Eduard 1/48 F4F-4 Wildcat (early)

KIT #: 82202
PRICE: $raffle win
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Profipack


The stubby little Grumman Wildcat is the epitome of the US Navy's fighter force in the first year of the Pacific War. An aircraft that was built to withstand the rigors of carrier operations, yet have enough firepower to handle enemy aircraft, the Wildcat was the initial loser in a competition to build the Navy's first monoplane, retractable landing gear fighter aircraft. The winner was the less than sterling Brewster F2A Buffalo. As mediocre an aircraft as was the Buffalo, it did provide the needed operational experience with the type. Though it was a disaster against the Japanese with both US and Commonwealth forces, the Finns used the type with much success against the Soviets in 1940 and later.

The initial production F4F-3 Wildcat had fixed wings and four machine guns. This was later replaced by the folding wing F4F-4 with six machine guns. The folding wings allowed more aircraft to be carried on ships, but added weight that affected the performance. Most pilots did not like the additional two guns as it not only meant more weight, but fewer rounds per gun and so a shorter firing time.

Regardless, the Wildcat soldiered on with smaller carriers once replaced by the Hellcat and was in production until late in the war. The type rapidly disappeared once the war was concluded.


I wasn't going to buy this kit. I have kits of the F4F-3 and F4F-4 from Hobbyboss and Tamiya respectively so felt I didn't need another 1/48 Wildcat. However, this one was provided by my IPMS chapter as a raffle win so I'll probably end up building it.

So what makes this an 'early' F4F-4. Well, to be blunt, it is the fuselage. You see, apparently later Wildcats did away with the fuselage stowage of a life raft. This one has the stowage section molded in the fuselage. This means it has the same fuselage halves as the earlier F4F-3 kits. The only new sprue is for the wings. I'm sure some will be disappointed that Eduard did not provide a folding wing option for this kit, but I'm sure that the aftermarket crowd will come to the rescue in this regard.

In all respects, save the wing, this one is identical to the F4F-3 kits previously released. It has a number of interesting options. One is to have bomb racks installed under the wings. For this, holes need to be drilled out. Half of the markings options have this feature. Another is for alternate gun sights. Again, the instructions will tell you which planes have the later sight.

The kit provides a nice photo etch fret. For some of the pieces, the molded on plastic detail will need to be removed. Most of the parts are for the cockpit, though there are some external items like the radiator screens and the ring and bead sight.

You are provided with a fully detailed cockpit, engine, and accessory section/wheel well. Most of your work building this kit will be in these areas as they are the most parts intensive. The kit also provides alternate tail wheels with one being hard rubber and the other, pneumatic. As has become the norm for Eduard, two canopies are provided. One is if you want it closed and the other for open. A masking set is included with this boxing.

Six markings options are provided. Three of them are blue-grey over light gull grey while one is in the tricolor scheme. The large decal sheet is nicely printed and they look to be standard decals instead of those previously provided where you remove the clear carrier.


So, does this replace all other 1/48 F4F-4 kits? Depends. If you want an easy to build Wildcat that looks great on your shelf, then the 30+ year old Tamiya kit is still the one to get. However, if you want the greatest amount of detail that Eduard usually supplies (and you will probably have to work for it), then this is the kit to get.

January 2023

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