Monogram Boeing F4B-1 Conversion Build in 1/72 Scale

This is a conversion of the Monogram F4B-4 kit which back-dates it to the earlier F4B-1.  For this I’ll be using the RareBits vacuform fuselage and a Radial Engines & Wheels resin Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp radial engine.  Hopefully this will result in a model which is a bit different.
The first step is to separate the RareBits fuselage halves from their vacuform sheet.  I outlined the edges with a black marker so I could better see the separation line, then carefully traced around the piece with an Xacto knife.  The edges were then smoothed with a sanding block.
Here are the fuselage halves with a cockpit interior roughed in with Evergreen strips.  One advantage of a vacuform fuselage is the walls are not overly thick as they sometimes are with injection molded kits.
The interior under a coat of Alclad Aluminum and a wash.  The interiors of these little biplanes are hard to see unless you’re specifically looking for them, and even then it’s not easy to see much.
Here the fuselage is closed up and mated with the Monogram F4B-4 lower wing and horizontal tail.  I cleaned up the gun troughs as they were shallow and a little rough.  I had also over-sanded the fuselage joint along the upper spine and had to fill the area with superglue and card.
The fuselage struts and landing gear legs were removed from the Monogram kit.  The landing gear bracing is different on the earlier Boeing so that had to be scratched.
I added ignition wires, inlets, and exhausts fashioned from beading wire and solder to the resin engine.  The engine is very prominent on this aircraft and will be a focal point so the extra detail is well worth adding.
The aircraft is marked as the Squadron Commander’s aircraft from VF-5 “Red Rippers” assigned to the USS Lexington (CV-2) in 1932.  The decals were sourced from several Starfighter Decals sheets.
Here is a comparison between a stock Monogram F4B-4 on the left and the F4B-1 conversion on the right.  The wings are the same which makes the kit look familiar, but then the differences start to become apparent.  This is a fairly straight-forward conversion and not particularly difficult to do.

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