Recently, the last few month have been very busy for me as i finish off my degree but i still have a few stuff in the works in between the long pause and here one of them which i always wanted to do after seeing how ridiculous the box art is!
You would expect this to be a Chibi kit like most manufacture aiming these day for this size but this is truly a true 1/144 scale plane. The twist is that you get a cat crews instead and more!
The FM-1/2 is General Motors version of Wildcat. While Grumman’s Wildcat production ceased in early 1943 to make way for the newer F6F Hellcat, the General Motors continues on producing Wildcats for both U.S. Navy and Fleet Air Arm use. Late in the war, the Wildcat was obsolescent as a front line fighter compared to the faster F6F Hellcat and F4U Corsair. However, they were adequate for small escort carriers against submarine and shore threats. These relatively modest ships carried only two types of aircraft (along with the GM-built TBM Avengers). The Wildcat’s lower landing speed and ability to take off without a catapult made it more suitable for shorter flight decks.
At first, GM produced the FM-1, identical to the F4F-4, but reduced the number of guns to four, and added wing racks for two 250 lb (110 kg) bombs or six rockets. Production later switched to the improved FM-2 (based on Grumman’s XF4F-8 prototype) optimized for small-carrier operations, with a more powerful engine, and a taller tail to cope with the torque.
As i said before, this is certainly not a box art that you would normally see especially with military kit which more to aim to be realistic as possible even with the Fujimi chibi ones which is quite refreshing to see. On this one, they make it look like a movie set.
The back of the box is where you find a template of your carrier island that can be cut out to be used with the deck base. It also include another cat and NASA *which i assume the Sweet mascot* that always included in most of their product box art.
As it was 1/144 scale, it don’t require many runner to build one. The first two runner is for building one FM-2 Wildcat plane plus a cat.
The third runner is where you would find the flight deck base and the rest of the cat crews.
The final runner is the window canopy which would be a pain in the arse to mask as i compare with my finger.
The main manual contains instruction for assembling the plane and one of the cats. It also include the color and decal option in color when you open it up. As always with any Japan product, it mainly in Japanese but the diagrams provide a clear building instruction so you should not have problem with it.
They also provide instruction note for the base and the rest of the cat crew. As seen here, they provide a piece if you want to attach multiple bases.
Last item from the box was the decal sheet that provided all the markings for the planes and eyes for the cats.
It only took me about less of a hour to assemble all the parts and took a day to paint all of it. I choose the full blue color for the plane plus paint the windows because quite frankly it a pain in the arse to mask them and there no detail in the cockpit anyway. Alot of the color was used in random patch for the cats.
The list of color used are:
- Mr.Color 322 Phthalo Cyanne Blue *The hell is this mean ?*
- WarPaints Dragon Red
- WarPaints Deep Blue
- Warpaints Gunmetal – Silvery bits
- Warpaints Daemonic Yellow
- Warpaints Matt White
- Warpaints Strong Tone – Wash
- Warpaints Fur Brown
- Warpaints Leather Brown
- Warpaints Army Green
- Warpaints Uniform Grey
- Warpaints Matt Black – Tyres
- Warpaints Antishine
The cutboard cut out was quite easy to cut with a sharp blade. The time consuming part would the be carrier island since there alot of empty space between the structure.
Total base size: 10.9cm(L) x 14cm(W) x 9cm(H), Deck only: 10.9cm(L) x 9.9cm(W) x 0.5cm(H)
Island cardboard cutout
Plane size: 5.8cm(L) x 8cm(W)x 2.4cm(H)
Compare with 1/72 Kayaba Ku-4
Still this quite a fun little build to work on and this set provide a unique thing that make the plane easily stand out more than the rest of your collection. Plus it quite cheap, i got this from HLJ for 800 yen (RM 31) without shipping so you could make a squadron on the cheap with little effort!