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The Wildcat has always been a favorite of mine. Until Trumpeter came out with their 1/32 F-4F offering, the only real choice in Braille Scale was the Revell 1960's (re-boxed in 1980) version. I built this kit in the 1970's out of the box and was happy with it at the time.  It was pretty simple and required a major rebuild to bring it up to standard. The Trumpeter Wildcat, though much better than the Revell Wildcat, still has a lot of problems. In fact, in 2003 Stevens International refused to import it into the US until the significant fuselage profile inaccuracies were fixed. Trumpeter went back to the drawing board and corrected the shortcomings. Interior detail on this kit, like most Trumpeter models, is not the best. There are also issues with the firewall. Before starting this kit, I decided that I would pretty much toss the cockpit and firewall and scratch build them. I am still on the fence on what I will do with the engine. Though better than most of Trumpeter's radial engines, it will still require a great deal of work.

The Cockpit

I started with the cockpit floor. The basic shape was ok so I did not see any point in scrapping it and scratch building it. However the first thing I did was to take the Dremel and a carbide grinding bit and skeletonized it and removed all detail, including the hump that covers the control column and control linkages and cables. I cut a section from a piece of 1/2" styrene tube and made a new hump. The rudder troughs were thick so they were scratch built from 0.004" soda can aluminum. When they are painted I can rub some steel wool over them to simulate worn paint. Trumpeter also left off two structural members on each side of the floor so they were scratch built from 0.005" styrene sheet. The fuel tank is not to scale but I made it only large enough that will be visible through the holes in the floor. 

Cockpit%20floor.jpg

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The kit seat was too small, too thick and the wrong shape. It got tossed and a new one scratch built 0.005" styrene sheet and 0.040" and 0.020" styrene rod.

Wildcat%20Seat.jpg

For reasons known only to them, Trumpeter left a large 1/8" deep recess around where the wings attach to the fuselage. This recess is visible not only through the cockpit but in wheel wells as well. I cut a piece of 0.005" styrene sheet slightly larger than the opening and covered this recess. The inside of the fuselage halves (and the wings for that matter) are covered with ejector pin sink marks (sink holes might be more appropriate). Unfortunately, they are a good bit larger than the largest punch in my Waldron punch set so I have to cut them by hand. The one in the cockpit will be quite noticeable.

Wing%20Root.jpg

Like the seat, the control column was in dire need of replacement. The control column grip is badly misshapen and the column itself is undersized in diameter. The kit control column depicts the canvas boot that covers the linkage. Often times, the salty environment and high humidity in the Pacific theater resulted in the canvas boots rotting and in many cases they were either removed or not replaced when they were worn out. I chose to model this one with the boot off. The linkage below is fairly simple and straightforward to scratch build. 

Control%20Column.jpg

The rudder pedals themselves were actually well depicted so not a lot of work needed to be done on them. The pneumatic cylinders on each were not well depicted so I scratch built them as well as some linkage on the bottom. I wrapped some 0.010 wire around a piece of 0.030 brass rod to simulate the springs.  The center console was also incorrect, being solid. I scratch built one from 0.010" styrene sheet with the cutouts in it replicated. 

Pilot%20center%20console.jpg

Like the seat, the control column was in dire need of replacement. The control column grip is badly misshapen and the column itself is undersized in diameter. The kit control column depicts the canvas boot that covers the linkage. Often times, the salty environment and high humidity in the Pacific theater resulted in the canvas boots rotting and in many cases they were either removed or not replaced when they were worn out. I chose to model this one with the boot off. The linkage below is fairly simple and straightforward to scratch build. 

 

The rudder pedals were actually well depicted so not a lot of work needed to be done on them. The pneumatic cylinders on each were not well depicted so I scratch built them as well as some linkage on the bottom. I wrapped some 0.010 wire around a piece of 0.030 brass rod to simulate the springs.  The center console was also incorrect, being solid. I scratch built one from 0.010" styrene sheet with the cutouts in it replicated. 

 

The cockpit consoles, on the other hand, were not well depicted. The detail was soft and in many cases, non-existent or incorrect. They are both going to need to be scratch built. I managed to find a set of Archer Transfers (no Waldron Placard set is available for the Wildcat) so they will spruce up the cockpit a little and add a level of realism. 

The left console took 2 days to complete, the right console is a lot more complicated. 

L%20Console%201.jpg

With the addition of the two pouches, the left side of the cockpit is now complete

L%20side%20cockpit.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Edited by BrailleScaleModelMaster
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