Kit: F4F Wildcat
Kit Number: 6798
Media: Injected plastic
Decals : One set for a generic F4F
Overall: see review
Comments: Monogram's F4F is probably one of their earliest kits. While I do not remember the date inscribed on the model, this particular jewel has all the features of a 1960 model. To whit: an interior that consisted of a pilot attached to his seat, a super-thick canopy, and the ever-popular operating features, in this case, folding wings.
The first task is to remove the incredible number of rivets without destroying the decent detail on the fabric control surfaces. Next, I glued the wings together and filled in the wing fold line as I was building the -3 version without folding wings. I then filled in one gun port on each wing as the -3 only had four 50mm guns. That complete, I then rescribed a few panel lines. Next came the interior. This was replaced by a nice brass interior (I believe it was by True Details or Airwaves) complete with seat, instrument panel, rudder pedals, consoles and various boxes on the sidewalls. I did have to scratch build a control stick. I robbed a gunsight from an extra provided by Hobbycraft's P-36.
Since the wing slots through the fuselage, I did not cut out the lower windows in the fuselage, representing them with decal instead. Once the interior was painted and detailed, the wing was installed and the fuselage glued together. I kept the kit engine and propeller. Then the canopy was trashed and Squadron/Falcon replacement item substituted. These canopies are great and you get two so you can mess one up. They also allow the now fully detailed interior to be shown. Yes, I did use Reheat instrument decals. With the aircraft nearly complete, I put a set of oil coolers made from large tubing under the wings as this minor item was omitted by Monogram. It was then painted a mid blue-grey upper and light grey lower using Testors and Gunze paints. The landing gear was then installed and True Details wheels replaced the toy ones provided. Final touches included a set of Superscale decals for an appropriate Marine ace, antenna rigging, engine exhausts robbed from the Hobbycraft P-36, and the addition of guns in the wings. The guns were made from stainless steel tubing imbedded in contrail tubing that matched the gun openings. Once these are installed, the gun barrels realistically 'float' in their openings.
The overall kit looks tons better than the original and for a total cost of about $25.00. Naturally, a few months after completion, Tamiya brought out its superb Wildcat kit making my efforts rather redundant, but that's modeling.