

- Middlestone/Dark Earth disruptive uppers, LG lowers;

- Temperate Sea Scheme (LG lowers?)

 

The Desert Scheme is quite interesting (though I would ask for some evidence, other than models and decal sheets) but the last scheme is the one that most interest me. I have read the machines were so repainted when taken to Mackinnon Rd. airfield, Nairobi.

 

Is there any solid evidence of this repaint?

 

Thank you,

 

Fernando

I would refer you to the topics

and 

 Also Tony O'Toole's article on 805 Wildcats in the Apr 08 Model Aircraft Monthly (p.19).

 

As Maurice says in the first topic

 

When received by the Royal Navy’s 805 Squadron, these aircraft were finished in the contemporary US Navy scheme of overall non specular Light Gray (some British authors like to call this “Neutrality Gray” but not the Bureau of Aeronautics' documentation). Subsequently, they received one or more other camouflage scheme, but what these were has been the subject of considerable speculation, including:

•         Upper surfaces overall Middle Stone, retaining the Light Gray undersurfaces

•         Upper surfaces overall Middle Stone, with Azure Blue undersurfaces

•         Upper surfaces in a disruptive desert scheme of Middle Stone and Dark Earth, with Azure Blue undersurfaces

•         Temperate Sea Scheme (Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey with Sky undersurfaces)

 

My view on the matter is as follows, though it is only my view.

 

Tony's MAM article considers the first option, which appears to originate from a photo of 3875 K overturned after an accident.  He shows, by means of a previously unpublished photo of the the same accident, that the aircraft was in fact in the original overall non specular Light Gray.  Also, I think it a bit odd to paint the upper surfaces this way, when it would be more logical to paint them in a disruptive desert scheme as per other allied aircraft at the time.

 

I also discount the second option for the same reason.

 

There are photos of Martlet IIIs in a disruptive camouflage scheme (see the above topics) and it would be logical to conclude, a disruptive desert scheme. A1-B10224-A61-C-46-E2-95-B6-233-D4-AB4-C

 

However, we have the account of Don Nairn in his autobiography book 'Gold Wings and Webbed Feet' (Invercargill, New Zealand: 1996), to refer to. Nairn served with 805 Squadron from December 1941 until January 1943 in both North and East Africa. 

 

Nairn states that, from mid-March 1942, 805 Squadron was tasked primarily with convoy protection. Consequently, during a major overhaul at the end of the month (the aircraft received, amongst other things, new engines and “improved” self-sealing fuel lines that had to be removed because they caused fuel flow problems) “the maintenance boys had also spruced up the sandblasted paintwork with a new over-water camouflage design – a mixture of sea green and blue patterns.” (p.78) What was this scheme? Was it Nairn’s interpretation, 50 years later, of Dark Slate Grey and Extra Dark Sea Grey, or was it the application of one of the Tropical Sea Schemes? Any additional information will be much appreciated. It is possible he misremembered but Nairn was describing his "personal" machine, of which it is very clear he was extremely proud, especially as it was "K" (for Kiwi - he was a New Zealander).

 

Nairn's description quite clearly excludes any type of desert scheme and we would be hard pressed to imagine that he could confuse "sea green and blue" with any brown hues, so I doubt that only a single colour was applied over a previous overall upper surface desert shade.  The contrast between the two upper camouflage colours is low  suggesting the usual FAA Temperate Sea Scheme, though the  under surface colour appears quite dark for Sky and could be Light Mediterranean Blue  or some other colour.

 

The ex-Greek F4F-3A aircraft were taken on charge by the Royal Navy at the very end of April 1941 and most seem to have been issued to 805 Squadron in June (after re-assembly). The change to AX serials from the original Bureau numbers appears to have taken place in August 1941. Nairn dates the application of the camouflage scheme he specified to the very end of March or very early April 1942 (it apparently depended upon when aircraft had to undergo major overhauls). 805 Squadron went to East Africa in August 1942 and exchanged its Martlet III aircraft for Martlet IV machines (Nairn specifically notes that these had Wright Cyclones and folding wings) in October 1942. Therefore, 805 Squadron operated Martlet III's for 14-15 months at the very most. 

 

It seems a very short period of time to be having multiple camouflage schemes.  A case for not receiving a disruptive desert scheme is that I don't believe they were operating up near the front line in the Western desert and thus prone to attack on the ground from Axis aircraft and their overall non specular Light Gray camouflage wasn't apparently putting them at a tactical disadvantage when flying in combat.  But when they switched to overwater operations, their operators naturally turned to the Temperate Sea Scheme, they were familiar with.

 

I'm not saying for sure they didn't receive a  disruptive desert scheme, just that it was unlikely, given the short time concerned and it wasn't mentioned by Don Nairn, who was there at the time.

 

There is this problem photo

 

nairnmartletiii-3.jpg

 

Which suggests the rear three aircraft are in a  disruptive desert scheme and the front three are in the Temperate Sea Scheme, but I wonder if it is just down to an uneven exposure across the plate.

 

I guess you pick a photo and interpret it the way you see it.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, captnwoxof said:

I can't say this is a certainty, but it seems likely. 1844-1848 may have retained this feature, even after the other gun fittings were removed. The photos i have of the very first G-36As reconfigured for delivery to the British (without the gun mounts) are inconclusive, it might be there  or not. It is definitely absent on later ones. This is all just theory on my part. What do you think? I'm prepared to go back to head-scratching if you have evidence otherwise,

 

I'm convinced you are correct about the identity of the airframe in the photo. It shows a cuffed Curtiss propeller blade. By process of elimination it has to be either 1844 or 1845.

 

As to the position of the wing markings/bomb rack, I looked at as many references as I could find. Different viewing angles make it hard to tell, but I believe that the position of the marking did not change, and that of the rack did.

Great idea @captnwoxof, I agree a shell ejection chute is the most likely!

 

This is one ot earliest six Martlet Is delivered to the FAA, and it seemingly does not have the chute.

spacer.png

SDASM Archives (Ray Wagner Collection), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Bu. No. 1848 was a "proper" F4F-3, I believe it did not have the chute either. Thus, the only ones were: Bu. No. 0383, Bu. Nos. 1844-1847, and G-36A NX-G1.

 

I agree the aircraft in the photo has to be either 1844 or 1845, I checked my references and am strongly in favour of 1845, as this aircraft took part in Production Inspection Trials at Anacostia together with Bu. No. 1848, while Bu. No. 1851 went to NAF Philadelphia.

Bu. No. 1845 was delivered to Anacostia on 20 August 1940 and was tested at the Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, VA on 22-23 August and 3-4 September 1940. What is most important from our viewpoint is that bomb release tests were carried out by this machine.

I also believe that on this aircraft the bomb carriers were located further inboard than on subsequent production machines. I suspect this is related to the number of machine guns in the wing bay.

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That shot of the XF4F-5 above is excellent! Makes one wonder if bailing out safely through the short canopy might have been an issue?

 

Speaking of baseless speculation...re: the 805 Squadron Martlet III camo question, the linked previous thread noted that the replacement engines and cowls (without the lip intake seen originally on these aircraft) might have come from Martlet II spares. Might this have given the field paint crew inspiration - and a head start - on a Temperate Sea Scheme?

Edited by MDriskill
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I found the full report of F4F-3 Production Inspection Trials is avalable from this site.

It makes an interesting read, combined with the caption in the XF4F-5 photo potsed by @MDriskill, where delivery date of the two XF4F-5 aircraft at Anacostia is given, July 2, 1940.

Here are some extracts:

  • F4F-3 airplanes Nos. 1844 and 1845 were equipped for the installation of two .30 caliber synchronized guns and two .50 caliber wing guns
  • Nos. 1846 and 1847 were converted to model XF4F-5 airplanes by change No. J of contract NOs-68219 and a separate report will be made on these airplanes
  • Airplanes Nos. 1848 and 1851 , by the incorporation of modifications arranged for under contract NOs-68219, were equipped with four .50 caliber wing guns and were supplied with armor protection and a stronger undercarriage or their equivalent in ballast

The mention of the XF4F-5s is interesting. Production Inspection Trials of the F4F-3 began on August 23, 1940, by which time the two XF4F-5 machines had been available for testing at Anacostia for over one month.

Keep on reading:

  • the preliminary demonstration of the model F4F-3 airplane was carried out before the Inspector of Naval Aircraft, Bethpage, Long Island, using airplanes Nos. 1844 and 1845. The report (...) reference (f), the endorsement stating "(...) satisfactory in all respects". Inspector report date: August 20, 1940
  • Model F4F-3 airplane No. 1845, designated Item 3(a) of the contract in place of No. 1844 by reference (g) (date of reference (g): December 30, 1940, seemingly a bureaucratic step), was delivered at the Naval Air Station, Anacostia, on August 20, 1940
  • Final demonstration of model F4F-3 airplane No. 1845 was carried out at at the Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Virginia, on August 22-23 and September 3-4, 1940. Report (...) by reference (j). Report date: September 13, 1940

Summarising, my understanding is that, until August 20, 1940, no F4F-3 had been officially delivered to the US Navy, whereas the two XF4F-5 had. The Production Inspection Trials report relates about ground- and air-firing trials, as well as bomb release trials in dives up to 80°, by Bu. No. 1845, with air-firing trials proving not entirely satisfactory. Excessive engine heating and "roughness" under certain high-altitude flying conditions are also emphasised. Modifications were reported to be necessary. What about the other aircraft? Let's go on:

  • In addition to the preliminary demonstration (...) and the final demonstration, a special demonstration of model F4F-3 airplane No. 1848 was carried out by the contractor. The report (...) reference (k). Report date: November 27, 1940
  • Arresting, night flying and catapult tests were conducted with model F4F-3 airplane No. 1851 at the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia. The results (...) reference (o) (...) Report date: January 6, 1941
  • (...) vibration tests were conducted by the Naval Aircraft Factory on model F4F-3 airplane No. 1851. Flight tests only were conducted since the airplane was assumed to be similar, with the exception of the power plant, to the model XF4F-5 airplane upon which a complete survey was conducted and reported on by reference (p). Report date: September 12, 1940

 

I am building up my own picture, by I'll leave it to my next mail.

 

Claudio

 

 

Edited by ClaudioN
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spacer.png

Just noted in this photo posted by @MDriskill in the "Grumman F4F-3 colours" thread:

  • Bu. No. 1845 stiil retains the original curved, almost frameless windscreen. The original telescopic gunsight opening can still be seen.
  • the cowling is different from that of the F4F-3 in the background and appears to be the same of the G-36A (same as Bu. No. 1844, too) I am not referring to the cowling flaps, but to the horizontal split of the two cowling parts, with prominent rectangular fasteners.
Edited by ClaudioN
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So I've looked at the previously provided construction numbers, BuNo's and acceptance dates for the production of F4Fs by Grumman. 

 

When you look at the US specific variants (F4F-3 and F4F-4), there is a fairly smooth evolutionary process through the production batches. 

 

  1. You start off with the F4F-3 1st group P&W R-1830-76 Twin Wasp, cowling lip carb air scoop, single cooling flap, original unbraced windscreen and non-folding 4 gun wing.
  2. With the F4F-3 2nd group, the interim and less effective internal carb air scoop and braced windscreen are introduced to address structural weaknesses
  3. The F4F-3 3rd group introduces the P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp with its 3 + 1 cooling flap arrangement and fairing between the wing and cowling associated with a revised intercooler design to address engine overheating and reliability problems.
  4. Then, with the F4F-4, a strengthened cowling lip carb air scoop and unbraced windscreen are introduced to replace the interim F4F-3 arrangements, and more importantly a  folding 6 gun wing is introduced.

General Motors would continue to evolve the design, culminating in the FM-2

 

It is when you add the foreign variants (G-36A, G-36B, F4F-3A and F4F-4B) into the mix that it gets a little confusing as concurrent production, the use of legacy features and the introduction of new features ahead of US variants, muddies the evolutionary tale.

 

My observations are as follows...

 

G-36A Martlet I

 

The French G-36A is built first, though out of construction number order. I believe this is because the USN wants a significantly re-structured wing which would require some time to produce.  The G-36A uses a less revised XF4F-3 wing which could be produced more quickly.  Perhaps the French, then the British don't have time to wait for the F4F-3 wing.  91 construction numbers were allocated, but only 81 were manufactured.

 

1st group of F4F-3s

 

Once the G-36As are built, the construction of first batch of the first group of F4F-3s is started. These have all the original Twin Wasp features as set out at the top of this post 

 

G-36B Martlet III(A)

 

In December 1940, Grumman starts to construct 100 G-36Bs for the Royal Navy alongside the first group of F4F-3s, but production is suspended after the first 10 fuselages are built. This is because the RN want folding wings with more guns for its aircraft and it becomes apparent these won't be available for several months. GB has purchased its 100  R-1830-S3C4-G engines with the then current cowling features of cowling lip carb air scoop and single cooling flap.   I assume the 10 fuselages, remaining 90 engines and other components are kept ready to restart production, when the folding wings become available.

 

These 10 aircraft did introduce the previously unseen braced windscreen.  Given these 10 airframes were built during the production run of  the first group of F4F-3s, you would think that at least the 2nd batch of F4F-3s (BuNo. 2512 to 2538) would also feature this interim measure, but they don't.  Perhaps this was a Royal Navy requested item that wasn't immediately adopted by the USN?  Interestingly, the G-36B construction numbers are well out of sequence with 2#### numbers relevant to December 1942 machines.

 

The RN needed the G-36Bs urgently and the 10 completed fuselages are fitted with F4F-3 wings in February 1941 and shipped to the UK.  Most were presumed used and lost on the RNs first escort carrier HMS Audacity which didn't have a hanger deck and which was sunk in December 1941.

 

2nd group of F4F-3s

 

With regard to the 2nd group of 19 F4F-3s that followed, I can't be sure if they were constructed before the F4F-3As or after.  I have, given the lack of the fairing between the wing and cowling, decided they were built before, despite their acceptance date being in May after that of the F4F-3As.  I think they were constructed shortly after the 10 G-36Bs in early 1941, but then were not ready for acceptance for a couple of months, possibly due to a shortage of engines or continued problems with engine overheating or reliability.   I think, if they were built after the F4F-3As, they would also feature the fairing between the wing and cowling, as they would have been a standard manufacturing feature by then (see next para). 

 

F4F-3A Martlet III(B)

 

In March 1941, Grumman started to construct the first of 95 F4F-3As.  These machines reprised the use of the original cowling lip carb air scoop, despite being dropped by the contemporary 2nd group of 19 F4F-3s in favour of an interim internal carb air scoop arrangement.  Was this because the original ducting weaknesses of the original cowling lip carb air scoop was not an issue for the -90 engine? 

 

The later folding wing G-36Bs with their equivalent S3C4-G engines, switched to the internal carb air scoop arrangement, so perhaps there was an issue.  It has been noted that some of the RN F4F-3As in Africa, later switched to internal carb air scoop arrangements, though this is probably due to a change of engine, rather than a need for the internal carb air scoop arrangement.

 

Of course if the 2nd group of 19 F4F-3s were built after the F4F-3As, it wouldn't be a reprise, but then that would throw up the issue of the missing clearance fairings on the 19 F4F-3s (see above para). 

 

The most interesting F4F-3A feature though is the clearance fairing between the wing and cowling.  This was some three to one months before the 3rd group of 19 F4F-3s introduced the -86 engine with its revised intercooler which required the clearance fairing.  The -90 engine didn't have an intercooler, never mind the revised one, so it wasn't necessary.

 

I can only assume that Grumman started to produce the revised nose panels with the clearance fairing, as standard several months before they were actually required. The fact that photos of RN Martlet IIIBs show this unnecessary clearance fairing to be present, would suggest that even early F4F-3As had the revised nose panels, not just those built towards the end of the production run.

 

3rd group of F4F-3s

 

The third group of F4F-3s for the USN are built next. These introduced the -86 engine with the definitive 3 + 1 cooling flaps, revised intercooler and associated clearance fairing on the nose panel. However, It also continued with the interim internal carb air scoop and braced windscreen of the previous group of F4F-3s.

 

G-36B Martlet IIs

 

In the Autumn of 1941, the requested up-gunned folding wings, finally became available.  The remaining 90 G-36Bs are now built.  Despite the date of production, the previously purchased R-1830-S3C4-G engines have the early 1941 standard single cooling flap.  It did though have the current production standard interim internal carb air scoop,  braced windscreen and nose panel with the clearance fairing between the wing and cowling.  The first few machines don't have nose panels with the clearance fairings, presumably because they used nose panels originally acquired in December and kept in storage when production was suspended.   

 

With regard to the engine cowlings, it is hard to know if they were original Dec 41 versions with some changes made to the cowling lip (to remove the carb air scoop) or new build ones but with the legacy single cooling flap.  Perhaps there wasn't the same cooling issue with the S3C4-G engine.  The equivalent -90 engine has been operating OK with the one cooling flap in the heat of North Africa since June, so no need to make unnecessary changes to the cooling flap arrangement?   

 

F4F-4

 

Before G-36B production ends, the USN finally starts to receive its own folding wing F4Fs in the form of the F4F-4.  These have the same -86 engine and  3 + 1 cooling flap/revised intercooler features of the previous F4F-3 group, but also introduce the definitive strengthened cowling lip carb air scoop and unbraced windscreen.

 

F4F-4B Martlet IV

 

Whilst the F4F-4s are being built, but after the remaining G-36Bs have been completed, Grumman also builds the F4F-4B /Wildcat IV for the Royal Navy.  These are basically F4F-4s with R-1820-G205A Cyclone engines. 

 

In summary (anyone know how to insert a table?)

 

Variant                                      Construction number                            BuNo/GB serial                        Acceptance months                        Key features

 

G-36A Martlet I                        646 - 736 (91) (81 built)                         AL236-AL262 (27)                    Jul to Oct 1940                                Wright R-1820-G205A Cyclone

                                                                                                                AX824-AX829 (6)                                                                            Two piece Cyclone cowl with                                                                                                                       BJ507-BJ527 (21)                                                                               no cooling flap             

                                                                                                                BJ554-BJ570 (17)                                                                            Carb air scoop on cowling lip                                                                                                                       BT447-BT456 (10)                                                                              Modified XF4F-3 wing with                                                                                                                                                                                                                                two wide spaced single gun bays      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

F4F-3 1st group 1st batch         561 - 610                                              1848 to 1896 (49)                     Nov 1940 to Feb 1941                     P&W R-1830-76 Twin Wasp

F4F-3 1st group 2nd batch        616 - 642                                              2512 to 2538 (27)                                                                             Carb air scoop on cowling lip

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Single cooling flap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  F4F-3 wing (with a double gun bay)

 

G-36B Martlet III(A)                    2235 - 2244                                          AM954 to AM963 (10)             Mar 1941                                     P&W R-1830-S3C4-G Twin Wasp

                                                                                                                                                                 (constructed Dec 40.                        Carb air scoop on cowling lip

                                                                                                                                                                 F4F-3 wings fitted Feb 41)               Single cooling flap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          F4F-3 wing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Braced windscreen

                                                     

F4F-3 2nd group                        738 - 756                                              3856 to 3874 (19)                    May 41                                             P&W R-1830-76 Twin Wasp

                                                                                                                                                                (constructed Feb/Mar 41?)               Internal carb air scoop 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Single cooling flap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         F4F-3 wing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Braced windscreen

 

F4F-3A Martlet III(B)                    757 - 786                                              3875 to 3904 (30)                   Mar 41                                               P&W R-1830-90 Twin Wasp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           (military version of S3C4-G)

F4F-3A USN                                787 - 851                                               3905 to 3969 (65)                   April to May 41                                  Carb air scoop on cowling lip

                                                                                                                                                                                                                (some later seen in 1942 without this)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Single cooling flap

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Fairing between wing and cowling 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               (not needed until -86 engine - Jun 41)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           F4F-3 wing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Braced windscreen

 

F4F-3 3rd group                          852 - 939                                               3970 to 4057 (88)                    Jun to Sep 1941                               P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Internal carb air scoop  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 + 1 cooling flaps

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fairing between wing and cowling

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            F4F-3 wing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Braced windscreen 

 

G-36B Martlet II                           2245 - 2280                                          AM964 to AM999 (36)              Aug to Dec 41                          P&W R-1830-S3C4-G Twin Wasp

                                                     2281 - 2334                                          AJ100 to AJ153 (54)                 (production delayed from               Internal carb air scoop

                                                                                                                                                                    Dec 40/Jan 41 for folding wings)   Single cooling flap         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Fairing between wing and cowling

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (not on early AM serial machines)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Folding wing with 6 guns 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Braced windscreen

 

F4F-4 (1st batch)                         940 - 980 (41) (31 built)                         4058 to 4098 (31)                       Nov 41 to Dec 42                         P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp

F4F-4 (2nd batch)                        981 - 1000                                             5030 to 5049 (20)                                                                   Revised cowling lip carb air scoop 

                                                    2001 - 2213                                           5050 to 5262 (213)                                                                           3 + 1 cooling flaps 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Fairing between wing and cowling

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Folding wing with 6 guns 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Revised unbraced windscreen 

 

F4F-4B /Wildcat IV                       2806 - 3025                                          FN100 to FN319 (220)                  Jun to Nov 42                            Wright R-1820 - 40 Cyclone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Internal carb air scoop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Single cooling flap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Folding wing with 6 guns

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Revised unbraced windscreen

 

F4F-4 (3rd batch)                        3026 - 3187                                             01991 to 02152 (162)               Nov 41 to Dec 42                        P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp

F4F-4 (4th batch)                          3190 - 3349                                           03385 to 03544 (160)                                                               Revised cowling lip carb air scoop

F4F-4 (5th batch)                          ?                                                            1655 to 12227 (573)                                                                     3 + 1 cooling flaps 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fairing between wing and cowling

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Folding wing with 6 guns 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Revised unbraced windscreen 

 

F4F-3 4th group                                                                                     12230 to 12329 (100)              Jan to May 43                              P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Revised cowling lip carb air scoop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 + 1 cooling flaps

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Fairing between wing and cowling

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         F4F-3 wing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Revised unbraced windscreen 

Edited by detail is everything
sorting table out
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On 10/5/2022 at 2:19 AM, detail is everything said:

You start off with the F4F-3 1st group P&W R-1830-76 Twin Wasp, cowling lip carb air scoop, single cooling flap, original unbraced windscreen and non-folding 4 gun wing.

A few more details regarding F4F-3 (1st group)

A two-part cowling was used on early machines, from the XF4F-3 prototype up to at least Bu. No. 1850 (it is visible in one of the photos of this aircraft).

All F4F-3s in the first group were delivered with the telescopic gunsight.

Bu. No. 2538, last in the first batch, photographed on delivery on February 21st, 1941, shows the unbraced windscreen.

 

spacer.png

Grumman no. 7783

 

In the photo below, which is dated October 1941, Bu. No. 2538 appears to have been retrofitted with a braced windscreen. The telescopic gunsight is visible.

spacer.png

NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Edited by ClaudioN
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Hallo, gentlemen,

 

I have to make clear that I do not have the kit by Eduard in my possession, but I have built several Tamiya and Hobbyboss kits so as to have the shapes of the F4F embedded in my mind. I have been watching some pictures of the new Eduard kit. Is it me, or the nose seems too long and possibly a bit narrow (and therefore the windscreen looking too high)? What are your thoughts on the matter? I attach the link to the Modellversium ezine.

 

 https://www.modellversium.de/galerie/9-flugzeuge-ww2/17122-grumman-f4f-3-wildcat-eduard.html

 

Fernando

Edited by Fernando
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Agreed, the new Eduard 1/48 F4F-3 kit is to my eye, by far the most accurate Wildcat ever done in that scale. A lot of very careful research was done, including use of Jumpei Temma's superb drawing set linked above (and his work is always particularly fastidious about correct sectional shapes). I'm not familiar with the Hobby Boss Wildcats, but the Tamiya kit has some significant errors especially in the nose geometry.

 

The recent 1/72 Arma kits - F4F-4 / Martlet II, and FM-2 / Wildcat VI - also used Temma's drawings. They may have minor problems with overly delicate surface detail (not something I say often re: 1/72 kits, LOL!), but their accuracy and overall detail are likewise far in advance of any predecessors.

 

Mr. Temma's site has this excellent comparative illustration of the Grumman sloped nose sides that dragonlanceHR mentions.

AD579253-7-D2-F-4-DF4-B48-F-CF05-B62105-

Edited by MDriskill
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Some posts ago we were talking about construction numbers, Bu. Nos., and how variants possibly mixed on the production line. One specific point was when production switched from the R-1830-76 to the R-1830-86 engine and how many F4F-3s flew with the earlier engine.

@Geoffrey Sinclair provided a list of acceptances by month here (scroll down almost to the end of the page), showing that only F4F-3As were accepetd between March and May 1941. To me this suggests that, regardless of construction number or Bu. No. sequence, the -3A replaced the -3 on the production line for three months. Next logical step is to assume that the Bu. No. sequence on delivery changed to: Bu. Nos. 1848-1896 (49), 2512-2538 (27) up to the end of February 1941 and using the R-1830-76 engine, then F4F-3A Bu. Nos. 3875-3969 (95) between March and May 1941, using the R-1830-90 engine and, at last, F4F-3 Bu. Nos. 3856-3874 (19), 3970-4057 (88) up to the end of September 1941, using the R-1830-86 engine. 

 

Other interesting information was reported in this page of the www2aircraft.net web site. The poster is R. Leonard.

In reading the text by Mr. Leonard I assume "allotment" is not synonimous with "delivery", as he seemingly does, but rather a form of administrative advance information. With this in mind, everything seems to fit nicely with the numbers in the list of acceptances.

Interestingly, in addition to VF-6 and VMF-111 also VF-5 is reported as being equipped with the F4F-3A, something I had never read elsewhere.

 

Now, here's a kind of puzzle:

spacer.png

SDASM Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

An aircraft of VF-71, marked 71-F-12, leads Bu. No. 2527 42-F-8 of VF-42 on a runway at Norfolk, reportedly in March 1941.

71-F-12 has a braced windscreen and is finished in Light Gray overall ("neutrality grey"). As a production finish, this colour scheme is associated with aircraft from the second order. 

42-F-8 has an unbraced windscreen and telescopic gunsight. Finish is typical of the second group of 27 aircraft in the first order, i.e., aluminium overall, no Chrome Yellow on wing upper surfaces, carrier colour on fin.

Possible interpretations:

  • 71-F-12 is a new-build aircraft from the second order. If the photo was taken in March it has to be a F4F-3A, but VF-71 is not reported as having this variant
  • 71-F-12 is an aircraft from the first order, that was retrofitted with a braced windscreen and repainted in Light Gray overall. However, aircraft from the first order were issued to VF-41, VF-72 and VF-42, in this order. This may have left just enough aircraft to also equip VF-71, but usually units were issued with consecutive batches of aircraft, which would be hardly possible in this case
  • reported photograph date (March 1941) is incorrect, a more realistic date could be around June 1941
  • acceptance reports are wrong

Make your choice, or suggest something different!

Edited by ClaudioN
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Since my name became associated with this thread I have been following it (cautiously). I took the opportunity to follow up on the references to Jumpei Temma's work on the F4F and was most impressed by his attention to sourcing original material for it. I also found it interesting to learn that his work was the basis for new kits in 1:48 scale (Eduard) and 1:72 scale (Arma), so I decided to take hard looks at the online reviews of these two kits.

 

I am sorry to say that all of the above have missed a significant feature of all the F4F family (and also of the F2F, F3F, and (I believe) the F6F family, too). The fuselage skin of the F4F is not flush - the individual panels lap over each other, starting from the tail. In other words, there is no narrow division between the panels but a ridge the thickness of the skin material at the trailing edge of each panel with a line of quite prominent dome-headed rivets just forward of that trailing edge (rather like the plating on a rivetted ship's hull). The manufacturer was not sometimes called "Grumman Ironworks" for no reason!

 

Both Eduard and Arma have the rivet pattern correct but the flush skin of the fuselage and the panel line is just plain wrong.

 

Maurice

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Similar comments have been passed on B-17 models.  Model manufacturers simply do are not as aware of actual engineering practices.  However, given the actual skin thicknesses, it is difficult to see how this can be adequately represented, at least in the smaller scale.

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3 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Similar comments have been passed on B-17 models.  Model manufacturers simply do are not as aware of actual engineering practices.  However, given the actual skin thicknesses, it is difficult to see how this can be adequately represented, at least in the smaller scale.

Eduard managed it with their Hellcats, wonder why they didn't pick up on the Wildcat?

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I have watched craftsmen making masters for resin-cast models of rivetted hulls do this. They place very thin self-adhesive tape along the line of the overlap and skim car body stopper up to it with a spatula. If it is possible on a 1:350-scale model, it ought to be possible for a major manufacturer to solve this challenge.

 

Maurice

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I have not checked every kit (obviously) but it seems that the finest panel lines inscribed on the top-of-the-line examples of today are 0.003 to 0.005 inches wide. At 1:72 scale, that equals 0.216 to 0.36 inches. At 1:48 scale that equals 0.14 to 0.24 inches. I rather doubt that gaps of that size would be acceptable on a full-size machine, but model builders extol their accuracy.

 

I do not know the actual thickness of the skin material on an F4F. I understand the minimum thickness of Alclad is 0.040 to 0.050 inches and the maximum is as much as 0.24 inches. At 1:48 scale the thinnest material is a thickness of 0.001 inches., at 1:72 scale it is 0.0007 inches.

 

Clearly, a lap of 0.003 inches could be considerably overscale, but so is a gap between flush skins of the same width, yet one is "overscale" and the other is an "excellent" representation.

 

Maurice

 

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9 hours ago, mdesaxe said:

Clearly, a lap of 0.003 inches could be considerably overscale, but so is a gap between flush skins of the same width, yet one is "overscale" and the other is an "excellent" representation.

 

Only in some people's opinion.  Both are overscale.  What some modellers will accept differs from what is accurate - after all, some modellers were delighted with the gouges across the wings of Matchbox kits (and still are) and poured scorn on those who felt that the fine raised detail present on the better of other contemporaries was more desirable.  We are a mixed collection, and the increasingly fine representation of such structural matters is a major thread in our hobby.  Here we have a split between seekers after accuracy and those who are happy with a representation of something they know exists on the original.  (Or just "Duh, it looks good dunnit.") The kit maker will judge his kit as to where he can make the most money, and seekers after fine levels of accuracy are but one of several minorities.

 

For accuracy, there are multiple different standards of steps and gaps on an aircraft.  Where the air is travelling fastest over the surface, at the leading edges of wings and the fuselage nose, the skin must be as smooth as possible and in the interests of performance considerable cost is justified to achieve this.  Across the main part of the wing, a lower standard is acceptable, and at the rear of the wing there is a lower (but still high) standard.    At the rear of the fuselage of long aircraft the boundary layer is so thick that quite prominent lumps and bumps, even bolt heads, can be ignored.  Where panels have to be removed, obviously armament, engine, and other access panels, require larger gaps in order to ease access and allow for some clumsiness in handling.  Then we get to moving surfaces such as flaps, ailerons, and elevators.  Here the gaps are larger still. 

 

In model terms (mainly thinking here of 1/72 scale) these can be represented as no visible signs of butt panel joins, fine lines for removable panels (sometimes quite noticeable on some types, Spitfire engine panels come to mind.)  Then the very noticeable gaps for the moving parts.

 

For representation purposes, some modellers and model makers prefer an exaggeration of some details, mainly the fixed panel lines.  There is clearly some reason behind this when it comes to modelling bare metal types, where the appearance of adjacent panels can differ because of different alloys or different grain directions.  However, its value on painted surfaces is another matter.  I think that this is where we get back to the Eduard Hellcat and the B-17.  The exaggerated step and the alternative fine groove are both an approximation attempting a representation of something visible on the real thing but invisible in scale.

 

Thanks for giving values to this argument.  Given the use of CAD, it is possible to place any degree of precision on the digital master.  How this can be achieved with the cutting of the metal mould is another matter, for which others know better than I, but it seems inevitable that finer detail will cost time and hence money, and possibly reduce the effective life of the tool.  You don't get owt for nowt, as my Yorkshire neighbours would say.

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23 hours ago, ClaudioN said:

An aircraft of VF-71, marked 71-F-12, leads Bu. No. 2527 42-F-8 of VF-42 on a runway at Norfolk, reportedly in March 1941.

Here's what I have on these two aircraft. (Secondary sources, but reliable.)

 

42-F-8 (BuNo. 2527)      One of a block (BuNos. 2512-2520) delivered in February 1941 and assigned to VF-41. (SS In Action # 191, Richard Dann). 2512-2538 were allowed to be delivered in a factory finish of overall alumininum with ship tail colors and white codes (CW #4, Dana Bell). These aircraft had the tubular gunsight, but may or may not have had the braced windscreen.

 

71-F-12 (BuNo. unknown)     Possibly 3860 or 3861. These two were delivered and assigned to VF-71 in June when -3A production ended and -3 deliveries resumed. (Dann) By then the switch to overall Light Gray had been promulgated, and this was the factory finish.(Bell) These aircraft had the braced windscreen. The cowl (unfortuntely not in view). had the internal carb air intake, but did not have the eight cowl flaps.

 

My best guess: photo taken in June or shortly after.

 

10 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

For representation purposes, some modellers and model makers prefer an exaggeration of some details, mainly the fixed panel lines. 

Just to throw in a little perspective: two things can both be true. Mdesaxe is correct about the manner of construction of the real aircraft, but Graham has a valid point about the futility of trying to represent this in actual scale on a miniature. Remember that the miniature is not a real airplane, it is a piece of 3D art. Like all art, it is subjective and open to debate. Generally, the primary function of molded or engraved surface detail on a model is to provide a surface that will allow a modeller to use finishing materials (paints, washes, pastels, etc) to enhance the illusion of 3D detail and create the illusion of a relistic replica at normal viewing distances. The sublety of finishing techniques will determine the success of this, and is just as important as the subtlety of the engineering of the kit. And, again it is up to the individual modeler to interprete and create the effect they desire.👨‍🎨

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I didn't use the word futile.  I would prefer to see an accurate small scale replica of the original.  I do not see modelling as a 3D art, but as a craft.  To me, adding detail for this purpose is akin to the old practice of raised lines for markings to make painting them easier, or massive rivets because real aircraft had rivets. What would be futile would be attempting to produce a model that would satisfy the interests and approaches of all modellers in one package.

 

 

 

 

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http://fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/collections/franklin/?p=collections/findingaid&id=502

 

Has a lot of files imaged and available to read, the downside being a non systematic collection as far as things like USN aircraft production is concerned and no index, you need to read through each file.  There is probably some more in there about the early F4F but finding things takes a lot of time.  The Lend-Lease section shows just how broad the system was, not just finished weapons.  I am treating things as a good way to find titles etc. of reports to ask for/find in the USN and US archives.

 

With regards to the F4F, items found so far,

Lend lease April-July 1941 http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/_resources/images/psf/psfa0142.pdf
Page 217, FDR memo, originally allocated 30 Grumman to UK 19 March, reallocated to Greece 28 March, back to UK 22 May 1941. Reference (Lend Lease number?) 206

 

Navy - Reports & Bulletins, October 1940 - April 1941 Part 2 http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/_resources/images/psf/b-psfc000129.pdf
Page 65, 17 December 1940 Grumman awarded $36,250,455 contract for fighters and pare parts, which if compatible with the dates from the USN acceptances reports is probably the date of the first expansion of the second order.  Though of course if the contract was all aircraft it would be a unit price of nearly $143,000, assuming half the value is spares it is still an expensive aircraft, even given the USAAF 1939-41 average P-40 reported cost of $60,562 and the P-39 at $77,159 are correct.

 

Navy, July - December 1941 part 1 http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/_resources/images/psf/b-psfc000073.pdf
Page 93 USN aircraft orders and deliveries (acceptances?) as of 1 September 1941, report continues to part 2 of the file. Graphical and tabular it includes engine deliveries and the intended schedules.  The 897 F4F under order as of 1 September 1941 consist of

On 8 August 1939 the USN ordered 54 F4F-3, then date unknown added another 27 added,   1 to XF4F-4 and 2 to XF4F-5
1 XF4F-6 added to the original USN order dated 20 November 1940

5 August 1940 the USN placed its second order, for 243 F4F-4
Date unknown the USN added another 254 F4F-4 now believed to be 17 December 1940.
On 23 June 1941 another 162 F4F-4 added
On 28 July 1941 another 160 F4F-4 added

This totals 901 aircraft, less the XF4F-4, the 2 XF4F-5 and the XF4F-6 = 897.  The report indicates Grumman were around 100 aircraft ahead of schedule while Pratt and Whitney were behind schedule.

 

Edit addition: Navy - Defense Aid Funds Report http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/_resources/images/psf/b-psfc000102.pdf

page 11, approved allocation, dated 3 April 1941, for 150 F4F-4B and 20% spares, total cost $10,980,000, $73,200 per F4F including spares. (50 PBM-4 with 20% spares $33,336,000, Also 25 April - 150 PBY-5 plus 20% spares $35,577,000, 50 PB2Y-3 plus 20% spares $34,236,000, 13 May - 50 Grumman airplanes including propellers and spares $5,150,000)

 

The first F6F Hellcat order is dated 23 May 1942.

Edited by Geoffrey Sinclair
F4F-4B note.
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On 10/11/2022 at 8:33 PM, ClaudioN said:

To me this suggests that, regardless of construction number or Bu. No. sequence, the -3A replaced the -3 on the production line for three months. Next logical step is to assume that the Bu. No. sequence on delivery changed to: Bu. Nos. 1848-1896 (49), 2512-2538 (27) up to the end of February 1941 and using the R-1830-76 engine, then F4F-3A Bu. Nos. 3875-3969 (95) between March and May 1941, using the R-1830-90 engine and, at last, F4F-3 Bu. Nos. 3856-3874 (19), 3970-4057 (88) up to the end of September 1941, using the R-1830-86 engine. 

@ClaudioNSo.....what is interesting here is that batch of 19 F4F-3s Bu. Nos. 3856-3874.  When they were manufactured (in relation to the F4F-3As) and what engine did they have.

 

Manufacture sequence

 

Having looked at the Bu. Nos., construction numbers and variant features, I concluded in my post of October 5 above, the following sequence of manufacture

 

Variant                          Construction number                         BuNo                                        Acceptance months                        Engine

 

F4F-3 1st group            561 - 610 (49)                                    1848 to 1896                           Nov 1940 to Feb 1941                    P&W R-1830-76 Twin Wasp

                                     616 - 642 (27)                                    2512 to 2538

 

F4F-3 2nd group           738 - 756 (19)                                    3856 to 3874                           May 41(built Feb/Mar 41?)             P&W R-1830-76 Twin Wasp

 

F4F-3A Martlet III(B)      757 - 786 (30)                                    3875 to 3904                           Mar 41                                            P&W R-1830-90 Twin Wasp

F4F-3A USN                   787 - 851 (65)                                    3905 to 3969                           Apr to May 41

 

F4F-3 3rd group            852 - 939 (88)                                    3970 to 4057                            Jun to Sep 41                                 P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp

 

You are saying the sequence should be

 

Variant                          Construction number                         BuNo                                       Production months                          Engine

 

F4F-3 1st group            561 - 610 (49)                                    1848 to 1896                           up to end Feb 1941                         P&W R-1830-76 Twin Wasp

                                     616 - 642 (27)                                    2512 to 2538

 

F4F-3 2nd group           738 - 756 (19)                                    3856 to 3874                           May 41(built Feb/Mar 41?)             P&W R-1830-76 Twin Wasp

 

F4F-3A Martlet III(B)      757 - 786 (30)                                    3875 to 3904                           March to May 41                            P&W R-1830-90 Twin Wasp

F4F-3A USN                   787 - 851 (65)                                    3905 to 3969                           

 

F4F-3 2nd group          738 - 756 (19)                                  3856 to 3874                          Jun to Sep 41                                P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp

 

F4F-3 3rd group            852 - 939 (88)                                    3970 to 4057                            Jun to Sep 41                                 P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp

 

Quite a difference with regard to timing for that 2nd group of 19 F4F-3s

 

Variant features wise, this is a better sequence with regard to the cowl lip carb air scoop (it changing to an internal air scoop on the 2nd and 3rd F4F-3 groups). 

 

Take out the F4F-3As and it also works for the intercooler duct clearance fairing on the nose panel between wing and cowl (it being introduced with the 3rd F4F-3 group and its redesigned intercooler).  But this fairing inexplicably appears on the F4F-3As way before the the 3rd F4F-3 group and despite having no intercooler.  If it is a new production standard panel, it should also appear on machines from the 2nd F4F-3 group. But it doesn't.

 

One possibility is that the P&W R-1830-90 engine required the clearance fairing for a reason the 2nd F4F-3 group didn't, and the 3rd F4F-3 group adopted the F4F-3A panel to accommodate the re-designed intercooler.  However, no evidence has been put forward for this and I don't see why the -90 engine would need it.

 

Another possibility is the the 2nd F4F-3 group just used a batch of old leftover nose panels which didn't feature the clearance fairing. It was a very small production batch of 19 machines using the original intercooler which didn't required the modified panel. But again, no evidence to suggest this.

 

R Leonard's post

 

Mr Leonard states the following

 

February 41: F-4F-3A BuNos 3905-3969 delivered to AirBatFor in San Diego for assignment. 

By end March: F4F-3 (2nd group) BuNos 3864-3874 and (3rd group) 3994-4017 were likewise delivered to AirBatFor San Diego for assignment. 

By June 41 F4F-3 (3rd group) BuNos 3982-3992 remained there but 3993-4017 went back east to VMF-1.

By June 41: AirBatFor is also starting to see arrivals of F4F-4 types BuNos 5070-5112 and 5170-5236 for future assignment.

By June 41: All F4F-3As as delivered from AirBatFor with no notations regarding BuNos

July 41: AirBatFor is not showing any -3s nor -3As BuNos this month (though that does not mean they don’t have any) and no changes to its -4 inventory.

 

This certainly suggests that the 2nd and 3rd groups of F4F-3s were manufactured (or at least delivered) after the F4F-3As.  However, could it not be the case that delivery of the 2nd group of F4F-3s to AirBatFor was delayed (perhaps because of engine shortages or continued engine overheating/reliability problems) until after the F4F-3As.

 

The engine used by the 2nd group of F4F-3s

 

 When I first set out the features of the various F4F-3 production groups here, I used Detail and Scale Vol 7 as my primary reference source which stated that the 2nd group of 19 used the -86 engine. This was challenged here and I responded here.

 

After further discussion here, I concluded that the 2nd F4F-3 group of 19, were powered by the -76 engine and not as Detail and Scale Vol 7 stated the -86 engine. Also that they were produced before the F4F-3As. As discussed above the lack of intercooler clearance fairings on these machines, seem to reinforce that theory.

 

You now appear to be saying that they were powered by the -86 and they were manufactured after the F4F-3As.

 

 

 

Edited by detail is everything
typo
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10 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I didn't use the word futile. 

You did not. I acknowledge that the choice of that word was solely mine, I was trying to express thr view that opinion on this matter is diverse and subjective.  If in doing so I caused any misunderstanding or misrpresentation of your personal view, I sincerely apologize, You are entitled to your viewpoint and I have no right to attempt to state it for you.

10 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

What would be futile would be attempting to produce a model that would satisfy the interests and approaches of all modellers in one package.

This is what I was trying to say. I agree. 👍 

 

6 hours ago, detail is everything said:

and it also works for the intercooler duct clearance fairing on the nose panel between wing and cowl (it being introduced with the 3rd F4F-3 group and its redesigned intercooler).  But this fairing inexplicably appears on the F4F-3As way before the the 3rd F4F-3 group and despite having no intercooler. 

That fairing and its introduction continue to bug me. Too many inconsistincies. I had time last week to drop by Terminal 2 at ORD and have another look at F4F-3 BuNo. 12320 on display there. You can get right up close to the airplane (although the Chicago Airport Authority won't let me go crawling over it or taking off panels) so I had a good look in the gear wells and can confirm that the bulge is positioned exactly in line with the upper flange that connects the ducting to the intercooler. There isn't space for anything else there, it must be to accomodate that flange. I have been trying to find pictures of early production F4Fs, to see what changed there. I believe that the flange itself was redesigned ,being larger, heavier, and using more bolts. I have lots of pictures of the flange, but only one shows what appears to be a less robust flange on an early airframe, and even this is questionable. I don't believe the ducting change had anything to do with whether the engine was a -76 or -86, the ducting and intercooler were not unique to either as far as I know. Of course, aircraft fitted with the -90 wouldn't require the bulge (no intercoolers) but apparantly all F4F-3As had it. The use of components with unneccesary fittings is not without precedent, standardization was required in the interest of mass production.

Edited by captnwoxof
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