Hasegawa Grumman F4F-4 of MM1 Donald Runyon in 1/72 Scale

Machinist’s Mate First Class Donald Runyon grew up on a farm in Alamo, Indiana and joined the Navy at the age of twenty-one.  He earned his wings as an enlisted Naval Aviation Pilot.  Assigned to VF-6 operating from the USS Enterprise (CV-6) in August of 1942, he scored a total of eight victories in the Wildcat during the Guadalcanal Campaign, including three Aichi D3A Vals and an A6M2 Zero on 24AUG42.  Rising to the rank of Lieutenant, he added three more victories during a second tour with VF-18 aboard USS Bunker Hill (CV-17).  Runyon survived the war, an ace with eleven victories to his credit.

Hasegawa Grumman Wildcat V of 842 NAS in 1/72 Scale

HMS Fencer (D64) was a Bogue-class escort carrier transferred to the Royal Navy under Lend-Lease, where they were known as the Attacker class.  Fencer operated in the Atlantic in the convoy escort role, typically carrying a composite airgroup of Wildcats and Avengers.  This is a Wildcat V of 842 NAS which operated aboard Fencer during the Summer of 1944.  The aircraft is camouflaged in the Temperate Sea scheme, decals are from Xtradecal sheet X72-141.

Hasegawa Grumman F4F-4 of Captain Marian Carl in 1/72 Scale

Marian Carl opened his account while flying from Midway Island on 04JUN42, downing a Zero.  He was among the ten fighters from VMF-221 to return to the island out of the twenty-five sent up that day.  Carl then deployed with VMF-223 to Guadalcanal, where he became the Marine Corps first ace, eventually raising his score to 16.5.  He returned to VMF-223 as Commanding Officer for a second tour in the Solomons, downing two more aircraft to bring his total to 18.5.

After the war Carl became a test pilot and set speed and altitude records.  He served in Vietnam, where he flew combat missions but refused official recognition or medals for his actions.  He retired from the Marine Corps as a Major General in 1973.  He was killed in 1998, protecting his wife from a home intruder.  He was 82 at the time of his death.

Hasegawa Grumman Martlet III of 805 NAS in 1/72 Scale

805 Naval Air Squadron of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm operated in the Mediterranean protecting Allied merchant shipping.  In June 1941 they were based at Dekeila, Egypt, where they traded in their Brewster Buffalos for Grumman Martlet IIIs.  The model represents a Martlet III of 805 NAS in North Africa in 1941.  These aircraft were repainted in the field and the colors used are a matter of debate.  I used the Mid Stone / Dark Earth over Light Grey here.

Regardless of what is on the Hasegawa box, the basic kit inside is an F4F-4.  For this model the wings were replaced with Quickboost resin -3 wings and modifications made to the cowling.  The cockpit and wheelwells are True Details resin, an almost mandatory addition for the Hasegawa kit.  Decals are from Xtradecal sheet X72-141.

Hasegawa Grumman F4F-4 of LCDR Jimmy Thach in 1/72 Scale

This is LCDR John “Jimmy” Thach’s Wildcat which he flew during the Battle of Midway.  After the loss of USS Lexington (CV-2) at Coral Sea, VF-3 was quickly re-assigned to USS Yorktown (CV-5) for Midway.  Thach was credited with three Zeros while flying this aircraft, but it was pushed over the side after Yorktown was damaged.  Thach survived the war with six victories.  In addition to several Squadron commands, he served as Captain of three aircraft carriers.  Jimmy Thatch retired from the Navy in 1967 as a full Admiral.

This is the Hasegawa kit 51324 (AP24) F4F-4 Wildcat, built with the True Details resin cockpit & wheelwell sets.  This kit has been re-boxed several times with various stock numbers, but all versions contain the same sprues for the F4F-4.  The kit is excellent, but including the True Details set is almost a requirement to dress up the rather Spartan cockpit and close up the otherwise empty wheelwells.  I added some wire & Evergreen details to the interior and wired the engines.  Tailwheels on the carrier-based aircraft were scratched to better represent the solid wheels used there.  Starfighter decals sheet 72-114 was used for the markings.

Hasegawa Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat of LT Butch O’Hare in 1/72 Scale

This model represents the F4F-3a of LT Butch O’Hare of VF-2, “White 15”, BuNo 4031.  This is the aircraft O’Hare flew on 20 February 1942 while defending the USS Lexington (CV-2) from Japanese bombers.  He and his wingman were the only two Wildcats in position to defend Lexington from an attack by nine G4M “Betty” bombers of the 4th Kokutai, but the wingman’s guns jammed and would not fire.  Undeterred, O’Hare made four deflection passes through the Japanese formation.  He shot down three Bettys and damaged four others.  One of the damaged Bettys (carrying the flight leader, LCDR Takuzo Ito) attempted to crash into Lexington but missed, another ditched on the return flight.  O’Hare was credited with destroying five aircraft to become the Navy’s first ace, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions.

Markings are from Mark’s Starfighter Decals sheet 72-142 USN Hit & Run Raids Feb-Apr 1942.  All behaved flawlessly. The model got the Quickboost resin -3 wings, and the scoop on the top of the cowl was filled with superglue and sanded smooth.  The True Details cockpit and wheelwell set was also used.

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale Book Review

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale

By Bert Kinzey, illustrated by Rock Roszak

Softcover, 108 pages, heavily illustrated with photographs, drawings, and color profiles

Independently published, printed on demand

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎ 1729119751

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1729119754

Dimensions: ‎ 8.5 x 0.3 x 11.0 inches

The Detail & Scale series needs no introduction to modelers.  This is volume 7 of the new series which is intended to be purchased electronically as an e-book, but can also be printed on demand for those who prefer a physical copy.  Luddite that I am, I prefer a hard copy for a number of reasons but know there are those who would rather see history through a glowing rectangle.

The new series paradigm is to re-work a title from the original D&S series and expand upon it with additional photographs and information.  D&S previously published two print volumes on the Wildcat, Volumes 30 and 65 in the original series.  This volume expands on the content of the previous works, with 108 pages as compared to 80 pages in volume 65.  The two sections which have benefitted most from the expansion are the Modeler’s Section which as gone from 2 to 11 pages, and a new 9-page section on Paint Schemes & Colors which gives a succinct overview of the changes made to U.S. Navy camouflage and markings as they evolved throughout the war.

The ”walk around” and historical sections have also been expanded.  Much of the material is new, with only a small percentage being re-used from the previous volumes.  The evolution of the Wildcat is more complex and convoluted than a casual observer may realize, and the major strength of this book as a modeling reference is the explanation of the detail differences between the various sub-types and foreign orders.

One weak point is the quality of the print on demand copy.  The paper is inferior to the original series.  There is not as much contrast in the black & white photo reproduction, and the color pictures appear too bright and “loud”.

For quality of content on the Wildcat family this book sets the standard as a modeling reference.  This is not a simple reprint of the original work, the older volumes still retain their value as much of the content in this book is new, not simply augmented.  The new Arma Wildcats are not reviewed in the Modeler’s Section as this book pre-dates their release, but just about every other kit is included.  Highly recommended as a modeling reference.

2021 Year in Review

2021 saw a return to some degree of normalcy, but as with any great disruption there have been some re-definitions of just what that means.  There was a return to live in-person shows which was sorely missed.  What has changed with the shows is now they are bigger and better attended, with more vendors, more model entries, and an overall increase in quality of the builds.  Fewer group activities have translated into additional modeling time for many people, and for socially introverted types this appears to have been a good thing.  It has certainly resulted in more and better models on display at the shows!

The display area of the 2021 Military Modeler’s Club of Louisville IPMS show.

I was able to go to three shows this year, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Cincinnati.  All three were held in new venues, and all three were very successful and saw half again as many entries above what was normal for the club, if not more.  Many inspiring and innovative builds, and fellow modelers are always happy to share new techniques and tips to try out.  The guys at Plastic Model Mojo have taken their show on the road, and I was able to sit down with them and catch up in person, in addition to listening to their podcasts while I model.   Plastic Model Mojo here:  https://www.plasticmodelmojo.com/

Mojovians Dave and Mike in front of an Fw 190 replica at the Cincinnati IPMS show at the Tri-State Warbird Museum.

For bibliophiles the news is still not good.  Publication dates on many new books have slipped.  The secondary and overstock markets have fared little better, with fewer selections and higher prices all around.  After two years the Half Price Books traveling blow-out sale is still nowhere on the horizon, and I’m starting to wonder if it will ever return.  Hopefully soon!

Blog Statistics and News

The Inch High Guy blog has completed year three!  A big thanks to all who visit on a regular basis, whether new or old.  I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, although there were a couple of near misses.  The blog received 139,675 views and 55,483 visitors, up from 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors last year.  The most popular post again this year was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 3,267 views: 

https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/b-17-flying-fortress-interior-colors-part-i/

Guess what? If you can see the ribbing on interior of a Fortress it should be Natural Aluminum, with only rare exceptions. Interior Green is for Warbirds!

Models Built in 2021

34 completions, 24 aircraft and 10 vehicles.  In addition I painted 42 figures, 14 horses, and constructed 8 diorama / vignette bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference.  The mosaic has a picture of each build, construction posts and additional finished pictures can be found by searching the blog.

Arma Hobby FM-2 Wildcat x 3

Azur Martin B-10

Trumpeter T-55

Takom MAZ-537 Tank Transporter

Airfix Spitfire Vc x 4

Vickers Mk. VI light tank resin print

Cunningham T1 light tank resin print x 2

Brengun Yak-1

Arma Hobby Yak-1b x 3

Hasegawa Yak-3

Dakoplast Yak-7 x 2

Valom Yak-7

Emher Yak-9

Hasegawa Fw 190D (old tool)

Hasegawa Fw 190D

Tamiya Fw 190D

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1011 x2

Dragon Julia

Revell Fw Fitzer

Revell Ho 229 (repaint)

First to Fight Polish TKS Tankette

ICM Sd.Kfz. 222

First to Fight Sd.Kfz. 247

Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz. 70

Italeri sK 18 10.5 cm Field Gun

What’s Ahead in 2022

This has been a year of exciting announcements for 1/72 scale modelers.  The new Focke Wulf Fw 190D series from ICB looks spectacular, and it even includes an accurate wheelwell for the first time in the scale.  The family will cover all the Dora subtypes.  Flyhawk released a new tool SBD Dauntless which will fix the dive brake issues with Hasegawa’s kit, and will hopefully continue to be available – something which can’t be said for several Hasegawa kits.  To top it off ICM and Special Hobby have both just announced a new-tool Ki-21 “Sally” for late 2022, a subject which has long been on the list of several modelers. The Sally was strangely missing from Hasegawa’s new-ish series of Japanese twins, modelers who had to have one searched for the MPM or 1976 Revell kits.

The big news for many modelers is that Arma is now shipping their P-51B/C kits.  The previous attempts from Academy and Hasegawa both suffered from fatal, difficult to correct shape issues.  Finally, for the first time, an accurate P-51B/C is on the way!  This kit should prove to be a license to print money for Arma, here’s hoping it is a windfall for them!  I have long agitated for this subject, so to put my money where my mouth is I have placed an order through my Local Hobby Store (support your LCS!) for one.  Case.  For starters.

Now Arma, if you’re listening, we could sure use an accurate Ki-43-II Hayabusa “Oscar” in 1/72 scale.

Arma’s P-51B/C

The second big release (for me) has a much more personal connection.  Takom has announced a U.S. Navy 16”/50 caliber triple turret in 1/72 scale, packaged as Turret One from USS Missouri (BB 63).  This kit has parts for the rangefinder which was later removed from the first turrets, but with a few modifications could represent any of the main battery turrets on the Iowa class battleships.  Now for the connection part – I served in the Navy, Missouri was my ship, Turret One was my turret.  1/72 scale Missouri’s in both the WWII and 1980’s configurations are on my bucket list, and this kit makes that project one step closer.  If the appropriate 5”/38 Mark 28 mount is ever kitted that would cinch the deal (the 1/72 scale 5”/38 Mark 38 mount included in Takom’s 1/700 Gearing class kit has an unarmored gun house, appropriate for destroyers but not battleships).

Takom’s 16″/50 turret

Lastly, we have purchased a wooded plot of land along the scenic White River, where we intend to build an energy efficient (net zero) home.  This is obviously a time-consuming project, and will inevitably impact time available for modeling and blogging.  In fact, the effects have already begun to be felt as I have been busy on the property cutting down the invasive Asian Bush Honeysuckle which is crowding out the native trees.  Hopefully there will still be opportunities for modeling, but the pace may slow a bit.  If I miss the daily posting on the blog in the coming months this will likely be the reason.

The mighty White River

May you each live long enough to build every model in your stash!

Arma Hobby General Motors FM-2 Wildcat USS Rudyerd Bay (CVE-81) 1/72 Scale

This FM-2 Wildcat from Composite Squadron 96 (VC-96) was finished in the late-war overall Gloss Sea Blue scheme.  It flew from the Casablanca-class escort carrier USS Rudyerd Bay (CVE-81) during the Okinawa campaign in April, 1945. Other than correcting the curve of the wingtips this was built out of the box.

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Build posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/02/05/arma-hobby-general-motors-fm-2-wildcat-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/