Monogram 1/48 F4F Wildcat






One option


Scott Van Aken


1968 Boxing, 1961 molds


Once again, I'll entreat you to check out the various build reviews of the Wildcat to get a historical background on the aircraft.


Delving into the way-back function of the kit dungeon, this oldie was pulled out for a preview. Molded in a luscious medium blue, this is what Monogram was all about when it started doing its 1/48, or 'quarter scale' kits. They provide a reasonably accurate outline (in some cases, real accurate) along with an operating feature or two to keep things interesting. These kits were not designed to spend their life on some musty shelf. No, they were designed for play. Careful play, but play nonetheless.

Having basically no cockpit, the interior consists of a bulkhead and a pilot to glue to it. No wheel wells either, but the rather sturdy looking landing gear should be sufficient to keep things up, providing enough glue is used. The wheels can be made to roll with the application of a hot knife. A reasonably well done engine and prop are provided as are twin drop tanks for under the wing. The canopy is a single piece, which is fine for looking at your pilot figure. The real treat on this kit is the foldable wings. Reasonable construction will make these babies fold back as pretty as you please. As long as you're not too rough on them, they will also snap into the extended position. With any luck, this feature will function for 5-6 times before something is snapped off!

The kit itself has to be at least an F4F-4 due to the folding wings. However Monogram overlooked a few minor points, such as gun ports and the underwing oil coolers that were the norm on these aircraft.  Fortunately, most kids didn't care and were happy enough to have a nice plane to play with. It also came with a ground crew figure, a feature that became standard on many Monogram kits.

Instructions for the time were a combination of photos and a written construction sequence. An exploded view of the kit is also supplied. Colors are all generic the the plane is blue upper and light grey lower. These would be appropriate for early Wildcats, but by the time the blue surround insignia provided came into being, the camo would have probably been the tricolor version. No matter as we all happily applied our decals and went off in search of the 'Wiley Japanese'.     


At one time, this was a highly sought kit. Mainly because it was the only 1/48 Wildcat around and it wasn't that difficult to work on. Outline is good as with all Monogram kits (well, almost all of them), and a little scratchbuilding would have you a nice model. I built one using an etched brass set for the interior, a vac canopy and some other bits. Of course, it won't hold a candle to the Tamiya kit but it still is a nice model and if you have kids, they'll love it. Below is a shot of my Monogram F4f backdated a bit to a supposed F4F-3. Yeah, lots wrong with it as the coolers I made are too large, but I like it!

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