Arma Hobby General Motors FM-2 Wildcat Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

FM2_11
The landing gear on all Wildcats is complicated and there is really not a painless way to represent the intricate strut arrangement. I followed Arma’s instructions and had no major issues, but you do have to proceed carefully. Here is the first step with the firewall and internal bracing mounted.
FM2_12
Here it is with the fuselage closed up. Technically there should be engine accessories protruding into the gear bay, but the view is obscured by the strut assembly so it would be very difficult to notice.
FM2_13
This is the stage in the construction which is causing some confusion amongst modelers, I would advise studying the instructions carefully and making sure the arrangement of these parts is clear before proceeding. Part A18 is molded flat and has to be bent down to the proper angle, as can be seen by comparing the upper left and upper center assemblies here. Parts A11 and A12 are molded with a connecting bar which must be removed before the ends can be joined, seen in the lower left and lower center of this picture. In the end you want everything to look like the assembly on the right.
FM2_14
The gear struts snap into place from below, the fit at the rear of the well was tight on mine but I was able to press it in (firmly) with a little MEK. The main gear legs (parts A28 and A29) mount to the firewall and then there are three attachment points to each leg for the struts. Just follow the instructions and let the glue set up firmly and you’ll have good alignment and a surprisingly strong assembly when you’re done.
FM2_15
A valid criticism of this kit is the shape of the wingtips, they should be more rounded than they are molded. I was hoping for an out of the box build but felt obliged to fix this with some plastic stock. If you don’t want to go that route you could get an improved profile by rounding off the front and back edges of the wingtip.
FM2_16
The engine from the front. The cowling will sit about a millimeter too far forward if you don’t do something, and this will be apparent as the exhaust stubs will protrude too far past the cowling when viewed from the side. I shaved off the mounting ridges inside the cowling and thinned the trailing edge which allowed the cowling to be pressed back enough. An easy fix but a trap for the unwary.
FM2_17
Fit of the parts is excellent.  I used a little Mr. Surfacer 500 along the fuselage seam lines to counter the tendency of the seams to draw in when using thin glues.

5 thoughts on “Arma Hobby General Motors FM-2 Wildcat Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

  1. I’ve followed your photos, and I’m still confused. Maybe it’ll be more apparent if the parts are before me. One of our comrades on the 72nd Scale Air Forum used some brass rod I believe.
    I grinned when you said it was complicated, but surprisingly strong. Why? Because it’s art imitating life. They didn’t call it Grumman Iron Works for nothing, did they? 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you’re right, you’ll see it when you have the parts in hand. Arma did a good job with the instructions but it’s hard to see at first. The strength lies in the shapes of the structures, even an Evergreen I-beam is still pretty rigid!

      Liked by 2 people

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